Want to know where something is or what it looks like inside? Comics usually oblige, sooner or later, because they know how much we love maps, cutaways and diagrams.

The blog Comic Book Cartography was brought to my attention, and I think it's pretty cool. Many of these will be familiar, and a bunch are just odd diagrams of no lasting note.But I'd never seen the map of Little Archie's neighborhood or the 1952 Life map of Pogo's swamp in particular. I'm going to have to spend some time looking through them.

-- MSA.

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Thank God that didn't happen with the Captain America movie serial!

The Adventures of Captain Marvel had a character, Whitey, who was added to the comics for a brief time then quickly disappeared. So even then the movies were influencing the comics they were based on.


Ron M. said:

The Adventures of Captain Marvel had a character, Whitey, who was added to the comics for a brief time then quickly disappeared. So even then the movies were influencing the comics they were based on.

Right you are, sir!  As a matter of fact, Fawcett took it a little bit further.  First, it transplanted Billy Benedict's character "Whitey Murphy" from the 1941 Republic serial to the Captain Marvel stories in the short-lived recurring rôle as Billy Batson's assistant

Then, Fawcett introduced the comic-book Whitey in a story which was a sequel of sorts to the serial. In "The Temple of Itzalotahui" (say that name out loud; it's the pure Captain Marvel approach), from Whiz Comics # 22 (Oct., 1041), Whitey seeks out Billy Batson to get his help in rescuing John Malcolm---the leader of the expedition in the serial (and one of the few survivors of that group)---from a mess of trouble in Guatemala.

As the page I enclosed below shows, Billy and Whitey make direct reference to events that took place in the serial.

I'm guessing they avoided mentioning that Billy lost his powers. I believe he briefly appeared again in the 70s Shazam comic.


No wings on the mask, no shield, no Bucky, no Steve Rogers, a gun. I think the rumor that this was supposed to star a different character that got turned into Captain America at the last minue is pretty likely. Now I'm wondering if the Copperhead character still has some traces that he was supposed to be Superman. I remember Copperhead appearing in Daredevil and dropping hints he was the serial character.

Sadly I've read the star of Captain America died soon after making this film. Sydney Toler died after filming eight Charlie Chan films in a two year time period. Imagine a studio trying to push a star today like that.
 Philip Portelli said:

Thank God that didn't happen with the Captain America movie serial!

When I first heard the rumor that the Captain America serial may have originally been written for Fawcett's Mr. Scarlet, I have to admit, it made a lot of sense--the serial Cap was more like crusading DA Brian Butler, who occasionally carried a gun, and whose secretary knew his true identity, than any version of Captain America.  I've often wondered how The Mysterious Doctor Satan would have played out if Superman had been used in place of Copperhead--other than having a female lead named Lois, there doesn't seem to be a lot of Supermaness about it.  If anything, the Copperhead is more reminiscent of the Green Hornet than anyone else, what with a masked Western hero ancestor & outlaw reputation.

It makes sense they'd use another Fawcett character since Captain Marvel was popular and Spy Smasher also got a serial. This was the only time Timely would make it into the theaters for decades.


Ron M. said:

Sadly I've read the star of Captain America died soon after making this film. 

Yeah, Dick Purcell.  For some reason, his was one of the Hollywood deaths that stuck with me.  He keeled over from a heart attack in the locker room of a Los Angeles country club after finishing a round of golf.  That was in April, 1944.  Captain America would prove to be the biggest hit of his short life, but, sadly, he didn't live to see even the first chapter released.

Purcell always struck me as an odd choice to portray a two-fisted action hero, especially one in a skin-tight costume.  He was thirty-five when he made Captain America (and when he died), but he looked about ten years older.  To me, anyway.  He was fine for playing family men, blue-collar guys, your general Everyman.

But his features were mild; his voice a bit high pitched; and his physique was . . . well, let's just say that he wasn't Buster Crabbe.  I'd be very interested to know the circumstances and decisions which led to his hiring to portray Captain America.

Too much for him at his age considering his phsyical condition. I'd guess he took the part hoping it would lead to bigger and better parts. Yes he does look around 40. Perhaps he had problems during filming but ignored them and didn't say anything, afraid he'd be replaced.

Paul Douglas died three years after starring in The Gamma People. He was 49 and heavyset when he made the film so he also seems an odd choice for the hero. Perhaps studios were more willing to cast against type back then.

I've read even after two Oscars that Dustin Hoffman had to fight for every part he got because he didn't look like what Hollywood thinks a star should look like.

Maybe they were looking for actors willing to work cheap.

Ron M. said:

Perhaps studios were more willing to cast against type back then.

Back then they were still getting away with paying people below minimum wage (I think Hollywood would say below scale.) And then they'd work them to death. Moe Howard pretty much begged his boss to give Curly some time off because there was obviously something wrong with him. Maybe we wouldn't have had to put up with the Joes if Curly'd had that vacation.

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