9/6/09

Captain Marvel Adventures #28 (October 1943)

Excalibur Comics had a 1/2 price sale this weekend, and I picked up a ragged copy of Captain Marvel Adventures #28 from October, 1943 on the cheap. It's in poor condition, but readable and quite a bit of fun.

This issue is a time capsule in itself. It's hard to believe CMA was more popular than Superman, but even in 1943 they boast right on the front cover: "Largest Circulation of Any Comic Magazine." The war-time Capt. Marvel stories had a certain cachet to them: he fought against the Nazis, the stories often included actual locales and real public figures, and they still had a sense of humor to them. In this issue Hitler sends a cadre of Nazi agents to San Francisco where a mysterious character called the Fog Phantom helps them to take over the city and establish a base at Coit Tower.

The real people in the story include mayor Joseph Rossi, KPO radio announcer Archie Presby, and columnist Prescott Sullivan from the SF Examiner.

Also, the locations include Alcatraz Prison, Coit Tower, Chinatown, even the Smith Wholesale office, who apparently distributed Fawcett comics in SF in the 40's. Note the Capt. Marvel posters in the background of the distribution office.

Since the comic came out smack in the midst of WWII, it's hard not to notice that everything in this issue shows the mentality of the times. Hitler appears in two of the stories. Also the masthead shows that Eleanor B. Roosevelt (past president of the Girl Scouts council for New York) and Rear Admiral Richard E Byrd are on the Editorial Advisory Board. Of course C.C. Beck is the "Chief Artist," but it doesn't say who wrote the stories. They contain so much open propaganda I wonder if the writer was in earnest, or was the patriotic content dictated by a higher authority? Anyone know?

Even the inside front cover advertises a book "Fun for Boys" which includes topics such as Spotting Planes to recognize enemy vs friendly planes and how to protecting yourself with Jiu Jitsu, just like the Marines, Soldiers and G-Men do!

This issue also includes Chapter VII of the serial popularly called "The Monster Society of Evil." In this chapter, "The Lost Sunrise," Mr. Mind wants to stop the Earth's revolution, giving Nazi Germany eternal sunlight while leaving America in the dark. Mr. Mind first meets the Nazis as he falls into a shipment of black market meat while escaping from the Big Red Cheese. The meat is shipped to Herman Goering, who brings the worm to Hitler, and together the three evil-doers plot to destroy America. Capt. Marvel foils the plot but in the process has to let Mr. Mind and Hitler escape.


































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