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Whiz Comics #2
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March 28th, 2013 by Rusty

* Note: Many of the links in this article are affiliate links and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

Whiz Comics #2 cover

Whiz Comics #2

Date: February 1940
Publisher: Fawcett Publications
Cover Price: 10¢
2013 Price Range: $8,000 – $176,000
Stats: 64 color pages plus ads
Writers: Bill Parker and ?
Artists: C.C. Beck and ?
Notable Notes: 1st appearances of Captain Marvel, Ibis the Invincible, Golden Arrow, Spy Smasher, Scoop Smith, Lance O’Casey and Dan Dare!

Is It This Or Is It That?

Captain Marvel, aka Shazam, has a long and complicated history. The complications begin with this issue and the question of “Is it issue #1 or issue #2?” The inside front cover lists this as issue #2 of Whiz Comics, and a little bit of searching reveals that the first issue was actually an ashcan copy created for trademark purposes and it wasn’t even called Whiz Comics! Anyway, this issue (the true #1 but actually marked as #2) is where all the magic happens. Oh yeah, there are other complications too – such as the name “Captain Marvel”, his close resemblance to Superman and his integration into the DC Universe after DC Comics obtained the rights to the character… but we won’t go there right now.

Synopsis:

This issue contains 7 short stories, each of which introduces the main character and ends with a cliff-hanger and a declaration that you can read the continuing adventures in Whiz Comics #3.

“Captain Marvel” : Billy Batson is a homeless teenage boy selling newspapers to make a living. One night a stranger bids Billy to follow him onto a fantastical subway car where the two of them journey to an underground cavern adorned with all kinds ancient symbols. There they find an old man who tells Billy that if he says his name, Shazam, he will turn into an adult superhero with incredible powers. The next day Billy uses his new-found powers to not only stop a mad scientist (who is threatening the national radio system no less!) but also get a job as a radio announcer – not bad for a day’s work!

“Ibis the Invincible” : A famous Egyptian mummy comes back to life in a modern day museum, and has a powerful stick (which can pretty much do anything) called the Ibistick (nifty huh?). After magically restoring his body he sets out to find the love of his life: Princess Taia. As he searches for her he can’t resist helping out people who are in trouble, poor or waging war. He finally finds his sweetums only to have his Ibistick swiped by a common, greedy crook – sheesh!

“Golden Arrow” : When world renowned scientist Paul Parsons makes a cross country flight in a balloon filled with his amazing new gas, his vehicle is shot down over the mid Western United States. The only survivor is his infant son who is rescued and raised by a nice old coot named Nugget Ned. After years of living in the wild country the son has become strong, athletic and an exceptional shot with the special golden arrows Ned makes for him. When Ned finally tells the teen aged boy the true story of what happened with the balloon all those years ago he sets out to find the bandits who were responsible for killing his parents. Oh he finds them alright, and while he doesn’t kill them he at least rights the wrongs of his infant life and rides off into a brilliant sunset!

“Spy Smasher” : When a bunch of Navy ships are mysteriously destroyed an admiral in Washington, D.C. tells his daughter and her fiancée about all the disasters. Later, when the criminal mastermind “The Mask” gets wind of the fact that the admiral has new Navy blueprints in his house he sends some thugs to off the old man. But alas – the crooks are chased away by a mysterious figure before they can kill the old man, but not before stealing the plans. This brave “Spy Smasher” chases the men through the air and onto a dirigible where he thoroughly rousts them and retrieves the plans! The criminal mastermind gets away, but the admiral also gets his plans back and everyone wonders who Spy Smasher really is. Hmm… good question indeed.

“Scoop Smith” : When a fortune worth of radium has been stolen from the city hospital and the police can’t find the perpetrator, who does the hospital manager call in for help? The local newspaper’s greatest reporter that’s who! Scoop Smith follows the clues to a small country town where he ends up captured by a crazy doctor who is testing out a life-restoring machine, and who better to test it on than Scoop himself! Fisticuffs ensue and even though the doctor’s machine works as planned Scoop is spared the ordeal of finding out in a first-hand fashion! The radium is returned and all ends well… for now.

“Lance O’Casey” : On the South Sea a sailor heads back to his home island after a long absence. He finds the village ransacked and deserted, except for ye olde proprietor of the trading store – who has been badly beaten and tells Lance that natives from a nearby island are the scoundrels to blame. After fixing up his friend, sailor O’Casey heads to the village of Barracuda Brent (don’t you just love these names!) where he discovers the ne’er-do-well leader taunting 2 prisoners with his caged tigers. One of the prisoners just happens to be a beautiful young lady, and just as she is about to be attacked by the cats Lance O’Casey swoops in to save the day! Ah… peace reigns in the tropics once again – at least until next issue!

“Dan Dare” : Ace detective Dan Dare is summoned to the estate of a millionaire in Florida to help solve the case of a young, dead fisherman who washed up on his property. Of course everyone thinks the millionaire, Carlos Peseta, is to blame so he wants Dan to find the real killer. Mr. Peseta is sure the killer is Portuguese Pete (Please… enough with the rhyming names already!) but after detective Dare gets deeper into his investigation he’s not so sure that’s the case. He calls in his lovely assistant, Carol, to help with the case and discovers the real perpetrators of the crime! Let’s just say that Mr. Peseta wasn’t as innocent as he made himself out to be!

My 2 Cents:

  • It was a total blast reading about the origin of all these famous Golden Age characters! I liked the Captain Marvel story the best (because I’m a superhero kind of guy!) but I found myself really enjoying all the stories in this classic issue.
  • I thought the art was quite good – especially given when it was created. I’ll admit I haven’t read a lot of Golden Age comic books, but I was expecting the art to be sub-par and it totally wasn’t – Woohoo!
  • The stories… gosh, where do I start? Yes I enjoyed reading them, but some (most?) of them were outright laughable in their plot and in the fantastic luck (and coincidences) of the characters! I guess that is part of reading a comic book that is over 70 years old, huh?

How I Rate This Issue:

  • Stories: 3 stars
  • Art: 4 stars
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars

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