Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Blue Ribbon Comics #1

This was the very first issue from MLJ, later known as Archie Comics. It was published by them, but likely not produced in-house; it contains some characters that had already been published by Centaur that Centaur apparently didn't own. In both cases, the producing company was likely Chesler.

Now, with that bit of explanation out of the way, we find ourselves reading Dan Hastings again after a short respite. Dan Hastings is a pretty obvious Buck Rogers rip-off. Space opera, without the opera, and even light on the space. Indeed, the initial plot hook about hijackers doesn't need to take place in space at all.

What do we get here for hi-tech? We have some kind of rocket ships, an invisibility field generator, and an "ultra-scope." I can't even figure out what the ultra-scope is supposed to be doing. Is it detecting the invisibility field? Is it allowing them to see the space freighter before it disappears?

It's also telling that the first two items are not only already statted for Hideouts & Hoodlums, but have been already seen in stories set in the 1930s. So the future is only hi-tech in its trappings.

More examples of how wussy guards are in H&H.

Another example of 1930s tech -- an electric eye triggers a recorded message that serves as an alarm. You'd think a louder whistle or siren would work better, but okay...

Another handheld paralysis gun -- just like we just recently saw getting used against Shock Gibson back in the "present."

More evidence that falling damage is seldom fatal. Even a pit so deep they call it the "ghastly living tomb" isn't deep enough to kill him.

The tactic about using a blast gun to propel himself into the air in low gravity is a clever one. This is also the first time we've seen this referred to as a rocket blast gun. I don't know how much damage to assign to a rocket blast gun -- maybe 3-18? It doesn't look that impressive, despite the cool name.

I laughed out loud at this and have to share it. Okay, this space-warp raygun is powerful enough that it's going to plunge the Moon into the Earth and destroy them both. But Dr. Carter stops it -- by loosening a wire with his foot.

It's always a good idea for your boss villain to have an escape route handy.

This cowboy hero is called Buck Stacey -- which is interesting, because that makes him sound like a Buck Rogers rip-off. But Buck Stacey is pretty smart, or pretty lucky -- here, he seems to easily recognize a masked man by his voice, despite the fact that the conventions of every comic book genre say it should not be so easy.

These awful little creatures are called Sugar, Honey & Huggin. I am not putting bear traps on the starting equipment list because I don't like to think of Heroes using them. I could see me using them as traps for Heroes, however. Wait -- does that make me an awful little creature?

Fifty pounds of radioactive quartz was worth $10 million?? Remind me never to make 50 lbs. of radioactive quartz available as a trophy!

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus.)

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