Sunday, February 19, 2017

Silver Streak Comics #1 - pt. 1

Here we are, finally at December 1939, and with our first comic book from Lev Gleason, or Your Guide Publications, as the company was called this early.

Comics had plenty of yellow peril villains by now -- Fang Gow, Chen Chang, and even Fu Manchu -- but none as monstrous as the Claw until now.

Ricca is a fictional South Seas island. Judging by its population of 10,000, it must be a medium-sized island; Fiji and the Solomon Islands far eclipsed it in population at the time, while 10,000 was well above the populations of Easter Island or the Pitcairn Islands. The name may itself be an inside joke, since the artist here is Don Rico.

How big is The Claw?  When I statted the clawed giant for Book II, I arbitrarily set them at 12' tall, but gave them the ability to grow to 100' tall. Here, in his very first appearance, Claw seems to be 50' tall -- and possibly immune to heat.

The flames actually seem to be behind the throne, but that could be some kind of trick. When The Claw expands to what appears to be hundreds of feet tall, that could be some kind of trick too. A projected image of some kind? The "hypnotic hum" is telling -- maybe some sort of mass hypnosis, making everyone think they see a giant that size?

Jerry Morris has a humdinger of a potion there -- a potion of invulnerability that also protects from mind-controlling attacks. What a superhero he would make if he just made more of the stuff!

The trap is a rather clever twist on the dropping cage cliche, since this cage becomes portable.

What is described here sounds an awful lot like the spell Nightmares from Supplement III, but with a reversed version called Happiest Dreams. Other than its addictive quality, it's unclear what game mechanic effects happy dreams would give.

This also means The Claw is at least a warlock (5th level magic-user).

Is a leach-boat going to need to become a trophy item? There's a pretty good description here of how it works.

Acetylene torches have been on the trophy list since Book II.

The lethal qualities of carbon monoxide make it ideal for traps, if not a weapon, Since it would count as a poison, I wouldn't let Heroes use it.

Gas masks, on the other hand, are super handy. Some Heroes build their whole personas around their gas masks. Here is a chance for Jerry to pick up five of them in one haul!

We also see that Jerry's potion lasts at least a full day here -- which seems like a really long duration, until you realize Jerry spent most of that in rest turns.

This is why Jerry isn't a superhero -- superheroes are usually selfish with the source of their power and keep it to themselves. Jerry makes an invulnerability potion, and just hands out samples to anyone who agrees to go fight beside him.  Good way to keep morale high, Jerry!

This trap, with liquid fire raining from the ceiling, looks like it would be pretty deadly if you don't happen to have an invulnerability potion in your system.

In an unusual, if not singular occurrence, the good guys are rendered invulnerable, but not their clothing. There could obviously be some hilarious role-playing opportunities here.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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