Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, August 25, 2018


This is a bit of a cheat.  Fantastic Adventures was a publication from I.W. Publications; the I.W.  came from the owner, Israel Waldman, who purchased a large group of comic book "printing plates from Eastman color, primary from defunct publishers who owed Eastern money."  Waldman also purchased some comic artwork from Quality Comics. He eventually acquired plates and artwork from some 37 companies, including a few he had no right to.  His attitude was summed up by this quote, "So what do I need with copyrights?"

Thus Waldman entered the comic book business.

I.W. Publications (soon to become Super Comics) churned out a host of comics -- all featuring old reprints with new covers and titles.  Individual issues of the comic books did not appear in stores or on spinner racks.  Instead, issues were wrapped in plastic several titles at a time and were sold thus.  None of the comic books were dated -- allowing them to be on sale indefinitely.  The quality of the issues varied with the quality of the prints used.

Fantastic Adventures #15 appears to a reprint of Star Comics' Spook #23 (from March 1953) and includes a story written by Mickey Spillane!  Not just a Spillane story, but a Spillane story featuring a gorilla!  And not just a Spillane story featuring a gorilla, but a Spillane story featuring a gorilla with a young hero named Jerry!  (I do like stories where the good guy hero is named Jerry.  To my mind, they're realistic.)

This tale, titled "Gorillas, Ghosts and Gangsters," has Jerry (who's handsome as well as brave, natch) strolling through the zoo one morning when he spies some kids throwing stones at the caged giant  gorilla.   But kids are not the only ones tormenting the great beast -- there's also a guy shooting a BB gun at the ape.  As Jerry accosts the torturing kids, the gorilla, enraged, breaks through the bars of his cage.  The kids run off and Jerry is left to face the maddened gorilla alone.  But -- aha! -- he's not alone; Sergeant Spook is also on the scene.  Spook is the ghost of a police officer still determined to do right.  Spook has Jerry swing his arms as the invisible spectre keeps pounding the ape on the noggin.  The gorilla thinks Jerry is hitting him, so when Jerry stops swinging his arms and Spook stops punching, the ape is happy, especially when Jerry tells the ape that he does not want to hurt him and would rather be friends.  The gorilla's escape was just a cover-up for a raid on the government building next to the zoo -- gangsters have stolen some important government documents.   Spook, Jerry, and "Monk" leap into action.  But first they have to take care of the giant python the gangsters have also released.

Neither Sergeant Spook nor Jerry (nor Monk) is Mike Hammer (or even Tiger Mann), but it's great to read one of these Spillane comic book stories.

And there's a great original gorilla cover for this issue by Ross Andru.

Give Sergeant Spook, and the other tales in this issue, a try.


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