"Hercules: "A Town's Ransom"": Joe Hercules must stop a syndicate of crooks from blowing up the Couver Dam and flooding the town of Meadowlane in the valley below it. A half-million-dollar ransom has been demanded. To show seriousness, the gang blows up the town school house, just as Joe Hercule
- Frightened, Radolf? When you see the ghosts of men, victims of the schemes of your vicious and demented brain. You will suffer the torture that your sadistic guards inflicted on them?
- 1 Synopsis for Hercules: "A Town's Ransom"
- 2 Appearing in Hercules: "A Town's Ransom"
- 3 Synopsis for X-5: "Assignment: Ruina"
- 4 Appearing in X-5: "Assignment: Ruina"
- 5 Synopsis for Jack and Jill: "The Baby on the Doorstep"
- 6 Appearing in Jack and Jill: "The Baby on the Doorstep"
- 7 Synopsis for The Old Witch: "The Phantom Scaffold"
- 8 Appearing in The Old Witch: "The Phantom Scaffold"
- 9 Synopsis for The Strange Twins: "The Escape of Roderick Strange"
- 10 Appearing in The Strange Twins: "The Escape of Roderick Strange"
- 11 Synopsis for The Red Bee: "The Hospital Grafters"
- 12 Appearing in The Red Bee: "The Hospital Grafters"
- 13 Synopsis for Bob & Swab: "Costa Rica Shore Leave"
- 14 Appearing in Bob & Swab: "Costa Rica Shore Leave"
- 15 Synopsis for Casey Jones: "The Railroad Saboteurs"
- 16 Appearing in Casey Jones: "The Railroad Saboteurs"
- 17 Synopsis for Blaze Barton: "The Venusian Expedition"
- 18 Appearing in Blaze Barton: "The Venusian Expedition"
- 19 Synopsis for Tommy Tinkle: "Max the Toy Lion"
- 20 Appearing in Tommy Tinkle: "Max the Toy Lion"
- 21 Synopsis for Neon the Unknown: "The Defeat of Radolf"
- 22 Appearing in Neon the Unknown: "The Defeat of Radolf"
- 23 Notes
- 24 Trivia
- 25 See Also
- 26 Links and References
Synopsis for Hercules: "A Town's Ransom"
Joe Hercules must stop a syndicate of crooks from blowing up the Couver Dam and flooding the town of Meadowlane in the valley below it. A half-million-dollar ransom has been demanded. To show seriousness, the gang blows up the town school house, just as Joe Hercules is passing through Meadowlane, on foot, dressed in a business suit. There's a brief misunderstanding with the town police, then there's concern because Joe's friend, Mr. Portle, the science teacher, is missing. That night, correctly suspecting Town Board member Mr. Crinch of being part of the problem, Joe Hercules changes into his costume and breaks into Crinch's house. He smacks open a heavy floor safe with one punch, and finds a bunch of incriminating paperwork inside it. But Crinch makes a quick move with a lit match and destroys the papers; Joe is stymied and runs away on foot to find the town's mayor. It's night, so apparently he finds the mayor at home, and warns him not to pay the ransom, that the dam is going to be blown up anyway. Just then Mr. Crinch and some cops show up, to arrest Hercules for the burglary at Crinch's house. Hercules tosses some cops out of his way and flees on foot; immediately a police car zooms out in pursuit of him; right behind that is a private car containing the cash for the crooks. Soon Hercules is at the top of the dam, with police at each end of it. Meanwhile in a small observatory-like building near the dam, Mr. Portle is being tortured to compel him to operate a long-distance explosion-producing machine. One explosion later, there's a big crack in the dam, and Joe Hercules is holding it together, waiting for a construction crew to make repairs. Reconstruction takes several days; cute local girls bring Hercules food. At last the dam is repaired, and Hercules has had plenty of time to work out where the bad guys are, so he sprints directly to the bad guys' laboratory, but they see him coming, and try to blow him up with their explosion ray. He's blasted into the air, stunned, but crashes in through the roof, then punches the bad guys, breaks the ray machine, and frees his friend. The crooks try to flee in an autogiro, but Joe just leaps aboard it and starts breaking off propellor blades. After a rough landing, they're handed over to the Meadowlane police. He then finds the ransom money and returns it to the mayor.
Appearing in Hercules: "A Town's Ransom"
- Mr. Portle (Single appearance)
- Mr. Crinch (Single appearance)
- Couver Dam
Synopsis for X-5: "Assignment: Ruina"
Tiny oil-rich Ruina is trying to remain neutral amid war-torn Europe, but in the capital city, Bailu, agents of Nordicha (their "dear Fatherland"), the Black Guards are determined to provoke an invasion. They publicly gun down the Prime Minister of Ruina, sparking an outbreak of riots and executions. Ruina's king meanwhile calls for X-5, Secret Agent, to intervene, and because the king's palace staff is riddled with spies, including his main lackey, the Black Guards find out about it right away; they prepare some ambushes. X-5 arrives disguised as a Nordichan general, has an audience with the king, then infiltrates a secret meeting of the Black Guards, where he gives them new orders: that very night they are to storm the palace and abduct the king! This can't possibly work, and the main Black Guard guy (Muchbach) says so, but he's overruled by "the general." But the same palace spies are all still in place, so X-5's planned ambush of the B.G.s backfires; when he returns to the B.G. hideout, he's shot in the back and tumbles down a flight of stairs. Muchbach scurries away to the railroad yard, and is setting up his original plan (which we don't yet know), when half-dead X-5 arrives to foil him. There's a short shoot-out, and Muchbach dies before X-5 can find out what he was up to. It turns out that the plan is to prevent a trainload of oil from being exported from Ruina to Nordicha, before a critical deadline, providing a provocation for an invasion, and it also turns out that the freight train's entire crew is in on it, so there's a wild fight on the moving train, and before it's over, all of the oil tank cars have been ignited. But X-5 gains the upper hand, and uses an overhead trackside sand hopper to extinguish all of the fires, then delivers the oil on time, averting the international crisis.
Appearing in X-5: "Assignment: Ruina"
- Muchbach (Only appearance; dies)
- Black Guards (Single appearance)
- burning freight train
Synopsis for Jack and Jill: "The Baby on the Doorstep"
Jack and Jill are in for a surprise when a baby is left on their doorstep. Determined to find the mother and learn the reason for her abandoning her own child, Jack sets out to find a lead, leaving Jill to play babysitter.
Appearing in Jack and Jill: "The Baby on the Doorstep"
- Jack Doe
- Jill Doe
- Stella Ford (Single appearance)
- Butch Ford (Single appearance)
- Rocky Ford (Single appearance)
- Slobber Mike (Single appearance)
- Mrs. Jones (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Old Witch: "The Phantom Scaffold"
The old witch tells a story about a man who enters a ghostly scene of the past and saves a woman from the gallows.
Appearing in The Old Witch: "The Phantom Scaffold"
- John Rawlson (Single appearance)
- Roland Rawlson (Single appearance)
- Patience Caldwell (Single appearance)
- Higby (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Strange Twins: "The Escape of Roderick Strange"
Doug Strange's criminal brother hatches a plan to switch places with him.
Appearing in The Strange Twins: "The Escape of Roderick Strange"
- Wendy Hale
- Rod Strange
- Wing Low
- MacDermott (Single appearance)
- Slipfinger (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Red Bee: "The Hospital Grafters"
There's an influenza epidemic in Superior City, hundreds die, and the corrupt politicians (Al Snead, et.al.) are too busy reveling in their graft to help anyone. The Red Bee calls his boss, the D.A., and promises to deliver some money for the City to buy serum, if the D.A. promises not to try to arrest him. Then he breaks into Al Snead's apartment and forces him to hand over all the money in it. A few minutes later, he drives his red car to the Snead gang's waterfront hideout, walks in on them counting a pile of money, beats them up, and takes the money. At the D.A.'s office, near midnight, Police Captain Dooley is reneging on the D.A.'s deal, and setting an ambush for the Red Bee, but only catches A.D.A. Rick Raleigh instead, but wait, there's a pile of money on the D.A.'s desk and a signed confession from Al Snead, so the Red Bee has been there after all. They'd probably catch him if this guy Raleigh didn't keep getting in the way ...
Appearing in The Red Bee: "The Hospital Grafters"
- Tom Darrow, Rick's boss
- Michael (Red Bee's bee)
- Al Snead (Single appearance)
- Captain Dooley (First appearance)
Synopsis for Bob & Swab: "Costa Rica Shore Leave"
Bob and Swab help the beautiful Nina Costa, whose father is being held captive on his plantation.
Appearing in Bob & Swab: "Costa Rica Shore Leave"
- Nina Costa (Single appearance)
- Unnamed Plantation Thieves (Single appearance)
- Mr. Costa (Nina's Father) (Single appearance)
- USS Scarab
Synopsis for Casey Jones: "The Railroad Saboteurs"
The cargo shipments of war supplies for the Allied forces move by rail from Chicago to Los Angeles, and this traffic is being disrupted and detoured by a series of explosions, set by Nazi saboteurs. Casey Jones independently investigates, first along the main line and then in Los Angeles at the docks. He finds out that the saboteurs are using a midget steam locomotive and a fake refrigerator car to move about on the western rail lines, in order to sabotage widely separated locations. Their hideout is a specially-modified cargo ship moored at one of the L.A. piers.
Jones stealthily boards their short train and rides along. Out in the country, he gets into the cab, dukes it out with the engineer and fireman, and tosses their bomb out into a field beside the tracks, where it explodes. The saboteurs rally up and try to fight again, and Jones kicks them until they fall off the train. Jones then reverses the tiny train and races back to the docks. The gang tries to shoot him but Casey gets his train next to the cargo ship, and uses the gang's own bomb to blow up the ship. A force of police arrive and fight it out with the surviving saboteurs, who are arrested. Casey is arrested too, but eventually some railroad officials learn the truth, and bring him back to work.
Appearing in Casey Jones: "The Railroad Saboteurs"
- his fireman
- rural stationmaster
- United States Railways (Chicago - Los Angeles)
- Freight Piers at Los Angeles
- Steam Locomotive
- 100 freight cars
- moored cargo ship (Destroyed)
- Midget Steam Engine
- short train of trick cars
- short train of trick cars
Synopsis for Blaze Barton: "The Venusian Expedition"
The Core Men have surrounded the heat-proof citadel, Solis City. Meanwhile an exploratory expedition from the planet Venus arrives in a rocketship. A foot patrol of Venusian Bat Men encounters a force of Core-Men, and a desperate skirmish ensues. Two bat men escape and take refuge in the broken dome of a tall ruined building.
Blaze Barton and Professor Solis have been monitoring this situation, and Blaze sets forth on foot to find and aid the beleaguered Bat Men. A stealthy Core-Man reaches the City's hatch, before it can get closed, and smashes the locking mechanism with a big rock, and another one reports this development to their king. Blaze finds and converses with the Bat Men, in English, but a squad of Core-Men attack. Blaze tosses these monsters around like rag dolls, and soon he and the Bat Men have teamed up. They observe a force of Core-Men entering the city; and the two Bat Men manage to glide/carry Barton to the scene of the invasion.
In that fight, the Core-Men's king personally head-bashes Blaze and kidnaps Betty. Prof. Solis deploys his Ice Ray, which makes the Core-Men go inert, then Blaze fetches Betty from among them. As they regain mobility, most or all of the Core-Men flee back into the fissures in the Earth's crust. Huge machinery is used to seal all of these chasms, and Venusian vegetation is successfully transplanted into Earthly soils.
Appearing in Blaze Barton: "The Venusian Expedition"
- Blaze Barton
- Prof. Solis
- Betty Solis
- King of the Core-Men
- Bat Men of Venus (Single appearance)
- Solis City, "near New York State"
- Bat Men's ray pistols
- Solis' Ice Ray
- Venusian Spaceship
Synopsis for Tommy Tinkle: "Max the Toy Lion"
Tommy creates a new toy lion named Max to impress Prof. Grump with. That night, the villainous Snipp and Snapp replace the toy with a real lion, in the hopes of getting rid of the Professor once and for all...
Appearing in Tommy Tinkle: "Max the Toy Lion"
- Tommy Tinkle
- Mary Lou
- Prof. Grump
- Snipp (First appearance)
- Snapp (First appearance)
- Max (Single appearance)
- Pa Neptune (First appearance)
Synopsis for Neon the Unknown: "The Defeat of Radolf"
Neon now heads straight from North Africa to Europe, and visits Rachaw, one of the notorious concentration camps in the country of Dunland. He starts by rescuing some intellectuals from this concentration camp (He allowed himself to be captured then led a mass escape.), then captures Radolf and threatens him with torture until the dictator agrees to step down.
Appearing in Neon the Unknown: "The Defeat of Radolf"
- Radolf (Single appearance)
- Group of geniuses (Single appearance)
- Contains the text piece, "Tyrant's Death", by Toni Blum.
- In the Quality Universe, the Axis Powers included: Aryania, Austria, Barbaria, Bothnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Darmania, Dunland, Germany, Govania, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jarmania, Kampfland, Latavia, Nordicha, North Germany, Romania, Tokoya, Tuvania, and others.
- Blaze Barton
- A caption in the opening panel states that the year is 3000.
- Blaze and the Bat Men, in their first conversation, in English, are making this interplanetary contact for the first time.
- Two episodes into the series, and Betty's getting kidnapped for the 2nd time.
- Casey Jones
- One Axis saboteur recognizes Jones during a melee: "This fixes you, Casey!"
- The Red Bee
- Police Captain Dooley hits Rick Raleigh in the head with a pistol, but this fails to knock him out. At story's end however Raleigh is wearing a bandage around his head. This may be the first cranial concussion of his career.
- Michael, the Red Bee's main bee, appeared in the previous issue, but is called "Michael" for the first time in this issue.
- Munson Paddock signs his Casey Jones story as "Pad Docke."