Monday, August 22, 2016

Smash Comics #1 - pt. 1

We continue the exciting (cover date) month of August 1939, when a lot of companies first started adding new titles to jump on the sales boost that Superman had begun. Today, we find Quality Comics finally putting a second title out in the field.

Smash Comics leads with Espionage, the best feature from Feature Comics. This story is an allegory for Germany and Europe obviously, and carries with it some significant alternate history for South America. Editors can be free to shake up world history as much as they want in their campaigns.

For some reason Black X is called Black Ace in this story.

Disguise is clearly central to being a Spy, and is the primary ability of the Spy class.

Black X/Ace's strategy is borrowed straight from "A Scandal in Bohemia". Feel free to borrow from the classics when running or playing in your Hideouts & Hoodlums campaigns.

I usually give Will Eisner credit for having well-thought out his stories, but this one seems a little lacking. If Koran's empire extends only as far north as Brazil, then does it make sense for the freedom fighters to be in Colombia, outside the empire? And how did Mara Hani get there ahead of Black X/Ace? I could imagine players crying foul there.

The numbness in Black X/Ace's arm seems to be mere flavor text, as it doesn't seem to be affecting his fighting ability any.

Jaguars we've seen before, and were statted in Supplement III.

Another example of a Hero taking "months" to recover from injuries, while a mobster dies from conditions that, for a Hero, could have been avoided with simple first aid and rest.

I include this page of Philpot Veep, Master Detective for three reasons. One, the inside joke on the wanted poster in the background about G. Brenner (long-time readers will recognize that as the creator of The Clock!); two, $8.65 is apparently a reasonable price for a radio, with tubes, in 1939; and three, the casual reference to Sherlock Holmes' infamous cocaine addiction.

Interestingly, we saw this same panel of the gar-wrestling man in another comic book, from a different publisher! This title from Quality and Fiction House's Jumbo Comics both had the Will Eisner shop in common -- does this mean both comic books were produced by his shop? Or was Eisner able to re-sell the already-published page because no one paid attention to the educational filler?

Swordfish were also covered here. A 450 lb. swordfish would only qualify as a large, 2 Hit Dice, swordfish.

This is Chic Carter, Ace Reporter, the new feature from Vernon Henkel, who we've seen before doing Gallant Knight.

A monogrammed broken watch fob is a good clue for an Editor to let Heroes find.

Players will know when they got a good encounter reaction roll, when the police walks in on their Heroes, catches them compromising a crime scene, and still just lets them walk away.

This is not a tactic I would normally recommend, since there's a good chance the bad guys will try harder to lose you. But if you're confident in your driver, you might want to make it easy to let the bad guys know you're tailing them, so they'll stop and attack you or try to capture you.

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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