Quality Comics was not lightly named, with a roster of creative talent collaborating on some of the most-satisfying adventure stories inhabiting the Golden Age racks. Particularly of value was Quality's roster of post-war second-stringers. While Blackhawk, Doll Man, Kid Eternity, Uncle Sam and Plastic Man made up the top of the company's weird roster, later additions like The Barker and Captain Triumph were of equally great standards to their forebears.
|I'd start with the stout-ish hearts to begin with and work up.|
"New Thrills - New Adventures!" promises the introductory caption, "A brand new comic character ... The Whistler! Meet him here --- learn his weird secret weapon against the tycoons of crime -- follow him into a whirlwind future of action and excitement in every issue!" That's all well and good, but he ran for eight appearances.
Young Mallory Drakes, would-be police reporter, berates his editor into finally gifting him his sought-after assignment, and rushes off to tell his world-famous brother the good news. What inordinate skill granted older sibling Jerry Drake the celebration of the world's audiences? He was a theatrical whistler. I can hardly imagine someone whistling their way to rapturous applause, but then again there used to be musical farters. Also, have you ever seen the Jim Rose Circus? Or Two Broke Girls? Anything's possible.
And how does Jerry react to the good news? He goes and ungratefully allows himself to be shot by notorious hoods. Hey, he's whistling from two places, now!
|He might whistle it at you, tho.|
"Use that whistle to scare criminals. Pay them back." And then he dies. Although unpublished, Mallory's speech at Jerry's funeral almost certainly included the passage "And he thought I should go fight crime by whistling at it. Haha, yeah, he was out of his mind before he died."
As it is, the three-note whistle to which Jerry alluded was not the NBC theme, as I sort-of assumed it was, but an actual tool in the commanding of men's minds. "The whistle paralyzes them for a moment!" Mallory is amazed to admit to himself, tooting from a bush.
Likewise, Mallory's whistle can be put to amazing uses. For instance, at one point, he causes a gun to fire, without any hand resting on or near the trigger, just by whistling a note so high and keen that I guess the gun wanted whoever was doing it to die. You ever get stuck in an office scenario with someone who just tunelessly whistles all day? I have, and I wish they could make guns accidentally go off towards them with the right note.
Created by Vernon Henkel, The Whistler shared a name with a popular radio mystery host, whose signature whistle during the intro to his program was almost undoubtedly the inspiration for this particular character. However, while the radio's Whistler managed to remain in the public consciousness on and off for a few decades, the comic book Whistler faded into obscurity, distantly tweeting ever more quietly as he walked off into relative obscurity. He's irritating the angels now.
|This is not the time to debate the specifics.|