Sunday, January 19, 2014

Golden Oldie: FLASH COMICS #88 (Oct 1947)

Black Canary made her third appearance in the Johnny Thunder strip in Flash Comics #88.  Like her first appearance, this story is only six pages and she continues to straddle the line of femme fatale and female partner.

"The Map That Wasn't There" is written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Carmine Infantino.

The first thing to notice about Black Canary on the story's title page is that the mask she wore over her eyes in her first two appearances is gone.  Also, it looks like Johnny Thunder's magical genie Thunderbolt is back, as is some ridiculous little girl named Peachy Pet.

When Johnny and Peachy look closely at the pie, a black bird bursts out of it and begins flying around the apartment.  Yes.  Someone sent Johnny Thunder a package containing a pie... and in the pie was a live bird!  Johnny Thunder chases it out the window, up the side of his apartment building, back down to the street, always narrowly missing catching the bird.

Two hours later, he has chased the bird to a junkyard.  Yep, he chased it for two hours.  At the junkyard, he finds two men who look like criminals and asks them if they've seen a black canary.  "The Black Canary!" they exclaim, and attack him.  The crooks grab Johnny and throw him in their hideout, where they have Black Canary tied to a chair.

They're looking for a map that may have also been hidden in the package, or the pie, or the bird.

The crooks drop the ridiculous cage, but Johnny says, "Say, You" which summons the Thunderbolt who rescues he and Black Canary.  

Okay, this adventure was laughably bad.  The bird, the pie...whatever the hell Peachy Pet is.  She first appeared in Flash Comics #21, but I don't know when or how she got adopted by Johnny Thunder, who she calls Papa John.

It definitely feels like Johnny, Peachy, and the Thunderbolt are comedic characters that live in a world of hijinks and minimal consequences, whereas Black Canary feels a bit more hardboiled and morally ambiguous.  Maybe Kanigher and the editor(s) felt the same way, because soon, the Canary will get her own strip in the book.

Come back next Sunday for another Golden Age adventure of Black Canary in Flash Comics #90*!

* She didn't appear in #89.

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