"Black Condor: "A Hundred Lost Scientists"": Over the previous few months, dozens of scientists (Prof. Steiner, Dr. Marsh, et.al.), are kidnapped by foreign secret agents. Meanwhile Sen. Tom Wright is having problems getting appropriations bills, for the FBI and Secret Service, through the Senat
- I know you went to the police. That was foolish of you, and for that you die!
- 1 Synopsis for Black Condor: "A Hundred Lost Scientists"
- 2 Appearing in Black Condor: "A Hundred Lost Scientists"
- 3 Synopsis for Red Torpedo: "Black Shark's Mongolian Partners"
- 4 Appearing in Red Torpedo: "Black Shark's Mongolian Partners"
- 5 Synopsis for Tor, the Magic Master: "Railroad Sabotage"
- 6 Appearing in Tor, the Magic Master: "Railroad Sabotage"
- 7 Synopsis for Space Legion: "To the Fearless Men"
- 8 Appearing in Space Legion: "To the Fearless Men"
- 9 Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 10 Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 11 Synopsis for Alias, The Spider: "The Crow "
- 12 Appearing in Alias, The Spider: "The Crow "
- 13 Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
- 14 Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- 15 Synopsis for Spitfire: "SOS Ambush"
- 16 Appearing in Spitfire: "SOS Ambush"
- 17 Synopsis for Madam Fatal: "The Black Witch"
- 18 Appearing in Madam Fatal: "The Black Witch"
- 19 Synopsis for "The Clock versus The Terror"
- 20 Appearing in "The Clock versus The Terror"
- 21 Notes
- 22 Trivia
- 23 See Also
- 24 Links and References
Synopsis for Black Condor: "A Hundred Lost Scientists"
Over the previous few months, dozens of scientists (Prof. Steiner, Dr. Marsh, et.al.), are kidnapped by foreign secret agents. Meanwhile Sen. Tom Wright is having problems getting appropriations bills, for the FBI and Secret Service, through the Senate. Sen. Wright goes on a fact-finding mission, and pilots his own plane, looking over key defense plants from above. He finds a factory with way too many boxcars for its available storage track, and forms a suspicion about that.
That night, Sen. Wright returns to the plant on foot. He gets inside and while he's looking around, sees one boxcar seemingly vanish. Tom then finds a workman and pays him $100 to swap clothes with him, then snoops around, but is quickly caught by a supervisor, who pulls out a pistol and tells Wright to come with him. They go to the boss's office, and the boss turns out to be Jaspar Crow, who has his henchmen take the nosy senator out to the rail yard, and into a tank car. If he hasn't suffocated to death by morning that's too bad, because the car's going to be loaded with prussic acid.
Inside the tank, Tom changes clothes, then the Black Condor's Black Ray pistol, shooting yellow beams of energy, sears a hole through the side of the freight car. Condor flies onto the string of cars from which he saw one vanish, and gets atop the last car. Soon it "vanishes" also, down a boxcar-sized elevator, at least ten stories deep. At the bottom he finds a huge secret factory, making black market war materials for a foreign power. The freight car contains abducted scientists Steiner, Marsh, and others, who are put to work building submarines, for illicit export. Black Condor flies around, undetected, and finds a room where newly-arriving scientists are hypnotized into obedient laborers. Next the Condor flies into the girders above a huge laboratory, toiling inside of which, he finds Dr. Paige and the great Hans Erlicka, both of whom have been missing.
Condor changes clothes again, and approaches Paige as Tom Wright, and is soon able to verbally bring the scientist out of his hypnotic state. Paige then shows Tom where the captive scientists are barracked, and returns to resume his labors. Moving from cell to cell, Tom de-hypnotizes over a hundred scientists and gathers them together. But an alert supervisor in a watchtower notices something wrong: "Calling the leader! The men act strange … We think the trances are being broken by someone!" The masked face of Jaspar Crow appears on a large "televisor" screen, and gives the order to execute the scientists; the henchman throws an electrical switch sending thousands of volts through the steel shacks where the scientists are housed. Finding these empty, the guards pull out guns and start hunting for the escapees. The Black Condor has soon knocked them out and given their guns to the scientists, but now the bad guys have a howitzer-sized ray gun, shooting beams of energy at them. The Condor easily eludes the beams, which melt some girders, which fall onto some machinery, to destructive effect. The bad guys then hurry to load their disintegrator ray aboard a submarine, and get under way, announcing their plan to wreak havoc along the east coast. The submarine disappears through a sea-lock door, but the Black Condor's pistol, shooting a red beam, blasts open the lock door like a tin can. Just then the Condor is distracted by seeing the hypnotist fleeing on foot. He catches this guy and forces him to call the leader on a televisor screen, then to hypnotize him as soon as his face appears. This seems to work, but when "the leader" appears in person and is unmasked by the Condor, he turns out to be some flunky left behind by Jaspar Crow. He has however called the police, as instructed.
The escaped submarines, armed with disintegrator ray weapons, are lurking off the Cape Hatteras coast, and a large number of Coast Guard ships are approaching them. One sub surfaces and fires on one of the patrol ships, sinking it. This is observed by a Coast Guard patrol plane, which flies in to attack the sub, but also is disabled by the ray. The Black Condor arrives in time to yank the pilots out of the falling plane, and land them safely aboard one of the approaching warships (of which there are at least four). There he borrows four heavy bombs, and flies off to attack the submarines, and picks them off one by one.
Soon Wendy Foster and her father are delighted to read in the paper about how Tom Wright single-handedly smashed the scientist-kidnap ring AND got the FBI's funding appropriation doubled.
Appearing in Black Condor: "A Hundred Lost Scientists"
- Dr. Foster
- Wendy Foster
- Jaspar Crow
- dozens of henchmen
- Professor Steiner
- Dr. Marsh
- Dr. Paige
- Hans Erlicka
- scores of other scientists and engineers
- Washington, D.C.
- a factory in the northeast
- a secret factory under that factory
- Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Hatteras
- Black Condor's Black Ray pistol
- Jaspar Crow's crew's disintegrator ray cannons
- illicit submarines (four destroyed)
- Coast Guard surface warships, 5 or more (one destroyed)
- Coast Guard patrol plane (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Red Torpedo: "Black Shark's Mongolian Partners"
Professor Grey discovered a sunken treasure ship, west of Cocos Island, and called the Red Torpedo to tell him about it, but the Black Shark had already broken into his house and sneaked into the radio room. He strangled the professor, sailed to the wreck site, salvaged some gold, and prepared to transfer it to his cargo plane. The Red Torpedo soon arrived, submerged, at high speed, but the Black Shark dropped a steel-cable net onto the small craft, and hoisted it aboard with a derrick. Soon he would collect the huge reward on the Red Torpedo. It takes at least five of Black's crewmen to get Red trussed up and loaded like luggage aboard the Red Torpedo, then the Black Shark takes the controls of his arch-enemy's vessel and gets ready to escape to Satan's Isle, but first he observes as his gold is transferred to the cargo plane, then he pays off his crew, by ramming the Red Torpedo through the Q-ship's wooden hull, sinking it.
There's a Mongol naval base on Satan's Island, where the Shark turns the Torpedo over to his partner, the Mongol admiral, who immediately double-crosses the Shark by awarding him the prestigious Medal of Maru-Kura, instead of the dozen bombing planes he'd been promised. Remarks are made, and the admiral orders both men thrown into a swimming pool to fight it out, with the winner to be set free. Red wins, and tries to prevent the Mongols from throwing Black back in, using bare dukes against bayonet-tipped rifles, but more soldiers run into the room and he's recaptured. He's locked in a cell with one armed guard, whom he overpowers, and tortures with a pot of boiling stew, until he unlocks the door, then punches him out. On the beach, he finds his unique craft guarded by only a single sentry, of whom he makes short work, and escapes in the Red Torpedo.
The admiral gets word of this escape, releases the Black Shark, and offers him the same deal as before, but the Shark wants at least one loaded bomber right up front. He flies west, spots the submerged Torpedo, hits it with a bomb, and watches it surface, then lands nearby to recapture the Red Torpedo. But Red was playing possum, and he grabs Black, knocks him out, leaves him aboard his Red Torpedo, and commandeers the light bomber, then flies it back to the Mongol base. Coming in for a landing, he signals that the admiral should come out in a boat to meet the plane; the admiral falls for this, climbs up to the cockpit, and gets captured by the Red Torpedo. Red's new deal: They'll go to Professor Grey's base on Cocos Isle, and the admiral won't be released until the admiral's men return the salvaged gold.
Appearing in Red Torpedo: "Black Shark's Mongolian Partners"
- Black Shark
- Black Shark's Q-ship crew (many die)
- Black Shark's cargo-plane crew
- Mongolian Admiral
- many Mongolian soldiers
- Cocos Isle
- Satan's Island
- gold coins, from a sunken galleon
- Red Torpedo (Submarine)
- Black Shark's two-masted Q-boat (Destroyed)
- Black Shark's two-engine pontoon cargo aircraft
- Mongolese single-engine pontoon light bomber
Synopsis for Tor, the Magic Master: "Railroad Sabotage"
At a spot where the Delaware Railroad track runs along the side of a gorge, a trench-coated saboteur goes to work removing spikes from the crossties, and is remotely observed by Tor, the Magic Master, by means of his crystal ball. As Tor knows, a troop train is scheduled to traverse that spot, very soon. He grabs his miniature camera and races his car to the airport, where he hires a pilot and charters a plane, to overtake the speedy, streamlined troop train, then race ahead to the gorge, where the saboteur is just now fleeing from the scene. Tor has the pilot drop down to 1000 feet, then jumps out of the plane, using backwards-talking magic to turn his arms into wings, and lands safely. He places a magically-enlarged rimless mirror across the tracks, and tricks the engineer into making an emergency stop. The engineer confronts Tor, who returns the mirror to pocket size, without any backward-talking, then shows the engineer the damaged track, then points out the saboteur, who is running up the steep hills nearby. A detail of soldiers pursues him, and the fastest among them (Pvt Baxter) catches up to him, and there's a perilous fight at the edge of a cliff, but then the ground gives way beneath both fighters, dropping them into the gorge. Tor gets some good photos of this with his miniature camera, then commands a nearby tree to catch both men, and the saboteur is captured. Out of sight from that scene, Jim Slade switches back to his roving photographer identity, and looks forward to selling this new set of pictures to his boss.
Appearing in Tor, the Magic Master: "Railroad Sabotage"
- Slade's editor (mentioned only)
- unnamed saboteur
- locomotive engineer
- locomotive fireman
- Private Baxter
- his sergeant
- northeastern Pennsylvania
- Delaware Railroad main line
- Tor's crystal ball
- a diesel-powered, streamlined troop train
Synopsis for Space Legion: "To the Fearless Men"
Rock Braddon's commander sends Rock and Curly to take down Yuk-Yuk, a very dangerous rebel leader, on planet Koola, which is near Mars. Rock and Curly land their ship in the desert, disembark, camp, sleep, and wake up to find their ship stolen and a howling sand storm sweeping in. Scrambling for cover in a field of stones, they stumble onto a hidden entrance, leading to the underground rebel hideout. Curly and Rock observe, and figure out, how the rebels managed to steal their ship. But before they can act on it, steel poles drop from the ceiling to surround them in an instant cage. Yuk-Yuk taunts them. The Koolian Envoys are already here, to capitulate, oh and the prettiest girl in Koolia is going to be his queen!
Rock whips out a ray pistol, blows up a supporting column, and Yuk-Yuk's bodyguards are crushed in a heap of rubble. With a second shot, Braddon slashes open the cage. Yuk-Yuk grabs the unnamed crowned Koola girl, for a human shield, but Braddon just jumps in and one-punches the shabby old coward right out. With Yuk-Yuk's power undone, and Yuk-Yuk himself a prisoner in Braddon's spaceship, the people of Koola can now live in peace. Rock and Curly return to Earth.
Appearing in Space Legion: "To the Fearless Men"
- Captain Rock Braddon (Final appearance)
- Space Legion
- Commander Ray Crosby
- his marauders
- Desert People of Koola
- Koolian Envoy girl
- Earth (Late 21st Century)
- Koola, "the great barren planet near Mars"
- Space Legion ray pistols
- Space Legion rocket ship
Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- Jane Arden (across top halves of pages)
- Lena Pry (across bottom halves of pages)
Synopsis for Alias, The Spider: "The Crow "
From the roof of a large building in New York City, with Chuck the chauffeur tending the top end of the rope, the Spider rappels down to eavesdropping distance from a covert sale, in an alley, between a jewel thief and a fence. The Spider recognizes the jewels as part of the missing Russian Crown Jewels collection. The black-clad jewel seller spots the Spider, pulls out a pistol and shoots the fence, hits him, and shoots at the Spider, and seems to hit him; the Spider drops to the alley, but quickly springs back into action. As the thief speeds away, the Spider shoots an arrow which hits and marks his car with his Spider Seal. Then the Spider tries to interrogate the wounded fence, who has died, but not before scrawling "THE CROW" in his own blood, on the wall of the alley.
Chuck and the Spider get the Black Widow and pursue the Crow, an international fugitive, wanted world-wide, for murder and treason. The Spider forms a plan and tells it to Chuck, just as they find the Crow's car and pursue it into an old brewery. The Spider gets out and climbs to the roof, while Chuck drives away. Climbing into the brewery from above, the Spider eavesdrops as the Crow tells his gang about a change in their plans: they're still going to rob the Industrial Bank, but immediately, then split up right away afterward and get back together in San Francisco, three weeks later. Why? Because the Spider has gotten their scent! One pistolero doesn't like this plan and says so; the Crow guns him down; the rest fall into line. This gums up the Spider's plan; he needs to keep them all here at the hideout until Chuck can get back, so he jumps to a spot between the thugs and the exit, and starts shooting arrows at them. They reply with gunfire, and its briefly a stand-off, until the Crow moves himself into a good position and shoots the Spider, who falls over a handrail and onto a lower level. This time it really looks like he's been shot.
Chuck thinks so too, as he crashes the seemingly-indestructible Black Widow into the old brewery, through a masonry wall. Chuck jumps out and picks up his boss, and happily finds that he's still alive. He revives the Spider by punching his head, and is tipped off to the impending Industrial Bank robbery, but now the cops are arriving, in pursuit of Chuck, who had to do some frankly destructive and dangerous things to get them to chase him in the first place. He loads the Spider into the Widow and just barely escapes, then the cops continue chasing him, to the bank, where the revived Spider leaps out and tackles the fleeing Crow, beating him into unconsciousness. Hundreds of cops have arrived, and they round up the Crow's gang, and hospitalize the Crow.
Appearing in Alias, The Spider: "The Crow "
- Chuck the chauffeur
- The Crow (First appearance)
- Russian Crown Jewels
- The Black Widow (the Spider's car)
Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- Ned Brant
Synopsis for Spitfire: "SOS Ambush"
Tex "Spitfire" Adams and Chuck Bolton, and several other U.S., RAF, and RCAF pilots, are ferrying three U.S.-built twin-engine Martin B-26 bombers from Botwood, Newfoundland, en route to England. Over the North Atlantic Ocean, the bombers receive an SOS from a torpedoed ship, 400 miles ahead of them. They investigate. Tex and Chuck spot a surfaced U-boat, within a smoke-screen, sending fake SOS calls, setting an ambush for a nearby British cruiser. The other two plane crews miss this, and fly onward. Tex drops back to try to warn the cruiser, but almost immediately is attacked by two huge German four-engine Focke-Wulf Condor bombers, heavily armed and very fast. One Condor pursues the other two Martin Marauders, while the other one opens fire on Tex and Chuck's plane, killing the radio operator and inflicting heavy damage. Tex's tail-gunner manages to tag one engine of the big enemy plane, and it burns then crashes, but Tex's plane is still falling out of the sky. The surfaced U-boat commander notices too late that the bomber's crash-course leads directly to his vessel. Tex crashes his port engine into the conning tower, shearing off his own wing and crashing into the ocean, but damaging the U-boat's bridge and hatches badly enough to render the boat unable to safely submerge, and most likely killing the skipper and some crewmen in the impact. Tex and Chuck and the gunner survive the crash, and are eventually picked up the by the arriving British cruiser. It is not revealed what becomes of the other two 2-engine bombers or the 4-engine bomber that pursued them.
Appearing in Spitfire: "SOS Ambush"
- Chuck Bolton
- Captain Taylor
- Dave James, RAF
- unnamed radio operator (Dies)
- unnamed tail gunner
Synopsis for Madam Fatal: "The Black Witch"
In her hideout on the outskirts of the city, late one evening, the Black Witch commands four of her giant slaves to go and kidnap Marjorie Wade, and they go trudging down a country road to do so. The slaves wear Egyptian-looking loincloths and carry spears. Meanwhile Tom Wade, explorer, and his friend Richard Stanton, former actor, are walking to Tom's home, from which they hear a scream. The spear-brandishing slaves have already broken into the house and cornered Marjorie. Intercepting them in the driveway, Tom attacks the giants, and gets punched out by one of them. Stanton squares off with another, but gets punched unconscious from behind, then left behind.
Stanton regains consciousness, finds Tom missing and assumes he's also been kidnapped, then figures out which way everybody probably went, and changes clothes, then pursues the kidnappers in his powerful car. He arrives at their hideout, a seemingly-deserted old stone house. The two door-guards are only programmed to kill men, so Fatal's disguise confounds them momentarily, and he steps in and knocks out one with his walking stick, and punches out the other one, then sneaks down the stairs into the basement. There he meets a third zombie giant, and this one's a better fighter, and manages to catch Madam in a rib-crushing hug. Just then, the giant gets whacked on the head with a stout stick, and falls down. Tom Wade steps in, and is amazed to find a little old lady in the room. When he recovers his wits, the knocked-out slave snaps out of the Witch's trance, and soon tells Tom and Madam which way to go (upstairs), and why Marjorie was abducted, (it's for a gruesome human-sacrifice ritual).
Stealthily entering the Witch's in-house sacrificial temple, Wade and Fatal knock out two more of the giant guards, who also recover their normal personalities when they recover, which is very rapidly. Tom rescues Marjorie while the spear-carriers move in on the Witch, who pulls out a pistol, but before she can fire it, it's knocked from her hand by Madam Fatal's thrown walking stick. The Witch flings herself out through a closed window, hoping to land on a pile of hay nearby, but misses it by inches, and is killed.
Appearing in Madam Fatal: "The Black Witch"
- Tom Wade, explorer
- Marjorie Wade
- Black Witch (Dies)
- seven large hypnotically-enslaved men
Synopsis for "The Clock versus The Terror"
City Comptroller Ezra Daves is murdered at his home, with a potassium cyanide gas bomb in a delivered package.
The next morning the Mayor is upset to read about this in the newspaper, then is startled as a rock is thrown thru his closed window, bearing a threatening note from "The Terror". He jumps in his car and speeds down to Police HQ, where he interrupts a conversation between Brian O'Brien and Captain Kane. O'Brien is pumping the Captain for info or ideas; the Captain has none. The Mayor shows Kane and O'Brien the threatening note, then the Mayor and O'Brien both leave.
Later that night, the Mayor gets home-invaded by The Terror, who points a gun at him and makes some dramatic threats, then vanishes. The Mayor again runs to his garage, to jump in his car and speed back to Police HQ. But the Clock steps into view, and shops him before he can open his garage door. The masked vigilante has spotted a booby trap rigged into the garage door, and using a length of cord, from a safe distance, triggers it. It's a bomb, and it destroys the entire garage. The Mayor takes the Clock's advice and hides out for a few days.
For the next two days, disguised as a derelict, Brian O'Brien snoops thru the underworld, eavesdropping here and there, until he reaches the conclusion that "Bumps" Bale, ex-pinball racketeer, is "The Terror". He dupes The Terror into showing up at a secluded payoff spot out in the country, then jumps him, and smacks him up against the freshly-painted side of a house. The Terror seemingly gets away, and stupidly runs straight home, where the Clock shows up with a gun, and noisily shoots a mirror, right in front of The Terror's freshly-unmasked face. Stunned but defiant the Terror raves that the Clock won't be able to prove anything, then the Clock tells him about the fresh paint, and points out the new stripes on his business suit. After that, it's time for the Police.
Appearing in "The Clock versus The Terror"
- Pug Brady (mentioned)
- Captain Kane
- Ezra Daves (Dies)
- the Mayor
- The Dreaded Black Condor is reprinted in Superman #252.
- Black Condor kills four more submarine crews in this issue's story.
- This episode is Jaspar Crow's seventh clash with the Black Condor. At the end of it, the wily old villain is still at large and still a U.S. Senator.
- The Clock
- The Clock's assistant Pug Brady is mentioned in the opening caption of this issue's story, but he does not appear in this story, nor in any more stories. Three issues later, in Crack Comics #21, the Clock adopts Butch Buchanan as his new sidekick.
- Madam Fatal gets another cranial concussion in this issue.
- The Red Torpedo:
- Professor Grey got throttled pretty hard, but captions don't say if he's alive or not, after he blacks out.
- Black Shark's allies are now Mongols; last issue his troops wore coal-scuttle helmets and German-style uniforms, and looked white.
- The Mongol admiral has no comical accent. Last issue's German-looking troops did not speak at all.
- In Quality Comics' comic books of 1940 and 1941, the Mongolians were a military threat rivaling that of Japan. After December 1941, they vanish.
- At the end of this issue's story, the Black Shark has been left, unconscious but unsupervised, in the Red Torpedo's vessel, which we know the Shark knows how to operate. He's already stolen it once, in Crack Comics #16.
- At the end of this issue's story, the Red Torpedo's ransom demand, from the Mongolian military, consists of a stash of gold that they don't have. The Black Shark's cargo-plane crew picked up that gold and flew away with it, back on page 2.
- Last issue for Rock Braddon and the Space Legion by Vernon Henkel.
- Next issue introduces Don Q by Vernon Henkel.
- In the late 21st century, in the Quality Universe, there is a "great barren planet near Mars", called Koola. The planet is hot, and mostly desert.
- Alias, the Spider:
- Tex "Spitfire" Adams' friends in the other two Martin bombers, and the Focke-Wulfe bomber pursuing them, fly right out of the story, outcome unknown, and are not mentioned again.
- Also appearing in this issue of Crack Comics were:
- Jack Cole signs his Slap Happy Pappy story as "Ralph Johns".