DC’s collection of “The Monster Society of Evil” was canceled last month amid much consternation. Now that it is officially off the schedule, I thought I’d take a closer look at it for the benefit of those who wanted to read it. The serial originally appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 (1943-45) and was described on the splash as “A Thrilling New Serial… Starring Captain Marvel with Billy Batson, Sivana, IBAC, Capt. Nazi, Mr. Banjo, Nippo, Princess Rajabuti and others.”

CHAPTER I — “THE PEARL OF PERIL”

Billy Batson introduces the story: “Folks, I have a longer story to tell this time!! In fact, a story so long and involved that I don’t know the ending yet! Because you see, Captain Marvel suddenly ran up against a menace so great that for once he knew his job could not be completed with a snap of his fingers! It’s about a strange being known as Mister Mind, leader of the insidious Monster Society of Evil! Who is Mister Mind! What is he?? Captain Marvel wishes he knew! If you have any information about him, please transmit to station WHIZ!”

The first chapter opens with a symbolic double-page splash in outer space. A gigantic figure of Captain Marvel stands atop the Earth in the foreground; his enemies are amassed on the Moon in the background. A disembodied voice rings out: “I am Mister Mind! Space is my home! I am the most evil being ever to live! And you, Captain Marvel… though you are Earth’s mightiest mortal, I will crush you like an ant! Ha, ha, haaaa!!”

As the story begins, Billy Batson greets the Princess Dareena Rajabuti of India who has flown to America to donate jewels to the allied war cause. Billy’s broadcast is heard by Mr. Mind in his “strange scientific laboratory... nobody knows where.” Mr. Mind contacts Captain Nazi and orders him to capture the jewels. Captain Nazi becomes incensed when he discovers that the Princess brought only one jewel, a large black pearl, but a magic one that acts like a crystal ball.

SHAZAM!

Billy transforms into Captain Marvel. While he deals with Captain Nazi’s henchmen, their leader takes a whiff of flying gas, steals the pearl and kidnaps the princess. She explains that the pearl needs its identical mate to work. Via radio, Mr. Mind orders Captain Nazi to India. Captain Marvel follows, and meets Mr. Mind for the first time (over the radio, not face-to-face). Mr. Mind explains that he has assembled a “Monster Society of Evil,” comprising “criminals, Nazis, Japs and creatures from other worlds.” Captain Nazi whips open a door and reveals Sivana, IBAC, Nippo, Mr. Banjo and three others (a Japanese and a German soldier, and an alien).

Mr. Mind is able to project mental strength through the ether, allowing IBAC to get the better of Captain Marvel, who grabs the princess and beats a strategic retreat to India. Captain Nazi ad IBAC pursue. Princess Rajabuti leads Captain Marvel to the second black pearl, an eye in the idol of Siva. They are ambushed. Captain Marvel defeats Captain Nazi, but IBAC escapes with both pearls.

“Has Captain Marvel met his match at last? Will the sisnister Mr. Mind succeed in taking over the universe? Will the relay race with the world’s most vicious criminals wear even the world’s mightiest mortal down? Don’t miss part two, ‘The Jungle Trap!’”

Views: 553

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Where are you reading this, Jeff? Or are you getting information from some secondary source?

Looking at the covers for Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46, it's interesting that for the most part they didn't make a big deal of this epic story.

“Where are you reading this, Jeff?”

I have The Monster Society of Evil – Deluxe Limited Collector's Edition (1989), compiled and designed by Mike Higgs. This oversized, slip-cased hardcover was limited to 3,000 numbered copies. It was published by American Nostalgia Library, an imprint of Hawk Books Limited.

Each story begins with an intro by Billy Batson plus a recap of the previous chapter. My first inclination is to transcribe these verbatim, but they are lengthy and I fear doing so would make the posts too repetitious.

CHAPTER II — “THE JUNGLE TRAP”

IBAC ducks into a rocket ship and heads west to North Africa. Captain Marvel catches up to him, smashes the rocket, and knocks IBAC out of sight behind a hill where he contacts Mr. Mind. Mr. Mind tells him to use the black pearls to predict which way Captain Marvel is coming. (By holding the pearls close together, a hologram-like image appears in the air between them.) Doing so gives IBAC a slight advantage, allowing him to slip away. Mr. Mind then orders him to help the Nazi campaign.

Captain Marvel says the magic word and Billy Batson visits the nearest allied base, thereby boosting moral with tales from home. Meanwhile, IBAC uses the black pearls to spy on the camp and learns where the secret plans are hidden. IBAC changes to his other identity (Slinky Printwhistle) to surreptitiously substitute false orders. [Slinky Printwhistle was granted his abilities by Prince Lucifer; when Slinky says his magic word, he is transformed into IBAC in a flash of green flame and the sound effect “ZEEEE!”] Billy spots Slinky sneaking into camp. They both change to their alter egos and a fight ensues.

Captain Marvel gets the false orders, but IBAC flees into the jungle where he stampedes a herd of elephants. They trample Captain Marvel, but he is unhurt. He then forces IBAC to change back to Slinky Printwhistle. Just then, a tribe of cannibals (stereotypical depiction, bone in topknot, etc.) arrives on the scene. Slinky transforms into IBAC and the natives worship him because of his “magic.”

I don’t know where Captain Marvel’s “wisdom of Solomon” was that day, but he decides to demonstrate his “magic” as well by saying his magic and changing to Billy Batson, who is immediately gagged by IBAC and put in the cannibals’ cooking pot! Mr. Mind then orders IBAC to deliver the black pearls to Nippo in Tokyo to assure Axis victory in the Pacific.

“Is there any hope for Billy now? Slowly he is being boiled alive in a cannibal’s pot deep in darkest Africa! Can this brave boy somehow escape and get back on the trail on Mr. Mind, the arch villain of all history? Next month – Chapter III: ‘The Second Pearl Harbor’”

“Where are you reading this, Jeff?”

I have The Monster Society of Evil – Deluxe Limited Collector's Edition (1989), compiled and designed by Mike Higgs. This oversized, slip-cased hardcover was limited to 3,000 numbered copies. It was published by American Nostalgia Library, an imprint of Hawk Books Limited.

Well LAH-DEE-DAH ... he said jealously.

The far-seeing black pearls were evidently inspired by one or both of the existing versions of The Thief of Bagdad.

Capt. Nazi first appeared in a crossover that started with a Bulletman/Capt. Marvel team-up story in Master Comics #21. Capt. Marvel then fought him solo in Whiz Comics #25. The concluding part of the story introduced Junior. Junior then teamed up with Bulletman to fight Capt. Nazi in Master Comics #22. In the first instalment of Junior's feature the next issue Junior fought Capt. Nazi solo, and the villain was apparently killed. He was afterwards Junior's recurring foe rather than Capt. Marvel's. He acquired his flying gas and a cape in Master Comics #34.

CHAPTER III — “THE SECOND PEARL HARBOR”

INTRO:

“Lightning never strikes twice in the same place – but a stab in the back may! Once again Mr. Mind, the greatest evil mid of all times, smashes at the allies, sending vicious Nippo, the Nipponese, to create a second Pearl Harbor! With the magic black pearls Nippo sets the stage for the most staggering coup of the war! And all the mighty SHAZAM powers of Captain Marvel, from S to M and from A to Z, are needed to stem the dread debacle! Here’s chapter three of the world’s greatest serial about the world’s mightiest mortal against the world’s greatest brain!”

RECAP:

“In pursuit of the two magic black pearls so vital to the allies, Captain Marvel has crossed the world to Africa! But here the monster IBAC set a deadly jungle trap, planned by his master, the mysterious Mr. Mind! As we take up the threads of this thrilling adventure, we find Billy Batson in the hands of cannibals in darkest Africa…”

A cannibal swipes at Billy with a meat cleaver, but Billy turns aside so that his gag is cut loose. Billy transforms into captain Marvel and sets off for the Pacific. Under orders from Mr.Mind, Nippo kills the C.O. of Pearl Harbor, dons a disguise ad takes his place. The C.O.’s daughter, a nurse on the base, is not fooled, though. Nippo orders all troops on furlough. Captain Marvel arrives and defeats him. Mr. Mind orders “Plan Two” while Billy investigates the C.O.’s disappearance.

He finds the officer, still alive after all, on a volcanic isle. Nippo plans to cause the volcano to erupt. Nippo gives Captain Marvel the slip and ties the general’s daughter to explosives and drops the whole package into the volcano. Cap saves the father and daughter, prevents the explosion, defeats Nippo, and retrieves the black pearls. Over Nippo’s radio, Mr. Mind taunts captain Marvel with the next phase of his plan, involving Sivana in Alaska.

“and so, though CaptainMarvel has saved Pearl Harbor, defeated the vicious Nippo and found the two black pearls, he finds that the insidious Mr. Mind has combined with the world’s wickedest scientist, Sivana, to bring a brain-stunning doom to America! How will captain Marvel, in the next chapter, combat the frightful menace of ‘Glaciers Over America’?”

CHAPTER IV — “GLACIERS OVER AMERICA”

Captain Marvel arrives in Alaska to find the state and Canada threatened by giant glaciers. He can stop the one immediately endangering a town ad army base, but he can’t stop them all. The glacier is too big for even captain Marvel to lift, so he bores enough holes in it so that it collapses under its own weight. Something has changed weather patterns across the United States. It’s summer, but some areas are experiencing snowfall; in sea ports, water is freezing up affecting shipping; in the Midwest, crops are threatened.

Captain Marvel uses the black pearls to locate Sivana, who ducks into a small tunnel to escape. Captain Marvel must change to Billy Batson to follow. Inside the cave, Billy finds Sivana’s pole changer, a giant gyroscope forcing Earth to shift on its axis. In a few weeks, the new North Pole will be in the heart of Texas. Billy becomes captain Marvel and destroys the machine. Sivana escapes back into the tiny tunnel, and Captain Marvel much change back to Billy to pursue. Billy catches up to him but is forced to turn around when Sivana points out that the Earth will stay as it is now that the pole changer has been destroyed.

Billy changes back to Captain Marvel and rebuilds, then reverses the machine. Calculating exactly how long it will take to restore the Earth to its proper axis, Captain Marvel changes back to Billy who radios the base and has armed guards posted with orders to destroy the tunnel and machine when Earth is back in place. Billy then sets out in pursuit of Sivana who, by this time, has a tremendous lead. But Sivan has stopped to set a trap, a washtub full of water and a trip wire, which Billy blunders into. He sees his danger and is able to shout “SHA—“ before he is instantly frozen in a block of ice.

“Is BILLY DEAD? Has his frozen body given up the ghost? Or is there still a spark of life burning in him? And can he, by some miracle, burst loose from his icy prison? BUT HOW? With his throat frozen, how can he ever finish the magic word, that alone can save him? Don’t miss the next amazing chapter of this smashing serial: Chapter V, ‘Marvel Meets Mr. Mind!!’”

A Buck Rogers storyline in which Earth's tilt was changed appeared in 1938/39.

"Nippo" sounds like the Marx Brother no one talks about.

CHAPTER V — “MARVEL MEETS MR. MIND!”

Before leaving the scene, Sivana plants a sign which reads: “This is Billy Batson who froze to death in 1943.” A hungry polar bear nosing around in search of food knocks over the block of ice, breaking it in two. “—ZAM!” says Billy. Captain Marvel uses the black pearls to show him Mr. Mind’s hideout, which is on the Moon. Captain Marvel flies to the Moon and overcomes Mr. Mind’s defenses. He then confronts Mr. Mind, who appears to be a half-man/half-goat hybrid. Captain Marvel defeats him easily, but then Mr. Mind’s voice says that that was only one of his minions. Next, Mr. Mind’s voice comes from a robot, and Captain Marvel defeats that as well. Then Mr. Mind appears as a giant head with Octopus arms. Mr. Mind explains that these are synthetic forms of life which he has projected his mind into.

After defeating Mr. Mind’s latest simulacrum, Captain Marvel takes the chance of searching as Billy Batson, hoping to make himself an easier target to draw the real Mr. Mind into the open. A small green worm drops to Billy’s shoulder, but he brushes it away. Suddenly, a bald circus strong man with a handlebar mustache appears and claps his hand over Billy’s mouth. Is this the real Mr. Mind? The man intends to perform brain surgery on Billy, making him a slave. Before the anesthetic takes effect, Billy manages to say “Shazam.”

The two battle for twelve hours. Mr. Mind’s castle is totally destroyed. Captain Marvel finally wins by literaly butting heads with the strong man. Mr. Mind’s voice is then heard, no longer coming from the strong man. “Think back,” he taunts. “Maybe you saw me once.” He then escapes to Earth in his spaceship. Captain Marvel doesn’t see it, but we readers see something very small whiz in front of his face.

“What’s the Baffling answer? Will Captain Marvel, in the next chapter, unravel the brain-stunning mystery and finally unmask evil, uncanny Mr. Mind? Don’t fail to read chapter six, ‘Mr. Mind on Earth!”

CHAPTER VI — “MR. MIND ON EARTH!”

Captain Marvel returns to Earth and Billy Batson returns to WHIZ. Billy s dejected because he cannot deliver the scoop on Captain Marvel defeating Mr. Mind. Station owner Mr. Morris sends billy to the roof to help Steamboat with his rock garden. (If nothing else so far has precluded “The Monster Society of Evil” from being reprinted in 2018, the depiction of Steamboat would have clinched it; he’s pure stereotype.)

Meanwhile, Mr. Mind’s spaceship has landed somewhere on Earth and his “mechanical architect” sets about building a “towering castle.” He then uses his “cosmic brain ray” to make “even lowly worms and termites do [his] bidding!” They undermine the structural integrity of Tanner Tower and, after a day, it begins to collapse during one of Billy’s broadcasts. He sees it tottering through the studio window, quickly changes to Captain Marvel and holds the building in place while engineers shore up the foundation. Consulting with the engineer, Captain Marvel learns that termites caused the damage. One of the beams had “Only the beginning” chewed into the wood, and it was signed “Mr. Mind.” Does that mean Mr. Mind was there? If so, no one saw him.

Billy goes back to work in his rock garden and sends Steamboat to get more rocks. In a vacant lot, Steamboat finds what he takes to be a child’s abandoned toy castle. He slips it into the rock garden when Billy’s not looking as a surprise. For readers a little slow on the uptake, a caption reveals: “Yes, dear reader, we wish we could tell Billy, too!—That right behind him is his terrible enemy! For now we know that Mr. Mind’s castle is of miniature size!

Just then, City Hall begins to topple. Billy changes to Captain Marvel and saves the building, but is taunted by Mr. Mind’s voice. Mr. Mind sends three of his Monster Society of Evil: a man clad in a dark cloak and hat, a being with the head of a crocodile, and a common gunman. Captain Marvel spies Mr. Mind’s spaceship fliting about and realizes he is “a tiny being of some sort.” But Mr. Mind conceals his ship among a swarm of bugs flying by and escapes.

Later, Steamboat shares a piece of chocolate cake with Billy. Suddenly, the building begins to sway. Two of Mr. Mind’s minions appear, gag Billy and carry him to the basement. Billy was pretty sloppy with the cake, and ants appear to eat the chocolate from his face. In the process they also chew through his gag, allowing Billy to shout, “Shazam!” Captain Marvel discovers the castle in the rock garden, but no Mr. Mind. Steamboat bites into an apple and Mr. Mind’s true form is revealed at last! He is a little segmented green “worm” wearing spectacles on his face and a radio transmitter/receiver around his neck. Captain attempts to stomp him, but as his boot comes down, Mr. Mind believes he can escape.

“For once the tables are reversed! It is Mr. Mind who is in mortal danger! But can he escape his well-deserved end??? Can his great and evil mentality—regardless of his humble worm-shape—still save him????? See Chapter VII in next month’s Captain Marvel Adventures!”

That will have to wait until next week.

I’m the guy who is always complaining about “decompressed” storytelling. (Or at least I used to be; I try not to read those types of comics anymore.) These chapters of “The Monster Society of Evil” are only 12 pages each, yet are packed with more story than many of today’s full length comics.

THIS is comics.

CHAPTER VII — “THE LOST SUNRISE!”

“More hideous than all his previous plots, Mr. Mind, the most evil being in the universe, now plunges America into perpetual night! The Sun fails to rise on schedule! America is faced with continuous darkness! And while the arsenal of democracy staggers blindly through endless night, Nazi Europe lies bathed in never-ending sunshine!

“Even Captain Marvel wonders if his powers as the World’s Mightiest Mortal are great enough to move the whole world! Can he start the Earth rotating again, and bring back—THE LOST SUNRISE?

“Arriving on Earth in the last chapter, Mr.Mind nearly wrecks the city around Captain Marvel’s ears, befor CaptainMarvel discovers him as just—a worm! A lowly, insignificant worm—but with a mentality so vast and powerful and evil that he’s far more dangerous than all Hitler’s armies! But at last captain Marvel cuts off all avenues of escape and lifts his foot, ready to crush Mr. Mind to atoms!

“As Captain Marvel’s foot is about to crush the tiny, work-like shape of the evil Mr. Mind, he frantically sends forth a powerful mental radiation!”

Mr. Mind hypnotizes a passing pigeon to swoop down and snatch him from beneath Captain Marvel’s rapidly descending boot. Captain Marvel easily overtakes the pigeon, but Mr. Mind is nowhere to be found. “What a laugh on Mr. Mind!” says Captain Marvel. “He nearly upsets all civilization—and then ends up eaten by a pigeon!” captain Marvel tells Steamboat the news, and Billy Batson broadcasts it.

But Mr. Mind fell, landing safely on the brim of a man’s hat but breaking his own glasses. The man whose hat he landed on is a black marketer, a Nazi fifth columnist transporting horsemeat to the fatherland. (Herr Goering wants a steak, and the smugglers are going to pass this off as beef.) Mr. Mind fall onto a piece of meat ad burrows inside. The meat eventually makes its way to the dinner table of Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler.

Mr. Mind makes himself known, and Hitler allows Mr. Mind to broadcast a threat. Billy Batson must broadcast a retraction of his previous story, but urges his listeners to be on the lookout for an evil worm. This leads to a slew of false sighting as people from across the country bring in worms from their gardens they suspect of being Mr. Mind.

Mr. Mind has the Nazis fire all of the big guns at once in the same direction. This has the effect of acting as a giant brake, causing the Earth to stop in its rotation and causing panic. Captain Marvel flies to Germany where he at least manages to punch Hitler in the nose before he hears a report that 30 hours of damp night have led to a pneumonia epidemic in the United States. He borrows the anchors of all the allied war ships in the Mediterranean, sets them in Africa, and pulls the Earth to start its rotation again.

By this time, Mr. Mind is wearing a monocle to replace his broken spectacles. He has also crated a whole slew of new synthetic monsters.

“Can the monsters really defeat Captain Marvel? Has the cunning, crual mentality of Mr. Mind finally matched the powers of even the World’s Mightiest Mortal? Don’t miss the next thrilling chapter of this serial in next month’s Captain Marvel Adventures. Look for Chapter VIII: ‘Battle at the China Wall!’”

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2018   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service