Saturday, June 18, 2016

Feature Comics #21

This is the first issue of Feature Funnies after a slight name change. These were good days for Feature Funnies/Comics, when Will Eisner's Espionage was right at the front of the book. This issue begins in New York City, which would soon be overrun with all kinds of heroes, but in 1939 was still not the default setting for comic book stories. I like not treating New York as the default setting for Hideouts & Hoodlums, but letting each Editor make that decision for his own campaign.

This is probably the first mention of the Holland Tunnel in comics. Using familiar landmarks is a good way to reinforce the idea that the Heroes are in a real place that exists.

The plot is an interesting one. Black X, as it turns out later, has already mailed the critical evidence to Washington, D.C., but still goes on a roundabout trip to D.C. himself in order to lure a whole bunch of agents out of hiding with himself as bait.

Although I was initially New York ignorant enough to think that Pennsylvania Station would be in Pennsylvania, I learned that this is still another NYC location. This "Washington Special", then, would have been the fastest way from New York  to Washington, D.C., short of taking a plane.

This is from Gallant Knight, a still-entertaining Prince Valiant rip-off. I'm still amused by the idea of someday running a medieval/fantasy campaign using H&H rather than D&D. I imagine it would be something like Gallant Knight. And it's good to know that princess ransom typically goes for 50,000 gp in the Gallant Knight's world.

Archie O'Toole, for a humor strip, has a lot of adventure elements and a Potion of Transformation is tempting to make an addition to H&H. It makes you so ugly that people of 1 HD or less have to make morale saves when they see you, and if you see your own reflection you have to save vs. spells or faint.

This will be neither the first nor the last story I'll be reading that takes place at the 1939 World's Fair. Like above, it serves as a location for adventures, but also a topical location.

Lala Palooza isn't normally a strip I would look at for inspiration. This might not change my mind...but half-pints, being able to stand on each other's shoulders, so they can all hit the same target...that's a little tempting.

Getting tired of using the same types of hoodlums in your campaign? Maybe shake up how the hoodlums try to get away, like you see here in Richard Manners, the Super Sleuth. This one has both a seaplane and a motorboat. Of course, your Heroes can always claim these transports when the battle's over, so don't be too generous right away.

The ol' loose tobacco in the face trick. Maybe save vs. missiles or be distracted for 1 turn?

Solo scenarios for 1st-level half-pint fighters -- like Toddy -- need to be not too challenging. So, a lone bat could be a distraction. Some falling plaster could be startling. A loose floorboard smacking you Chevy Chase-style might do 0-3 points of damage. A door falling on you might do 0-1 points of damage.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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