Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In Which You Learn More about a Forgotten Team of Villains than You Ever Wanted to Know!

The cover to Master Comics #17 employed a rarely-used technique:

On the one hand, you'd think that having some panels highlighting the interior action might intrigue a kid flipping through the wire racks looking for something good.  Still, it's rarely been done over the ages and that's probably because the one big eye-catching picture on the cover is more effective.  I certainly prefer to have a big picture.  That was the thing about LP's... the big album cover.  Nowdays, everything's digital so they barely bother with cover artwork at all anymore.  Stupid kids... stay off my lawn!

Anyway, Bulletman was tasked with fighting "The Unholy Three," which is actually the name of a novel written by Clarence Aaron "Tod" Robbins.  The novel was made into a silent movie in 1925 with acting legend Lon Chaney.  It was then remade only five years later as a "talkie," also with Lon Chaney.  And, fun fact: It was Lon Chaney's last film and the only one where you can hear him speak!


What?  Oh, yes.... I suppose you'll be there too, Bulletgirl.  If you simply MUST.

The Unholy Three consisted of a little person, an ape, and a strongman.  Guess which one Bulletgirl chose to fight:

But when faced with a physically equal opponent:

Yup.  It's all "Jim!  Save me!"

Seriously, are we just going to say our real names in front of every bad guy we meet?

I guess we are.

Anyway, Jim saves Susan.  Again.

Well, he might as well handle it alone.  Susan just gets in the way.

Ugh!  Show me Bulletman fighting the ape!

That's better.

Anyway, the Three get away and go back to the lair of the mastermind.  I forget his last name, but his first name is Twiddley.  It's not like you're going to forget a first name like Twiddley.

Notice Susan is right behind Jim, but no one cares.

And then Jim faces off against the Twiddley who has nothing more than a gun.  And it's well-established that a guns are useless against Jim so he's in no real danger whatsoever.

So, what does Susan do?

She beats on the harmless guy for no real reason other than to say she did something.

Hold it, someone's on the phone...

Ah... never use the phone in comics.  Rookie mistake.

And the whole issue ends like this:

It's unusual that a comic from that era announced what was coming.  I don't know why it was unusual, but it was.  In any event, I suppose it was to get you excited about it, WWE-style.  And it was nice for Jim to say "we beat them once," when Susan didn't do anything but pick on a little person and smack an old man while Jim did all the heavy lifting.  But chivalry was more prevalent in that culture, I suppose.

Anyway, back to The Unholy Three movie.  The characters in the movie were a little person, a strongman and a ventriloquist, which was less redundant than having an ape and a strongman like this team in the comics.  But the homage is obvious, and kind of a cool bit of background info, don't you think?

See you tomorrow!


D.B. Echo said...

I like that Herbert the gorilla is consistently referred to as "Herbert" by both sides. No objectifying here!

Only - apparently the artist had never seen a gorilla's feet. Or is letting us in on the fact that that's no gorilla!

Adam Barnett said...

That's right, D.B.! He is Herbert... so much more than just an ape!