Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not really so grumpy as all that

This isn't exactly in the Last Shortbox, but it's at probably as old as the oldest comic in there:

This is a lobby card for the 1944 Republic serial Spy Smasher. It may well be an original, since I got it in about 1973 or so, when I was in high school.

I was nutsy for Spy Smasher. I think first read about him in a book called The Great Movie Serials by Jim Harmon and Donald F. Glut, under a section subtitled The Subversives' Dread and with a pretty good photo. I read all about the comics version in The Steranko History of the Comics (Volume 2), which chronicled Spy Smasher's career and his cross-over with Captain Midnight, whose popularity eventually exceeded his. One of the best pieces of my juvenile art was a swipe of that sketch in the lower left corner of the photo. I wrote what would now be called fanfic about Spy Smasher. I learned to translate "Death to Spies in America!" in French class. I even - and I'm not kidding - had "Spy Smasher Lives!" engraved on my high school graduation ring instead of my name. (The guy taking the orders in the auditorium thought I was crazy.)

Spy Smasher never got the comeback I thought he deserved. I understand he made some appearances that I missed, and I guess he even actually appeared in the JLU aimated series once, but it looked like he was more-or-less consigned to the dustbin of comics history.

Which was why I got excited when I heard about this:

A new Spy Smasher! She has the same last name as the original, which bodes well for some sort of flashback, at least. I'm not sure I like that she's a government agent (I usually prefer my mystery men and women to be independent vigilantes) but I like the goofy way she's presenting her I.D. She has a great outfit and she looks pretty tough, too.

So, although I couldn't make it today, I guess I will be off to the LCS tomorrow to pick up Birds of Prey #100. Because sometimes I still wish I could find that ring.

1 comment:

The Fortress Keeper said...

The presence of a new Spy Smasher prompted me to pick up Birds Of Prey again after dropping it awhile back.

I always thought that concept would work well in our new age of paranoia.