Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Golden Age Idol--Sergeant Spook!!

The best thing about Golden Age heroes is that, no matter how goofy the starting premise, within a few months they could get even goofier.

Hence today's Golden Age Idol, where we look at-- Sergeant Spook!!

(Please forgive the poor quality of these first few scans--you work with what you've got)

We start with the soon-to-be-aptly-name Sergeant Spook (he's never given a first name, as far as I can tell). He's working in the lab to investigate a murder--apparently they don't have lab techs in this town...

But Spook is about to learn a hard lesson--don't smoke in the lab!!


Well, he's dead all right!

Except he's a ghost now!!

He's invisible to everyone, and can't be heard...

But he can still touch things, and interact with the real world...

...which leads to a couple of issues worth of "let's watch an invisible guy toss crooks around":

But creator/writer/artist Malcolm Kildale must have gotten bored, or realized how limited that premise was, because by his fifth appearance, Sergeant Spook suddenly realized that there were other ghosts around town--and the were committing crimes!

And yes, the ghost of Jesse James' horse was there, too!

Well, Spook captured him--but what do you do with a ghost prisoner? That's when things get really weird...

Ah, "Dr. Sherlock"! Please don't sue us, Doyle estate!

So yes, it turns out that "Ghost Town," which contains pretty much the ghost of everyone ever, is on "the other side of town." Spook's new sidekick, Dr. Sherlock, explains the rules as he escorts the cop "home."

Phew--there may be no heaven or hell in this universe, but at least the deceased have democracy!

Well, this is kind of a Riverworld-style mash-up, isn't it?

Wow, democracy and no poverty?!? How can I sign up for this afterlife?!?!

So, they have a ghost trial for ghost Jesse James, in a ghost court using ghost rules!

Guilty, guilty, guilty!! (Along with Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, whom Spook also subdues!)

Ah, but there is unrest in Ghost Town, as a number of those who don't approve of post-life socialist democracy--Julius Caesar, amongst others--use the trial as an excuse to revolt!

Napoleon leads their army--look, a ghost war map!!

Despite having King Arthur and The Duke of Wellington available, the good guys put Sergeant Spook in charge of their armies, in this cross-time, cross-cultures clash!

The good guy win, and Napoleon finally realizes:

About time, short-stuff!!

So the series proceeded onward, with the discovery of more Ghost Towns around the world, like:

Slave ghosts!!

And we learn that, even in the afterlife...

...American foreign interventionism is a rampant!

Which leads to Sergeant Spook kicking the (un)living crap out of King Tut...

After that the strip settled into a very weird groove, with a mix of Sarge Spook helping fight human criminals back home, dealing with uppity ghosts (like ghost cavemen!!) and dealing with supernatural threats (such as the evil scientist "Crazy Doctor Zorka" making zombies, thus trapping the dead people's ghosts!). Oh, and there was also plenty of ghosts fighting gorillas!

The feature would continue for a long time in the pages of Blue Bolt, and slide over to appear in other comics published by Novelty Press. Eventually the strip was taken over by other hands, and Sherlock Holmes Dr. Sherlock would be shuffled aside, and Spook would get a (living) boy, Jerry, as a sidekick. The stories, sadly, got much less weird, and settled more into a crime-fighting/adventure groove, without the many famous ghosts and insane theology.

Still, Sergeant Spook is just sitting there, public domained, waiting for someone to revive him. Bonus: they could use the real Sherlock Holmes now!!

All panels taken from Blue Bolt #1-#14 (1940-1941)


SallyP said...

This is seriously bizarre. And I am also highly confused as to why they wouldn't use the ghost of the Duke of Wellington against Napoleon!

snell said...

Hey, the Duke Of Wellington should get his own strip if he wants to be the hero!!