Friday, April 25, 2014

#022 in which Danny-boy gets deep in lady parts

BLUE BEETLE #3, July-August 1940 gives us something bigger and bolder--not one, but two supersized 31 page epic adventures!
The first is a total bijou b-movie boiler, that concerns the kidnapping of several uppercrust young ladies. As BB tries to solve the mystery he must first battle the requisite goons, and escape from the always-present explosions that seem to be happening in every story--not to mention a giant eagle that wants to pick his bones clean!

The villian here is named only as "Doc", and it seems he wants to cut these poor girls up (after a good lashing with a whip) and assemble their best parts into his perfect woman. The Beetle must fight off a squad of "giant thugs" (which ,although unspoken, appear to be creations of Doc), and the ever-bumbling meddling of Mannigan as he gets ever closer to rescuing the girls.

Mannigan, himself, gets an enormous amount of story time , getting close to catching BB several times, although his clumsiness is his downfall as usual.
The art in this story appears to be by either Tony Antonette or Pierce Rice --or possibly both.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beetle on the air: episodes 03 and 04

we continue on today with the third and fourth stories from the Blue Beetle Radio Program.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blue Beetle on the air. Episodes 01 and 02.

Beginning in May 1940 the Blue Beetle went on the airwaves for his radio program. Well acted, violent, great sound effects, but sadly the momentum just couldn't be sustained, and the show was pulled just four months later at the end of September.

The program is where we first learn of Dr Franz's "vitamin 2x" formula which gives BB his extra-normal strength (as heard in the opening minutes of the first story). The comics would by-pass this origin story, assuming that readers were tuning in, but would briefly mention it
in the opening splash panels of each story.

As the program unfolds, more characters will come and go, and added into the comics as regulars.

Here we have the first two stories, with the first one opening up with a bang, involving a subject that wasn't dealt with too often at the time: drug dealing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

#021, in which Danny-boy takes it on the face from 20 men at once

MYSTERY MEN #12, July 1940. Despite having the hallmarks of a typical BB plot, this one is significant in at least one very major way. Along side the gang activity (the robbing of gold bars from an armored truck), the requisite explosives going off, and the inevitable beaning of BB on the melon, comes three instances that tell us there's something more going on with the character himself.

First, the Beetle catches up to a speeding car--on foot! Second: after getting clobbered on the head he regains consciousness unusually fast. And Finally, BB takes on 20 thugs all at once (in a most excellent full splash page), knocking them all out
on his own without any outside help.
This is an unspoken indication that the Beetle has extra-normal speed,agility,stamina, and strength. Indeed, the very next stories (in BLUE BEETLE #3, which also has a July 1940 cover date) we will learn that he does, indeed, have a strength enhancing trick up his sleeve.

The art this time around is wonderfully penciled and inked
by Chuck Cuidera, who gives us some amazing images;the aforementioned splash page, and that of 20 defeated thugs laid out to form the likeness of a giant beetle. Cover is again by Joe Simon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

#020, in which Danny-boy has a great rack

Our next tale is from MYSTERY MEN #11,  June 1940.
A local gang boss has gleaned information that the Beetle is a police officer in his "regular" job, and has taken to kidnapping (then murdering) random cops in his attempt to discover BB's true identity.
The story is notable for it's use of homo-erotic torture (why, exactly, did BB need to be shirtless?) and that with the exception of the beetle emblazoned belt, BB is out of costume for the entire story. Even Mannigan gets a little more to do in this one than just get clobbered and wait for the rescue--although that does happen, too.

Another superb Joe Simon cover adorns this book, with story art by Charles Nicholas.