What-ho, pals. Welcome back to the fusty virtual corridors of THE HOUSE OF COBWEBS. Where have I been? Never you mind. But, in the interim period between this and my last posting, I have been engaging in a possibly futile attempt to get my life together (cripes!) and sort out some important matters. I even considered putting my comic collection in alphabetical order. But it's trickier than you first think, when, flushed with the gay excitement of a new day, you first contemplate the hefty crates of decaying tat. Do you sort by publisher? Is there really any point in it? I came to the conclusion that probably there isn't. Though I had an entertaining time reacquainting myself with issues of Super Duck, The Partridge Family, and many others, I was forced to conclude that my collection is a bit of a raggedy-bag of low-grade, tatty, falling to pieces comics, the unavoidable consequence of many years of not having enough cash to secure the kind of 'key issues' that 'serious' collectors would, by now, have 'slabbed' in plastic cases with official CGC gradings (9.5, NM+). There will be little for fortune-seekers to flog some years hence when they cart my lifeless body from my garret.
But every now and again a collector on a budget manages to pick up a valuable item for much less than 'guide' price. As is the case with this issue of Crime Mysteries pictured above, snapped up for just five quid at one of those seedy comics fairs I so enjoy. What a terrific pre-code cover! Of course, it has nothing to do with anything within. So, let's take a look inside.
We begin with The Seance of Horror. Which isn't really a horror tale at all, despite this lurid splash-panel. In these days of post 9-11 terrorist anxiety, it's intriguing to recall there once was a time that you could travel on aeroplanes with toothpaste, pencils, bottled water, shampoo, and...ticking briefcases.
Artist Marcus Rocke (or Marcus? Or Rocke?) has his limitations (faces, human bodies, that sort of thing), but is splendidly adept at extreme close-ups of ill-fitting trouser wrinkles and shoes with no socks, something today's so-called 'artists' could learn from.
Yes, the evil medium blew up the plane. Time for crusading criminologist Lance Storm to do a flying rugby tackle at the turbanned ruffian.
And what is to be his punishment for blowing up a plane?
Yes, that's right, a sock on the jaw. Take that! Even if he has a girl's long nails. Next comes my favourite story in the issue, The Fantastic Dr. Foo.
Of course, the flatfeet are entirely incapable of sorting this out. They need to call on the services of the sagacious Dr. Foo, and his ward, the beautiful Nalya...
Seems like Nalya is something more than Dr. Foo's 'ward', don't you think? Various pseudo-oriental high jinx ensue, before the climax - featuring another great shoe-close up. With some baggy white sports socks in evidence this time.
But there's more to Foo than just this talk of worms and eagles. There's the helio-electric battery, for starters.
What else can you produce from beneath your robe, Dr. Foo? Or is that strictly between you and Nalya?
That's the stuff. Now let us turn our attention to the Glamor Girl of Hollywood, Queenie Starr.
The fascinating thing about Queenie is that she seems entirely blase about the whole 'casting couch' approach to stardom. She'll do anything for a whopperoo, even if it involves canoodling with sleazy murder-suspect film directors, seen here cravatted and crotchety after the leading lady is bumped off...
Admittedly, our saucy heroine does rifle through his drawers looking for clues, but, blimey, Queenie sure is devoted to her job...and, when she solves the mystery...
And maybe she'd better climb right up on Sol Arnim's knee, and all, because...that's Hollywood!
One breathless page later, here comes Jerry Jasper...
The story is nothing to write home about, but I do admire Jasper's pizazz when, having solved the crime, he gets the girl and the murderer's girl, who would seem to be just a tad fickle, in one fell swoop, the dirty dog...
Is it just me, or has there been some rather loose morality going on in this issue of Crime Mysteries? Is this a good example to set to the nation? We've had a mass-murderer punished by a sock on the jaw, Dr. Foo pimping his ward Nalya down by the docks, Queenie Starr smooching it up with all and sundry just to get ahead in Hollywood, and dear old Jerry Jasper cracking crime just so he can get it together for a three-in-a-bed with some sleazy dames. In fact, upon consideration, I feel positively unclean. Which must be why the last page of the comic features this public service announcement...
Well, I'm off down the church or synagogue of my choice. Praise the Lord! Please be seated. Today's reading will be from Crime Mysteries.
You'll find this reprehensible publication in THE HOUSE OF COBWEBS.