"Hercules: "Origin of Hercules"": Caption: "" And his name really is "Joe Hercules," his late mom was Mrs. Hercules, and for no apparent reason, he's superhumanly strong.
- At last! We've crippled Morgan Crookes' army! Why men make a business of war at the expense of human lives is always a mystery!
- 1 Synopsis for Hercules: "Origin of Hercules"
- 2 Appearing in Hercules: "Origin of Hercules"
- 3 Synopsis for X-5 Secret Agent: "The Plot to Sink the Arkian"
- 4 Appearing in X-5 Secret Agent: "The Plot to Sink the Arkian"
- 5 Synopsis for Jack and Jill: "Clock of Doom"
- 6 Appearing in Jack and Jill: "Clock of Doom"
- 7 Synopsis for Red Bee: "Origin of the Red Bee"
- 8 Appearing in Red Bee: "Origin of the Red Bee"
- 9 Synopsis for The Strange Twins: "Origin of the Strange Twins"
- 10 Appearing in The Strange Twins: "Origin of the Strange Twins"
- 11 Synopsis for Bob and Swab: "Neutrality Patrol"
- 12 Appearing in Bob and Swab: "Neutrality Patrol"
- 13 Synopsis for Casey Jones: "The Triple Train Wreck Robbery"
- 14 Appearing in Casey Jones: "The Triple Train Wreck Robbery"
- 15 Synopsis for Weird Tales: "The Tale of the Haunted Inn"
- 16 Appearing in Weird Tales: "The Tale of the Haunted Inn"
- 17 Synopsis for Neon the Unknown: "The Origin of Neon the Unknown"
- 18 Appearing in Neon the Unknown: "The Origin of Neon the Unknown"
- 19 Synopsis for Tommy Tinkle and Mary Lou: "In Tinkle Town"
- 20 Appearing in Tommy Tinkle and Mary Lou: "In Tinkle Town"
- 21 Synopsis for Blaze Barton: "Doomsday and Afterward"
- 22 Appearing in Blaze Barton: "Doomsday and Afterward"
- 23 Notes
- 24 Trivia
- 25 See Also
- 26 Links and References
Synopsis for Hercules: "Origin of Hercules"
Caption: "He didn't come from another planet… he wasn't made by a mad scientist or by some other fantastic manner… he's a real American youth, born in the north woods, imbued with the greatest strength mortal man ever possessed." And his name really is "Joe Hercules," his late mom was Mrs. Hercules, and for no apparent reason, he's superhumanly strong.
When Midwestern State Fair strongman, and aspiring collegian, Joe Hercules comes home from a season with the carnival, somewhere in the northern Midwest, he finds his mother dead of a heart attack, which he believes to have been caused by unscrupulous mortgage lender J. Willistone Jyppe. Joe rushes out to New York City to confront the purported killer, the boss of a crooked mortgage company. But Joe's enthusiastic beating-up of a roomful of security goons lands him in jail, where his cellmate (Pete Birch) shows him a Doll Man comic book, and encourages him to put on a costume and become a superhero. So Joe digs through a foot-thick masonry jailhouse wall, and next is seen (in a costume that seems to be based on Doll Man's outfit) at the office of Jyppe. Jyppe's deal is that he had wanted to own the whole town of Maryville. Young Joe Hercules tosses him across the room, roots through his desk, and rips open his safe, finding a ton of incriminating evidence; J.W.J. meantime decamps via a secret panel. Young Mr. Hercules soon finds the panel and pursues, to a basement, where another roomful of thugs ambush him, and get themselves tossed about and beaten down, and hauled off to the police station. The cops are all set to bust Joe for jailbreakery with intent to scram, but cellmate Pete just happens to be in the room and talks Joe into not busting loose again, plus he gets him a lawyer, and Joe settles down to work things out in a legal way.
Appearing in Hercules: "Origin of Hercules"
- Hercules (First appearance)
- Mrs. Hercules (Only appearance; dies)
- Pete Birch (First appearance)
- Doll Man (Mentioned only)
- J. Willistone Jyppe (Single appearance)
- New York City
Synopsis for X-5 Secret Agent: "The Plot to Sink the Arkian"
The sea-raider Wolf, a surface warship, secretly takes on supplies in the neutral port of San Miguel. U.S. Secret Agent X-5 happens to be in San Miguel and notices this, then happens to walk into the right bar at the right time to overhear Baroness Verber exposit that the Wolf's next mission is to sink the American freighter Arkian. While the Wolf's captain awaits his orders, the spies chat until the Baroness's boyfriend recognizes X-5, and pulls a gun on him, but gets punched out anyway. Verber gets to a phone and calls in her order; X-5 races to the waterfront; the two ships are berthed at opposite piers in the same slip; just then the Wolf brings its big naval guns to bear and opens fire at extremely close range! X-5 scrambles aboard the Arkian and tumbles into a cargo hold and finds a shipment of chicle, which he and the crew use to seal the busted seams in the hull. The Arkian casts off and gets underway, just enough to sink in the shallows and block the channel, trapping the Wolf in the port; the vengeful captain of the Wolf shells the Arkian's lifeboats, until the ship runs out of ammo, then goes full speed astern to raid the warehouse district for more ammo. X-5 phones for the San Miguelian army to come secure their EXPLOSIVES warehouse (it's painted on the roof in big letters), and until they get there he locks the Wolf's landing party in the warehouse. The Baroness and her unnamed boyfriend show up, boyfriend gets punched out again, and they both get arrested.
Appearing in X-5 Secret Agent: "The Plot to Sink the Arkian"
- Secret Agent X-5 (First appearance)
- Baroness Verber (Single appearance)
- Nazi Spies
- "Arkian" Freighter
- "Wolf" Raider
Synopsis for Jack and Jill: "Clock of Doom"
According to an invitation sent them, Jack and Jill are invited to the wealthy Mr. Eberhart's mansion to witness his murder. Sure enough, as the grandfather clock suddenly stops, Eberhart falls over dead.
Appearing in Jack and Jill: "Clock of Doom"
- Joseph Eberhart (Only appearance; dies)
- Edward Eberhart (Single appearance)
- Mr. Phibbs (Single appearance)
- Dr. Graham (Single appearance)
- Poisoned Dart
- Jack & Jill's Roadster
Synopsis for Red Bee: "Origin of the Red Bee"
In Superior City, District Attorney Tom Darrow enlists the aid of the Red Bee (who is secretly Tom's assistant D.A. Richard Raleigh), to bring down Boss Storm, head of a corrupt political machine.
Appearing in Red Bee: "Origin of the Red Bee"
- Red Bee (First appearance)
- Tom Darrow (First appearance)
- Michael (The Red Bee's bee) (First appearance)
- Boss Storm (Single appearance)
- Red (Single appearance)
- Pete (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Strange Twins: "Origin of the Strange Twins"
Appearing in The Strange Twins: "Origin of the Strange Twins"
- Douglas Strange (First appearance)
- Wendy Hale (First appearance)
- Sin Chow (Single appearance)
- Rodney Strange (First appearance)
- Wing Low (First appearance)
- Ching (Single appearance)
- "Blimey" Joe (Single appearance)
- Hung Fu (Single appearance)
- Wan Low (Single appearance)
- Slipfinger (Single appearance)
- Whitehall Gang
- Stubborn Pete (Only appearance; dies)
- Lady Chutney (Single appearance)
- Inspector Barclay (Single appearance)
- The Jumbo Ruby
Synopsis for Bob and Swab: "Neutrality Patrol"
Although they constantly brawl against each other, Bob and Swab are put together to inspect an arriving sub, not knowing that the entire crew are actually Nazi spies.
Appearing in Bob and Swab: "Neutrality Patrol"
- Scarab's Captain (First appearance)
- Nazi Spies (Single appearance)
- USS Scarab
Synopsis for Casey Jones: "The Triple Train Wreck Robbery"
On a fast trip thru the Rocky Mountains, a gang of train robbers, with an autogyro, try to steal the gold bullion from Casey Jones's train. Jones puts the fireman on the throttle, climbs atop the train, and sprints down the line of roofs to fight the robbers, and beats them. He also arranges for the fireman to use the whistle to signal the next switch tower to throw a switch that diverts the train onto a track that runs thru a tunnel. This knocks the gang's autogyro, and the gang, and their loot, off the roof line. Jones returns to the engine cab and sends the fireman on another errand.
But the gang's boss, Deegan, is still in the Mail Car, and he climbs out and sneaks up to the engine cab, where he tries to murder Jones. They fight, and they both fall off the train. Hitting the ground, Jones knocks out Deegan, and sprints after his train, just barely catching it and getting aboard, then just barely getting back in the cab and stopping the train, just barely in time to avoid a collision with another train.
After the bullion and mail are re-loaded, the train is two minutes behind schedule, but Casey Jones makes up that lost time before it reaches Los Angeles.
Appearing in Casey Jones: "The Triple Train Wreck Robbery"
- Casey Jones (First appearance)
- his gang
- Engine 2999, a streamlined "Hudson" type passenger locomotive
- USRR mail train w/ C&NW passenger cars
- Deegan's Autogiro (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Weird Tales: "The Tale of the Haunted Inn"
The Old Witch tells a tale: When a storm rages, a married couple find shelter inside an old inn, a mysterious young woman seeming to be its only occupant.
Appearing in Weird Tales: "The Tale of the Haunted Inn"
- The Old Witch (First appearance)
- Harvey White (Single appearance)
- Joan White (Single appearance)
- Sailors Ghosts
- Miss Squall (Unnamed) (Only appearance; dies)
- The "Murdered Sailors" Inn
Synopsis for Neon the Unknown: "The Origin of Neon the Unknown"
Tom Corbet was serving in the French Foreign Legion when the war in Europe began. In northern Africa, his platoon was ordered to put down an uprising of the Mbangi tribe, that was being supplied by the munitions manufacturer, Morgan Crookes. (This was part of a world-wide scheme, by Crookes and others, behind the scenes, to arm headhunters and cannibals and savages in every backward corner of the world with modern weapons, and to rub out the colonial powers.)
The Mbangi-suppression march was a suicide mission, ill-planned and reckless. On foot, all the Legionnaires but Corbet perished in the heat. With his last strength, Tom stumbled upon a green, lush oasis. When he drank from its waters (which had phosphorescent vapors rising off the surface), he was transformed… glowing! Suddenly a tiger attacked him and he found that he was able to emit neon-like rays, which were powerful enough to kill this beast. Also his uniform was inexplicably transformed into a superhero costume. He also could fly, and discovered an impending air attack by Crooke's forces.
Taking the name Neon the Unknown, Corbet returned to warn the Foreign Legion; his commanding officer didn't recognize him and neither did any of his former comrades, despite his costume's lack of a mask. Neon soon led a company of French Foreign Legionnaires, equipped with at least 12 captured ultra-long-range warplanes, and engaged and defeated a multinational coalition of nongovernmental air forces, fighting in three very widely separated parts of the globe, then returned to their base in northern Africa. In this miniature world war, they landed an infantry force in Brazil and blew up some munitions factories, and not much later, over the Pacific Ocean, won a giant dogfight against this unnamed coalition's Australian-based air wing, with all of these victories greatly aided by Neon's engine-destroying neonic powers. At story's end, one superhero and one company of Foreign Legionnaires have, in five pages, on three fronts, fought the equivalent of a world war.
Appearing in Neon the Unknown: "The Origin of Neon the Unknown"
- Neon the Unknown (First appearance & origin)
- Morgan Crookes (Single appearance)
- Wilson (Single appearance)
- French Foreign Legion
- Lt. Cracket (Single appearance)
- several squadrons of very-long-range, high-speed, multiple-purpose, single-engine warplanes
Synopsis for Tommy Tinkle and Mary Lou: "In Tinkle Town"
Toymaker Tommy Tinkle and his friends are working to fulfill an order for Santa, while a rival toy manufacturer and his gang come up with a plan to flatten their competition.
Appearing in Tommy Tinkle and Mary Lou: "In Tinkle Town"
- Tommy Tinkle (First appearance)
- Mary Lou (First appearance)
- Prof. Grump (First appearance)
- Sam Snipe (First appearance)
- Pat Pokem (First appearance)
- Lotta Lure (First appearance)
- Tinkle Town
Synopsis for Blaze Barton: "Doomsday and Afterward"
In the year 50017, the Earth's orbit begins to decay towards the sun, and planetary catastrophe ensues. Luckily, Professor Solis has, at his own expense, built a city which is impervious to the heat and big enough for the rest of the human population to move into. But the heat has brought much worse to the surface of Earth... The monstrous Core-Men! They overrun Earth's surface and set up settlements in the ruins of human cities.
Betty Solis gets kidnapped by these monsters, and is rescued by Blaze Barton, along with Professor Solis and the President. They escape back to Solis City, but it now apparent that there will be a war, to the end, against the Core People.
Appearing in Blaze Barton: "Doomsday and Afterward"
- Blaze Barton (First appearance)
- Prof. Solis (First appearance)
- Betty Solis (First appearance)
- King of the Core-Men (First appearance)
- Core-Men (First appearance)
- the President
- Solis City, in 50017 AD
- Solis's Telepa-Interpretor
- Blaze Barton
- According to Professor Solis' calculations, displayed in the opening panel, these stories are set in the future, year 50017. Next issue a caption will state that the year is 3000.
- In the 31st century, newspapers are still published.
- Casey Jones works on the "United States Railroad," running mail trains between Los Angeles and Chicago, on a route that seems to be a combination of the Union Pacific (Los Angeles to Omaha) and the Chicago and North Western (Omaha to Chicago), using New York Central style passenger train locomotives.
- The bandit gangsters recognize Jones when he attacks them; one cries out "It's Casey!"
- Joe Hercules:
- Neon the Unknown:
- In "Origin of Neon the Unknown," there is no explanation whatsoever for a tiger's presence in northwestern Africa; it may be germane that the tiger was hunting in an oasis which was itself thought to be "of mystic origins." Equally inexplicable is the sudden change in Corbet's clothing.
- In "Origin of Neon the Unknown," it is very doubtful that any of the enemy forces understood themselves to be "Crooke's forces," as all of Morgan Crooke's involvement in any of this mischief is behind the scenes and at several removes. Neon's expository gloating in the final panel, however, indicates that Neon knows who Crooke is.
- Throughout this story, and series, Tom Corbet's last name is spelled with one "t" not two.
- The Red Bee:
- Art credit on the Red Bee story, and entire series, is "B. H. Apiary." Most of the stories were drawn by Witmer Williams; these first few stories were drawn by Charles Nicholas.
- The Strange Twins:
- Writer credit on the Strange Twins series is "S. M. Regi," a fairly obvious pseudonym for S. M. (Jerry) Iger.
- X-5, Secret Agent:
- Writer credit on the X-5, Secret Agent story is "Cary Weyt," a pseudonym for Will Eisner.
- Art credit on the X-5, Secret Agent story is "Charles Sultan," which was, in several issues of Crack Comics, also a pseudonym for Lou Fine. This art does not resemble Lou Fine's work at all.
- The sea raider Wolf in this issue's "X-5" episode is yet another homage to the infamous German "pocket battleship" KMS Bismarck. In the summer of 1940, several Quality Comics superheroes dealt with different versions of this Nazi warship, most notably the Red Torpedo in Crack Comics #2.
- Also featured in this issue of Hit Comics was
- "The Last Moment" (text story) by Toni Blum.
- Munson Paddock signs his Casey Jones story as "Pad Docke."