Friday, July 20, 2018

All-American Comics #2-4

In Bobby Thatcher, Bobby and his friends are setting up for the night in an old abandoned cabin when they stumble across a secret compartment in the fireplace, containing a box of old letters and a simple treasure map.

Skippy is pranked with a trick camera that squirts blinding ink.

On to #3...

This month's Red, White, and Blue is the first story to take place in Baja California, Mexico. The story moves to Hermosillo, Mexico, showing that someone really paid attention to his atlas -- just maybe not the artist, as we never get a sense of Hermosillo being such a big city. The three of them also "dicker" (a rare word for bartering or bargaining) for horses to get to Hermosillo instead of taking a car or train, which probably was not necessary in 1940.

Instead of answering to some office in Washington, D.C., Red, White, and Blue are headquartered out of a San Diego G2 intelligence office. I can neither confirm nor deny that such an office existed in real life.

Red learns a lesson from Whitey about reading both sides of secret notes for clues.

Blooey stops a plane from taking off by standing on the tail and making it too heavy (let's assume for now that is how it would work). He's not using any real skill to do it, he's just resisting the science of wind resistance that would normally sweep him off. That's why this would be a passive saving throw instead of an active skill check. I would still allow a mysteryman to burn a stunt to do it automatically.

Skippy tells us that butter went for 24 or 25 cents per lb.

Ma Hunkel and the Hunkel Family debut in Scribbly this month. While Scribbly's family always seemed like how Sheldon Mayer imagined gentile families lived, the Hunkels are a breath of fresh air and the truest-feeling New York ethnic ghetto dwellers since Moon Mullins

In Mystery Men of Mars, Alan empties his pockets. Many times after defeating hoodlums, Heroes will pause to search their pockets. I even put a table for random pocket contents in adventure module RT1 Palace of the Vamp Queen.  In this story, Alan has 56 cents, a knife, and a slide rule in his pockets. Funny, but I never would have thought of a slide rule!

When the three men are thrown in a cell, they are locked in with what appears to be an automated stenotype machine that records their every word, but turns out to be a talking computer. Although drawn comically, the concepts here are pretty advanced for their time.

It's an interesting story detail that the Professor establishes communication with the Martians by solving math problems with them.

Mutt & Jeff tells us you could buy a dozen eggs for 40 cents, or a dozen cracked eggs for 25 cents -- which says a lot about how poor people were in the '30s.

In Ben Webster, we learn that "all the jack" was slang for "all the money."

On to #4...

No sooner are Red, White, and Blue assigned to investigate saboteurs, than a saboteur tries to drop a cement block from a roof onto their heads. It seems obvious that the cement block would have done considerably more than just the standard weapon damage of 1-6 points of damage, and probably more like 3-18.  The block appears to be a 5' cube, which I would only allow to hit one target. Further, even though the saboteur has a more passive role in the attack once gravity takes over, timing is a critical issue in the attack and so I would require an active attack roll, rather than just passive saving throws from the targets.

Another point to consider is, does a Hero's save vs. missiles apply here, after the attack roll? The missile is larger than average -- almost large enough to count as an area effect attack -- but is also slower than bullets. I would allow the save.

Blooey comically says "Well blow me down!" -- a line Popeye would already be famous for.

The saboteurs are an oddly multicultural bunch; one uses the Italian word "signor," while another uses the French exclamation "sapristi," and still another uses the Latin word "amici."  Either the author grabbed words at random, the saboteurs are deliberately trying to throw people off as to what country they are from, or there are an awful lot of countries engaged in this conspiracy!

A "highpowered launch" sounds like a trophy item motorboat that goes faster than normal (Boat +1?).

This adventure takes our boys to Honolulu (via Pearl Harbor, though the story does not pause there), where there is another G2 office.

In Mystery Men of Mars, some of the Martian bug-men are revealed to be robots, and it is not clear if all of them are actually robots.

Daisybelle teaches us that ice cream cones only cost a nickel.

According to Reg'lar Fellers, movies cost 25 cents -- but there might be a free gift for attending, like a shaving cup.

(Scans courtesy of

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