"Black Condor: "The Ghost-Gun Killer"": Deep in a copper mine, a gunman murders a miner. This is the dreaded "Ghost Gun Killer", already a local legend, and his second victim of the same night. In the nearby town, Senator Tom Wright finds out about this, dresses like a miner, and investigates in
Crack Comics #16 is an issue of the series Crack Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of September, 1941.
- 1 Synopsis for Black Condor: "The Ghost-Gun Killer"
- 2 Appearing in Black Condor: "The Ghost-Gun Killer"
- 3 Synopsis for Red Torpedo: "Black Shark Steals the Red Torpedo, Part 1"
- 4 Appearing in Red Torpedo: "Black Shark Steals the Red Torpedo, Part 1"
- 5 Synopsis for Tor the Magic Master: "The Sabotaged Submarine"
- 6 Appearing in Tor the Magic Master: "The Sabotaged Submarine"
- 7 Synopsis for Space Legion: "The Outlaws of Jupiter"
- 8 Appearing in Space Legion: "The Outlaws of Jupiter"
- 9 Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 10 Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 11 Synopsis for Alias the Spider: "Death at Rustling Willows"
- 12 Appearing in Alias the Spider: "Death at Rustling Willows"
- 13 Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
- 14 Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- 15 Synopsis for Spitfire: "The Phony Radio Beam"
- 16 Appearing in Spitfire: "The Phony Radio Beam"
- 17 Synopsis for Madam Fatal: "The Five Bloodstones of Mu"
- 18 Appearing in Madam Fatal: "The Five Bloodstones of Mu"
- 19 Synopsis for The Clock: "The Revenge of Bat Nillon"
- 20 Appearing in The Clock: "The Revenge of Bat Nillon"
- 21 Notes
- 22 Trivia
- 23 See Also
- 24 Links and References
Synopsis for Black Condor: "The Ghost-Gun Killer"
Deep in a copper mine, a gunman murders a miner. This is the dreaded "Ghost Gun Killer", already a local legend, and his second victim of the same night. In the nearby town, Senator Tom Wright finds out about this, dresses like a miner, and investigates in person. Down in the mine, the gunman takes a shot at him, but the Condor's primitive alertness enables him to dodge the shot. The shooter keeps hunting until he finds a smelter operator working alone, and guns down his third victim of the night.
Back in the town, the gunman visits Jaspar Crow's local office, demanding payment, but is rudely rebuffed, and on his way back outside he is grabbed by Tom Wright, but the tables are quickly turned by the arrival of some of Crow's gunmen. The tables turn again as Tom ducks down a shadowy side-hall and emerges as the Black Condor! He punches his way thru these punks and flies off, with Jaspar Crow yelling for some shooting to start happening, and promising big money for the Condor's death. Black Condor flies into the smelting plant and finds a watchman, forms a suspicion, snatches him up to a terrible altitude, and demands some answers. This guy says Crow's union is trying to get more money for the miners; Black doesn't believe him, and drops him. He dives and catches him, and has the same questions; the new answer is that Jaspar Crow is trying to buy the mining/smelting operation, on the cheap. But he doesn't know where to find the Ghost Gun Killer, or who he is.
Changing to his Tom Wright persona, the Condor visits Jaspar Crow's office, confronts him, and accuses him of murder. Crow simply calls in some thugs who work over the young senator, toss him in a car, and take him for "the long ride". They drive out into the country and drop him down a thousand-foot-deep mineshaft. The long drop gives Tom time to rally up his senses, change identities, and fly back into the fight. This time he stealthily snoops around the smelting plant, and overhears some "workmen" discussing the big plan, which is to run 33,000 volts thru the entire plant, killing about 2500 workers. Condor flies into the main factory to warn the night shift. Two thugs with a magnetic crane try to drop five tons of girders on him, but the elusive Condor dodges it, then flies into the crane cab and mops up those punks. Workmen meanwhile are scurrying for the exits, and soon the Condor has flown deep below ground to warn the mining gangs to flee.
Meanwhile on an outbuilding's roof, the Ghost Gun Killer uses a rifle to shoot loose an insulator, causing a high-voltage live wire to drop toward the factory's metal roof. The Black Condor soars onto the scene, barely in time to catch the cable, and all that saves him from electrocution is the fact that he's in mid-air. The Ghost Gun Killer tries in vain to get a bead on the flying hero, as he loops and stunts thru the air, until the Condor brings to bear his Black Ray Pistol and blasts loose the other end of the cable. He swoops onto the rifleman and punches him out, then breaks his gun for good measure. Condor tells the workers that it's safe to go back to work, and that Jaspar Crow has lost again.
Appearing in Black Condor: "The Ghost-Gun Killer"
- Jaspar Crow
- the "Ghost Gun Killer"
- many more thugs
- 2500 Copper Workers
- Great Northern Copper Mine & Smelting Plant
- Condor's Black Ray Pistol
Synopsis for Red Torpedo: "Black Shark Steals the Red Torpedo, Part 1"
At the Red Torpedo's secret island base, Admiral Gates' secret conference with the Red Torpedo is interrupted by the arrival of two of the Black Shark's Amphibian Tanks. Red destroys one tank with an experimental hand grenade, but the second one gets close to the Torpedo's cabin, and some uniformed infantrymen pile out of it, with bayonets on their rifles. They crash their way into the cabin, and Admiral Gates goes hand-to-hand with them, directing Lockhart to escape with the secret maps and get them to Captain Dunne at Pearl Harbor; Red punches out the Black Shark on his way out. He hotfoots it to a hidden cove, jumps into the Red Torpedo, and flies away. By radio he tells Black Shark that Gates doesn't know the secret plan (which can't be true and which Black can't be believing), and that he will meet up with the Shark tomorrow, at Cannibal Cay, to turn over the plans (which he has with him right now). Inexplicably the Black Shark agrees to this.
At Pearl Harbor, Red meets with Captain Dunne (Admiral Gates's Executive Officer) and Mary Gates (his daughter). They alter the maps that will be turned over to the Shark. Mary wants to go along, but Red rebuffs her on the grounds that it's too dangerous, then Red flies back to Black's base at Cannibal Cay. He notices a seaplane following him, but doesn't figure out that Mary is at the controls.
At Cannibal Cay, Red lands, leaves his Torpedo on the beach, finds Black Shark's cave hide-out, and meets up with Black, who seems to really be happy to get this map, but of course reneges on his deal to release the Admiral. Gates and the Torpedo simply punch their way thru the squad of riflemen guarding the Shark, and Red again punches out the Shark, on their way out of the cave. They run thru the jungle, then find, on the beach, that the Shark's soldiers have set up a machinegun nest, to guard the captured Red Torpedo. By this time, Mary's seaplane has caught up to the Red Torpedo; Gates and Lockhart hear the approach of Mary's aircraft, as they run towards the shore. They avoid the machinegun ambush by diving directly off a steep cliff, into the sea, and swimming out to meet Mary's seaplane. They escape, but Red's greatest weapon stays behind, in the clutches of the Black Shark.
Mary teases Red about thinking Cannibal Cay was too dangerous for her, and Red starts having second thoughts about that subject.
Appearing in Red Torpedo: "Black Shark Steals the Red Torpedo, Part 1"
- Admiral Gates
- Captain Dunne
- Mary Gates
- Black Shark
- his uniformed soldiers
- Hawaiian Islands
- Pearl Harbor
- Red Torpedo's secret island headquarters
- Cannibal Cay, Black Shark's secret island headquarters
- Red Torpedo's Red Torpedo (Submarine)
- Black Shark's Amphibian Tank
- Mary Gates's amphibious airplane
Synopsis for Tor the Magic Master: "The Sabotaged Submarine"
Roving photographer Jim Slade charters an open boat and goes deep-sea fishing at night in the open ocean off Cape Cod. He catches a big fish almost right away, then sees a rocket-flare, about a mile away. Jim speeds over to investigate, while a second rocket flare follows the first. He finds a buoy, with a timer, firing distress flares at intervals, and deduces that it marks the location of a sunken submarine. Jim changes outfits and becomes Tor the Magic Master. A telephone line from the buoy connects him to the sub's control room; the crew believe their boat has been sabotaged. Tor grabs the fish that he'd caught earlier, commands it to listen to him, and bargains with it. This fish can go free if he will recruit all his fish friends to assist in rescuing this crew. The fish can now talk, and agrees, so Tor releases it into the water.
The fish returns with thousands of followers; the massive formation of fish get under the sub, lift it, move it to the surface, and then onto the shore. An airplane arrives overhead, it's an obsolete foreign torpedo bomber with fixed landing gear, painted purple and yellow, and it's got a live torpedo slung under itself. The pilot veers onto an attack run and prepares to torpedo the submarine. Tor commands some flying fish to swarm up and attack the plane; they splap themselves against the windshield and canopy until the disoriented pilot veers onto the ocean, while Tor takes photos of the crash. The fifth columnists sink into their watery grave.
After a few hours the Coast Guard shows up and takes charge of the scene. Jim Slade has returned to his fishing boat. Out at sea he finds the saboteurs' torpedo, floating, and uses a rifle to disable it. Then he returns to town, develops his photos, airmails them to his editor, and some time later, still at Cape Cod, Jim reads the newspaper story about Tor's submarine rescue.
Appearing in Tor the Magic Master: "The Sabotaged Submarine"
- two saboteur aviators (both die)
- USN submarine crew
- sport-fishing speedboat
- USN submarine
- torpedo bomber (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Space Legion: "The Outlaws of Jupiter"
The freight rocket port on Jupiter is always very crowded and busy, and there's crime. One day a freighter captain gets stabbed dead in an alley, and two creeps crowd in to accuse a woman of killing him. A silent well-dressed stranger steps in and punches out both of the accusers then flees the scene with the woman, she leads him to her place, and admits to stabbing the freighter captain. His name is Argo and hers is Gilene, and she introduces him to her friends, Half-Face, Patch-Eye, One-Arm, and Blackbeard. These are the infamous "Outlaws of Jupiter" and Argo wants to join them. Another gang member enters the room and blurts out the time and place of the gang's next crime (tonight, space dock 19), right in front of Argo, so they're stuck with him now, for the time being anyway. Tonight's target cargo is a shipment of ray guns, with which Blackbeard intends to take over the space port. Argo is actually Rock Braddon of the Space Legion, and he radios this info to a spaceship hovering overhead. Gilene catches him doing this, and gets ready to yell, but he shuts her up and immobilizes her with a big grabby kiss. When the other outlaws have left, Argo runs to Space Dock 19, but it's a trap. Blackbeard's gang intercepted Braddon's radio call, and have set up an ambush for the approaching Space Legion spaceship. But it doesn't arrive, and the coveted cargo ship arrives first, so the outlaws guide it to a landing, then begin their takeover. But the cargo ship is full of well-armed Legion Police, who intercepted the freighter on its way in, and have now trapped the trappers.
Appearing in Space Legion: "The Outlaws of Jupiter"
- Rock Braddon, as "Argo"
- Space Legion
- Commander Ray Crosby
- Outlaws of Jupiter
- Blackbeard (First appearance)
- One-Arm Ganz (First appearance)
- Patch-Eye Tork (First appearance)
- Half-Face McGurk (First appearance)
- Gilene (First appearance)
- Freighter Captain (Dies)
- Jupiter (Late 21st Century)
- Freight Rocket Port
- shipment of Space Legion ray pistols
- Space Legion spaceship
- Cargo spaceship
Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- Appearances not yet listed
Synopsis for Alias the Spider: "Death at Rustling Willows"
Jean Horton inherits the Rustling Willow Estate from her late grand-uncle. The previous four inheritors of this property have been murdered, right there on the premises. The Spider had attempted and failed to prevent each of these murders, now he is here to safeguard Jean Horton. A gunman breaks in to the big house, and the Spider also breaks in, shattering a closed window, and intercepts the attack. He wallops the thug, who then escapes via a secret panel. Spider soon finds the hidden passageway, which connects more secret passages, within the walls of the stately mansion. Jean follows him, but gets silently grabbed, and Spider drops thru a trap door, into an old well. There's a rope in the well, and Spider quickly climbs out; meanwhile Jean is dragged away to a sub-basement, where two thugs get ready to murder her. She recognizes the voice of one; he's Sutton, her grand-uncle's lawyer! The Spider jumps both of them, and in the fracas the first thug, Pierre, is shot by the lawyer, who is then beaten down by the Spider. The Spider then explains the lawyer's convoluted scheme for stealing her inheritance, but Jean falls asleep before he's done talking.
Appearing in Alias the Spider: "Death at Rustling Willows"
- Sutton (First appearance)
- Pierre (First appearance) (Dies)
- Jean Horton (First appearance)
- Rustling Willow Estate
- "Spider Seal"-tipped arrows
Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- Appearances not yet listed
Synopsis for Spitfire: "The Phony Radio Beam"
Tex is ferrying a fighter/bomber from the West Coast to Canada for export to Europe; he stops at Cleveland. The Grumman needs engine work, and there are more planes to deliver, so Tex is reassigned to fly a Lockheed bomber the rest of the way to Canada, and is assigned a flight mechanic / radioman, Chuck Bolton. Tex and Chuck are old pals.
Flying to Canada, they follow a radio navigation beam, which leads them to a small isolated airfield, with two other Lockheed bombers already parked there. It turns out to be a trap; Tex and Chuck are captured and locked in a cellar with several other aviators. They escape from the cellar and take over the airfield, but the spy boss, Captain Schloss, and several of his crew escape in a stolen Lockheed bomber. Tex and some airmen take off in a bomber and pursue them. Schloss attempts some stunt flying to escape, but crashes.
Appearing in Spitfire: "The Phony Radio Beam"
- Chuck Bolton (First appearance)
- Captain Schloss (First appearance) (Dies)
- his crew
- Mr. Hencken
Synopsis for Madam Fatal: "The Five Bloodstones of Mu"
Retired actor Richard Stanton's wealthy old friend John Brockton prepares to auction off his collected "Five Bloodstones of Mu," at his mansion in the country. The gems have a history of fatal misfortune for prior owners, and are rumored to be cursed. Five thugs in turbans break in on the meeting, but Stanton spots them as fake Hindus, and starts a fight, which leads to a chase, in which one fake Hindu is shot by his own team, who escape in a fast car.
The next day Madam Fatal shows up in the slums of the town, hobbling about and eavesdropping. He spots two thugs ambushing a third thug, talking amongst themselves about "the bloodstone," and all very surprised when little old Madam Fatal wades into them, wielding his walking stick, and whaps hell out of two of them. But before the third thug can escape, he is mortally wounded by one of the two ambushers, both of whom escape. The wounded man has one of the "bloodstones," and he gifts it to Madam Fatal, along with a written address: "Prof Gill, 22 Main".
This place is a tenement with a rickety staircase and a seemingly deserted laboratory on the top floor. Inside is a furnace, and equipment for producing synthetic gems. Professor Gill gets the jump on Madam Fatal, there's a fight, in the middle of which three gun-toting thugs show up at the door. Madam discreetly leaves the room as the thugs put some questions to the professor. From his answers they figure out that their boss has double-crossed them, and just then that boss shows up and gets them all at gunpoint. The only lightbulb in the room gets smashed, and in the ensuing shooting, the boss gets killed, along with at least one other thug. The boss turns out to have been Brockton's own auctioneer, Basil.
Appearing in Madam Fatal: "The Five Bloodstones of Mu"
- Basil, auctioneer (Dies)
- five thugs (two die)
- Maharajah of Mu (Mentioned only)
- Prof. Gill, gem synthesizer
- John Brockton, wealthy jeweler
- Brockton's Mansion
- Five Bloodstones of Mu
Synopsis for The Clock: "The Revenge of Bat Nillon"
"Bat" Nillon escapes from Hardway Prison and makes his way to New York City, seeking revenge on Judge Maxin. The judge is at home, persuading his playboy friend Brian O'Brien to contend in a charity boxing match. Bat invades the house and abducts the judge at gunpoint, not seeing Brian, who now shadows him. Brian masks up, and as the Clock, he races across rooftops and power lines and fire escapes to reach Nillon's old hideout, and arrives just as Bat Nillon starts battering the judge with his handgun. The Clock attacks; Nillon shoots at him three times and misses; the Clock beats him senseless. The Clock drags unconscious Nillon to Captain Kane's door and props him against it, with a taunting note attached to him, then knocks on the door and leaves.
Appearing in The Clock: "The Revenge of Bat Nillon"
- Captain Kane
- Bat Nillon
- Judge Maxin
- Hardway Prison
- New York City
- Black Condor:
- This episode is Jaspar Crow's fifth clash with the Black Condor. At the end of it, the insidious old grafter is still at large and still a U.S. Senator, not under arrest, under indictment, or even under investigation.
- Despite unsuccessfully attempting to have Tom Wright murdered, a number of times, in situations where the Black Condor was involved, and despite the Condor's lack of a mask or any disguise, Jaspar Crow has somehow not made the connection between these two. This will also remain true for their next six encounters.
- Red Torpedo:
- Cannibal Cay is the Black Shark's secret island base, and seems to be located in the Hawaiian Islands.
- Elsewhere in that area is the Red Torpedo's formerly-secret island base. At this story's end, that secret location is known to Mary Gates, the U.S. Navy, the Black Shark, and his Axis allies.
- Spitfire: Like almost all warplanes in the Quality Comics books of this era, the Grumman Skyrocket and the Lockheed Hudsons in this story have bright blue bodies and yellow wings and tails.
- Also appearing in this issue of Crack Comics were:
- Henry Kiefer signed his Red Torpedo stories as "Drew Allen".