Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, March 18, 2021

YELLOWJACKET COMICS #1 (SEPTEMBER 1944)

 Yellowjacket was a comic book superhero who lasted for ten issues of his own comic, and made his final appearance in Jack-in-the-Box Comics #1 (October 1946).  He was Vince Harley, a crime fiction writer and amateur beekeeper who became the superhero while searching for a crime plot.  Here's how tvtropes.com describes it:

"Crime author Vince Harley is thinking of a new novel premise when one comes to him.  You see, Judy Graves appears near his house, bringing the mob after her.  In the ensuing scuffle, Vince learns that he can communicate with bees.  Using his new-found abilities, Vince defeats the gangsters and embarks on a new career as 'the Yellowjacket.' "

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[Excuse me for a minute.  I have to find my willing suspension of disbelief.  Now, where is it?  Ah!  There you are!  Okay, now I can go on.}

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Where were we?  Yes, the mob guys are after jewels that Judy has.  They want her to help them steal them and she doesn't want to.  When she threatens to go to the police, they give chase in the rain -- which may explain why they took their time tracking her down; time enough for Vince to lay her on the sofa in front of the fireplace, to make her a hot cup of tea, to find the jewels she had hidden, and to fall asleep himself.  Vince wakes up when the pug-uglies show up, brandishing guns, and demanding the girl (in their best Brooklyn accents, 'natch).  Ah, but the girl is gone!  Vince takes a swing at one of the baddies and gets knocked down.  They were going to shoot our hero, but one of them came up with a more evil idea:  Let's get one of the bee hives, shake it up real good so the bees will get mad, and dump the bees on the unconscious man so the bees will kill him and we won't have to!  Great idea, Chauncy!  Now the bees happen to be yellowjackets, which really do not belong in an apiary, but who's kvetching?  Anyway, Judy did not vanish -- she just hid in a closet.  When she came out, Vince's entire body was covered with yellowjackets, which suddenly leave Vince and ramble back to their hive.  Vince, of course is unharmed because he is one of those few people who are immune to bee stings.  Vince decides to go after the bad guys.  For some reason, he decides to dress up in a yellow costume, complete with mask, yellow and black striped cape, black gloves and leggings, with yellow underpants worn on the outside to match his shirt.  When one of the bad guys pulls a gun, Vince has a yellowjacket sting him.

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[Okay, there's a lot to unpack here.  Whoops!  I see my willing suspension of disbelief is trying to scuttle back to a safe place.  Come back here, you coward!  Okay.  First off, why did Judy have the jewels?  And how did the gang know she had them?  And this whole thing of yellowjackets in an apiary?  Give me a break?  And I can get that people can be immune to bee stings, but thousands of them at one time?!!?  And why can Vince communicate suddenly with bees?  And how does he know he can?  And because you can talk to the bees, does that mean they will obey you, or even listen?  And where the hell did that costume come from...And where did my willing suspension of disbelief go now?  Geez, you turn you back for one second...Where are you hiding, you little so-and-so?  I need you here with me. I mean I really, really, really, REALLY need you.  I don't think I can go on without...Gaah!  My disbelief!  It's coming back!  Oh, the humanity!...]

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...must make it through the next paragraph...Be strong, Jerry!

Anyway, the cops come, the crooks are arrested, the jewels go back to wherever the hell they came from, the girl gets a suspended sentence, and there's a new superhero on the block.

Phew!


Also in this issue:

  • After getting  the go-ahead from Zeus, Diana the Huntress helps the Allies defeat the Germans and Japanese in Greece
  • Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" gets a six-page comic adaptation
  • Danny King, circus crime-fighter, becomes King of the Beasts and handles a vengeful ex-lion tamer
  • Harbor Lights (evidently a Yank Merchant Marine) tells the tale of a sailor who should have died when captured by Germans
  • The Filipino Kid, Juan Manito, protects his homeland from the Japanese
Check it out.

https://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=15494

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