Monday, March 31, 2014

#012, in which Danny-boy discovers that he who smelt it dealt it

BLUE BEETLE #2 May-June 1940 finds the Beetle getting his title book all to himself this time, although there are still two reprint stories (from Mystery Men #'s 6 and 8).
Another excellent Lou Fine cover, that again shows our hero brandishing a pistol--something he has yet to do in the actual stories themselves. This time, however, BB does resort to actually using a gun, if only briefly.
It's a tale of stink bombs, insider trading, death in the operating room and a possible stock market crash.
Even Mannigan almost gets the Beetle!
This story introduces reporter Charley Storm.

BB utilizes his skeleton keys once more, and something new: aqua regia, which is nitro-hydrochloric acid, to dissolve metal and gain access to a safe! Neat trick!

Costume change is minimal, and more to do with the art than design. The chainmail of the outfit is not defined in this story at all, though there is no reason to think it's not there.

For the first time, the Beetle is drawn by someone other than Charles Nicholas. Despite the credit in the opening splash panel, this one is drawn by Louis Cazenueve.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

#011, in which Danny-boy has 2 left feet at the gay ball

April 1940, and ol Danny-boy is back as the lead-off story in MYSTERY MEN #9, however he misses getting the cover spot.

The rate of 8 pages for the Beetle in MM seems to become standard by now, and allows for a little more set-up,character development and a few more gags with Sgt. Mannigan.
Here we see Dan pretend to not be able to dance, an obvious rouse of clumsiness to anyone who may come to suspect him of being the Beetle.
We are also introduced to Commission Donelly's daughter, Mary.

No gadgets this time (do i really need to say he uses a "beetle" to frighten his targets in every entry? ), but we do see the first use of a reversible Beetle costume--one that when turned inside out doubles as his police uniform. The gloves are back to blue after a few outings of being yellow.
We also get a nice full page ad in the inside back cover advertising Fox's "Big 5" of their anthologies, with a BB repro of Mystery Men #8.
Art by Charles Nicholas.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

#010,in which Danny-boy strokes it in public

The march 1940 issue of MYSTERY MEN, #8,  has our hero once again on the cover and once again dealing death to the goons who have bound yet another helpless woman. A Lou Fine cover, just the way we like them from him!

The Beetle gets top billing on the inside again as well, with an 8 page adventure dealing with gangsters putting the city into darkness so that they can carry out their crime under the protection of electrical blackout panic,(and a few explosions along the way).

Freckled faced Tom is back, and this time is represented as the mayor's son.
The trusty wireless phone gets the workout, as does Danny-boy, when he basically strips down to his skivvies to go swimming after a motorboat!
Tom, despite being kidnapped and beat upon, keeps saying what a "swell time" he's having (I suspect that kid has a few kinks in his closet!), and Mannigan of course laments his failure to catch the Beetle.

Costume change this time includes yellow gloves on both the cover and the interior story. Art by series creator Charles Nicholas.

One final bonus, is the advertisement for Fox's "Comic-scope" a projector utilizing a light bulb and lens to show your favorite comics larger tha life on the walls of your home. Adorned by several Foc characters ,including of course, ol Danny-boy as the Blue Beetle.
(I have included a scan of this same ad from Wonderworld Comics, as it's a better scan than the one I have from MM#8)

***a note about this entry's scans:this story was reprinted in BLUE BEETLE #2, which I have used here for the better scans. The reprint cuts out the final portion of the last page is -which reproduced here from a fiche file of MM#8, as to complete the full story. There is a lot of blurring in those last panels, but it's the best I could give at the moment***

Friday, March 28, 2014

#009, in which Danny-boy engages in Sybil disobedience

The Beetle's popularity continues to soar, as he finally gets the cover spot on MYSTERY MEN #7, February 1940 (uncredited, but most likely by Charles Nicholas), with a particularly lurid scene of two goons torturing and experimenting on a bound lass; the Beetle coming to the rescue and shooting one of them IN THE FACE!

The story itself revolves around a ring of imposters committing crimes in the Beetle's name, and their big score of a shipment of gold.Even Mannigan gets some sort of victory, by proxy!

A full 8 pages is given to our hero this time, as well as the lead-off story in the issue.
Gadgets used are the by-now familiar wireless phone, the requisite calling card of a beetle, "trick" make-up, and a handheld searchlight that projects the image of a giant beetle.
No costume changes in the story, but the cover features the use of yellow gloves. Art by Nicholas.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

#008, in which Danny-boy pitches a tent

1940 begins with the Beetle's next appearance in the January issue of MYSTERY MEN, #6.

BB's popularity has pushed his page count up to 6 pages by now, and there is a little more room for character development. Not much, but it's there, and several gags are worked into the story along with the usual final panel zinger.

As with previous stories, this one again is centered around BB tackling gang rackets, this time one where the gang is trying to force a local carnival to use their slot machines exclusively.

Oddly, even with the higher number of pages, the Beetle only appears in costume for 7 panels.
The wireless phone returns from the first BB story, as far as gadgets go. A costume change is yet again in order, as the gloves are now yellow, and the beetle emblem is gone from both the belt buckle and the cowl.
Again, art is by Charles Nicholas.This story is reprinted in BLUE BEETLE #2.