(December 1939)

Centaur, 1938 Series
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Volume:
2
Price:
0.10 USD
Pages:
68
Indicia frequency:
monthly
Indicia / Colophon Publisher:
Centaur Publications Inc.
Editing:
?
Color:
color
Dimensions:
standard Golden Age US
Paper Stock:
glossy cover; newsprint interior
Binding:
saddle-stitched
Publishing Format:
was on-going series

Issue Notes

December, 1939. Vol. 2, Number 12. KEEN DETECTIVE FUNNIES is published monthly by Centaur Publications, Inc., 420 De Soto Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, Editorial and Executive Offices: 220 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. Entered as second class matter at the Post Office at St. Louis, Mo. Single copies 10c. Yearly subscription $1.00 in the U.S.A. (other countries $1.50). Copyright 1939 by Centaur publications, Inc. Contents must not be reproduced without permission. No actual person is named or delineated in this fiction magazine. Printed in the U.S.A.

Parts of this issue are reprinted:

[no title indexed] (Table of Contents)

Jerry O'Keefe / cover / 1 page (report information)

Pencils:
Frank Frollo
Inks:
Frank Frollo
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery

Uncle Joe's Christmas Treat: Free Gifts for All (Table of Contents)

promo (ad from the publisher) / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Joseph Hardie
Pencils:
? (fireworks ad only)
Inks:
? (fireworks ad only)
Letters:
typeset

Synopsis:
"How would you like to get some free Christmas presents from Uncle Joe? Well, I'll be glad to do this--if you'll help me by telling me the things you'd like to have this Christmas! If you will do this, I in turn can help the manufacturers plan for even nicer things next Christmas! Just answer the questions below honestly and carefully and I'll see to it that you get three valuable Christmas gifts absolutely free! I'll be waiting to hear from you, so please answer the questions and send the coupon to me right away!

Indexer Notes

Inside front cover. The questionnaire gives a list of items such as books, cameras, athletic goods, aeroplanes, phonograph and records, pen and pencis set, etc. and asks which items you have, hope to get this Xmas (1939) or hope to get next Xmas (1940). It then lists the options for your free gifts in return for filling out the survey- a selection of publications like "Lionel Train Handbook", "Scott' Monthly Journal", etc., including a self-instruction book on how to typewrite well. Finally it asks you to tell Uncle Joe what you've influenced your family to buy during the last month.

Along the side are some other ads and giveaway offers, including a plain text ad for Amazing Man Comics and ads for puzzle books from Centaur Publications, Inc.

[Four Gangs against the Masked Marvel] (Table of Contents)

Masked Marvel / comic story / 12 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
Ben Thompson (signed)
Inks:
Ben Thompson (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery; superhero
Characters:
Masked Marvel; ZR; ZY; ZL (dies); Anton Roche (villain)
Synopsis:
Anton Roche, previously captured by the Masked Marvel and his assistants, is freed from police custody by three rival gang leaders. The fear the Masked Marvel and want Roche, "Public Enemy No. 1", to lead them in capturing him. But the rival gang leaders sell each other out as they plan to commit simultaneous crimes, so the police ask the Masked Marvel to have one of his men lead a police detachment at the site of each crime. All three forces capture the attacking gang leaders, but ZL is killed in the fighting. The leaders reveal Roche's location, and the Masked Marvel captures him and dumps him out of an airplane with a parachute over the state penitentiary. He tells ZR and ZY that they most carry on without ZL, "who has given his life in our great fight to rid this country of crime."
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

ZL was mostly bald, which was rather unusual for a Mystery Man, even an assistant one.

[The Countess who Feared Radio] (Table of Contents)

Spark O'Leary / comic story / 5 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
Charles Pearson [as Chas. Pearson] (signed)
Inks:
Charles Pearson [as Chas. Pearson] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery
Characters:
Spark O'Leary; Drusilla Melick (villain)
Synopsis:
Spark sees the Countess de Rossini at a ball with a huge diamond, but she refuses to speak on the radio for him, even after her diamond is stolen. He manages to capture a bit of her tale of the crime on his microphone before she notices him, and a friend of the Countess calls in to say that the woman she heard on the radio did not sound anything like Countess de Rossini. She is revealed to be blackmailer Drusilla Melick, who confesses when confronted with the truth.

[The Fiend's Organ of Destruction] (Table of Contents)

Dan Dennis, F.B.I. / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Sam Gilman [as Gilman] (signed)
Pencils:
Sam Gilman [as Gilman] (signed)
Inks:
Sam Gilman [as Gilman] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery
Characters:
Dan Dennis; Tick; Inspector Teague; The Fiend (villain)
Synopsis:
The Fiend, previously captured and now in an asylum cell, still holds the secret of his musical organ of destruction. Dennis strikes a deal with the Fiend exchanging the plans for leniency, but while police escort the Fiend to his hide-out other criminals intercept them and capture the Fiend themselves. The get the plans, but are paralyzed when the Fiend demonstrates the organ for them. Just then Dennis arrives, distracts the Fiend with ventriloquism, and uses the organ against its creator. Inspector Teague arrives to find Dennis waiting for him with the paralyzed criminals.

Indexer Notes

Pgs 1, 3-4 and 6 are red/black duotone, while pages 2 and 5 are black and white.

Jerry Bails' Who's Who confirms Gilman as the scripter for the Centaur strips, although just as an artist for the syndicated version of the feature.

[no title indexed] (Table of Contents)

Comicrimes / activity / 2 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
Max Neill (signed)
Inks:
Max Neill (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery

Indexer Notes

Each page has one or more puzzles setting up the circumstances of several crimes and asking the reader to work out how the crimes were done. The answers are printed upside-down in the bottom left-hand corner of each page.

Foggy Night, Part II (Table of Contents)

Jerry O'Keefe / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Frank Frollo [as Frollo] (signed)
Pencils:
Frank Frollo [as Frollo] (signed)
Inks:
Frank Frollo [as Frollo] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery
Characters:
Jerry O'Keefe; Shorty
Synopsis:
O'Keefe, a state trooper, gets into trouble with several smugglers. They've already captured his friend Shorty, and take them both to their cabin hideout. They manage to escape, and because of concealing fog the smugglers can't see them. But Jerry can see the head smuggler backlit by the light of the cabin, and shoots him, allowing Shorty to get free and bring the police.

Indexer Notes

Pages 1, 3-4 and 6 are red/black duotone, while pages 2 and 5 are black and white.

Jerry Bails' Who's Who confirms Frollo as the scripter of his Centaur features.

Fair Exchange (Table of Contents)

text story / 2 pages (report information)

Script:
Sam Gilman (credited)
Pencils:
Sam Gilman (credited)
Inks:
Sam Gilman (credited)
Colors:
?
Letters:
typeset

Synopsis:
Pickpocket gang leader Slim Anderson complains that his three boys aren't bringing in enough loot, and that all of the "hicks" in town for the World's Fair should be easy pickings. The boys claim that things have gotten a lot harder because the papers have played up the danger so much the hicks are onto them. They dare him to try it himself. Later, they seem to have great success with a friendly hick, but when they get back to their hideout, they find out the hick was Slim himself, who stole all of their belongings while he let them steal his!

Indexer Notes

There are illustrations of the pickpockets on each page of the text story.

The Doctor's Revenge (Table of Contents)

comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Claire S. Moe [as Clair S. Moe] (signed)
Pencils:
Claire S. Moe [as Clair S. Moe] (signed)
Inks:
Claire S. Moe [as Clair S. Moe] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
crime
Synopsis:
A respected doctor is abducted by gangsters just as his son heads off to medical school. He's forced to do reconstructive surgery on the gangsters' boss to help him hide as they have threatened to harm his son if he does not cooperate. He loses his practice as a result of accusations that he is protecting criminals, so he fakes his death and when his son tries to avenge him, he reveals himself and poisons the gangster who started it all. Father and son are happily reunited in the end.

Indexer Notes

Pages 1, 3-4 and 6 are red/black duotone while pages 2 and 5 are black and white.

There is no "e" in "Clair" in the signature, although her name is written with the "e" in Jerry Bails' Who's Who, which confirms the script credit.

Lesson #3 (Table of Contents)

How to be an Amateur G-Man! / filler / 2 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
?
Inks:
?
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
non-fiction; detective-mystery
Synopsis:
Various bits of information about fingerprints, invisible ink, the history of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover, the words "Cop" and "G-Man", crime statistics, costs to the American public, and even some bits explaining the difference between what real crime-fighting is like vs what goes on in comic books! Some items are questions that will be answered in lesson #4, and some are answers from questions asked in lesson #2.

The Devil-God Murder Cases (Table of Contents)

Detective Degan / comic story / 5 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
Charles Pearson [as Chas. Pearson] (signed)
Inks:
Charles Pearson [as Chas. Pearson] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery
Characters:
John Degan; Li Wan (villain)
Synopsis:
Two mysterious murders lead John Degan to look at a large bronze idol retrieved by an expedition to Tibet that included both victims. When he sees blood and bullet marks on the idol, he consults Chinese scholar Li Wan, who explains that a high priest in a trance could animate the statue. Later, Degan wonders why Li Wan knew so much, and returns to find him in a trance controlling the idol. Li Wan's guards fight John Degan, but he dodges a hatched that one guard throws which then strikes Li Wan in the head, killing him.

Indexer Notes

Pages 1 and 3-4 are black/red duotone while pages 2 and 5 are black and white.

["There's a new kid in town"] (Table of Contents)

Junior Detective / comic story / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Fred Schwab [as Ed Wood] (signed)
Pencils:
Fred Schwab [as Ed Wood] (signed)
Inks:
Fred Schwab [as Ed Wood] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
humor; detective-mystery

Indexer Notes

red/black duotone
Script credit confirmed by Jerry Bails' Who's Who.

["How did work go today, daughter?"] (Table of Contents)

The Eye Sees / comic story / 8 pages (report information)

Script:
Frank Thomas (signed)
Pencils:
Frank Thomas (signed)
Inks:
Frank Thomas (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
occult; detective-mystery
Characters:
The Eye (intro); Ann Mattes; E. D. Mattes; Islam Herat (villain); Talu
Synopsis:
Formerly wealthy trader E. D. Mattes and his daughter Ann have been exiled from their home in Afghanistan by Islam Herat, who took over Mattes's business. In New York, Mattes laments that Ann must work and he has nothing left but her. The Eye appears and boasts of its powers, telling Mattes that if he obeys it, all things are possible. Mattes tells Ann of this, and she mentions that Talu, her old teacher, spoke of the Eye and that it is well-known among the Afghans.

In Afghanistan, Herat plots the death of Mattes so he can capture Ann. The Eye intercepts his assassins in their airplan, and blows them out of the sky causing them to fall to their deaths. The Eye then orders E. D. and Ann Mattes to follow its instructions to fool Herat into thinking his assassins were successful, and then return to Kabul. On the Eye's orders, Mattes poses as his own ghost to scare Herat into confessing his crimes. The Afghan authorities promise to restore Mattes to his former position, allowing him and Ann to return to their home.
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

No origin or explanation is given for the Eye, and whatever Talu might have told Ann is unrevealed.

Script credit confirmed by Jerry Bails' Who's Who.

The Case of the Whispering Light (Table of Contents)

Dean Denton, Scientific Detective / comic story / 8 pages (report information)

Script:
Harry Campbell [as Harry Francis Campbell] (signed)
Pencils:
Harry Campbell [as Harry Francis Campbell] (signed)
Inks:
Harry Campbell [as Harry Francis Campbell] (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
detective-mystery
Characters:
Dean Denton; Carol; The Conquerer (villain)
Synopsis:
A movie star disciple of a new seer called Astra is murdered. Dean realizes that the "magic" crystal balls given to Astra's wealthiest disciples are only loudspeakers controlled through beams of light. He exposes the trick to one such disciple, who leads him and Carol to Astra's "Temple of Light". Denton shoots and shatters the large crystal at the temple, enraging Astra's followers who realize they've been had. He also recognizes the voice of "Astra" as belonging to his old enemy the Conquerer. They locate the transmitter, and Denton has Carol stay back while he raids the place. He's captured, and Carol causes a distraction, allowing him to escape and take over the station. He broadcasts the truth to the remaining followers of Astra, which lures the Conquerer too the station. Denton gets the drop on the Conquerer when he arrives, and turns him over to the police.

Indexer Notes

Script credit confirmed by Jerry Bails' Who's Who.

[no title indexed] (Table of Contents)

Cop Capers / filler / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Terry Gilkison (signed)
Pencils:
Terry Gilkison (signed)
Inks:
Terry Gilkison (signed)
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
non-fiction; crime
Synopsis:
Strange and amusing factoids involving jail sentences and criminal behaviors around the world.

Indexer Notes

Script credit confirmed by Jerry Bails' Who's Who.

This Beautiful Desk for $1.00 (Table of Contents)

Remington Noiseless Deluxe Portable Typewriter / advertisement / 1 page (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
?
Inks:
?
Letters:
typeset

Synopsis:
Advertisement for a desk at a discounted price if bought with a Remington portable typewriter.

Indexer Notes

Inside back cover.

[no title indexed] (Table of Contents)

Johnson Smith & Co. / advertisement / 1 page (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
?
Inks:
?
Letters:
typeset

Synopsis:
Back cover. A plethora of small-print ads.
Editing

Table of Contents

  1. 0. [no title indexed]
    Jerry O'Keefe
  2. 1. Uncle Joe's Christmas Treat: Free Gifts for All
  3. 2. [Four Gangs against the Masked Marvel]
    Masked Marvel
  4. 3. [The Countess who Feared Radio]
    Spark O'Leary
  5. 4. [The Fiend's Organ of Destruction]
    Dan Dennis, F.B.I.
  6. 5. [no title indexed]
    Comicrimes
  7. 6. Foggy Night, Part II
    Jerry O'Keefe
  8. 7. Fair Exchange
  9. 8. The Doctor's Revenge
  10. 9. Lesson #3
    How to be an Amateur G-Man!
  11. 10. The Devil-God Murder Cases
    Detective Degan
  12. 11. ["There's a new kid in town"]
    Junior Detective
  13. 12. ["How did work go today, daughter?"]
    The Eye Sees
  14. 13. The Case of the Whispering Light
    Dean Denton, Scientific Detective
  15. 14. [no title indexed]
    Cop Capers
  16. 15. This Beautiful Desk for $1.00
    Remington Noiseless Deluxe Portable Typewriter
  17. 16. [no title indexed]
    Johnson Smith & Co.
This issue was most recently modified by:
  • Henry Andrews
  • Lou Mougin
  • Terry Jeffress
Issues in this series have been indexed by:
  • Lee Randall (R.I.P.)
  • Lou Mougin
  • Tim Cotrill
  • Per Sandell
  • Henry Andrews