"Espionage Starring Black X: "The Suicide Torpedoes"": The Pan-American Congress erects "the Caldwell Line," like a seagoing Maginot Line that parallels the entire eastern coast of the western hemisphere, or at least it lines the Gulf of Mexico. This is in place in order to blockade the landloc
- Your point is well taken, but dead men can't drive torpedoes.!
- — Black X
- 1 Synopsis for Espionage Starring Black X: "The Suicide Torpedoes"
- 2 Appearing in Espionage Starring Black X: "The Suicide Torpedoes"
- 3 Synopsis for Abdul the Arab: "The Masked One"
- 4 Appearing in Abdul the Arab: "The Masked One"
- 5 Synopsis for Captain Cook of Scotland Yard: "The Voice and the Red Star Diamond"
- 6 Appearing in Captain Cook of Scotland Yard: "The Voice and the Red Star Diamond"
- 7 Synopsis for Clip Chance at Cliffside: "The Red Clay Clue"
- 8 Appearing in Clip Chance at Cliffside: "The Red Clay Clue"
- 9 Synopsis for "Wings Wendall: Battling the Bund"
- 10 Appearing in "Wings Wendall: Battling the Bund"
- 11 Synopsis for Invisible Justice: "The Arson Robberies"
- 12 Appearing in Invisible Justice: "The Arson Robberies"
- 13 Synopsis for Flash Fulton: "The Kidnapping of Babs Barton"
- 14 Appearing in Flash Fulton: "The Kidnapping of Babs Barton"
- 15 Synopsis for Chic Carter: "Von Fritz's Assassination Plot"
- 16 Appearing in Chic Carter: "Von Fritz's Assassination Plot"
- 17 Synopsis for John Law, Scientective: "Double Death Trap"
- 18 Appearing in John Law, Scientective: "Double Death Trap"
- 19 Synopsis for Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man: "The Master Plan of Rudolf Hitz"
- 20 Appearing in Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man: "The Master Plan of Rudolf Hitz"
- 21 Notes
- 22 See Also
- 23 Links and References
Synopsis for Espionage Starring Black X: "The Suicide Torpedoes"
The Pan-American Congress erects "the Caldwell Line," like a seagoing Maginot Line that parallels the entire eastern coast of the western hemisphere, or at least it lines the Gulf of Mexico. This is in place in order to blockade the landlocked Axis powers, thus crimping their food supply. A mighty Axis armada swoops across the Atlantic, and crashes against the Caldwell Line, but in vain.
So now the Axis Secret Police need to do some sabotage, but first they need to eliminate the Black X, so Madame La Coquin invites Black X to a fashionable diplomat soiree at her palatial Cape Cod estate, so that she can have him killed. Black X's telepathic valet Batu knows jiu-jitsu, and can telepathically project a convincing illusion of Black X walking into an ambush. It's so convincing that even the thugs that jumped "him" with knives believed that they have killed him.
It soon turns out that Madame La Coquin has an underwater torpedo base, reached by a trapdoor in the dock of her oceanfront mansion. Madame's gang of torpedo-kamikazes are setting up to attack one fortification on the Caldwell Line. Black X learns the details, then sends Batu to fetch the Coast Guard, then single-handedly invades the secret base. There's a big fight and Black X is captured, and is stupidly not shot, and even more stupidly is stowed in the spy cell's radio room, where soon he bursts his bonds by sheer strength, and luckily the radio operator is a terrible shot, and has a glass jaw. Black X radio-calls the USCG, and Coast Guard planes intercept the first two manned torpedoes, successfully defending Sub-Base 15 on the Caldwell Line, just off Cape Cod.
Black X tries to dissuade Madame La Coquin from launching herself in the 4th torpedo; he fails, she knew she was doomed either way but chose to get killed by the Coast Guard. Afterward Black X is so broken up by this that he quits the spy game. But after one wry remark from his boss, he instantly snaps back into action, one panel later.
The Axis soon sends a second armada against the Caldwell Line, which is also repulsed. Soon the dictators capitulate and an armistice is signed in Geneva.
Appearing in Espionage Starring Black X: "The Suicide Torpedoes"
- Major Gale
- Madame La Coquin (Dies)
- Suicide Squadron: Max, Boris, Kurt, Adolph, others
- The Caldwell Line, in the Atlantic Ocean
- Sub-Base 15, just off Cape Cod
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Washington, D.C.
- Espionage HQ
- Major Gale's favorite restaurant
- Pilot-steered Suicide Torpedos
- Warships of several nations
Synopsis for Abdul the Arab: "The Masked One"
An English criminal renegade, concealing his identity, smuggles weapons to some Arab tribes. Abdul catches him at it, but gets captured. Hasan frees Abdul and together they defeat Webb, the "Masked One."
Appearing in Abdul the Arab: "The Masked One"
- Webb, The Masked One
- Arms Smuggling Gang
- Patrol Post Commander
- Desert of Khar
- Najhar, town
- British Protectorate Office
- Najhar, town
- South Pass
Synopsis for Captain Cook of Scotland Yard: "The Voice and the Red Star Diamond"
Sir Sidney Barnes's Hindu manservant kidnaps Barnes's daughter Lola, and using artificial ventriloquism, demands the "Red Star Diamond" plus $100,000 as ransom. He calls himself "the Voice," and his real name is not revealed. Captain Cook forms a hunch, never explained, that the kidnapee, Lola, is being held inside the family's large house. Cook, his boss the Chief, and Detective Kelly search the house. Cook gets head-konked, but still finds Miss Barnes, and when the Voice flees in a fast sedan, he pursues it in a police car. The Voice crashes his car, but lives long enough to explain his motives (sentimentality and greed), and his complicated scheme for concealing Miss Barnes (in the swimming pool, in a diving suit), and his voice-throwing trick (with wires and two pre-set amplifiers), before he perishes.
Appearing in Captain Cook of Scotland Yard: "The Voice and the Red Star Diamond"
- Detective Kelly
- The Voice (Dies)
- Lola Barnes
- Sir Sidney Barnes
- Red Star Diamond
Synopsis for Clip Chance at Cliffside: "The Red Clay Clue"
Sports-cheating gamblers kidnap Clip and leave him tied up in an abandoned iron mine. Clip gets loose, cutting up his hands pretty badly in the process, and leads the authorities to the bad guys, at the Big Basketball Game, and also gets into the last part of the game, and even with badly injured hands, scores the decisive game-winning basket.
Appearing in Clip Chance at Cliffside: "The Red Clay Clue"
- Coach Barr
- kid messenger
- Cliffside College
- Hale College
- Abandoned Iron Mine
Synopsis for "Wings Wendall: Battling the Bund"
Wings Wendall and Agent X-5 each infiltrate a Bund organization, and attend a big rally, where X-5 hands off some important info to Wings. They get spotted and two gunmen follow Wings out of the auditorium, first on foot and then by car. On a bridge, Wendall drops back and sideswipes the followers off the side of the bridge and into the river.
Back at his office, Wendall inspects X-5's report, about Bundists planning to steal a set of defense plans for New York City. A note is slid under the office door, telling him to check his closet, where he finds X-5, dead, with a knife in his back. Meanwhile at the Bund's base, Herr Heinrich introduces the sultry Karla, and lays out his new plan for stealing the defense plans.
That evening at the Officer's Club, Karla vamps up Wendall's fellow officer, O'Brian, who tries to impress her with how much secret stuff he knows. Captain Wendall has been watching them, and from a pay phone he calls Colonel Craig, and instructs him to replace the NYC defense plans with a set of fake copies.
The next evening at the Bund's hall, Wendall watches as a crowd of anti-Bund hecklers show up and start shouting down the speaker. A baton-wielding squad of Bundist bouncers goes after the hecklers, and a crowd of anti-Bund brawlers goes after the bouncers, and the riot police show up. Wendall takes advantage of the confusion to break into the assembly hall's offices. He gets caught, and disarmed and tied up. Meanwhile at a midtown hotel, Karla slips O'Brian a knock-out potion, steals his set of plans, and takes them back to Herr Heinrich at the Bund Hall. Once he has the plans, Heinrich shoots Karla, then tells his henchman Hans to shoot Wendall, and leaves. But Karla isn't quite dead yet and messes up the thug's shot by grabbing his legs, then tied-up Wendall, from on the floor, delivers a two-footed kick to the gunman's chin, knocking him out. Karla helps Wings get loose, then dies, and Wings beats some info out of Hans. Heinrich is headed for Canada.
Wendall takes a taxi to the North Beach Airport, from which he flies, in a dive bomber, and scouts the highways until he finds a black sedan speeding toward the border, flies close enough to draw pistol shots from the car (to confirm his target), then drops two bombs on the car, blowing it up.
Appearing in "Wings Wendall: Battling the Bund"
- X-5, U.S. agent (Dies)
- Bund's Meeting Hall
- Army Base
- Officer's Club
- Midtown Hotel
- North Beach Airport
- New York City Defense Plans
- Dive Bomber
Synopsis for Invisible Justice: "The Arson Robberies"
The Capitol Hotel in Glenport is burned down by arsonists, who steal the hotel safe, which is stuffed with valuable securities. Police are baffled. Kent Thurston, enemy of crime, reads about it in the evening paper, then meets with his wealthy banker friend John Steele, who takes him to visit his business associate Weymann Brent. Steele and Brent, along with the owner of the Capitol Hotel, are partners in a business deal, and the theft of the securities endangers the deal; Brent's opinion is that he himself is the next target. Right then, Brent's butler runs into the room with news that the house is on fire. Everybody but Thurston leaves immediately; he drops behind and hides in the basement of the burning house. Very soon, four big men in asbestos suits barge in, grab a heavy safe from the floor, and leave, without spotting Thurston. They load it into a small truck and drive away. Before the fire and police departments show up, Kent puts on his invisible cloak, and when they park, he invisibly steals a police car and goes after the truck, which by now has a pretty good lead.
The chase goes on for an hour, then the truck turns down an deserted road and parks at an abandoned filling station. Bad guys with a blowtorch get to work on opening the safe. Soon their gloating boss has the securities in hand, and reveals that their next strike will be in one week, at John Steele's estate.
One week later the Invisible Hood has staked out the rear approach to Steele's mansion, and he observes as the gang's truck arrives. Inside the house, John Steele and Weymann Brent are arguing about whether Steele should stash his securities in his safe. When Steele refuses, Brent points a gun at him and steals the final batch of securities. Meanwhile the Invisible Hood has knocked out one arsonist, and now shows up wearing his asbestos suit. He rescues and teams up with Steele, and together they defeat the remainder of the arson gang, two of whom are shot by Steele.
Appearing in Invisible Justice: "The Arson Robberies"
- Weymann Brent
- Arson gang: Bo, others
- John Steele
- Brent's Butler
- City of Glenport
Synopsis for Flash Fulton: "The Kidnapping of Babs Barton"
Flash and Andy have their sound and camera equipment with them when they accidentally run across a kidnapping, in progress, and get taken along for a ride. Andy secretly records and films the proceedings while Flash engages the blabby thugs in conversation. After their violent escape from the hoods and their rescue of the sugar heiress kidnapee, Flash and Andy have some great evidence to hand to the police, along with the soundly beaten bad guys.
Appearing in Flash Fulton: "The Kidnapping of Babs Barton"
- Babs Barton
Synopsis for Chic Carter: "Von Fritz's Assassination Plot"
In besieged, invaded Moravia, American reporter Chic Carter is aloft in a 2-seat Moravian scouting plane, with a Moravian pilot. They are surveying the Arlbourg Line, and get ambushed by three Messerschmitt fighter planes. Manning the rear machinegun, Chic hits one plane, but the scout plane crashes into one of the fighters. Chic parachutes to the ground; no other parachutes are seen. On the ground, Chic gets captured by invader troops, and taken away across the border.
General von Fritz puts Carter to work writing bogus news releases, but very carelessly leaves a written assassination plan, targeting the Moravian Royal Family, where Chic can find it. Chic now has to act; he punches out a well-armed infantryman and steals his rifle, then encounters and steals a staff car, crashes through a police barricade, and escapes amid a hail of gunfire, back to Moravia. He arrives at the capital just as King Ludwig is stepping onto the balcony to address the throng in the square below. As some gunmen among the crowd below move into position, Carter steps out with a pistol and shoots it out with them, and wins. This is the second time he's saved both of their lives, so the King and Princess of Moravia are now very friendly toward Chic Carter.
Appearing in Chic Carter: "Von Fritz's Assassination Plot"
- General von Fritz, (wears a monocle).
- King Ludwig
- Princess Maria
- the Arlbourg Line
- unnamed enemy nation
- ME-109s, with German markings
Synopsis for John Law, Scientective: "Double Death Trap"
The Avenger remains at large with his identity unknown. Opposed and thwarted at every turn so far by lawyer-scientist John Law, he now makes his fifth big move.
John Law and June Carter are working late at Law's laboratory, when Law is called away to Albert Lewis's estate. June has a bad intuition about this move but John laughs it off. Albert Lewis is one of the prominent industrialists known to be on the Avenger's hit list, and he's now received a written threat. The Scientective drives out to Lewis' country estate, and June stealthily follows in her own car. June peeks thru a basement window as Lewis and Law inspect the mansion's basement, seeking the source of a persistent hum. They find a neon light in the wine cellar, and Lewis didn't install it. The Avenger has been there, and he's been very busy, reconstructing much of the house into a series of death traps, involving stroboscopic lamps, trap doors, and a flooding chamber.
John Law and Albert Lewis spend the rest of the evening working their way through these dangers, while outside The Avenger discovers June spying on the house. She gets away in her car, finds some police, and brings them back with her in a great big hurry. They find Lewis and Law and extricate them from their predicaments, but apparently the Avenger has already long since departed.
Appearing in John Law, Scientective: "Double Death Trap"
- June Carter
- The Avenger
- Albert Lewis
- New York City Area
- Lewis' Estate
- Lewis' Estate
Synopsis for Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man: "The Master Plan of Rudolf Hitz"
Jarmanian spies Rudolf Hitz and Olga, working with Public Enemy #1 Scar Pipalle, kidnap a general's son, and try to blackmail him for the gold at Fort Adam in Kentucky. Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man Bozo the Robot stop them, with the unexpected help of the notorious but patriotic Pipalle, who in the critical moment refuses to betray his country. Pipalle gets back-shot by Hitz, who gets captured alive.
Appearing in Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man: "The Master Plan of Rudolf Hitz"
- Scar Pipalle (Only appearance; dies)
- Holtz, Dictator of Jarmania (Behind the scenes)
- Rudolf Hitz, Jarmanian spy (Single appearance)
- Olga, Jarmanian spy (Single appearance)
- Sergeant Dolan (Single appearance)
- Captain John "Ironsides" Dolan (Single appearance)
- Jim Hart (Single appearance)
- Sergeant Hill (Single appearance)
- Sergeant Kelly (Single appearance)
- Espionage, starring Black X:
- In the Quality Universe, the Second World War was marked by several false starts and false finishes:
- In Smash Comics #5 (Dec 1939), the USA became so well-armed and powerful that all the nations in Europe decide to make peace rather than risk war with America. "The United States could wipe Europe off the map in a year. We must sign the peace pacts offered by their president, and disarm at once."
- In Smash Comics #7 (Feb 1940), after several Axis armadas had failed to fight their way past the "Pan-American Caldwell Line," from Europe to the Western Atlantic, "the dictators capitulate and an armistice is signed in Geneva. World peace is now a reality."
- In Smash Comics #9 (April 1940), upon Motler's death, world peace was declared, and Poland was restored.
- And that's just in Smash Comics. The War was also ended once in National Comics, and twice in Hit Comics.
- The Pan-American Caldwell Line parallels the entire eastern coast of the western hemisphere (per the caption), or at least it lines the Gulf of Mexico, (per the art). At this story's end, these maritime fortifications are still in place.
- Madame La Coquin's gang of torpedo-kamikazes are called the "Death Squadron" in one panel and the "Death Battalion" in the next. Numerically they are much closer to a squad, and by this story's end they no longer exist.
- Black X gets head-konked unconscious. This is his first recorded cranial concussion.
- The story's wrap-up conversation again takes place at Black X's boss's favorite Washington, D.C. restaurant
- In the Quality Universe, the Second World War was marked by several false starts and false finishes:
- Bozo the Iron Man:
- 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.
- The Jarmanian femme fatale Olga is not seen or mentioned after the first half of page 5; presumably she's still at large.
- Holtz is the dictator of Jarmania.
- Captain Cook gets head-konked but not knocked out.
- His villain, "The Voice" is not The Voice, any of them, but is instead a one-off villain.
- It's not clear why, in London, The Voice wanted $100,000 in U.S. currency.
- The unnamed enemy nation in Chic Carter is still unnamed, but the fighter planes have German markings, and the soldiers wear German-style uniforms. No actual swastikas are visible.
- Wings Wendall
- The Bund's insignia, on their banners and armbands, is a swastika with curved arms.
- Army Captain Wendall telephones instructions to an Army Colonel, which is not how these things usually work.
- Wendall obtains a red-and-yellow dive bomber, armed with live bombs, from an airport, at night. How he pulls this off is never explained.
- Also appearing in this issue of Smash Comics were:
- Archie O'Toole: "King Crunch", by Will Eisner
- Small Stuff, by John Devlin
- Philpott Veep: "The Episode of the Malicious Mite", by John Devlin
- Kidding the Kids, art by Arthur Beeman
- "The Master of Mu" (text story) by Robert M. Hyatt
- Sportraits: "Red Dutton", by Gill Fox
- Wun Cloo: "Advertising the Gangsters", by Gill Fox