Men of Mystery Fawcett Fighting Favorites

    (AC, 2007)

Many readers think of super-hero comics of the 1940s solely in terms of characters still around today: Superman, Batman, Captain America. In fact, the Golden Age of comics included many other characters, some of whom are spotlighted in this collection. Spy Smasher gets the primary focus, battling a fiend known as the Red Death in one tale and Nazis in—well actually, almost all of them. Not only is he always triumphant, but he always maintains his secret identity and gets the girl, just as you’d expect.

The characters and stories are entertaining in their own right, and also interesting for their striking similarities to characters and stories which haven’t faded into obscurity. Which came first, Red Death or Red Skull? These reprints, interspersed with historical text, are a fun window to when comic books were a lot simpler.

— Andy Richardson

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ca. 2007P.C. Hamerlinck, Bill BlackCharles Sultan, Emil Gershwin, Carl Pfeufer, John Jordan, Kurt Schaffenberger