Thursday, May 25, 2017


Here come the kitty cats!
One of the weirder motifs in superhero comics is when the hero's place of work, in his or her secret identity, ends up becoming the locus for all the crime which they end up fighting. For instance, let's discuss Jaguar, the human hero of the otherwise all-funny-animal Zoot Comics*.

*And, yes, he originally appeared elsewhere -- in All-Great Comics, a misnomer if ever there was one

That cat's got something wrong with it.
Murray Mane, secret identity of the mighty Jaguar(man), is also a zookeeper. Now, you wouldn't think there's a lot of crime and evil to fight at the zoo, except for when kids pound on the glass at the penguin exhibit or a bear gets loose and mauls everyone at the corn dog stand -- but you'd be wrong! I think! Because there's only one Jaguar appearance and there's only one crime going on at the zoo!

Some crooks who've recently stolen what appears to be a baseball of "atomic radium" (I have no other idea what other kinds of radium there are, but let's assume "non-atomic" and "not-all-that-atomic" are potential variants) decide to hide the loot by hucking it into the jaguar cage at the zoo. This is their idea of a good way of getting the safely hidden in case they're searched by the cops, and also maybe a good way to give the jaguar leukemia.

Bad luck for the crooks, the jaguar in question is Ja-Go, faithful animal companion to the Jaguar(man) himself! Sorry to keep doing the "Jaguar(man)" thing, but they keep switching back and forth in the story themselves.

They have time for a whole conversational exchange.
What powers Jaguar has, I couldn't say, except for how he has a pet jaguar who kills at his command. If you don't think that's a super-power, why don't you try it? What he does have is a sort-of embarrassingly tight-fitting spotted onesie and some remarkable sense of timing.

The crooks' escape plan is complicated, to a degree (but brilliantly complete, opines the beautiful Dr.Topaze, from whom the atom(ic) radium was stolen. Then again, she somehow let a couple guys who hurl radium into jaguar cages for safe keeping steal an incredibly valuable medical material, so I don't think she's the authority on these matters).

Retrieving the radium from the cage at night -- and they're genuinely surprised to find the jaguar not in there, so somehow they had planned to get Siegfried and Roy'ed in there, I guess -- they knock out the attacking Jaguar(man) with tear gas, run to their house, get in a helicopter and fly away. But so low that they go under the bridge. Because they decided at the last moment that they'd hop on a boat. Because Jaguar(man) might catch the helicopter but not the boat. Guys? I don't know. I think this plan has holes.

Anyway, where I'm going with this is that Jaguar(man) AND Ja-Go manage to leap down from the bridge and into the cockpit of the helicopter through the spinning blades. The end, they're dead.

But no! They manage to do it, although I wouldn't suggest you try it yourself. This is pretty much the apex and ending of their careers, if for no other reason than trying that trick twice would be really pushing your luck, and also there's probably no more crimes happening at the zoo.

He fills the tedium of his days by tricking young boys into sticking their hands inside a jaguar cage.


Unknown said...

There is a webcomic called Wonder Team, made up of old public domain comic characters including Jaguar(man) here.

neofishboy said...

Looking at those jaguar pictures gives me a much deeper appreciation for Jack Elrod.

Also, "Keeper of the Zoo" has a lot more pizzazz than "Zookeeper". It sounds like a job that comes with an amulet.

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