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"Newsboy Legion: "Turn on the Heat"": The fire department is short on staff, so Officer Jim Harper takes his charges, the Newsboy Legion, to volunteer as junior firemen. Right after they sign up, the alarm sounds. Fire trucks speed towards the source, with Jim and the kids right behind. It tu

Star-Spangled Comics #27 is an issue of the series Star-Spangled Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 1943.

Synopsis for Newsboy Legion: "Turn on the Heat"

The fire department is short on staff, so Officer Jim Harper takes his charges, the Newsboy Legion, to volunteer as junior firemen. Right after they sign up, the alarm sounds. Fire trucks speed towards the source, with Jim and the kids right behind. It turns out to be a false alarm from an old uninhabited tenement building. But the question remains, who set it off? The firefighters think it could be the mysterious firebug they've been after. Officer Harper and Big Words both have the same thought, that a building this old would be a tempting target for a fire starter. Gabby, Tommy, and Scrapper argue over getting their own fire engine. Tommy tries to tell them that they're hard to come by, the only one he knew of was a 19th century engine sitting in the Museum. On the scene, Slappy Frolin was wringing his hat at the sight, relieved that his childhood home wasn't going to burn. A private detective also stood by, Clinker, watching the Newsboy Legion with disdain. In his mind, kids couldn't be trusted.

That night, Big Words sneaks out of the clubhouse with a matchbook while his friends slept. He wants to investigate the tenement more thoroughly, using the matches to provide some light, and look for clues. But he doesn't notice Gabby, who was woken up by the sound of a creaking board, following behind him with some matches of his own. Neither of them realizing that Scrapper and Tommy also wake up, and after a change into their clothes and donning their fire helmets, they too follow behind.

As Big Words heads around the back of the building, he notices Jim Harper leaving the scene. The boy took Harper's departure as a sign to hurry. Unfortunately, though he looked top to bottom inside the tenement, he had no luck and ended up leaving empty-handed. Gabby's been watching the whole time from behind cover. Then, Scrapper and Tommy see Gabby come back out front with a box of matches in his hand, thinking their pal had gone to start a fire.

Big Words didn't notice a device, a small timer hidden under a pile of oil-soaked rags, ticking down to zero. A sudden burst of flame surprises the boys, as they watch the whole building catch ablaze! This is their big chance to be real firemen! Tommy leads a confused Scrapper into the city museum, where the 1860's fire engine was on display. They roll it out together, down the museum steps and onto the street, headed back towards the fire. Soon, Gabby and Big Words both run over to help. Together, they wheel the old engine next to the tenement and begin prepping the equipment. Private Detective Clinker and Slappy Frolin both rush to the scene, accusing the Newsboys of starting the fire! Right now, though, they don't even have time to deny it, so Scrapper and Big Words quickly deliver a one-two punch that temporarily puts the two interlopers in a daze. Big Words head into the tenement again to assess the situation, while Gabby helps Tommy with the hose. But it appears time has taken its toll on the old fire truck, as there were holes in the hose, rendering it useless. However, what Big Words finds lying on the floor of the tenement might make up for it. Frolin's cap, the same he was wearing on the scene of the false alarm. He takes it outside to show the others, who think its evidence enough that Slappy was behind the fire! The man in question pulls a gun on the boys, having overheard everything, and forces them to go along with him. Big Words casually draws on the ground with his foot before they leave.

The glow of the fire lights up the horizon, alerting Jim Harper from his apartment. He dons the outfit of the Guardian and races to the scene! Clinker lay in a daze on the ground when the Guardian finds him. The detective blames the fire on the kids, or possibly their guardian Jim Harper, since he saw both go into the building earlier. But the Guardian is distracted by two circles drawn on the ground.

Slappy Frolin brought the Newsboys back to his hideout, where the rest of his mob waited. They tie the kids up to a wooden post and start pouring gasoline all over the floor. This way, the cops'll think the Newsboy Legion was responsible for all the fires until they finally got caught in one. Except their plan hits a snag when the Guardian busts down the door! Using his shield to block bullets, he knocks the members of Slappy's mob around while the fire consumes the room around him. A gun, held by Clinker who just arrived, points at the Guardian. Turns out he's been hiring the Frolin mob to set the fires so he can then collect the insurance money. A stray bullet hits the rope that binds the boys and they're able to break free. Clinker is tackled! To the Newsboys shock, the Guardian tosses Clinker and Slappy's unconscious bodies out the window, when they were ten stories up. To escape the fire, he does the same to them! What they didn't know was that the Fire Department had already arrived and prepared a safety net for them to land in.

The Guardian splits to change to Jim Harper again before the kids get suspicious again.

When Officer Harper does show up, Big Words confesses that when he saw the glint in his eye back at the false alarm, he was afraid Jim was thinking of starting a fire. Seeing him exit the tenement that night only confirmed it and Big Words only went inside to remove any fire-starting device he thought Jim had placed, so he wouldn't get in trouble. Of course, Gabby thought that Big Words had gone in to start a fire. Jim replies that the look in his eye was from suspecting Slappy's story. He had only moved to the city five years ago, so the old tenement couldn't possibly have been his childhood home. But he could have called the alarm in to make the firemen use their axes to bust down the door so he could enter later. He didn't even suspect Clinker until he saw the Double-O. Scrapper pulls a Gotcha! on Harper. The Guardian was the one who saved them, so Jim had to be the costumed hero to know the two circles Big Words drew were leading to the Double-O Warehouse. But Jim wasn't finished... he says it was until he saw the Double-O Warehouse on fire. He chuckles and walks away, leaving Scrapper frustrated.

Appearing in Newsboy Legion: "Turn on the Heat"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Detective Clinker (Single appearance)
  • Slappy Frolin (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

  • Fire Trucks


Synopsis for Star-Spangled Kid: "Patron of Plunder"

A blast from under the city street causes a watermain to burst. A dastardly man climbs out of a manhole to join his fellow miscreants above; a mob led by Professor Lorenz, who's wanted in six countries. While a crowd started forming around the gushing water pipe, Lorenz's gang sneak into the tobacco shop down the block. There was always some gold, silver, and diamond pipes on display, that would make a nice score for the black market.
By sheer coincidence, Sylvester Pemberton and Pat Dugan were amidst the crowd outside. They notice a familiar face standing by the Cigar Shop down the street, frequent jail bird "Slugger" Malone, acting suspicious. When they sprint towards him, he ducks into the shop. Sly and Pat switch to the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy before going inside. There, they walk in on Lorenz and the gang just as they were looting the valuable pipes. The duo spring into action! Sly punches one of the mobsters in the face, while Stripesy tosses a cigar box at a crook's head! But Lorenz spent years using clever ways to escape the law. grabs a switch and turns on a fan sitting on the shelf near some snuff. It clogs the air, blinding Sly and Stripesy and giving the mob a chance to make their escape.

Weeks pass with no sign of Lorenz or his gang. Sylvester and Pat train with boxing gloves to keep themselves in fighting shape. Then, one night the Pemberton's have guests, the Van Westering's, over for dinner. A bit of gossip between his father and Mr. Van Westering catches Sly's attention. Recently, large withdrawals were being made at the banks they owned. After dinner, Sly visits Pat in his room to tell him they're going to check on Mrs. Windermeer, a wealthy widow, tomorrow morning. She just withdrew her account from the bank, and it might be worth looking into why.

The next day, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy drive their Star-Rocket Racer to the old widow's house in time to see her leave. They follow her in secret, until she drives up to a country estate. Out in the field, Sly and Pat spy a set-up of wealthy socialites from his father's bank, in artist gowns with a paint palette, attempting to create their own fine art on a canvas. The men who were teaching them looked familiar as well, Sylvester recognized them as the goons from Lorenz's gang! They watch as the mobsters go into the house for a "faculty meeting". Professor Lorenz was there, relaxing behind a desk, as his men gloat over how easy it was to con the rich folk. The art school, which they founded using the proceeds gained from the pipe heist, charged a high tuition fee, as well as hosting a phony special fund which their students believed would help the "underprivileged artists". Lorenz is talking about increasing the tuition fee, when the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy smash through the window! While his men are being pounded, Lorenz dashes into the next room where a trap was waiting for the heroic duo. They blitz right into, getting knocked on the head with the butts of his boys' guns. The mob ties the Kid and Stripesy up and, on the Professor's orders, hauls them out to the hills behind the house, where there was an old mineshaft elevator. They place the duo inside, and Lorenz places a few drops of slow-working acid on the ropes that'll soon eat it through and drop them a thousand feet to their deaths. The gang heads back to the house to scheme up new ways to get more money out of their students. At first, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy have trouble squeezing out of their tight bindings. But then Sly gets the idea to use the acid on the rope to burn through the cords. He stands up and rubs his cord on the burning part of the rope until his hands are free! Right before the rope snaps and the elevator crashes down, he manages to free Pat, and the two are left dangling on the now broken rope. After they pull themselves up, it's back to the farmhouse for one more conference with the Professor!
The gang gets a surprise when the star-spangled duo run towards them. Are they ghosts come to haunt them? A solid knuckle to the face answers that question. Stripesy slams a painting canvas over the head of another mobster, and soon only Lorenz is left. He tries to flee, but the Kid tackles him and delivers a sock to the jaw!

Once the police have taken Lorenz and his gang into custody, the wealthy former art students feel dejected. They were told their art was spectacular, but it was all a con! What are they supposed to do now? The Star-Spangled Kid makes a suggestion; they can still have fun by volunteering to help in the war effort here on the home front.

Appearing in Star-Spangled Kid: "Patron of Plunder"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Professor Lorenz (Single appearance)
  • "Slugger" Malone (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Mr. Van Westering (Single appearance)
  • Mrs. Van Westering (Single appearance)
  • Mrs. Windermeer (Single appearance)

Locations:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for Super-Sleuth McFooey: "Dastard Lee"

The D.A. gives McFooey a case that involves a strange bank robbery. One of the tellers, a Mr. Dastard Lee, took $25,000 out of the bank and never returned. The police couldn't convict him because they couldn't find the cash he stole. No evidence means no trial. The Super Sleuth agrees to investigate, starting by doing some background profiling on the suspect. Dastard Lee went from being a humble bricklayer, to an architect, until finally becoming a bank teller. One day, after five years of working with the bank, he went to Lilac Valley and built himself a nice brick bungalow.
McFooey suddenly believes he solved the case! He hurries down to the address where Dastard Lee buil his house and forces him out at gunpoint! Using a hod to hold them, McFooey removes some bricks from the side of Dastard Lee's house, counting them out as he goes.

Back in the District Attorney's office, McFooey shows the D.A. that each brick is hollowed out and filled with gold from the bank. The almost-perfect hiding place.

Appearing in Super-Sleuth McFooey: "Dastard Lee"

Featured Characters:

  • Super Sleuth McFooey

Supporting Characters:

  • The District Attorney

Antagonists:

  • Dastard Lee (Single appearance)

Locations:

Vehicles:

  • McFooey's Bicycle

Synopsis for Penniless Palmer: "The Case of the Moaning Mummy"

Pen, Oxie, and Bunny find themselves in the Metropolis Museum after a potential client called, asking to meet them in his office near the Egyptian wing. As the trio pass one of the exhibit halls, they hear a ghastly moan coming from within. Pen drags his spooked friends along to investigate but finds nothing. Probably just the wind blowing through a crack...
Pen, Bunny, and Oxie enter the office and meet Professor Homer Fossal, their client. He tells them his life is in danger; recently, he and his two colleagues uncovered the tomb of ancient Egypt's King Hut-A-Tuminum, which was dismantled and then shipped over and reassembled at the museum. He shows them an inscription found over the entrance that warned trespassers to beware the last day of Simanu, which was the third month on the Egyptian calendar. In other words, today. The other two who discovered the tomb have already disappeared. Fossal wants Penniless to protect him. If he makes it until morning, he'll reward them handsomely. Music to their ears! Oxie thinks he finds a tray of food covered by a napkin, but to his dismay, the Professor already ate the last of it.

Fossal leads them to the King Hut exhibit, which happened to be the same place where the moan from earlier had come from. Before they continue on, Pen borrows a cigarette. Every time he smokes, he dabs the ash onto the floor. There wasn't anything suspicious to note, so the professor escorts them back to his office. But Bunny gets accidentally left behind, she was studying the hieroglyphs on the wall, wondering what the symbols meant. From behind her comes a moan just as terrifying as the one from earlier. Out of the sarcophagus walks the mummy of King Hut himself, alive and reaching for her! Her screams bring Pen and Oxie rushing back to the now-empty room. Bunny had vanished, just like the Professor's colleagues. Something on the ground catches Pen's eye, and Oxie watches as he suddenly pushes against a section of the wall to open a secret passage! It was the ashes from the cigarette that revealed it to him, showing footprints which led into the wall. He, Oxie, and Professor Fossal walked down a steep flight of stairs. A broken step near the bottom trips Pen and Oxie up but does them no harm. At the bottom, they find Bunny and the two missing Professors tied up and gagged. After freeing them, Pen turns to Fossal to ask him some questions. But the Professor suddenly drops the whole act and calls for some goons, who appear from the next room, to attack them! Pen kicks one in the groin, while the others are no match against Oxie's brute strength. Fossal gets knocked to the ground as the diminutive detective puts it all on the table; Fossal had used the inscription on the tomb to cover up his own dirty work, and hiring Pen to "protect" him as an alibi to clear him of suspicion. What tipped him off? The fact that there was an empty tray of food in his office, showed that the Professor wasn't as afraid as he claimed, or he'd have no appetite. Also the broken step that he had managed to easily avoid, unlike Pen and Oxie, meant he'd been down here before. Fossal confesses that he knew there were diamonds lining he royal sarcophagus, and he needed to get rid of the other professors first so he could steal it.

The case was solved, but with Fossal himself being the culprit, it meant there would be no reward. The other professors do offer the trio something, however... a copy of their new book.

Appearing in Penniless Palmer: "The Case of the Moaning Mummy"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Homer Fossal (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Professor Smuthers (Single appearance)
  • King Hut-a-Tuminum (Deceased)

Locations:

Synopsis for Liberty Bell: "The Haunted Emblem"

Libby Lawrence was on stage giving a patriotic speech. It's night by the time she wraps it up. Rick Cannon was supposed to pick her up, but she doesn't see is car around, so Libby opts to walk home instead. A pair of muggers waiting for a mark notice her walking by and pull out their guns. Libby isn't foolish enough to risk having a gun blow her head off, so she cooperates with them, and hands over her purse. It's only when the men grab her miniature liberty bell emblem that she starts to fight back! A whack on the head with one of the thug's gun butts puts her out cold! When she wakes up she discovers that her emblem - the object that responds to the same tone vibrations as the real liberty bell - was gone! Meaning she can't be alerted when her alter-ego is needed. She hastens to her hotel room to change, becoming the American heroine Liberty Belle.

Meanwhile, Rick's reason for not showing up is because he's currently in a meeting with his Colonel. Military intelligence uncovered a gang of Nazi saboteurs had disguised themselves as common crooks and were hiding somewhere in the criminal underworld. Rick requests permission to call Liberty Belle for help, which the Colonel grants.
The phone at Independence Hall is answered by Tom Revere. It was Rick, who tells him Liberty Belle was needed again. Tom walks over to the old bell and lightly strokes its surface, creating faint vibrations. Across the country, those vibrations reach Libby's bell emblem, though unfortunately it's currently in the hands of the muggers. When it begins vibrating and emitting a soft ring, they think it's haunted, drop it, and run away in fright. On the rooftops, Liberty Belle spots the fleeing thugs. She drops down in their path and before they can pull out their guns, she knocks them both to the ground. Before the cops take them away, Libby gets one of the thugs to tell her that they dropped her miniature emblem in an alley. But when she goes to retrieve it, it's nowhere to be found.

Earlier, when the muggers fled, they woke up a sleeping vagrant who picks up the bell. Feeling hopeless and depressed about his current bad luck in life, he carries the bell with him toward the bridge. At that exact moment, old Tom back in Independence Hall, confused as to why Liberty Belle hadn't responded yet, tries rubbing the liberty bell once more. The down-on-his-luck drifter gets a shock when the tiny bell started ringing. He recalled the days of old when the Liberty Bell's ring created new hope in the hearts of those that heard it. Perhaps he could still make something of himself! But first he'd need money for a shave and a meal, so he takes the miniature bell to a pawn shop and gets five dollars for it. Just enough to get him started on his new life.

The bell is placed in the window display, where it's seen by one of the disguised Nazis, Herr Otto Krantz, who happened to be passing by. Wearing a liberty bell replica on his lapel would add to his disguise as a regular, patriotic American, so Otto purchases it. His next stop is the Federal Building, where high government officials come and go at all hours during wartime. Krantz inconspicuously leaves his briefcase by one of the pillars and prepares to leave, when something unexpected happened; the bell on his label began ringing, getting the attention of two guards. They notice the briefcase against the pillar and, thinking he simply forgot it, remind Krantz to take it with him. Otto feigns absent-mindedness and thanks the guards, while nearly letting his German accent slip out. Outside, he knew he had to get rid of the briefcase because it contained a bomb that was set to go off. But no matter where he went, police officers seemed to be everywhere. The plan to blow up the Federal Building was aborted, all because of the ringing of a bell. Finally, he tosses it into an alley and runs off. It's just dumb luck that it was the same alley where Liberty Belle was currently searching. She catches the case and peers inside, finding the timer and explosives. The man running away was the culprit, so she followed him from the rooftops to see where he goes. Otto returns to the underground cellar where his coconspirators were headquartered. The man he identifies as Baron berates him for failing the mission. Liberty Belle then crashes in through the cellar's window, still holding the bomb briefcase. The Nazi's pull their guns, but the Baron orders them to halt. If one of the bullets hit the case, they'll all be blown up!

Rick Cannon is nervous, pacing the office as his worries grow. Liberty Belle has never failed to answer a call before... what if something terrible has happened to her? His fears were allayed when she suddenly walks through the door, and with a cadre of Nazi prisoners. She hands over the briefcase to the military Colonel, having disarmed the bomb inside with a hairpin.

Appearing in Liberty Bell: "The Haunted Emblem"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Muggers (Unnamed) (Single appearance)
  • Nazi Saboteurs
    • Otto Krantz (as Art Crandall) (Single appearance)
    • The Baron (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Colonel

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis for Robotman: "The Dude Cowboys"

In his human "Paul Dennis" disguise, Robotman visits the Dangerfield Dude Ranch, located near the base of the Rocky Mountains. His primary reason for the trip was to learn more about Mr. Dangerfield's breeding experiments. He looks around, noticing a small horse that was said to have surprising stamina despite its size. There were two other visitors staying at the ranch as well, Tom Farrell and Ruth Adams.

A forest fire in the distance gives Paul a chance to take off his disguise and act as Robotman. He joins a group of foresters attempting to create a clearing in the trees that the flames can't cross. The metal hero helps out by lifting the trees out of the ground, roots and all. The gap is soon finished, but now there was a new problem. The animals that were burned out of their homes are now running towards the ranch in a dangerous panic! When Robotman gets back to the ranch, he's able to calm the creatures enough to send them in a different direction. But Ruth was hurt by a stray heavy branch, leaving her lying on the ground unconscious. Tom rides off to fetch a doctor, but his poor riding skills don't get him very far. After he's bucked off, Robotman helps by carrying the horse and rider part of the way to the hospital. When they reach a ravine, the man of metal creates a bridge by stripping down a tree into long planks. Tom is starting to rouse at this point so, after crossing the makeshift bridge, he lets the young man ride the rest of the way on his own.

Much later, Tom returns with a doctor and Ruth soon recovers. The doctor says she's lucky Tom rode out to find him and bring him back, any later and she'd be a goner. Ruth is touched by Tom's act of heroism towards her and rewards him with a kiss. The doctor wonders, though, how could Tom have built the bridge over the ravine if he was in such a hurry? Could it have been Robotman's doing? These questions linger in his mind as he rides on home, leaving the loving couple behind. Paul Dennis reappears just as things go back to normal. Ruth and Tom ask if he was hiding from the danger this whole time, to which he responds he's just a scientist, not a hero like Robotman.

Appearing in Robotman: "The Dude Cowboys"

Featured Characters:

Other Characters:

  • Doctor Lear (Single appearance)
  • Mr. Dangerfield (Single appearance)
  • Tom Farrell (Single appearance)
  • Ruth Adams (Single appearance)
  • Bill Langer (Single appearance)

Locations:

Notes

Also in this issue:

    • "Buddy", a one-page humor strip.
    • "Fighter Pilot", a text story written by Ray Perry.
    • "Pix Puzzles", by Jack Farr.



See Also


Links and References

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