Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Super-Mystery Comics had a spotted run from July 1940 to July 1949, a total of 48 issues.  During World War II, comic books were popular both with kids and with the armed services overseas.  Some of ads in the comic book seem to be targeted to America's fighting forces.  Case in point, the inside from cover of this issue which touts two books:Private Letters of the World's Greatest Lovers and Guide to Intimate Letter Writing (which will allow you to "master the ways of love," and includes a "Personal Directory of intimate love phrases" -- something every lonely doughboy needs).

In this issue enemies of America get their comeuppance from such heroes as Magno the Magnetic Man, Dr. Nemesis, Hap Hazard, The Sword, Mr. Risk, and Paul Revere, Jr..

Magno, the Magnetic Man, should not be confused with other Magnos.  This Magno is a creation of Ace Periodicals and is a playboy adventurer who apparently has no secret identity and no everyday garb.  He has a masterful control of magnetism which also allows him to fly and to be invincible.  He fights enemies of America and is aided by his sidekick Davey a schoolboy who suit gives him some of Magno's powers.  Other Magnos in Comicbookland include Quality Comics' Magno, an elecrtical lineman named Tom Dalton who got superpowers when he got zapped (twice) with 10,000 volts of electricity, and Sandy Laker who is Magno, Man of Magnetism, and who first appeared in British comics in 1971.  (Similarly named comic book characters include Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier's Mangor (who learns super-heroing from reading comic books) and Magneto, arch-enemy of Marvel's X-Men.)  Magno and Davey were the headliners ofdf'frthglbgvb,,,gdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrcv,l; .e Clown, who is after a formula that appears to transmute metal into gold.  At the end of this adventure we learn that "Magno and Davey put all their spare money into War Bonds and Stamps -- Do you?"

Dr. Nemesis is really Dr. James Bradley, who dons a surgical mask and carries a hypodermic needle to fight crime.  As a skilled surgeon he knows where all the weak points of a body are.  His identity is kept secret, even from his fiance, the lovely nurse Mary Strong.  He appeared in twelve adventures from Ace Periodicals with this issue containing his last appearance.  In this issue Dr. Nemesis battles Japanese Agent X-2 as the evil oriental infects American soldiers with leprosy. This adventure ends with "If you can't give your blood to the Red Cross, the least you can do is buy War Bonds."   This Dr. Nemesis should not be confused with the much-later nemesis of Dr. Who.

Hap Hazard, the red-haired copy boy of the Daily Star, goes on a walk with his girlfriend Arabella and gets sprayed by a skunk, leading him to find two more skunks -- a pair of German spies.  Although not a superhero, Hap handles himself well in situations that are mostly his own fault.

Schoolboy Arthur Lake transformed into The Sword whenever he pulls Excalibur from the stone.  As The Sword he has the strength of "many times ten" men.  One of the neat things about this strip is that whenever Arthur draws Excalibur, his two best friends also transform into superheroes:  Lance Larter becomes The Lancer and Moe Lynn becomes Merlin.  Young Arthur keeps Excalibur hidden in a nearby place for when he needs to transform to battle Nazis and saboteurs.  His arch nemesis is Faye Morgana, head of Nazi operations in the U. S.  In this episode Faye Morgana is joined by bad guys The Goth and The Hun to stir up prejudice against foreign workers at a war factory.  (A completely different Sword from Golden Age comics was Olympic fencing champion Chic Carter in stories published by Quality Comics; Carter did not become the Sword until his 24th appearance in Smash Comics, after which he appeared in fifteen issues of National Comics and eighteen issues of Police Comics.  Quality Comics also had a different Merlin in the person of playboy Jack Kellog, who could cast spells when wearing the original Merlin's cloak.  He appeared in forty-five issues of National Comics, only to be killed in his first adventure for DC after Dc bought out Quality comics stable of characters.)

"The man who knows no fear" is known only as Mr. Risk, who has no powers beyond being a good fighter and a master of disguise.  He is usually accompanied by his faithful servant Abdul.  In a story that does not involve spies or enemy agents, Mr. Risk finds himself against an uncommon criminal, the blackmailing murderer The Cougar.  The Cougar's identity had been discovered by one of his victim's twin sons.  The Cougar -- not knowing which son saw him -- must kill one boy and goes after the other when Mr. Risk steps in.

Paul Revere, Jr., is the son of newspaper columnist Paul Revere, Sr.  Jr. and his friends of the america awake club, Pat Henry and Betsy Ross, stumble on a Nazi plot to sabotage a patriotic waste fat collection program.  (Waste fat can be used in the production of gunpowder to be used against the Axis.)  Jr., Pat, and Betsy spoil the German's plot and discover that the smallest things an ordinary citizen can do add up to a mighty weapon against tyranny.

After reading this issue, you will be wondering how in heck the Axis thought they could beat America.


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