Thursday, March 23, 2017


A short career is probably the best career for some crimefighters, and they don't get much shorter than the simultaneous entrance and exit of The Spook, the superhero most likely to have been invented to fill two blank pages of an inventory-laden comic book. I kid, that's actually how almost all the superheroes who ever were got invented.

This two-pager from the interior of Captain Wizard Comics No.1 introduces Don Goonface, professional comic book cartoonist who, under a strict deadline and facing a lack of inspiration, disguises himself under a bedsheet and prowls the street looking for crime. In order to fight it, that is. Hell, he might be out looking to commit some too, we don't get much of a psychological profile of the character.

Life goals.
Blundering into victory when he happens upon a mugging (the victim of which is his boss, whose gratitude is limited), The Spook hangs up his sheet almost immediately. Why? Because he inherits a fortune from a late uncle. This is the most realistic depiction I've ever seen of a wealthy superhero. This is why the Marvel Cinematic Universe had to make Tony Stark really excited about killing foreigners, because otherwise why wouldn't he just pay someone else to do it? That was my takeaway from the Iron Man movie, by the way. I don't even remember if it had a beginning or an ending or anything.

The interesting thing about The Spook is that he might possess something of exaggerated biography. The strip was written and drawn by Howie Post, probably best-known in comics for having drawn DC's Anthro series, and contributing to several Harvey and Star kids' comics.

Post had broken into comics not because of a love of the medium -- he was doing fine at Paramount as an animator -- but in order to pick up some extra cash for his family. His first few attempts to break into the biz ended in rejection and, even then, the jobs he did pick up didn't pay as well as his animation gig. The Spook may have been Post's extravagant daydream and jocular criticism of the behind-the-scenes world of comics at the time.

It's a two-pager with a character who was never intended to go anywhere, but it's an at least interesting footnote in Golden Age comics lore...

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