"The Black Condor: "The President Has Been Kidnapped"": In a shocking radio address, President Roosevelt mysteriously calls off all support for England, disbands the U.S. Army, and shuts down all defense-related production, throwing thousands out of work. Senator Wright suspects, correctly, that
- Now I'll increase my Boreal Pressure to 2000 degrees below zero!
- -- Black Shark
Appearing in The Black Condor: "The President Has Been Kidnapped"
- Wendy Foster
- Dr. Foster
- The Hand (Single appearance)
- Dutch (Apparent Death)
- The Hand's gang
- Battle-cruiser crew
- Black Condor's Black Ray gun
- German battlecruiser
Synopsis for The Black Condor: "The President Has Been Kidnapped"
In a shocking radio address, President Roosevelt mysteriously calls off all support for England, disbands the U.S. Army, and shuts down all defense-related production, throwing thousands out of work. Senator Wright suspects, correctly, that the real president has been kidnapped. That night Tom Wright sneaks onto the White House grounds, is quickly discovered by a squad of security cops, and escapes them while changing into the Black Condor. He peeks into a White House window, and discovers that the president is an imposter, then quickly leaves before Secret Service reinforcements can arrive.
The next day he tells the Fosters what he’s learned, and swears them to secrecy. That night all three of them dine and eavesdrop at the notorious Café International, until Wendy gets kidnapped from the ladies’ room. Foster and Wright learn about this when a telegram, from “The Hand,” is delivered directly to their table; the telegram is a warning. Neither of them thinks to pursue the messenger. Tom slips outside and changes clothes, then the Black Condor searches the area, finds The Hand gang’s getaway car, follows it, then follows their airplane, then follows their boat, and it’s daylight by the time they all arrive at an abandoned lighthouse, beside the Gulf of Mexico.
While Condor is watching the lighthouse, two thugs sneak up on him, and another is nearby with a rifle; in the ensuing fight, the Black Condor is shot, and captured. He’s chained to a column inside the lighthouse, within conversing distance of the kidnapped, tied-up president. The plotters light the fuse on a dynamite bomb, leaving FDR and the Condor behind, and taking Wendy with them, they depart in a seaplane. The Black Condor breaks his chains, defuses the bomb, grabs the president, and flies out into the open, but the bad guys have already gotten away.
After over an hour of flying over the Gulf, Condor and Roosevelt spot a large warship, sailing alone, with no marker lights. It’s a German battle-cruiser, and the Black Condor very stealthily places the president in the “crow’s nest,” then flies around the upper decks, knocking out lookouts, until he finds the gang from the lighthouse, in a chart room, gloating and bragging with their German Navy buddies. He pretty much cleans up that room with them, then marches one of them, “Dutch,” at raygun-point, to where Miss Foster is being held. Dutch tries to double-cross him, and locks him in the compartment with Wendy, but he again uses his ray gun, to blast a hole through one bulkhead, then to shoot down Dutch. The Condor and the president (who definitely is walking) then take over the ship’s radio room, and send an urgent message to the federal government, countermanding all of the earlier orders made by the presidential imposter.
The captured warship is sailed into Chesapeake Bay and moored at Norfolk Naval Base, and FDR holds a press conference, and publicly credits the Black Condor with thwarting the whole vile plot. Also the FDR imposter has already been arrested.
Appearing in Spitfire: "Landing in England"
- Eagle Squadron
Synopsis for Spitfire: "Landing in England"
Tex "Spitfire" Adams lands in England, and agrees to ferry a new Hawker Hurricane to the Eagle Squadron. Other ferry pilots have crashed their planes by attempting night landings in a nearby forest, but this hop is by daylight. Along the way, Tex encounters two Messerschmitt fighter-bombers, and despite his complete lack of any prior combat experience, he attacks them. As "Spitfire" does not know, his guns are not loaded. While Tex wonders what's wrong with the guns, he crash-clips the closest Messerschmitt, damaging its tail, along with the tip of his own wing. The other fighter roars in and briefly shoots up Tex's fuselage before Tex eludes him in a heavy cloud bank. Emerging into open air, and now low on fuel, Tex rockets squarely into the midst of a formation of Junkers heavy bombers. He flies thru that formation so fast that no shooting takes place.
By now it's getting dark, and Tex is very low on fuel, and also has gotten his landmarks turned around, so is going the wrong way. He spots four blue lights glowing in the darkness and believes that this is the flare path to the airfield. It's a trap, he crashes in a forest, his Hurricane snagged up in some trees, himself belted inside it, with no broken bones. He spots a man approaching the plane and plays dead; the man gloats and prepares to set fire to the plane. Tex unsnaps his seatbelt and drops right onto this guy, then pummels him until some RAF officers arrive. The officers have heard surprising reports about his flight to this field, and are astonished that he would attempt so many air attacks, with no ammunition. Tex is very surprised to learn about that "no ammunition" business.
Appearing in Tor, the Magic Master: "Von Schtunk & Shrimp Tayle"
- Tor, the Magic Master
- Slade's editor
- Von Schtunk, foreign agent,
- "Shrimp" Tayle
- security cop
- (big city, East coast), waterfront
- harbor cargo barges (3 destroyed)
Synopsis for Tor, the Magic Master: "Von Schtunk & Shrimp Tayle"
Jim Slade, roving photographer, is at the waterfront when an explosion shatters a nearby barge, filled with war supplies for Britain. Slade gets good photos as the fire department arrives, but they are unable to save the boat or its precious cargo. This is the third such incident; clearly sabotage is going on here. Jim turns in his photos then returns to his apartment and changes into Tor, the Magic Master. He returns to the waterfront, and finds a familiar-looking small boy, fishing in the water right between the pier and another munitions barge. He thinks he's seen this kid before, at earlier sabotage scenes, so Tor turns himself into a wharf rat, to get a closer look. Swimming under the dock he finds a hidden platform, and a man on the platform is attaching a metal sphere to the kid's fishing line. Tor recognizes the guy, it's Von Schtunk, a foreign agent. The sphere is ticking, the kid ties off his line on a nail, and gloats out loud about how it's at just the right depth. Seen up close, this "kid" needs a shave.
Tor the rat swims down to the ticking sphere and unscrews the detonator, gets back onto the pier, where he gives a security guard a fright by changing from rat to man right in front of him, then they team up to chase the fleeing kid. The kid pulls out a knife and throws it at the cop, Tor turns it into a live bat, which changes trajectory to miss him. The cop catches the kid, and now recognizes him as "Shrimp" Tayle, wanted saboteur. Tor ducks into a shack and changes back to Jim Slade, returning to the dock just as Von Schtunk is climbing out from the under-platform. Slade pulls up the fishing line, with its deadly burden, and Von Schtunk cries out in fear at the sight of it. Jim Slade get some photos of the arrest of these foreign agents, and the cop has a lot of good things to say about Tor.
Appearing in The Clock: "The Acme Arms Plant"
- Captain Kane
- Dinny, plain-clothes man
- spy boss
- three other spies
- New York City
- Police HQ
- Acme Arms Plant
- Clock Calling Cards
Synopsis for The Clock: "The Acme Arms Plant"
The Clock breaks into Captain Kane's office and leaves a Clock Calling Card, with a note, under the desk blotter. A few minutes later, the badly bruised-up Officer Dinny arrives at the office, and Captain Kane is already there. Dinny's story:
- At the Acme Arms Plant, Dinny was in the middle of arresting a suspect when the Clock showed up, beat Dinny black and blue, gave him a Clock Calling Card, with a note, and sent him here to see Kane about it.
Dinny's note directs them to the blotter note, which is a full paragraph of taunting from the Clock. All of this enrages Kane and Dinny and they get right to work on falling into the Clock's trap, that is, on trying to capture the Clock.
Meanwhile in a bad neighborhood the Clock is shadowing Hans, the suspect that Dinny earlier had tried to arrest. Hans leads him to a shabby old building, and a meeting of his spy gang. Clock eavesdrops on their new plan, which is to stick hunks of scrap iron into the gears of the factory machinery, and bring production to a halt. Clock hides until all four hench spies have run to carry out their orders, then confronts the spy boss, roundhouse punches him five times, and leaves. The Clock knows the police are following him, and expects them to be along any minute. Meanwhile he departs for the Acme Arms plant, where he finds the other four spies, and trounces them all. Then he seeks out Officer Dinney, leads him to the four strewn-about spies, and tells him about the fifth, then leaves to let Dinney take the credit for the bust. But he also leaves a Clock Calling Card, with a note, addressed to Captain Kane, in Dinney's hatband, and that note preemptively debunks the story that the Clock knows Dinny will tell.
Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- Jane Arden (across top halves of pages)
- Lena Pry (across bottom halves of pages)
Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Introducing The Amazing Don Q"
- Don Q (First appearance)
- Don Q's statesman father (Dies)
- Shultz, a gunman
- unidentified gunman
- Squire Blackheath
- Thelma Blackheath, the Squire's niece
- 2 more thugs
- S.S. Tania, passenger liner
Synopsis for "Introducing The Amazing Don Q"
Don Q and his statesman father sail to England aboard the S.S. Tania, and along the way, his father is shot dead by two gunmen. Don chases them out onto the main deck, dukes it out with them, and bodily throws them over the side, without first learning who sent them, a move he quickly regrets.
Arriving in London, Don Q pays a call on Squire Blackheath, head of the Oil Trade Committee, and while they converse, Thelma Blackheath runs in the front door, with the London Police chasing her. The Squire orders Thelma to hide in the basement, meets the bobbies at the door, and lies to them about her whereabouts. They buy it, or at least, they leave. Don Q has observed all this, and formed some suspicions. He leaves, then stealthily returns and peeks in a window. Squire Blackheath is slapping Thelma around, for leading the police to his door. Don Q won't have this; he leaps in through the closed window, and punches out the Squire, then grabs Thelma, drags her outside, and hails a taxi. They go for a ride and she tells him a mostly-true account of what she and her uncle are up to, but also leads him into an ambush, in which he's jumped by two thugs and head-konked unconscious with a club.
He wakes to find himself trussed up, at sea, aboard a fast ship, with Squire Blackheath gloating out some more important details of his evil plan. He and some foreign associates are planning to divert a large shipment of oil and sell it to some unidentified buyers. Oh and also he's behind having Don Q's dad killed. Don kicks Blackheath in the head, knocking him out for the second time, then dodges a pistol shot at close quarters, then breaks free of his ropes and punches out a gunman, then dives over the side. A squadron of Royal Navy ships shows up and Don Q, in the water, yells for them to open fire on Blackheath's ship, which they immediately do, sending it to the bottom.
Don Q returns to London, with Thelma Blackheath on his mind.
Appearing in "The Red Torpedo vs. the Black Shark"
- South Atlantic Ocean
- Black Shark's secret hideout, on a live-volcanic island (Destroyed)
- Black Shark's MARINEO-SCOPE (able to detect and depict Red Torpedo's vessel)
- Black Shark's ocean-freezing equipment (able to "increase the boreal pressure to 2000 degrees below zero")
- two ordinary-looking cargo ships
- Red Torpedo (Submarine)
- Black Shark's single-engine fighter plane
- HMS Marlin, British submarine
Synopsis for "The Red Torpedo vs. the Black Shark"
Black Shark persuades the Nazi High Command to give him two ships and a good industrial site, promises to rid them of the Red Torpedo, and rigs an elaborate death trap. Shark sends out a fake S.O.S. signal, which draws the Torpedo into a prearranged spot in the South Atlantic Ocean, at which the Black Shark suddenly freezes a square mile of open ocean. Red surfaces and steps out onto the ice, while Black and an armed party of henchmen arrive on an artificial ice floe. After a short scuffle they subdue Red and drag him aboard their ship, then sail for two days, then arrive at Black Shark's secret hideout on a live-volcanic island. They toss Red into the smokey flamey volcano, but lose sight of him, as he lands on a ledge about 20 feet down, and works his ropes against the hot rocks until they break, then climbs painfully up to the crater's edge. Everybody has already left. Red sneaks down the mountain and up to Black Shark's main cabin, where he punches out one guard and slips inside. It's the supply shed, and in it he finds some steel cables and a whole lot of high-explosives. He rigs up a powerful delayed-action bomb, re-climbs the volcano, lowers it in, slides back down the volcano, and runs away very quickly. The ensuing explosion kills most or all of the Black Shark's crew.
Red runs to the beach, and finds his miniature submarine unguarded and unharmed, jumps in and zooms away, just as Black Shark, flying a conventional fighter plane, arrives on the scene; each spots the other. Red Torpedo takes to the air, and javelins Black Shark's plane with the Torpedo's harpoonish prow, knocking it out of the air. The fight continues as Torpedo lands on the surface, near Shark's floating plane, and Shark momentarily regains the advantage by pulling a pistol, but Torpedo leaps onto him and punches him out. But now a submarine arrives, so Black Shark cheers up, but wait, that's not a German sub, it's the HMS Marlin. Black Shark is turned over to the Royal Navy.
Appearing in Madam Fatal: "Eastern Aviation Factory"
- Tubby White (First appearance)
- Pierce, embittered ex-engineer
- the Baron
- Nazi aviation saboteurs
- Benton, factory manager
- New York City
- Main & Vine
- Eastern Aviation Factory
Synopsis for Madam Fatal: "Eastern Aviation Factory"
Bombings and arson and other acts of sabotage are sweeping the country, this month, and the newspapers are filled with grim stories about it. Some small-fry have been caught but they know nothing of value. Retired character actor Richard Stanton's old friend Benton is the manager of the Eastern Aviation company, which is just now expanding to meet a very large government contract. During Benton's meeting with Stanton, it comes time to fire one manager, Pierce, who makes some remarks on his way out the door. Soon, when Stanton leaves, he's shadowed, then jumped, by a guy wearing a bandanna and a blue suit; Stanton jiu-jitsus the attacker onto the floor, from which he manages to jump back up and run away. Stanton isn't worried, he's sure he knows who it was, and that they'll meet again.
The next day at lunchtime, Madam Fatal shows up at the Eastern Aviation plant, vending flowers from a basket, and eavesdropping around. He overhears as Pierce meets up with a shady character and talks about spilling something to his boss.
That night Madam Fatal watches from the shadows as Pierce's car leaves the plant, but no taxis are around. Luckily sitting at a curb nearby and idling his engine, young Tubby White is moping about his recent failure at the draft board. The Army didn't want him because he was too fat. Madam Fatal asks him to follow Pierce's car, and away they go, out into the deserted countryside. When the bad guys park, Tubby and Madam follow them on foot to an old well, into which they climb down a rope. After a few minutes Madam, then Tubby, try to follow them down the rope, but Tubby's too fat for this stunt; the rope breaks, and their landing is noisy. A thug with a blackjack runs into the room, but Tubby one-punches him out. They find themselves in an abandoned mine tunnel, and sneak towards the sound of voices. Pierce is meeting up with "the Baron", who promises him riches but threatens him as well, while outlining their plan. When he gets to the part about blowing up Eastern Aviation, Tubby blurts out an expression of shock. This draws the whole gang down on them right then and there. The suspicious gang leader decides that Pierce led these intruders to his hideout, and shoots him dead on the spot, just before Madam Fatal steps up and one-punches him out. The fracas continues until Tubby knocks askew a mine-bracing post, causing the roof to crash down. Madam and Tubby break away down a side-tunnel, just as the main tunnel is collapsing, but the spies don't do so well. In Madam Fatal's opinion, they're all done for.
Madam Fatal and Tubby get themselves out of the well, and resolve to team up again on future adventures.
Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- Ned Brant
Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in Alias the Spider: "Curse of the Star of Hinduscan"
- Dr. James Anderson (death reported)
- Sunny Weston
- August Falson, museum founder (long dead)
- Van Horn, museum director
- 5 hench (three die)
- New York City
- Falson Museum
- The Black Widow (the Spider's car)
- The Star of Hinduscan
- Hallaway's customized "Spider Seal" arrows
- Hallaway's deadly constricting "Web" (see "The Mysterious Falcon" in Crack Comics #10).
Synopsis for Alias the Spider: "Curse of the Star of Hinduscan"
The rumored "Curse of the Star of Hinduscan" has supposedly claimed five out of six members of an expedition that went to India in search of that legendary gem. Tom Hallaway and his chauffeur Chuck read about it in the papers, and Tom deduces that the next victim would be Sunny Weston. Tom and Chuck have contrasting opinions about the nature of curses. Tom has a job for Chuck: go to a particular address, break into the safe, and steal a particular thing. But first they zoom the silent, indestructible Black Widow past the Falson Museum, and the Spider shoots out the car's roof. This museum is the site of the most recent curse victim's final encounter with the legendary jewel. The Spider scales one wall, while Chuck speeds away to do his assigned burglary.
The Spider crawls up to an occupied office, in which the museum director is displaying the legendary Star to the awestruck Sunny Weston, who wants to hold it in her hand. He's just in time! He nocks a Spider Seal arrow and shoots the gem off the desk, right under the girl's hand. Van Horn whips out a pistol and steps toward the window, but quick as a cat the Spider is inside the office, and has arm-locked up the director's gun hand. Spider tosses this weasel onto a nearby chair and describes the real deal with the "curse": there are pins in the stone that siphon cobra venom into the skin of any person that holds it; the venom acts very slowly, giving the illusion of a supernatural event. While the Spider lays out this theory, a secret panel opens and five thugs step out behind him. The scuffle is very brief before the Spider is knocked out with a pistol butt.
He comes around very quickly; Van Horn has got his gun back and his thugs are still dragging Sunny out of the room. Van Horn quite stupidly tries too hard to fake his shooting of the Spider into looking like a justifiable kill; he steps in too close and gets thrashed. The Spider pursues Miss Weston's abductors, and shoots a gun out of one creep's hand. Out in the museum's main display hall the Spider uses balconies and hanging tapestries to get to the blind side of the gang, and takes down two of them by hand. The remaining three are snared in "the Web", the Spider's deadly, constricting, elastic net. In the Spider's opinion, these three won't be in on any more murder plots again.
Chuck arrives with a bottle of cobra venom, stolen from a safe in Van Horn's home, and this is the final piece of evidence to confirm Hallaway's complicated theory about why these murders were taking place.
- Black Condor:
- "The President's Been Kidnapped" is reprinted in The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told.
- Dr. Foster knows about Sen. Wright's double identity. Wendy Foster, Sen. Wright's fiancee, does not.
- Black Condor disarms one gunman by shooting his gun-hand with a blue burst from his black ray gun. The gunman yells that his hand has been shot off, but the art shows it still attached, and seemingly whole. Condor later blows a hole through a steel bulkhead, with a red burst from the same gun, then shoots a fleeing enemy spy with a yellow burst, seemingly killing the spy.
- Black Condor gets one bullet wound.
- The Clock's long-time habit of leaving calling cards and witty notes at crime scenes and on arrested suspects, which has backfired on him at least four times in earlier adventures, is back. This time the Clock uses the cards to incriminate himself, accurately, for a crime he did commit.
- First issue for Don Q.
- At this time, Quality's earlier character Black X had been around for three years (since Oct 1938), and seems to have been sufficiently successful for Quality Comics to present this extremely similar character Don Q. Both work at extremely high levels of the Federal Government, and both wear tuxedos and monocles. In the next issue of Crack Comics, Don Q will hire a foreign-accent-speaking valet, quite like Batu.
- The Don Q feature ran until Crack Comics #26, Nov 1942. Espionage, featuring Black X ran until Smash Comics #58, Oct 1949.
- Don Q gets the first and only blunt-instrument concussion of his short career, in this story.
- Red Torpedo:
- "White hot lava and a rain of fire destroy Shark's panic-stricken men." At least 7 guys are visible in this panel.
- Tom Hallaway, Alias the Spider, smokes a pipe.
- "Hinduscan" is what appears in the only two dialog balloons which name the gem. It's wrong but accurate.
- Spider's villain Van Horn has a Vincent Price beard AND a monocle.
- Spider's "the Web" weapon, unless it's been greatly modified since Crack Comics #10, is absolutely deadly. No mention of any modification is made here, and Spider's grim observation on page 6, panel 7, strongly implies that this is still the same old weapon. Therefore +3 to The Spider's body count.
- Also featured in this issue of Crack Comics were:
- Jack Cole signed his Slap Happy Pappy stories as "Ralph Johns".
- Henry Kiefer signed his Red Torpedo stories as "Drew Allen".
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