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  1. #1

    Default Help solve a 70 year old comic book mystery

    Hello, fellow classic comic detectives.

    Over on the Comics Should Be Good blog, brian Cronin has posted a request from a 78-year-old comic book fan. He has a vivid memory of a specific story from when he was a kid, but after decades of searching for the story, he still hasn't been able to find it.

    Here's a link to the whole story here: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources...r-old-mystery/

    The short version is that he remembers reading a comic that came out between 1942 and 1945 that had a morality tale about two boys. One wins a footrace at his school and gains great acclaim. The other is on the wrong side of the law and runs from the cops, only to be shot dead- despite actually running even faster than the boy. The moral, apparently, is that crime does not pay.

    My first instinct is that it sounds like the kind of thing Charles Biro would have written for Boy Comics or maybe Daredevil. It's not any Crimebuster story that I am familiar with, but Boy Comics did have a number of other features up through '46 or so, and I haven't read most of them yet. It could easily be another company, though, this sort of morality tale wasn't that uncommon in anthologies of the time.

    Any ideas?
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  2. #2
    Mark Brodersen hondobrode's Avatar
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    My Golden Age knowledge isn't as extensive as I'd like, but your post is exactly what I'm thinking also.
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  3. #3
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    It might also be a Stan Lee story in Man Comics or the like (though this may be later than the oldie is searching for, if his memory is right).

  4. #4
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    I propose an over/under of 12 posts (not including this one) before someone here gets this one. I'm going under-- that's how much conifdence I have in you guys. I never cease to be amazed by the breadth of knowledge around here.

  5. #5
    Senior Member prince hal's Avatar
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    Don't know if this helps, but he's describing a variation of the plot of "Angels with Dirty Faces," a 1938 movie starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien as a gangster and a priest. (Recommended highly, btw!).

    Might be from the Just a Story series that ran for several issues in at least issues 14-21 of Comic Cavalcade in the late 40s?

    Don't know if it ran elsewhere before then.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by prince hal View Post
    Might be from the Just a Story series that ran for several issues in at least issues 14-21 of Comic Cavalcade in the late 40s?

    Another back-up series I was thinking of was Johnny Peril, but I think that may have started after 1945.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member prince hal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee Jack View Post
    Another back-up series I was thinking of was Johnny Peril, but I think that may have started after 1945.
    I think he became the narrator of the "Just a Story" series.

  8. #8
    Gotham Guardian Captain Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    Hello, fellow classic comic detectives.

    Over on the Comics Should Be Good blog, brian Cronin has posted a request from a 78-year-old comic book fan. He has a vivid memory of a specific story from when he was a kid, but after decades of searching for the story, he still hasn't been able to find it.

    Here's a link to the whole story here: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources...r-old-mystery/

    The short version is that he remembers reading a comic that came out between 1942 and 1945 that had a morality tale about two boys. One wins a footrace at his school and gains great acclaim. The other is on the wrong side of the law and runs from the cops, only to be shot dead- despite actually running even faster than the boy. The moral, apparently, is that crime does not pay.

    My first instinct is that it sounds like the kind of thing Charles Biro would have written for Boy Comics or maybe Daredevil. It's not any Crimebuster story that I am familiar with, but Boy Comics did have a number of other features up through '46 or so, and I haven't read most of them yet. It could easily be another company, though, this sort of morality tale wasn't that uncommon in anthologies of the time.

    Any ideas?
    Dang, that sounds so familiar. Could this have been a Batman story? Has anybody read all of the early reprints? (Chronicles or Archives?)
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  9. #9
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    I might be wrong because I simply don't have the source material in front of me. I think The Captain is thinking of a story that appeared in BATMAN (QUARTERLY #5) that Jim Steranko mistakenly believed was the "Brothers In Crime" story that Jerry Robinson was referring to as his first solo-story.

    However, the untitled story from BATMAN #5 DID feature two brothers and the crooked brother died at the end. What I can't remember is if it answers the question the original contributor asked. Captain Jim, does that story end with the crook dying in the rain like Cagney's PUBLIC ENEMY? I know Kane and Finger ripped that ending off but I don't know if it was the same story.

    This story DID come out around 1942? Does this sound like it to you, Scott?
    Last edited by LEADER DESSLOK; 02-16-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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  10. #10

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    I'm not really sure, to be honest. I posted this info over on the CGC boards as well, and they believe the story is from Daredevil Comics #50. I've seen scans of the story and I also think it is the story we're looking for. However, it was published in 1948, and the gentleman looking for the story said he read it during the war. I've sent the guess on up the line to Brian Cronin, so we'll see if it pans out of not.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  11. #11
    Senior Member foxley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    I might be wrong because I simply don't have the source material in front of me. I think The Captain is thinking of a story that appeared in BATMAN (QUARTERLY #5) that Jim Steranko mistakenly believed was the "Brothers In Crime" story that Jerry Robinson was referring to as his first solo-story.

    However, the untitled story from BATMAN #5 DID feature two brothers and the crooked brother died at the end. What I can't remember is if it answers the question the original contributor asked. Captain Jim, does that story end with the crook dying in the rain like Cagney's PUBLIC ENEMY? I know Kane and Finger ripped that ending off but I don't know if it was the same story.

    This story DID come out around 1942? Does this sound like it to you, Scott?
    I just pulled out The Dark Knight Archives #2, and that story (which is untitled, but which they call "Crime Does Not Pay") is the first appearance of Linda Page. It ends with the honest brother being shot by the crooked one in a warehouse. He staggers outside and fires a shot into the air to summon the police. The police arrive in time to save Batman and Robin by shooting the crooked brother. With his dying breath, the crooked brother clears the honest one, who survives his wound.

    The story with the gangster dying in the rain on the courthouse steps like Jimmy Cagney is "Public Enemy No. 1" (again it is officially untitled but is usually called this) from Batman #4.
    Last edited by foxley; 02-16-2013 at 11:50 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member prince hal's Avatar
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    SPOILER ALERT
    I think the scene of Cagney dying in the rain (on the courthouse steps, I think) occurs in The Roaring Twenties. In Public Enemy, he's delivered to his mother, gagged, beaten and bound and falls forward into her apartment as the door is opened.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prince hal View Post
    SPOILER ALERT
    I think the scene of Cagney dying in the rain (on the courthouse steps, I think) occurs in The Roaring Twenties. In Public Enemy, he's delivered to his mother, gagged, beaten and bound and falls forward into her apartment as the door is opened.
    Your mentioning THE ROARING TWENTIES has me thinking about Carol Burnett and Steve Lawrence's parody of that death scene on The CAROL BURNETT SHOW! He was doing a bad Cagney impression while being shot about a dozen times! I can't stop laughing about it! Call Arkham Asylum!
    Last edited by LEADER DESSLOK; 02-16-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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