Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, January 13, 2023


 You say you never heard of Zippo?  I don't blame you.  He was a costumed hero appearing in Hillman's Clue Comics #1-8.  Created by Pierce Rice, Zippo's day-to-day identity was that of private detective Joe Blair.  Blair had this thing about crime, see -- he didn't like it.  So he came up with a crime-fighting invention:  super-speedy wheels that could go up to 65 miles an hour.  Just the perfect thing for catching crooks.  The wheels are attached to the sides of his boots and are propelled by pressurized air in his specialized belt that moves the driving rods running down his legs, thus propelling the wheels.  The wheels themselves are large and are made of carborundum steel, allowing Blair to use them as cutting tools should the occasion arise (and it does).  Such an invention calls for super-duper costume and Blair's is a tight yellow suit with blue boots and long blue gloves.  On his chest is emblazoned a large red "Z". He also wears a futuristic-type helmet and mask.  His shirt collar flairs up in the back.

Why the name Zippo?  Who knows?  Perhaps because he can zip around on those wheels.  And perhaps because Zippo was a (marginally) better name than "Trying-to-Keep-Your-Balance-Man."

In his first outing, Zippo goes against labor racketeers led by the Pirate, a nogoodnik who kills his opponents with a pirate's sword (when he doesn't have one of men mow them down with a tommy gun).  To Zippo's mind, the Pirate's biggest offense is that his labor racket is harming the war effort.

Then he tackles the Lynx, who uses a doll factory to cover up the sale of unlawful defense steel.  After that he has to stop the Nazis from blowing up Boulder Dam and cutting off power to West Coast defense industries.

A mad scientist develops a serum that will reduce government officials to the mental capacity of  stone age cave men so that he could rule the country.  Racketeers extort money from those new to our shores by threatening their families back in Europe.  A prisoner that Zippo had previously nabbed has secret sabotage plans hidden somewhere and Zippo must find where they are, but first he must go through The Fly, a freak whose bite is poison.  A madman uses an amusement park as a death trap for his employees.   A mobster who died twenty years ago comes back with a tommy gun blazing to take over the city.  It's all grist in the mill for Zippo.

Enjoy.  And try not to wonder why the War Department and the FBI keep calling on Joe Blair to single-handedly do their work for them,

No comments:

Post a Comment