Sunday, November 14, 2010

Retro-Review: The Green Lama #4, Part 2!

greenlama04_12The second story in this book features the Boy Champions in “A Bull into a China Shop!” The Boy Champions were one of those kid gangs that were populating many comics in imitation of the Newsboy Legion, the Young Allies, and others of their ilk. The boys were Tuffy (obviously the tough kid), Mickey (the regular fella), and Wellington (rich kid). This story features art by Jerry Robinson, with a story by Joseph Verdy. The style doesn't seem to be very reminiscent of Robinson's Batman work, but rather appears to be aping the Simon-Kirby style.

greenlama04_13The story begins with the Boy Champions relaxing in the clubhouse, when a couple of men walk in, and say they want to hire the boys for a special job. You see, they've got a bet going on based on the proverb about a bull in a china shop, and they're disagreed on what would happen. The guy taking the side of disaster is named Mr. Krat, and the one saying nothing will happen is named “Betcha” Benny. The boys agree to take the job, so long as Krat supplies the bull!

Rather odd to have these men toting a bull around in what I can only presume is New York, but in the Golden Age, we didn't have time for lengthy explanations! The boys ask which china shop the bull will be let loose in, and they pick Chin Wong's place, which is the biggest in town. Wong is understandably resistant to participate, given the proverb, but he's convinced by rather screwy logic!

Since the damage to the shop will be paid, the boys take the bull into the shop, but the bull seems to be happy to just be led around the shop! Krat is about ready to pay off to Betcha Benny when Benny pulls out a handkerchief to mop his sweaty brow. Unfortunately, it's a red handkerchief, and since this is comics, you know what that means...


greenlama04_16Wellington, who's got a wordy vocabulary, convinces Benny to get rid of the handkerchief, so he hands it off to Krat, who then throws it into their car while the boys take on the task of calming the bull, who has definitely behaved as the proverb warns! The boys manager to calm the bull down, and Wong announces that the damage will add up to fifty thousand dollars, which Krat quickly writes a check out for... happily so, because Benny's going to have to pay off a hundred thousand! But then, one of Wong's assistants notices something... a hand-carved jade set is missing!

greenlama04_17Let me get this straight, Chin Wong has a hand-carved jade set in his shop worth half a million collars, and he okayed letting a bull in there? Fortunately, Wellington has an idea who did the deed! Obviously, it was Krat and Benny working together to... well, I'll just let Wellington explain it:

With the crooks having fled the scene of the crime, the boys need to figure out how to follow them... and Tuffy comes up with the idea to... ride the bull! He ties a red tablecloth to the end of a pole (sort of the carrot and stick idea with a twist), and next thing you know, the boys on the bull crash through the window of the shop in hot pursuit! Tuffy uses the tablecloth to direct the bull right to the car, and...

greenlama04_18Now, that's some bull! Mr. Chin offers a reward to the boys for saving the jade, but they try to refuse, as the criminals had already paid them ten bucks, but he still insists on giving them a nickel... a nickel that's “worth much money,” as Mr. Chin says! But still, it's a buffalo nickel, and Tuffy's had enough of bulls for a while!

Overall, I found this story more enjoyable than the Green Lama tale that led off the book. Sure, the boys should've suspected something with the whole situation, but they did use good detective skills to figure out the plot, as well as ingenuity (and a mighty powerful bull) to stop the crooks!

The next feature in the book is “Peters Rings the Bell,” a text piece by Joseph Verdy, one of those required pieces by the post office that apparently nobody ever read.

Next time: Angus MacErc! What is Angus MacErc? You'll find out!


  1. Excellent--I've never had this issue, so it's great to finally see anything from the backing stories. Just FYI, Joseph Verdy was likely a pseudonym for Joe Greene (Verde--get it?)--who wrote a prodigious amount for Spark, and who was uncredited for almost all of his work. Also the creator of 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet".

  2. Ah, that does make sense, Jim!


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