Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Ace Magazines managed to crank out 48 irregularly published issues of this comic book from July 1940 to July 1949.  for the first five and a half years, Super-Mystery Comics focused on superheroes, most notably Magno, the Magnetic Man.  Later issues were more crime oriented and featured a number of series characters.  Five of those series are featured in issue #42:

  • THE UNKNOWN is a ghostly, draped being who -- unseen by others -- acts as an omniscient narrator.  In The Dime of Doom," mad-dog killer Adam First manages to escape the police and is determined to get back at his girlfriend Stella, who had turned him into the cops.  Adam shoots Stella (who is wearing a flimsy, fur-line negligee, by the way), but the dying Stella puts a curse on her lucky dime (Yeah, I know.  Work with me here.), telling Adam that, "The dime will spell...YOUR DOOM!  Cursing you...with my...dying breath...Gahhhh.....!"  Adam, being a crook, is cowardly and superstitious.  He picks up the dime from the floor where Stella had dropped it, determined to get rid of it.  Alas, like the cat in the folk song, the dime came back, and kept coming back every time he tries to get rid of it.  Guess what eventually happens to Adam.
  • BERT AND SUE (no idea what their last name is) are amateur detectives who keep stumbling on to crimes.  In "The Man Nobody Knew," the couple are trying to check into a hotel and seem to be out of luck when the desk girl gets word that painters are finished with room 411 and they can have that room.  (This is another case where you just have to go with it, abandoning any sense of logic.)  They get up to the room, open the door, and out falls a corpse.  The dead man's face has been beaten beyond recognition, his fingerprints wiped off with acid, labels removed from his clothing, and has no identification on him.  To top it off, someone has stolen thirty thousand dollars worth of valuables from the hotel vault.  Among the suspects are the desk girl (who had been flirting with Bert, or maybe Bert was flirting with her; either way, sue is mighty jealous), the bellhop, the hotel detective, and the hotel manager.  Whodunit?
  • MACK MARTIN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, whose cases "generally lead to a public murder where everybody and his brother try to get in the act using Mack Martin as the star attraction for a hail of lead by hot trigger fingers."  That should give you a clue that he's a tough private eye.  In "The Case of the Planned Accident," Mack and his Girl Friday, Veronica Lake Gertie, are remarking on how no cases have crossed the door when a case crosses the door.  Beautiful Eleanor Chase claims that her uncle Ralph is being held prisoner at a local sanitarium and that the officials there are trying to kill him.  Long story short, they are.  But why?  And can Mack be immune to the charms of an amorous nurse?  Private eyes of the Forties sure to met a lot of lovely (and sometimes lethal) dames.
  • HURRY-UP HARRIGAN, POLICE REPORTER will do anything to get a scoop.  In "A One-Way Ride," Harrigans tries to hide a mob hit man who is willing to testify against his bosses.  Unfortunately, he doesn't count on a beautiful assassin who knows the difference between a man catching something in his legs and a woman doing the same.  (I know, I know...doesn't make much sense to me either.)
  • MR. RISK and his loyal servant Abdul investigate strange doings at the circus.  Strange, as in a number of unexplained deaths and accidents.  After an acrobat fell to his death when his tightrope was spiked with razor blades, the circus is on the verge of being closed because it is suspected that the owner is buy defective equipment.  (What!?!)  Mr. risk takes a Risk by performing the tightrope act himself.
As I mentioned, logic does not enter into these stories, but one seldom reads old comics for logic.  On the plus side, we learn that the best detectives smoke pipes, not cigarettes.  Also, that women in the late Forties are all beautiful, wear the most current fashions, and have wasp-thin waists.


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