Sunday, November 28, 2010

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

greenlama04_27To ensure this retro-review finishes up this month, here's a double-dose!

The next feature in this comic features pilot Rick Masters! In this story by Walter Gardner and art by Mort Lawrence, the blurb reads: “You've heard of the fourteen mile limit beyond which the law of the U.S. Doesn't apply? So had Second Deal Dan. But he decided to try it a different way... straight up in the air! Rick Masters and his side-kick have the cards stacked against them in a wild flim flam of a cold deck swindle when they declare themselves in on a game where... 'The Sky's the Limit!'”

As the story opens, gambler Second Deal Dan is watching his gambling ship, the “Acey Ducey” go up in flames, the second ship he's lost. But Dan's got a new idea... instead of having his gambling operation on a ship outside the fourteen mile limit, he'll go up instead! Meanwhile, Rick Masters and his sidekick, Twin Eagle (better known as Mike) have a customer for their air company!

greenlama04_29You guessed it, the customer is Second Deal Dan and his gambling operation! But as Mike's getting cleaned up from repairing their plane, a hoodlum sneaks up behind him and clobbers him! Then they tell Rick that Mike said there's an order for the second plane to be used, and to go on without him. Rick's happy about this because if both planes are hired, that'll make a difference in their finances. So, while Rick flies the plane, Second Deal Dan starts his game, with Rick none the wiser!

Or is he? Rick overhears the gambling talk, and realizes what's going on! But Rick doesn't know that Hungry Harry is also a trained pilot! So Rick puts the plane on autopilot and goes back to confront the gamblers, who, naturally are armed! But they give Rick a chance...

greenlama04_30Meanwhile, back at the hangar, Mike is coming to in time to hear the men on the ground talk about what's happening up in the air... and the game is rigged, naturally, with both papers saying “No”! Mike suddenly spurs into action, using his mechanics tools as weapons!

greenlama04_32So Mike escapes, and flies off in the second plane, just as the crooks on the first plane are forcing Rick out in midair! Mike figures he's too late to save Rick, but he can still avenge Rick's death! Skillfully flying to the other plane, he first gets their attention!

greenlama04_33It doesn't take long for Mike to force the other plane down, but when both planes land, Mike's amazed to find Rick, alive! There's no time to explain, Rick says, they need to get their plane back in the air because they're outnumbered and outgunned! Once they're in the air, they radio the air police, and the rest is history...

Pretty clever of Rick to figure that out? Not really, I think... it's an old gag to pull, and just as old a way to get out of it!

Next in the book is Lieutenant Hercules “In Comic Land!” This story was drawn by Ira Turner, with a story by H.L. Gold.

The story opens as Wilbur Klutz (who possesses the magic power of becoming Lieutenant Hercules) is catching up on his bookkeeping when Merlin appears in his office, and he wants his ten percent cut of the business! Wilbur isn't happy about the arrangement, and says so, but in response, Merlin threatens to banish him to Comic Land!

Merlin agrees to Wilbur's request, but first Wilber must change into his alter ego, which he does with his magic phrase... well, it's a Bronx cheer, if you must know! And then suddenly, he stands revealed as Lieutenant Hercules!

greenlama04_37Shades of Forbush-Man! Anyway, while riding on Lt. Hercules' back, Merlin directs the hero on how to fly to Comic land, and they arrive just as a man is falling off a cliff while tied to a gigantic boulder! Lt. Hercules goes off to the rescue, catching the boulder with one hand and freeing the man tied to it! And who's tied to that boulder?

Yes, that's right, Comic Land seems to be populated by parodies of comic strip characters, with Trick Dacy obviously being a parody of Dick Tracy (for that matter, Lt. Hercules comes off as rather a parody of Captain Marvel, with Merlin standing in for Shazam). Trick invites Lt. Hercules to come along as he goes to apprehend his arch-foe, The Chin (who put him in that predicament), and Merlin decides to stay behind to do a little courting, Catpatch (read: Dogpatch) style with Petunia Mae (read: Daisy Mae). So, Lt. Herc follows Trick to the Chin's hideout, but as they're approaching, Trick is distracted by a pineapple landing on the ground in front of them. Yes, an actual pineapple, just fallen from a tree! But Lt. Herc's suspicious about this, and he leaps ahead and catches the pineapple just in time!

greenlama04_39The two continue to the headquarters, but shortly, Trick is forced down to the ground by a hail of bullets! Lt. Herc, naturally, is invulnerable to them, so instead of trying to get Trick through the bullets to the cabin, he brings the cabin to Trick!

Naturally, the Chin is called the Chin because he's got a chin that's so large, it makes Popeye and Jay Leno's chins look small by comparison! After they run the Chin in, there is a reward to be collected, but of course, Trick wouldn't think of taking it, so he lets Lt. Herc handle it! Lt. Herc then rejoins Merlin, who seems to have moved on to a parody of “Terry and the Pirates'” Dragon Lady, and gives Merlin his ten percent. As the story closes, there's a caption indicating that there'll be more adventures of Lt. Hercules in Comic Land to come!

So... obviously, it's supposed to be a silly story, and it certainly is. The parody of Dick Tracy isn't quite on par with Mad Magazine... or for that matter, the Daffy Duck cartoon “The Great Piggyback Robbery,” but it was still kind of fun!

And that wraps up this book!


  1. "Ira Turner" was a pen name for Irv Tirman. As it happens, I ran the sequel to this story-in which the Lt. has to help a thinly disguised Little Orphan Annie--at my FOUR-COLOR SHADOWS blog yesterday!

  2. Thanks, Booksteve! I may have to see about finding other Lt. Hercules stories, as I think they were the most entertaining of the features in Green Lama!


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