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"Newsboy Legion: "Art for Scrapper's Sake"": Dudley Dabb, an artist of the abstract, found a spot in one of Suicide Slum's alleys to sit and paint his latest masterpiece. Too bad he's interrupted by some of the slums own delinquent youths, who toss fruit at him, ruining his concentration. Worse

Quote1.png Too bad I got a cinder in my eye or I'd help him! I can't see a thing! Quote2.png
TNT, his final recorded remark

Star-Spangled Comics #23 is an issue of the series Star-Spangled Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 1943.

Synopsis for Newsboy Legion: "Art for Scrapper's Sake"

Dudley Dabb, an artist of the abstract, found a spot in one of Suicide Slum's alleys to sit and paint his latest masterpiece. Too bad he's interrupted by some of the slums own delinquent youths, who toss fruit at him, ruining his concentration. Worse still, while Dudley chases the bullies down, another kid starts making "improvements" to his painting. Scrapper of the Newsboy Legion catches the vandalizer in the act and stops him the only way he knows how, by slamming him with a hard right hook that sends paint flying every which way! The painting has been completely covered in different colored splotches, which Dudley is more impressed than angered by. So he becomes the first to discover Scrapper's artistic talent, and starts the boy on a path to fame.

Later, Big Words, Tommy, and Gabby ask a million questions when their pal starts bringing paint supplies into their clubhouse. Scrapper suddenly has a sense of refined culture as he spends his time painting random blotchy shapes onto a canvas, while enduring all the playful teasing his friends can muster. Officer Jim Harper, who doesn't really know anything about art, initially sees no problem with Scrapper teaming up with the art dealer, Mr. Sanford Greentree.

All is not as it seems, however, as one night Scrapper overhears Greentree and Dudley talking about him in the office. They were using him, who they call dumb and vain, to trick the rich into buying his worthless paintings so they can live the good life and retire. It was all a scam! Scrapper is heartbroken at being lied to and used as a patsy. Scrapper confronts the two, telling them he's not going to paint for them anymore... but they have other ideas. He is grabbed from behind by a thug, from now on he'll be forced to keep painting while under guard at Dudley's private studio. The public will just be told that he's "gone into isolation." When the headlines reach the Newsboys' clubhouse the next day, none of them really believe that Scrapper would hide from the spotlight. There had to be something wrong. They convince Jim Harper to go down to the art gallery and see if his cop senses notice anything amiss.

The pictures on display still don't make much sense to Jim, until he notices a new one that isn't just a bunch of random splats like the others. It was painted by Scrapper, of a boy sleeping under a green tree. It doesn't take Jim long to get the hidden meaning behind it, which is that Scrapper was in trouble! Soon, he takes up the shield of the Guardian as he rushes to search the home of Sanford Greentree. At the same time, Tommy, Gabby, and Big Words decide to follow the art dealer and Dudley, the artist, to see if they'll lead them to wherever Scrapper is holing up. The Newsboys trail them all the way to Dudley's studio, but they end up walking right into a trap! Armed thugs surround the boys while Scrapper, held off to the side, watches helplessly. Greentree tells them they were going to be "liquidated", and Scrapper as well, since it was too much trouble keeping him around anymore. Dudley could keep painting pictures and just sign Scrapper's name on them.

It's right here that the Guardian crashes in through the skylight! The Newsboys take advantage of the thugs surprise to slip out of their grip. They help the Guardian fight, throwing punches and squirting tubes of paint in the thugs' faces. Dudley Dabb has had enough, he surrenders to the Guardian and confesses how he and Mr. Greentree would fool folks who didn't know a lot about art into spending loads of money on worthless paintings. Once the fighting is over, the Guardian tells Scrapper he figured out his message through the painting of a boy sleeping under a green tree, or when looked at a different way, a kidnapping by Greentree. Pretty clever of him.

Things are back to normal at the ol' Newsboy Legion clubhouse. Scrapper is being made fun of by his pals, at least until he shows them he was given a thousand bucks for his "worthless art".

Appearing in Newsboy Legion: "Art for Scrapper's Sake"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Dudley Dabb (Single appearance)
  • Sanford Greentree (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Butch (Single appearance)
  • Spike (Single appearance)
  • Beefy (Single appearance)
  • Mr. Roy (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:


Synopsis for Star-Spangled Kid: "Sweet Land of Liberty"

Young Adolph Berlin, a boy found on a Nazi U-Boat captured by the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, has fallen heavily into Nazism. Rather than make him a prisoner of war like the others, the Star-Spangled Kid volunteers Adolph to be rehabilitated instead, by showing him the American way of life. To that effect, who better to teach him than two of the best patriots the country has to offer, Sylvester Pemberton and Pat Dugan. Adolph is none too happy about the idea, but still he finds himself going along to a summer camp where Sylvester is acting as counselor.

Sylvester and Pat find Adolph to be a tougher case than they thought, with his Nazi sentiments, such as cheating at sports to "win no matter what", or wanting his bunkmates to hail him as the superior race. Sylvester negotiates with the camp director to give Adolph one more chance, they'll take him on a hike with some of the other campers, and if they can't get through to him after that, he'll be kicked from camp. The following morning, just before the hike begins, the director warns Sylvester and Pat that he received word about some escaped Nazi prisoners who may be lurking in the area. The hike commences, Adolph continues spouting off about Nazi superiority throughout, while forcing his fellow campers to carry his gear for him. Pat was about ready to wallop the kid, if not for Sylvester reminding him it wouldn't do any good. Besides, they were about to have a bigger problem. A torn piece of fabric is found by Pat in the brambles on the side of the path, with prison markings adorning it, meaning the Nazi prisoners had gone up the same path they were on now. Sylvester stops the hike under the pretense of setting down camp for the day.

Once all the kids are asleep, their mild-mannered counselors suddenly switch out their clothes, becoming the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy. They follow a faint trail through the forest. Soon, it leads them to a campfire, where two Nazis are taking shelter in a small cave with a few rations they scrounged up. In what might be called a frontal assault in war terms, Sylvester and Stripesy rush the surprised Nazis, tackling and knocking them over. One open can of soup splashed in the face of one angry Nazi, while Pat crouches behind the other so the Kid can push him over. By accident, the Nazi's boot kicks up some hot ash from the fire, blinding the American avenging duo and giving the Nazis a sudden opportunity to run away. It takes precious moments for their eyes to clear, another hour still before they find their way back to the campsite, that has been deserted with signs of a struggle, and a message left behind from the Nazis. If they wanted the children back safe and unharmed, they needed to bring food and supplies to an open field a mile from their current position.

The campers are being forced to walk at gunpoint, though young Adolph seems to be the only one enjoying himself, thinking he would finally get to escape back to Germany. He offers to help keep watch over the others for his Third Reich comrades while they go collect the supplies. However, doubts begin to form in Adolph's mind; he must obey orders, but the Führer has also said to help your friends, and while his bunkmates were not part of the "noble" Nazi regime, they have been kind to him even though he treated them poorly. While the boy was having a crisis of conscience, the Nazis find the supplies left in a bag for them right at the drop-off spot, with no Star-Spangled Kid or Stripesy nearby to block their retreat. What they don't realize is that the Star-Spangled Kid rigged some honey inside so that it would leak out, attracting ants that make a trail.

The Nazis return to where Adolph, despite his hesitancy on the issue, has kept a close eye on his bunkmates. Now that they had the supplies, they tell their young comrade it was time to execute the prisoners. Adolph is taken aback by this decision! After all, they promised to let the kids go after the supplies were given. But a Nazi never keeps his word to a lesser race. Adolph suddenly lunges, rallying his fellow kids to fight with him against the cowardly men he once idolized. From out of the woods come the flag-bound heroes, showing up just in the nick of time to lend a hand and finish off Hitler's finest. After the fighting's done, it seems a change has come over Adolph, now that his eyes have been opened to the wretchedness of the Nazi values.

When everyone returns to the campground, they return with a new American citizen, Adolph Berlin, who plans to change his name to "George Washington Abraham Lincoln Franklin Delano Roosevelt Berlin".

Appearing in Star-Spangled Kid: "Sweet Land of Liberty"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Adolf Berlin (Single appearance)

Antagonists:

  • Nazis
    • Hans (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

Locations:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for Penniless Palmer: "Too Many Sleuths"

Palmer, Oxie, and Bunny are hired by Mrs. Muchcush to attend a party and make sure the diamond she's giving to her granddaughter goes to the right person. Unfortunately their invitation is lost by the messenger, and while Oxie is parking, his car is taken as scrap for the Army, even as he argues with the junk collector. While Pen and Oxie get kicked out as party crashers, Bunny is able to slip in as the "plus one" of another guest. While her erstwhile boss and his assistant slip in the back door as waiters, Bunny sees that the "doormen" that kicked them out are impersonating them. Palmer quickly chases down the impersonators and retrieves the diamond that the men stole.

Appearing in Penniless Palmer: "Too Many Sleuths"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Duke Denton (Single appearance)
  • Jack (Single appearance)
  • Hefty (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Mrs. Muchcush (Single appearance)
  • Parker (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:

  • Faith Diamond

Synopsis for Liberty Belle: "An American Joan of Arc"

An American Destroyer heads a convoy of supply ships to the North African war zone. On deck with the ship's captain, journalist and radio reporter Libby Lawrence rides along too, hoping to cover the day to day plight of the American fighting soldiers. The hull is struck by a torpedo fired by a Nazi U-Boat! As everyone aboard races for the life boats, Libby ducks into an empty cabin to change into her Liberty Belle attire. She then dives overboard as the sub rises to the surface, the Nazis preparing to finish off the crippled Destroyer with the deck gun. Fortunately, Liberty Belle climbs aboard before a shot gets fired, using her hand-to-hand skills to drop the Nazis over the side, where they get picked up as POWs by the crew of the supply ships. Liberty jumps into the water before the destroyer sinks the U-Boat with an artillery shell of its own. Her dive doesn't quite save her though, the explosion gives her a concussion, and it is only because she's just able to entangle her arm in a floating life jacket that she doesn't drown, as Libby drifts into unconsciousness.

On an African coast, Nazi soldiers make plans for attacking the American troops they have surrounded in the middle of the jungle. Tonight they will launch a final attack, knowing that after a week of no food or water, the Americans would be too weak to fight back. Farther back in the jungle, the small American patrol were sitting in the trenches, waiting, their captain knew this might be their last stand and offers them a chance to leave, to see how far they can get, but all the men are willing to die before surrendering to the Nazis. One among them was a veteran of the first World War, he offers some words of hope by saying that many battles have been won when the men fighting them refuse to admit defeat. He tells them of a time in 1917, when the French regiment was trapped behind enemy lines. One night, tired and with their morale low, the French soldiers saw a vision of Joan of Arc coming to lead them, which inspired them to fight their way straight through the German forces, and to keep going until they've beaten the enemy. A story too looney to believe, but perhaps a miracle will save them yet.

A Nazi sentry discovers the body of a woman lying on the beach. After seeing that she's still alive, he and a comrade carry her back to the camp where the Nazi captain recognizes her uniform. Liberty Belle. They can keep her prisoner in the medical tent until she recovers, then send her back to Berlin for their leader to gloat about. Libby regains consciousness as a Nazi officer was chatting about the attacking force, and she knew she had to help the American soldiers! Grabbing the guard in front of her in a sleep hold until he passes out, Liberty Belle then makes her way to the ammunition storehouse. She lights a slow fuse on the explosives, so that it'll go off at the most opportune moment.

The cramped trenches of the American troops gets a welcome visitor as Liberty Belle appears, just like the miracle vision of Joan of Arc. As she gives them a speech about courage in the face of impossible odds, the men find their own lingering doubts about the winnability of this situation fade. An explosion sounds from the Nazi camp, their storehouse is destroyed, now was the time to charge forward and take their base for America! The Nazis are confused when the explosion goes off, who was attacking their camp? Did the Americans sneak past them somehow? With their unit disoriented, the Nazis aren't fully ready when the Americans rush them from the jungle! Led by Liberty Belle, America's small batch of fighting men manage to occupy the Nazis basecamp in a matter of minutes. They will survive another day, as one of them finds a radio to contact headquarters, and there were enough rations and supplies to keep them going until they can call for reinforcements. Only now do they notice, Liberty Belle, the heroine who saved them by giving them hope, had gone without a word.

Two days later, a radio broadcast from Africa to America, given by Libby Lawrence, reports on the events of that day. She tells how, according to witnesses, Liberty Belle fought with the American patrol against the Nazis. At a military base in New York City, Rick Cannon gets excited that both Libby Lawrence and Liberty Belle were in Africa, as he was going to travel there to investigate a spy ring.

Appearing in Liberty Belle: "An American Joan of Arc"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Synopsis for TNT and Dyna-Mite: "The Clumsy Criminals"

Charlie and his gang of crooks were really bad at committing crimes. They either drop the money during the getaway, or grab the fake diamonds and leave the real ones behind. Their clumsiness is always their undoing, to the point where they consider just going straight and getting honest jobs. Just as they're deciding to quit crime for good, a visitor comes to their hideout with a proposition. Mr. Heyler promises to pay them whether or not they complete the job, and even if they somehow destroy the stolen goods, he'll pay them what it was worth. How could they refuse this strange offer?

The next day, Tex Thomas and Danny Dunbar were taking a peaceful walk down the city streets, when a stolen gas truck speeds past them. Well, so much for peaceful, Tex and Danny make contact with their Dyna-Rings, then out of the explosion comes TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite! They borrow an electric car which they power with their own energy, and give chase to the crooks in the truck. The driver notices they're being pursued, so Charlie tells him to let them out and then keep driving. They hijack an ice cream truck to drive it in front of TNT and Dan, blocking them. The one nicknamed "thumbs" fires a shot at the duo, missing as usual, although this time his bullet does do some damage... a hole in the large tank of the gas truck, creating a leaking trail of gasoline. When TNT punches Thumbs, he fires another stray shot into his buddy's leg. The injured crook is left behind when the others flee. Meanwhile, the driver in the truck thinks he's smart by tossing his cigarette out the window so it wouldn't cause an explosion, not realizing that it lights the trail of gas on fire! TNT has to quickly haul packs of dry ice out of the ice cream truck and toss them at the fire, creating a small explosion of carbon dioxide gas which smothers the flame. The driver flees when he hears the boom, leaving the truck behind. The injured man mentions a sugar refinery, tipping TNT and Dan off to the crooks next stop.

That night, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite lie in wait at the refinery. It seems odd to steal sugar, as it's value wouldn't be worth the risk involved. Charlie and his clumsy gang arrive, to be met by the exploding duo head on. One gets an electrified handshake for his trouble, as his boss gets his suit caught on a valve during his getaway, which opens a spout above TNT and Dyna-Mite releasing gallons of molasses upon their heads. It takes a few moments to recover from the sticky situation, giving the crooks time to depart.

Back at the hideout, Heyler isn't pleased. It seems the Charlie and his clumsy gang can't even bungle a job correctly, they didn't destroy the sugar before they left, and the gas truck was left undamaged as well! Added to the list, they managed to lead TNT and Dan Dyna-Mite right back to him. At the sight of the heroic pair, most of the hoodlums give up without a fight. It only takes one zap of electrical energy from TNT's hand to convince Heyler to surrender, too. A quick search of the captives' pockets reveals that Heyler was actually a saboteur working for the Nazis. That's why he was so adamant about the gang breaking, destroying, and causing accidental chaos near rationed goods, to weaken the Allied forces. Charlie doesn't like being used by one of Hitler scoundrels, so he and the rest of the boys gang up on Mr. Heyler. TNT would love to help Heyler out, but he had a cinder in his eye and couldn't see a thing.

Appearing in TNT and Dyna-Mite: "The Clumsy Criminals"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Mr. Heyler (Single appearance)
  • Clumsy Charlie and his gang (Single appearance)
    • Lefty (Single appearance)
    • Thumbs (Single appearance)
    • Sam (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis for Robotman: "The Vanishing Vandals"

A robbery occurs in an office building, the thieves grab everything out of the safe and make their getaway. This isn't the first time they've struck, even Robotman was on their trail, but every time the police close in on the criminals, the crooks run into a room and then... disappear. As their crimes were all committed several stories up, it was too high a drop for them to have leapt out the windows, and the ledges were always too thin for anyone to slink across. Given their M.O., Robotman deduces the next target would be the penthouse terrace of Gerry Anderson, rich entrepreneur, who always carried loads of cash. Dressing up in his Paul Dennis disguise, Robotman rents an apartment next to Gerry's and waits for the robbers to strike.

Loud music, plus the sound of many people dancing and singing can be heard through the thin walls between apartments. Mr. Henderson must be having a party. After an hour of mind-numbing noise on Robotman's side, the music suddenly goes dead, and new voices are heard with a tough edge to them. The robbers have arrived! The man of metal bursts in to find the crooks, looking a little husky under their suits, holding Gerry Anderson and his guests up at gunpoint. They flee into the bedroom as soon as Robotman approaches, he watches them take a leap out the window, apparently to certain death! But there was no sign of them when he glances down, no bodies, surely they couldn't have just vanished. One of the bandits has stayed behind, though, sneaking up behind Robotman and shoving him out the window! A fall from this height would shatter his steel body, his only hope was to grab hold of an awning, it couldn't support his weight but it at least breaks his fall. They will still be looking for him though, so some trickery is necessary. Robotman takes a load of scrap from a nearby pile and spreads it around on the street, then finds a place to hide nearby to see if his plan works. The sight that he beholds is almost too fantastic, the crooks glide down on wings attached to their bodies by straps. That's why they looked so bulky, they were hiding the wings beneath their clothes every time they struck. The flying crooks think the pile of scrap is Robotman, and leave satisfied. Since they failed this attempt, they're likely to try Anderson again tomorrow, and next time Robotman will be ready.

The same thing again, another late evening party, another visit from the crooks. Robotman chases them out again, only this time he has a surprise prepared for them. When they try to glide down out the window, the bandits get caught in a net stretched out beneath them! They get wrapped up nice and tight, a perfect package for the police to pick up.

Appearing in Robotman: "The Vanishing Vandals"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Eagle (Single appearance)
  • Baldy (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Gerry Henderson (Single appearance)

Locations:

Notes

  • Liberty Belle is rendered semi-conscious by the blast from an exploding cannon shell, while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. This might be her first concussion. The same gunfire destroys a surfaced U-boat.
  • Last issue for TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite.
    • This issue's episode of TNT and Dan, like all episodes of this series, takes place before April 26th, 1942, the date of Tex Thomas' death.[1]
    • TNT and Dan each blow up one last set of street clothes in this adventure.
  • Also appearing in this issue of Star-Spangled Comics were:
    • "Good Books Worth Reading" (text article) by Josette Frank
    • Superman's Secret Message (Code Venus No. 2)

Trivia

  • The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy created special "maneuvers". These moves are mostly illegal for anyone who isn't a costumed crimefighter to use.
    • "Maneuver JG-52": Similar to Maneuver U-59, Stripesy spins the Star Spangled Kid by his hands, kicking any nearby baddies.


See Also


Links and References

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