Friday, January 30, 2015

Famous Funnies #19

Several new features debut in Famous Funnies with this issue, including reprints of Alley Oop. Alley Oop is one of those features, like Dick Tracy, where some hosting sites are comfortably sure they are in the public domain.  I'm not so sure, so I'm just going to link to it and talk about it here.

One of the most useful things about Alley Oop is that V.T. Hamlin did some research on dinosaurs instead of just making them all up, and many pages of Alley Oop bear an informative non-fiction panel showing an example. The lead page here shows Tyrannosaurus -- so synonymous with dinosaurs in popular culture that it was statted for Hideouts & Hoodlums as soon as Supplement I: National.  The page also shows an interesting trap for caging large dinosaurs, with cut trees rigged to fall into a cage pattern.  Too bad mobsters as massively large as Tyrannosaurs are automatically given the ability of wrecking things, as if Superheroes.

And the other big addition to Famous Funnies this issue is Captain Easy. Now, granted, this inaugural page is crazy racist by today's standards. And maybe, as a game Editor, you might not want to have natives make their morale saves just because of hearing a radio. But it does illustrate the handiness of carrying a few smoke bombs on one's person.  Smoke bombs are not on the starting equipment list, but are considered minor hi-tech trophies, so they should be fairly common in hideouts.

Now, confession time.  As any long-time H&H follower might know, this roleplaying game began as a superhero role-playing game.  Sure, there were rules for making fighters and magic-users as well, but the first draft of the rules were written specifically for emulating the earliest adventures of Superman.  H&H has been expanding ever since, but for a long time the rule was, comic books only. I was tempted to write-up Joe Palooka, a character I enjoy reading, for Supplement IV: Captains, Magicians, and Incredible Men, but he was a comic strip character, so I considered him off-limits. And, for the longest time, I considered June 1938 (cover date for Action Comics #1) as the chronological starting point for H&H.

It was Captain Easy who changed my mind, and specifically pages like this one.  Capt. Easy, and a single Supporting Cast Member, exploring the ruins of a lost city.  Danger around every corner.  Tigers picking off their pack animals (tigers are unfortunately missing from the selection of mobster types statted so far; something that will be resolved in the next edition).  Not just crocodiles, but gigantic 22' long crocodiles (actually, that's just large for a crocodile; I would modify their Hit Dice only up to 5).  Now this is adventure!

Another "new" reprint is Boots.  Boots is normally a romantic comedy, not an adventure strip, but the arsenal is sure to make any H&H player drool!  Knives, swords, rifles, bombs, a machine gun, and a gas mask are all on display in the gun room (knives, swords, and rifles are all considered starting equipment; machine guns and gas masks are common hi-tech trophies, statted in Book II: Mobsters & Trophies; this type of bomb is statted under the Anarchist entry in the mobsters section of Supplement I).  And, in the adjoining hangar, four planes for the taking!

Secret doors are normally assumed to be the size of standard hideout doors, but this secret door is a full-sized hangar door! Note that the Heroes can here either roll 1d6 for a random chance to find the secret door, or choose to try the big, obvious lever in the middle of the room.  Also note how the hangar entrance is concealed to look like the side of a hill from the outside.  Hideout concealment helps with placing them closer to populated areas.

Flying to Fame -- also not normally an adventure strip -- again features some great ideas.  Note how all three Heroes wear flashlights mounted on headbands -- not an item specifically for sale as starting equipment, but still something too readily available to be considered a trophy item. Nice Editors might allow their starting Heroes to wear these, to leave both hands free.

Also, there's a nice trick here for Editors, describing a pair of "glowing eyes in the dark" to players, that only turn out to be valuable rubies upon inspection.  Of course, just lying xp-worthy valuables around unguarded is something that should only be done sparingly.

And this page of Dan Dunn is full of clues to look for at crime scenes. Also note that, in the pre-Internet days, if you wanted to find out all the dirt on a public figure quickly, you needed a contact at the newspaper who could get you their file on that figure.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum at

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