Detective Comics #1
Well, this is my first post on Scans Daily since it moved over to IJ. In the move, some classic content was lost, and I'm reposting something I posted in the original Scans Daily, oh, years ago. I'm posting it at least in part for my own convenience, but I feel future generations deserve to know some comics history.
We all know the name Detective Comics. It was, it's said, one of the first "themed" comic books: all the stories in it followed the theme of (unsurprisingly) detectives. One detective from these stories is, of course, well known: The Bat-Man, weird ghostly figure of the darkness. Most of the others, however, have gone into ephemeral-media limbo. In many cases, this is well-deserved; there are only so many Sax Rohmer knockoffs and "wild west detectives" one man can take. However, one stands out and has a special place in my heart.
That picture is the first glimpse readers ever had of Slam Bradley, and honestly it tells you everything you need to know: he's very large, very violent, not very well-drawn, and dislikes foreigners. And did I mention he's the brainchild of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster? (Incidentally, if your curiousity takes you farther than this post can fulfill, this story is reprinted in The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told. I have no idea why.)
Our hero's unexplained brawl with Chinamen is broken up by the police, who kick down the door, beat up a couple Orientals, and tell Slam he's wanted at the station. There we meet "Shorty" Morgan, as well as getting a glimpse of Slam's reputation and personality. At the station, Slam meets the wealthy Miss Carlisle and dazzles her with his sparkling personality. Outside, Shorty has developed a cunning plan to win Slam's heart approval. At his fingertips, indeed.
In the chief's office, Slam is informed that Miss Carlisle wants somebody to protect her beloved "poodle-dog", Mimi. He responds negatively. Almost psychotically, in fact. As he departs, however, he thinks of a way to kill two birds with one stone.
Shorty is not dismayed for long; at last he has a chance to impress Slam... particularly since, while he is guarding Mimi, he sees Miss Carlisle walk into a Chinese-run antique store. After a cursory investigation highlighting the racial enlightenment of the time, Shorty knows something is wrong and rings up the best Chink-buster he knows: Slam himself. Slam brings his unique investigative style to bear on the problem and soon unearths a lead. The snitch is slain with a sword (somehow; the details aren't clear) and Shorty tries to get closer to Slam. (By the way, despite what Slam says, we never see the sword again.)