Saturday, December 31, 2016

Amazing Man Comics #6 - pt. 1

This is Bill Everett's Amazing Man. Snapping ropes is an easy task for a superhero (I'd treat it as wrecking a door). Amazing Man also shows off a new power -- Infra-vision. But the really interesting thing here is that Amazing Man's nemesis, The Great Question, is like a devil on his shoulder, tempting Amazing Man to do bad things. That resisting is Amazing Man's greatest challenge lends the Amazing Man stories a moral depth lacking in most comic book stories.

In fact, it makes me wonder if the save vs. plot mechanic should be used to make moral decisions, sort of like it is in the game Pendragon.

Amazing Man can Teleport through Focus - the focus being the green mist he creates. So that requires another new power -- Obscuring Mist. And Amazing Man shows off another new power when he demonstrates Greater Invisibility (greater, because it doesn't end when he attacks).

Amazing Man, at least under the compulsion of The Great Question, seems to have no problem with killing.

Phantasmal Image? Really? Okay, now I'm beginning to think Amazing Man can't be statted without making him a Magic-User/Superhero. Too many of these new powers are already on the spell list for Hideouts & Hoodlums.

Amazing Man uses his teleport power so often in this story that it must have a duration instead of being a one-use power.

Here, Amazing Man is overcome by the gun wound and the grappling damage. The narrator says he "permits them" to tie him up, but I wonder if he was actually stunned temporarily after being reduced to zero hit points. He comes to after being tied up and activates the Imperviousness power so the bullwhip can't hurt him. He won't get hit points back during that short period he "rests" while ignoring the whip, but it does buy him time to strategize.

Everett sure loved the anti-heroes. Imagine, both the bad guy and the good guy using living shields during their shoot-out!  Yeah, I'd definitely make a Hero have to save vs. plot before doing something this despicable.

The Shark debuts as the first king of the oceans-type character -- since Namor the Sub-Mariner is, technically, only a prince. We also get a nice laundry list of powers The Shark has at his disposal. "The strength of ten whales" is equal to at least the Raise Bridge power, If he can swim ten times as fast as a whale, that's got to be Race the Plane (a 2nd edition power that fills in a speed gap in the powers list). He must have a Speak with Animals power that's limited to one type. And, for whatever reason, he can Project Image.

By now the crystal ball-like super-television is already a comic book cliche, but notice here how The Shark is just randomly using it and stumbles across a scene of villainy. It's as if it's a One-Way Television of Evil Detection.

I know we've been told The Shark can project his image, but it sure looks like he's using the Teleport through Focus power.

The Shark makes a quick search of the ship, getting a lucky result on his first search roll.

It isn't clear how strong the time bomb is, since it never goes off. I still need a consistent metric for assigning damage to concussive force.

Wrecking an anchor chain should be harder than ordinary chains someone would be tied up with; so maybe wreck as a machine.

It's unclear what country Furvainia is meant to be, but probably Germany.

There's a power called Push Ocean Liner, but I don't think that's needed here for a boat this size. Raise Bridge could accomplish this.

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus.)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Adventure Comics #43

I don't have access to anything from this issue but the Sandman story. So here's to a short post!

The Sandman is vacationing in the South Seas. Granted, when you're a billionaire you probably can just hop in a plane and do stuff like that, but it seems an unusual player choice for a character supposedly motivated to stopping urban crime in the States. In fact, it strikes me as a scenario where the player didn't get to choose, but had an introduction prepared by the Editor that sets up the scenario.

Wesley, interestingly, keeps an ordinary gun in his plane for protection. Which would make sense if he was looking to conceal his secret identity, but he also has his mask and some gas bombs in the plane, so...

Wesley doesn't seem to have any regrets over the two natives he shoots and presumedly kills in this story. He gets involved when he sees a house with 14 white people in it surrounded by 200 hostile natives. On the plus side, he doesn't go in with guns blazing and kills more natives. Instead, he drops flares and gas bombs from his plane to confuse the natives and shake their morale. Which makes sense and is good tactics...but with this kind of story, you just know he has to land afterwards and try to pass himself off as a god to the superstitiously naive natives. I suppose you could attach game mechanics to this with encounter reaction rolls...or maybe this is tied to their morale failure. "Sure, sure, we'll say you're a god -- just stop dropping flares and gas bombs on us!"

A girl Wesley rescues in this story -- the plot hook character who leads him to the besieged house -- is named Australia. I can't help but wonder if there is some implied geopolitical allegory to this story, but I'm too ignorant of Australian history to know.

((Sandman story read in Golden Age Sandman Archives.))

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Detective Comics #32 - pt. 2

Skull-Face is also the first mad scientist to wear a bulletproof vest.

Speed Saunders is placed in a locked cell with a fairly ingenious way to escape -- the floor is clay instead of stone and a resourceful Hero can dig through it to water.

Speed comes back with just two supporting cast -- unnamed police officers -- for back-up. They swim into the lair, and Speed thinks to bring waterproof bags for their guns. The hideout entrance tunnel has water up to their knees. There are at least three levels to the place and on the second level is a dry office with a balcony overlooking the water.

It's Speed's best story yet -- marred only by the fact that Speed stumbles across everything by accident and doesn't actually learn anything through investigation.

In Cosmo, Phantom of Disguise, a state governor is murdered. But which one? It seemed like Cosmo's adventures took place in New York before, but this guy doesn't look like Herbert Lehman, A prominent newspaper in the story is the "Evening Record." New Jersey had a prominent newspaper called the Evening Record. Hmm...

Cosmo disguises himself as a judge targeted for death to lure out the killer. The killer plans to use the cliche of the gun-in-a-camera, with the extra twist that it fires ice bullets -- though the story isn't clear about how Cosmo recognizes the weapon as a fake camera.

Interestingly, Cosmo uses the phrase "tag after that wagon!" instead of the more familiar "follow that car!"

In Cosmo's fistfight, he takes advantage of the "semidarkness and confusion." Could this be evidence that I was right to give humans a penalty to be hit in dim light -- or maybe a morale modifier for fighting in the dark?

Bruce Nelson describes purse snatchers as "never dangerous. They're the sniveling rat type. Weak kneed and lame brained." Sounds like cowardly hoodlums!

To find a woman Bruce Nelson is looking for he simply looks in the phone book -- one of the first times a Hero takes such a simple action in the comics.

To find out about a murder, Bruce goes straight to the police captain, who promptly tells Bruce everything he knows. Bruce is either exploiting a supporting cast member we haven't seen before, or he's benefiting from a really good encounter reaction roll.

Slam Bradley starts his story with an interesting conundrum. He finds two men in an alley; one is accosting the other.  But which is the bad guy? Slam takes a guess and gets it wrong. How could he have gotten it right? I have toyed with the notion of allowing Heroes to identify mobsters with a skill check, but that could invalidate the Detect Evil power or spell. I guess he could have asked questions first and punched later.

Slam makes it up to the guy he punched by coming to work in his haunted hotel (he was a disguised plot hook character!). The hotel is sprinkled liberally with secret doors that "ghosts" use to pull pranks like stealing suitcases (when they have surprise, they can open the secret door, grab something nearby, and exit without being seen). Of course, it's not really the supernatural (even though Slam did have that one adventure when he could cast spells!). The creepy voice in the elevator is coming from a concealed speaker.

The "ghosts" appear to be a mad scientist and his lovely assistant (definitely not an Igor-like assistant!). Shorty is overcome by the assistant when she chloroforms him. Slam is gassed by the scientist, using a gas gun, that first blinds him, then knocks him unconscious. But then, in another twist, the mad scientist and his assistant turn out to be something else and -- ah, ah -- spoilers!

(Read at

Monday, December 26, 2016

Detective Comics #32 - pt. 1

Batman returns in part 2 of his adventure vs. The Monk. He's in Hungary, or the Latin Hungaria, as it's called here. Batman uses another sleeping gas pellet, thinking that he's using it on The Monk. It's unclear if Batman suspected The Monk was a werewolf yet, though the reader certainly had plenty of clues.

It was actually a woman named Dala that Batman gassed and, not being at all suspicious that Dala was in The Monk's carriage, he brings her to his hotel and lets her bunk with Julie Madison, who is safe now and under Batman's protection. But no one is safe from Dala; she bonks Batman on the head with a statuette and stuns him "momentarily." This would be 2nd ed. Hideouts & Hoodlums' new rule about head blows doing more damage in a surprise attack, Batman being brought down to zero hit points (he is still a low-level Mysteryman at this point), but making his save vs. plot to avoid a longer spell of being unconscious.

It turns out that Dala is a vampire, from which Batman (correctly) infers that The Monk is one too. Dala tells Batman where to find The Monk -- Gardner Fox plays fast-and-loose with geography here, saying that The Monk's castle is by the Dess River, which isn't an actual thing in Hungary.

Batman's autogyro is referred to as a "Batplane" in this story, making it the first Batplane.

The Monk uses a magic silver net that can stretch into the sky, snag the Batplane, and pull it to the ground. Now, the autogyro is just over the tree tops, so maybe the net can only stretch 100-120'. And it stretches pretty fast, because it was probably going at least 30 MPH. And it's plenty strong too; if it can pull a plane out of the air, then non-superhero Heroes will likely be pulled down without so much as a saving throw.

Vampires (or at least The Monk) are shown to be able to hypnotize others and control their charm victims over many miles, but the vampire's control is measured in a broad range of turns (he can control Julie for days, but Batman only for hours). He can also change into a wolf (which is why The Monk still calls himself a werewolf, even though the cat's out of the bag now that he's also a vampire -- vampiric werewolf?). In wolf form, a vampire can summon at least 1-4 wolves. Like vampires, vampiric werewolves have to sleep in coffins during the daytime. Like werewolves, they can be killed by silver weapons.

Batman's gas pellets can affect up to four targets in a 10' radius. He can toss his silk rope upwards about 15' alone, or more like 30' with a Batarang attached to it (though it took him about 12 hours to figure that out).

In Spy, Bart Regan is trapped in the back seat of a car that can fill with sleeping gas (likely stolen from the Raymond Chandler story "Nevada Gas"). Then his death trap is being placed in a giant bell jar that can have the air vacuumed out of it. The spy who trapped him is stupid and let's Bart out when he promises to talk. Bart, in turn, uses the same trap but keeps the spy inside until after he's talked.

Later, when Bart is being shot at, he ducks behind a desk. Somehow, he is able to sneak around the desk without being seen, come up behind the two spies shooting at him, and get surprise on them. Without being able to turn invisible, I don't see that as being possible in H&H.

I don't have much to say about this month's Buck Marshall story, except that Buck makes a disparaging comment about some outlaws, calling them "mail-order bad men."  Which is actually a better story idea than the counterfeiting scheme he really stumbles into.  But the real mystery in this installment of Buck Marshall is the curious use of the word "jigger" to refer to someone Buck knocks out. I am having trouble finding any cowboy-related use of the term. It could refer to a certain type of fisherman, but that's not relevant to the story. It was also once a variation on a certain offensive term for blacks, but the man in the story is colored white, so...

Larry Steele, Private Detective, rescues a damsel in distress on the road and takes her to an old man's house in the country. When Larry goes to call the police, the man says he'll be lucky to catch the operator awake. Back in the days before switchboard automation, this could have been a legitimate concern. Maybe Heroes who need to connect a call quickly should have to make a save vs. plot to succeed when away from the major cities.

Once again, the villain does something stupid to make it easier for the Hero -- this time, a killer implicates himself by accidentally driving to the scene of the murder when he was asked to, without being told where to go.

Speed Saunders, Ace Investigator, starts on a mystery with a great hook -- young women are being found dead on seashores, always with an ivory skull lying somewhere near the body.  And Speed gets a pretty cool villain to battle too -- Skull-Face, who even has a caveman right-hand man. Skull-Face is a mad scientist with a potion that makes women prettier, but it also compels them to immerse themselves in water. The more of the potion they buy from him, the more they are compelled until they eventually drown themselves.

(Batman story read in The Batman Archives v. 1, the rest read at

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More Fun Comics #48

This is a special installment -- not because of this being a particularly good or useful comic book, but the way I was able to read the contents. Yes, this is the first issue that I've read during a Youtube video perusal of its contents.

Detective Sergeant Carey investigates an ape attack, but it turns out to be a fake ape. I've already talked about statting pseudo-undead in Hideouts & Hoodlums, but I can think of more examples of fake animals. Does "fake animal" need to be a mobster type?

"Boxcar Tourists" is a one-shot gag strip, but it features a fairly believable $5,000 reward for an arsonist/bank robber/kidnapper(tax evader/cusser).

Bulldog Martin outraces camels on the back of an ostrich. I never thought I would have to stat ostriches for H&H, but two years ago I wouldn't have thought I would have to stat goats either. I would probably give an ostrich 2 Hit Dice, with a Move of 30. Camels, on the other hand, would have a Move of only 24. Technically, since H&H has no encumbrance rules for animals (unless one assumed the one encumbrance table applied equally to everything), the ostrich would always win no matter how heavy Bulldog Martin is. On the other hand, an Editor would be within his rights to apply common sense modifiers, accounting for the ostrich's weaker strength, and make it a much closer race.

(Video courtesy of Youtube.)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Popular Comics #44

Today's lead feature is Gangbusters!  Here, we're reminded that electric drills might make a good mundane trophy item, slot machines are worth $80, and might have $60-$80 in them on a good night (that's pretty impressive, considering these were apparently nickel slots). We also know police cars can hit 70 MPH...

This is a reminder to myself that I haven't statted look-outs yet. This mobster type would have a better chance of surprise and a lower chance of being surprised.

I have no intention of getting rid of the hit point mechanic. But, if I was, I might consider damage categories, as evidenced here in this first panel. The police officer is shot and receives a "bad wound". A bad wound apparently leaves him able to attack, but not move. But then he bleeds out some more and the bad wound becomes a "critical wound", leaving him unconscious and dying.

The dearth of specific makes and models of guns in early comics made me rethink how specific the 1st ed. Hideouts & Hoodlums equipment list was, but the true crime genre might prove I was right the first time. Here we get a .38 Colt revolver, a 7.65 German Mauser, and a 12 gauge shotgun.

The Masked Pilot is in another dogfight. Second edition is going to allow Heroes to wing their own stunts, which gives them greater flexibility, but it doesn't allow for a list of stunts with set game mechanics. Aviator dogfights need mechanics. Here we have the popular Power Dive stunt and, although it goes unnamed, the Masked Pilot countered with Find Blind Spot.

Here we see two more aviator stunts -- Improved Take-Off/Landing and Repair Plane Damage. There's probably another one here I hadn't thought of before -- Blind Flying.

Plane crashes have, pretty obviously, a high chance of death involved (save vs. plot or die?). Because of that, Heroes' planes don't run out of hit points and crash -- they accumulate complications instead, like the blinding oil spray on the previous page.

Note how the enemy pilot rolled so low to hit that the Masked Pilot's gunner didn't even need to duck or anything to get missed...

There seems to be a "Big Two" kinds of gems that are highly sought in the early comic books, diamonds and -- as here and on another recent post -- star sapphires. Making a gem "priceless" -- as happens here in Mr. Wong -- may be useful for a plot hook, but it's not good news for if your Heroes ever manage to lay claim to it (unless you rule that priceless, technically, means no XP or $ values).

Ha -- "As senior officer of this ship and a government mail pilot, I am, by virtue, an officer of the law!" I wonder if there's any truth to that or if Tommy is totally bluffing with these folks...

Tex Thorne's hunch about the "trick" could be explained by the result of opposed surprise rolls coming up in Tex's favor, but it also could have been a smart player asking for a head count of the outlaws in front, realizing there must have been more, and guessing correctly where they might have gone. Players making the right calls should be able to trump game mechanics sometimes (as I've talked about in the past about searching in the right places).

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Marvel Comics #1

And now we finally reach this milestone. Until now, half the Hideouts & Hoodlums Hero races didn't make sense!

The Human Torch story that starts this issue is the inspiration for the android race. The special abilities of the android race emulate the ability to burst into flame, shoot flame, and take off into the air on a fiery jet -- though all these can be disguised through flavor text (like turning "Fiery Jet" into spring-loaded feet). Androids are H&H's verion of dwarves.

That The Human Torch is of the superhero class is evident by how much wrecking he does in this story (as if wrecking trucks, if not tanks). He's encased in a 10' cube of cement and busts out, he melts bars (as if wrecking doors).  He sets a warehouse and a regular house on fire (automatic, if around combustibles). He melts three doors, a truck, and the roof of a building (treat as a car). The amount of wrecking suggests to me that The Torch has three brevet ranks right here, despite being first level.

Other than wrecking, The Torch seems to demonstrate Fly I and possibly Nigh-Invulnerable Skin. At one point he badly scalds the mobsters who fled from him into a swimming pool by boiling the water -- I don't have a power yet for that one. Heat Water?

Sardo (that's an Italian name, apparently, though it always seemed science fiction-y to me), the villain in this piece, has a wealth of trophy items at his disposal -- he has a diving suit, a glass tube large enough to contain full-grown man, a gas mask, a gas bomb, a tank of liquid nitrogen, a tube of nitro gas, and a tank of sulfuric acid.

Likewise, The Sub-Mariner is the first merman hero in comics, and the inspiration for the merman race. Being able to breathe underwater was a given. We may or may not see faster swimming in this story. Later stories establish that mermen are weaker out of water, hence the wrecking things penalty out of water. And as for the magic doesn't really emulate Namor at all, but mermen are H&H's version of elves, and I figured it helped round out the race and maybe would make it a more appealing choice to play.

Speaking of swimming faster, at one point Namor and Dorma travel from Antarctica to New York City in two days. That means they were traveling at, at least, 190 MPH -- way faster than I let mermen swim. That means they were either boosting their speed with a power, like Outrun Train, or -- even more likely, were using some sort of underwater vehicle we didn't see.

Wrecking wise, Namor crushes a diving helmet (wrecks as machine?), and he jams a rudder on a huge ship (maybe treat as a generator?). Curiously, Namor uses an axe to break glass at another time -- perhaps the only so far we've seen any kind of a limitation to how often a superhero can wreck.

Power-wise, he uses a leap power (probably Leap II) to catch a plane and Extend Missile Range (at least I, possibly II) to throw a man out to sea. Not a lot, so even though Namor surprises wrecks very little, he probably also has three brevet ranks even at first level.

Lastly, it is worth noting that Namor is actually only a half-merman. H&H works under the assumption that all half-mermen have the abilities of full-blooded mermen, though in actual comic books a half-merman is apparently more powerful than a full-blooded merman (this discrepancy could just be from Namor being higher in level too).

Both The Torch and The Sub-Mariner are also killers, or at least we know for sure that Namor is and The Torch very probably killed some people. They are Chaotic in Alignment.

The Angel also debuts in this issue. In many ways The Angel is typical of the Mysteryman tropes, particularly with how criminals fear him by reputation. For the most part, The Angel could even just be a Fighter, as he solves almost every problem with fists. But there is one instance where he leaps from the roof of a courthouse and lands safely. We never actually see the courthouse; we're just told this. So, maybe this courthouse has a really low roof, keeping The Angel from taking falling damage. Or maybe The Angel has unusually high hit points for a low-level Hero (high Constitution score?) and just absorbed the damage. Or maybe The Angel has a leap power and is actually a superhero? I'll watch for more evidence in future installments.

In the one-shot "Jungle Terror", the story's macguffin is a lost diamond in the Amazon and the apparently false rumor that the diamond can "enslave people". Rumors are good -- they get Heroes to go do things, and you only have to pay out on the rumors half the time! The twist in this story is that, instead of one diamond with special powers, our heroes find lots of ordinary diamonds. However, the Editor wisely doesn't give them time to collect them all, throwing endless waves of natives at them so they'll just snatch a few and run.

Lastly, I reviewed this issue on one of my Scottenkainenland blog.

(Issue read in Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Comics v. 1.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Action Comics #17

I have a surprising lack of information about this issue.

In Superman's adventure, Superman's "commanding voice" could be some use of a power, or it could mean that he gets a bonus to encounter reaction rolls because of his high Charisma score. Since Charisma always does this, I don't see the need to duplicate it with a power.

Superman demonstrates Resist Fire and Push Ocean Liner as powers in this story. We also see he can leap while using the Raise Car power at the same time. At another point, though, he listens in to a phone conversation via an extension phone because, presumedly, he didn't prepare the Super-Senses power for that day. At another point the narrator claims that Superman is using "super-hearing", but he's only eavesdropping from outside a window, and I'd allow a skill check for that.

Superman, still dressed as Clark Kent, gets mad and lifts a man over his head in this story. More evidence that I was wrong to require superheroes to be in costume to use their powers.

Ultra-Humanite demands $5 million in extortion money in this story, possibly the highest monetary sum featured in a comic book to date. Ultra -- as he's referred to in this story -- uses an acid gun, a transparent metal wall, and an image projector against Superman.

In Pep Morgan's story, one of the reasons Pep is able to defeat Pedro is because Pedro's gun jams. There is now a chance of this happening in 2nd edition Hideouts & Hoodlums.

In Clip Carson's adventure, he's on safari in India when he kills a tiger, rescues a plot hook character (one of those "old friends" you've never seen before, but ties into a character's backstory), and investigates a cult. Next installment we're likely to see cultists actually show up -- just like they are as a mobster type in 2nd edition H&H.

Tex Thompson is a high-Charisma Hero too, as evidenced by his growing number of supporting cast members. In addition to regular SCMs Bob Daley and Gargantua T. Potts, Tex picks up a temporary SCM, Ali-Baba, while adventuring in Turkey. We also see the return of The Gorrah, which appears to be a bogeyman (a new mobster that will be in the Mobster Manual when it's done). The Gorrah demonstrates his hypnosis ability. Tex displays a knack for disguises, but The Gorrah seems to easily see through it (even though it's better than most comic book disguises). The Gorrah's hideout is well-trapped: an electric eye at the entrance alerts The Gorrah in his main chamber, then The Gorrah has television cameras set up to show him the hallways, and he can raise inverted portcullises from the floor to trap intruders.

In Zatara's story, we learn that Zatara takes a yearly cruise to Europe. En route, he picks up two temporary SCMs, "old friends" John and Beth Jordan on the cruise ship. Also on board is someone out to get one of them, as they are "attacked" by a thrown net. For some reason, Zatara is worried enough about this that he burns a high-level spell to polymorph the net into gold coins (or maybe he thought the other passengers looked poor...or was looking to destabilize the gold market in Europe...).

Somehow, the three of them wind up in the Lost City of Ophir, where the ancient queen Setap is kept alive by Potions of Immortality (they keep her alive, but over time the leave her old and frail). Somehow, Beth has "purer" Ophir blood than all the people of Ophir around her, so she wants Beth's fresh blood for more potions. Then, as if we didn't already guess from this that Setap is evil, she shows them the poison gas she plans to use to kill every non-Ophir citizen in the world. She also gives away her connection to Atlantis, which will become relevant in the next story.

When Zatara tries to intervene, he is temporarily stopped when Setap throws a blinding fluid into Zatara's eyes. This is, coincidentally, very effective on Zatara because he needs to make eye contact for his spells. The deathtrap she placed him in is being slowly lowered by rope into a roaring firepit, but the heat causes him to sweat and the sweat clears his eyes of the blinding fluid in time (save vs. plot successful?).

Zatara uses Phantasmal Image to steal into the city past the guards (they are distracted), and he casts Dispel Magic to reverse the magical blood transfusion that turns Setap young and Beth old. As flavor text, Zatara summons the Flame of Life from the Temple of Atlantis and it reverts them to their true ages.

Setap and Ophir are clearly stolen from Tarzan's Queen La of the Lost City of Opar.

(Superman story read in Superman: Action Comics Archives v. 1, select pages also read at the Babbling about DC Comics blog, and then summaries of the rest read at DC Wikia and Mike's Amazing World of Comics.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Feature Comics #25

Feature Comics is still pretty adventure-lite at this point, so I don't have a lot to go over.

This is from Off the Record, my favorite gag filler. When I was growing up these were called shadow puppets; note how they're called "hand shadow tricks" here.

This is from The Clock. None of the original Heroes I've ran Hideouts & Hoodlums for so far have had secret lairs, per se, though one has a secret hangar for his planes. A secret lair is like a hideout for the good guys. When designing their own lairs, players will want to consider security, like being able to lock and bar the place, and whether it should be soundproof or not.

We know these as sunglasses. They're also known as polarized glasses, but they're called smoked glasses here in Dixie Dugan.

Jane Arden is posing as a thief -- highly appropriate considering my making a case earlier on this blog that Jane was one of the first Mysterymen.

The bracelet here is worth $60,000 -- which seems to be about a mid-range value for jewelry in the comics.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Keen Detective Funnies v. 2 #10

The Masked Marvel seems to have forgotten he has superpowers in this installment. Instead he does things like creep on others with his "raudion-detector" -- yet another TV set that can see anything like a crystal ball.

I'm including this page because this ordinary mob boss has 500 lbs. of dynamite at his disposal. Sometimes, you can just go crazy outfitting the bad guys with resources. Plus, it makes for a more level playing field once the Heroes are higher level and still facing mobsters.

This is from Spy Hunters. I like to include any maps I find on this blog. This one is more of a tactical map than a terrain map, but maybe it would be useful for someone planning a battle scenario in India.

The guy rolling around shirtless is Gabby Flynn. I share this page because tripping attacks seem unusually potent at knocking people out in two different fights here. Could a trip do as much damage as a weapon?

I'm not sure what to make of this. Bellows with a red pepper attachment, as a stunning weapon? If it's that potent, I'm not sure why Heroes would ever rely on anything else. I could see maybe allowing this as a blinding weapon, but not incapacitating.

The reference to an "ogre" shouldn't be taken literal; Gabby's opponent barely qualified for a thug, let alone ogre stats.

This is from "Foggy Night", a serial with Officer O'Keefe as the hero. Somehow, O'Keefe is stunned by a bullet, is dropped from a height, and still manages to come around a little later (on the next page). If the bullet had knocked him unconscious, by H&H rules he should have been killed by the fall.

Dean Denton may be a scientific detective, but he can't seem to figure out a way around a smokescreen. H&H will have evasion rules for chase scenes...but maybe the real issue here is Dean being afraid of hitting pedestrians in the smokescreen. In that case, Dean's Alignment stops him, not the smokescreen itself.

Stunts have come a long way already since they were first introduced in 1st edition. Here we see Out of the Sun, a relic from the Aviator class and its stunt list. Though these are going to be absent from the 2nd ed. Basic Book, they will likely have a place in an Advanced Hideouts & Hoodlums Heroes Handbook, which should come out...someday.

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Funny Page v. 3 #8

The Arrow leads this issue, and I have to say I think this is the best installment yet.

This page tells us something about the value of gems, without really telling us much. A "set" of star-sapphires can be worth half a million dollars!  But how many are in a set? Assuming it was a set of 10, that would still be $50,000 each.  At the end of the story it is revealed that each set is mounted on a bracelet, so maybe this is more reflective of the value of jewelry.

Here we get an interesting tactic for bad guys to use. Borrowing a car for a getaway car is an unusual twist on the cliche of using a stolen car. The pro is that it's easier to trade cars afterwards, and the con is that you might leave a witness behind who can describe you and your "new" vehicle.

And here's a good tip from the other side -- our Hero, The Arrow, is chasing a car, but doesn't know if this is the right car or not (we don't know if the garage attendant gave him the license plate number or not). So he follows the car anyway and watches for a suspicious reaction. Even without knowing details of the car, he could have followed any car he saw on this road until one driver betrayed himself.

Just last post, I talked about that being the first time I'd ever seen a waterlogged gun not work in comics. Here we already see another dripping wet gun shooting normally again.

Wreck at range. An Editor can require an attack roll with wrecking, but it depends on circumstances (I would require it here, given the size of the target).


The price of duck was 32 cents per pound.

Windy, normally a one-page gag strip, was upgraded to two pages this issue. Though not a serious adventure strip, this haunted house could still make a good encounter area, and "Haunting Inc." is an idea worth exploring...

After a long absence, Abdallah finally returns with a new installment. Here we see that the "dragons" that inhabit Abdallah's Arabian fantasy world are actually dinosaurs. This is the first allosaurus in comics. Wisely, Abdallah high-tails it out of there on the next page and doesn't try to fight them. Dinosaurs would have such scary high Hit Dice that I haven't included any of them yet in the 2nd edition basic book (except for giant pterodactyls).

This is the 2nd griffin/gryphon in comics. Interestingly, it is an underworld guardian and not encountered outdoors where it could make use of its wings.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wonderworld Comics #6 - pt. 2

We rejoin Yarko today in the lair of vampires!  It's never clear how many vampires are in this lair, but this page shows there are at least four.

That clever Yarko cast Resist Fire and Protection from Missiles on himself before entering the room.

The clearest evidence yet of the "contest of wills" game mechanic. At first I was leery of including this in the official rules, but even considered putting it in an optional appendix to the 2nd edition basic book. But, as of now, it's right in the combat section.

I'm not sure what spell is being cast here. Stone Shape? Earthquake?

It's also worth noting that the true appearance of vampires is that of a gruesome monster, and they can only make themselves appear to be handsome men or beautiful women.

This is Dr. Fung and Dan, the full-grown sidekick who doesn't get title billing.  Here, Dan is in unarmed combat with a Genghis Khan-type. Genghis Khans were a mobster type in 1st ed., though I'm really not seeing anything too special about these characters, upon closer reading. Dan is really kicking this guy's butt, or just literally kicking him (the first kick is actually a trip attack and is treated as grappling).

I've posted many times about fighters using combat machine for multiple attacks, even when it doesn't appear that they are.

I think I've already covered the tactic of using stairs to one's advantage in a past post. For a heavy weight like this barrel, I might allow it to roll over the first opponent and possibly knock down others; it's not multiple attacks so much as setting up a trap on the stairs. The first target would get to save vs. science to resist, with each subsequent target getting a +2 bonus, and whoever makes the save stops the barrel.

You can't recognize K-51 in that diving suit, but that's him getting his butt kicked by an octopus, and apparently not even of the giant variety. I'll have to remember to add a note to the giant octopus entry about what Hit Dice ordinary ones would have.

This is also a rare instance of a hammer being used as a weapon, without the wielder being named Thor.

This is Mob Buster Robinson, also getting his butt kicked -- though we've already established that head blows should do more damage in a surprise attack.

Robinson observes the man in the mirror because of an unlucky set of surprise rolls for the hoodlum.

This is lousy hideout design. Who puts trapdoors in prison cells? Especially trap doors that lead to underground streams that lead out of the hideout?

This is the first time we've ever seen a gun not work because it was wet.

Rocking the boat caused the thug to save vs. science or fall out.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)