Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, August 3, 2019


For just shy of forty years, Kerry Drake brought both action and detective skills to the newspaper comics pages.  Created in 1943 to fill in a space left by Dan Dunn when Dunn's creator Normen Marsh  "stormed out" of Publishers Syndicate after an argument, and artist Alfred Andriola and syndicate comics editor Allen Saunders briefly tried to continue the strip, Kerry Drake was better suited to the talents of both men.  While Dan Dunn, one of the few true rivals to Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, relied on often violent endings to its criminal case, Kerry Drake systematically followed clues using up-to-date techniques to envelop the reader.  Artist Andriola insisted on taking full credit for the strip, leaving Saunders to write the scripts anonymously.

Five issues of Kerry Drake Detective Cases were released by Magazine enterprises in 1945-46.  In 1948 Harvey Comics began Kerry Drake, which ran until 1952.

In "Kerry Drake Trails the Faceless Horror" (the title is taken from the cover; the story is not given a title within the comic), Kerry -- a criminal investigator for the DA's office -- is recovering from acid burns at the hands of "Fingers" Nelson while his secretary/fiancee Sandy Burns stands by, just a little bit jealous of Kerry's treatment by the hospital's pretty nurses.  Outside the window of Kerry's hospital room, Sandy sees a crowd gathering around a little girl in hysterics, frightened by a man with "no face."  As more and more people see the man, public hysteria begins to grow.  "No Face" is actually Victor Apollo, a once handsome stage actor who was presumed to have died in an automobile crash the year before.  Apollo blames his disfigurement on his wife, beautiful actress Tiffany Blayne, and her co-star Jack McCue.  Apollo's disfigurement and the rejection of those he meets is driving him mad and he plots a bizarre death for Tiffany and McCue.  Soon McCue is dead -- mysteriously suffocated -- while Kerry is able to save Tiffany from the same fate.   But will Tiffany remain safe and will Kerry be able to solve this case as the body count rises?

Fillers in issue are a three-page story about the Burma Bridge Buster of WWII and two pages of humor with Dotty Dripple and her husband Horace.


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