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Balladeer’s Blog

Last week’s look at over two dozen 1940s superheroes from Marvel Comics (called Timely Comics back then) was very popular. This time around here’s my breakdown on several issues of All Winners Comics, featuring a mixed bag of their biggest heroes of the time. The one and only STAN LEE, already a master of self-promotion in the 1940s, makes cameo appearances in a few issues.

For information on the superheroes in these adventures click HERE.

all winners 1ALL WINNERS COMICS #1 (June 1941)

Story 1: Carnival of Fiends

Heroes: Human Torch (original) and Toro

Villain: Mr Matzu

Synopsis: The Human Torch and Toro clash with the espionage network of Japanese Imperial Spy Matzu when he tries to sabotage Chinese-Americans who are holding a fundraiser for their native land’s military efforts against Japan’s occupation forces.

Comment: America had not yet entered the war, so this is an interesting piece. It’s set in New York City.

Story 2: The Order of the Hood

Hero: The Black Marvel

Villains: The Order of the Hood

Synopsis: In Los Angeles, a cloaked and hooded gang of bank robbers use machine guns and a solar death ray to rob banks and slaughter anyone in their way. The Black Marvel repeatedly clashes with them and defeats them in the end.

Comment: After the villains capture the Black Marvel they do a pirate television broadcast to show them executing the hero, but he turns the tables on them. There were indeed television broadcasts at the time, but going out to thousands instead of millions like today.

Story 3: The Case of the Hollow Men

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Lord of Death

Synopsis: In Northern Virginia, Cap and Bucky battle a Nazi sympathizer called the Lord of Death. He captures homeless people, drains their blood and replaces it with his Di-Namo fluid, which animates them as obedient zombies, his army of “Hollow Men”.

Comment: The Lord of Death was in radio contact with Hitler himself, so Cap got to tell off Adolf over the wireless after he and Bucky defeated the zombie army and captured the “Lord.”

Story 4: All Winners

Heroes: Captain America, Bucky, Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch, Toro, Black Marvel and the Angel

Villain: None

Synopsis: A young boy named Johnny Blake longs to meet his favorite superheroes, and gets his wish when seven of them pay him a visit.

Comment: Bland and schmaltzy, but at least it presented all of this issue’s heroes together in one story.

Story 5: The Torpedo Boat Terror

Hero: The Sub-Mariner

Villains: Nazis

Synopsis: Sub-Mariner discovers and destroys a covert Nazi U-Boat operation off the coast of Virginia. The hidden base was established to sink ships from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard if America entered the war.

Comment: Marvel’s Sub-Mariner had been openly fighting Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for years. The fictional explanation was that the Axis Powers had attacked his kingdom of Atlantis, so he declared war on them.

Story 6: The Case of the Mad Gargoyle

Hero: The Angel

Villain: The Mad Gargoyle

Synopsis: When several American planes disappear over the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the Angel investigates and traces the activity to the jungles of Panama. A supervillain called the Mad Gargoyle for his mutated appearance is using a tractor beam he created to seize U.S. planes to weaken America in case it enters the war. Angel defeats the villain and his Panamanian army and frees all the captured airline passengers.

Comment: The Mad Gargoyle boasted that his inventions helped the Nazis conquer France. (Is any help actually needed for that? I’m KIDDING!)

all winners 2ALL WINNERS COMICS #2 (September 1941)

Story 1: Carnival of Death

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro 

Villain: Mr Howe

Synopsis: A man trained by a former carnival knife-thrower has taken to preying slasher-style on guests at a Calm Lake resort where the Human Torch and Toro are vacationing. The heroes put a stop to the grisly murders.

Comment: Mr Howe, in his disguise as a hideously scarred man, used fireproof knives against the two superheroes.

Story 2: The Strange Case of the Malay Idol

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Kuoli

Synopsis: Cap and Bucky are guarding defense documents in a plane that gets shot down over the Malay archipelago. They then clash with natives led by Kuoli, who turns out to be Kurt Mueller, a Nazi in disguise. (Not an Imperial Japanese spy?)

Comment: Kuoli had been using an idol to impersonate a god to the islanders to make them follow him.

Story 3: Bombs of Doom

Hero: The Destroyer

Villains: Nazis

Synopsis: Operating covertly in Germany itself, the Destroyer frees a dissident scientist from a concentration camp and also thwarts a Nazi attempt to use biological warfare weapons against Great Britain.

Comment: The Destroyer had long been active behind the lines in Germany because he had dual British citizenship through his British mother. Great Britain had been active in the war since 1939.

Story 4: Winners All

Heroes: The Human Torch, Toro, Captain America, Bucky, Sub-Mariner, the Destroyer and the Whizzer

Villains: Miscellaneous Nazi agents

Synopsis: Stan Lee himself is depicted in a story in which Captain America, Bucky, the Human Torch, Toro and the Sub-Mariner officially welcome the Destroyer and the Whizzer to the “All Winners Squad” (as it were). Throwaway Nazi agents are defeated as Stan the Man interacts with the superheroes. Kind of a 1941 Stan Lee cameo.

Story 5: Plague of the Poisoned Jewelry

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Lens

Synopsis: When assorted women start dropping dead due to toxic poison in the jewelry they wear, the Whizzer traces the deaths to Lens, a Nazi agent in thick-lensed eyeglasses who was sent to sow murder and terror in America.

Comment: Lens was working in conjunction with a Nazi-sympathizing American jewelry magnate.

Story 6: The Ghost Fleet

Hero: The Sub-Mariner

Villain: Count Von Buckner

Synopsis: When Allied merchant shipping seems to be getting sunk by ghostly, insubstantial warships, the Sub-Mariner is called in. He learns that the Ghost Fleet are really illusions conjured up by U-Boat commander Count Von Buckner, who sinks the ships while witnesses blame it on the ghostly illusions.

Comment: The Count boasted that he had also served in the German Navy during World War One. 

all winners 3ALL WINNERS COMICS #3 (December 1941)

Story 1: Case of the Black Dragon Society

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villains: The Black Dragon Society

Synopsis: The Human Torch and Toro investigate recent Texas activities by Japan’s Black Dragon Society. It turns out the society is using high tech to divert oil from Texas oilfields through a pipeline that terminates in the Gulf of Mexico, where specially designed submarines serve as oil tankers to take the petroleum to Japan.

Comment: The villains were using the recent U.S. oil embargo against Japan to justify their actions.

Story 3: The Canvas of Doom

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Mad Painter

Synopsis: When assorted military officers and officials start dropping dead under mysterious circumstances, Cap and Bucky trace the killings to a supervillain called the Mad Painter. The villain’s artwork uses paint which gives off subtle fumes that kill after enough exposure. He would substitute his replicas for paintings that were already hanging on the walls of his intended victims. 

Comment: This villain was revealed to be Colonel Rand, a traitor who had sold out to the Axis Powers. As the Mad Painter, his mask protected him from the fumes in his deadly paint.

Story 3: Terror Prison

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: The Black

Synopsis: The Whizzer is called in when a black-clad and skull-masked figure called “the Black” uses secret tunnels and passageways throughout Tolegate Prison to facilitate a series of riots by the inmates.

Comment: The Black is ultimately revealed to be the warden of the prison. He knew that oil lie under Tolegate and was trying to get the government to shut down the prison in a Scooby Doo style scheme so he could make a fortune.

Story 4: The Ship of Horrors

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Daglio

Synopsis: Roaming the Pacific Ocean in search of Imperial Japanese subs and warships, the Sub-Mariner thwarts an army of modern-day pirates who are trying to recover treasure from a long-sunken ship. The hero defeats Daglio and his men.

Comment: Our hero donates the treasure to the U.S.O. (Yes, the U.S.O.)

Story 5: The Secret Tunnel of Death

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Doctor Dragon

Synopsis: A Nazi supervillain called Doctor Dragon is overseeing construction of a secret tunnel under the English Channel. He plans to lead an army through the tunnel to invade Great Britain. The Destroyer foils the plan and sabotages the tunnel, flooding it and killing the invading army.

Comment: The Destroyer captured Doctor Dragon and took him to England as a Prisoner of War. 

all winners 4ALL WINNERS COMICS #4 (March 1942)

Story 1: The Terror of the Slimy Japs

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: Reverend Moppino

Synopsis: New York City’s Sun Temple is directed by Reverend Moppino from Japan. He is secretly an Imperial Japanese spy and, now that America is officially in the war, he and his agents spread destruction and chaos throughout the city with their weapons, including an “atom-expansion ray.”

Comment: The Sun Temple was set up with all manner of high-tech death-traps for the Human Torch and Toro.

Story 2: The Sorceror’s Sinister Secret

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Mysto the Magician

Synopsis: Mysto has sold out to Japan and uses his high-tech seemingly “magic” gadgets to kidnap and torture American officers in the Pacific Theater to get war secrets out of them. Cap and Bucky put an end to it.

Comment: Mysto was aided by his hulking, hunch-backed servant.

Story 3: Crime on the Rampage

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: The Leet Branis Gang

Synopsis: Leet Branis leads his gangsters in a series of robberies at jewelers and ultimately at a theater. The Whizzer wages war on them and defeats them all.

Comment: Leet Branis is an anagram for Stan Lieber, Stan Lee’s real name, so Leet is another Stan cameo of sorts.

Story 4: The Sinister Horde

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Felix Sak

Synopsis: Nazi agent Felix Sak has been running a U-Boat base out of his seemingly innocent mansion on Long Island. The Sub-Mariner defeats all the U-Boats and manages the destruction of the base.

Comment: Sak’s U-Boats had been preying on Atlantic shipping, both military and commercial.

Story 5: Death to the Nazi Scourge

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Heinrich the Butcher

Synopsis: Heinrich Bungler aka the Butcher is a Gestapo leader notorious for torture and other atrocities. The Destroyer fights off all the Gestapo men that the Butcher has scouring Germany for him and also engineers the escape from a prison camp for a minister who had been arrested for speeches attacking Hitler.

Comment: The Destroyer used milk bottles full of benzene to rig makeshift grenades to throw at the armored vehicles which he encountered in this adventure.   

all winners 5ALL WINNERS COMICS #5 (June 1942)

Story: The Nazis’ Secret Plan

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: Captain Von Spitz

Synopsis: Captain Von Spitz and his fellow Nazi saboteurs were operating out of a seemingly legitimate steamship anchored near Coney Island. From there they carried out their missions against the New York area’s hospitals and subways until our heroes stopped them.

Comment: This story featured a test-blackout in New York City for fans of wartime mis-en-scene.

Story 2: The Vampire Strikes

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Vampire

Synopsis: Imperial Japan’s Dr Hideko Togu sneaks into the U.S. to wreak havoc and instill terror by repeatedly using his chemical formula which transforms him into a large winged man-bat creature. In that form he has immense super strength, but Cap and Bucky wind up defeating him in the end.

Comment: The Vampire would suck blood from his victim’s necks like a vampire bat, but did not have to do it just to survive.

Story 3: Speed on the Rampage

Hero: The Whizzer

Villains: The League of Crime

Synopsis: The Whizzer battles another crooked prison warden. In this story Warden Ballew secretly runs a criminal operation in which he covertly allows several criminals out at night to don civilian clothes and commit armed robberies before returning. He splits the proceeds with them. Eventually the Whizzer shuts down the operation.

Comment: Not a bad plan on Ballew’s part. The prisoners would serve their terms and, since they weren’t suspected of pulling off the string of robberies since they were already behind bars, they’d have a lot of money waiting for them when they finally got released. Assuming Ballew wasn’t planning to double-cross them.

Story 4: The Island of Glittering Gold

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Admiral Doering

Synopsis: Off the coast of Africa the Sub-Mariner finds an uncharted island that is rich with gold veins. Nazi Admiral Doering and his warship full of men arrive after spotting signs of the Sub-Mariner in the area. Our hero defeats the Nazis in the subsequent battle for the wealth-laden island. 

Comment: The Sub-Mariner kicked the Admiral into shark-infested waters to finish him off.

Story 5: The Demon’s Deadly Secret

Hero: The Destroyer 

Villains: Gestapo agents Captain Achhimmel and Inga Von Leche

Synopsis: The Gestapo is still scouring Germany for the Destroyer. That hero evades all their agents and also engineers a mass escape from a concentration camp for a dissident artist and three dissident writers.

Comment: Inga accidentally shoots the captain to death while trying to kill the Destroyer. She still comes out ahead of the game when she is promoted to his position at the story’s end.

all winners 6ALL WINNERS COMICS #6 (September 1942)

Story 1: Hot Stamp Mob

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: Big Eyes

Synopsis: The Human Torch and Toro bring down a counterfeit war-stamps gang led by a villain called Big Eyes, for obvious reasons. His huge eyes help him in his profession of counterfeiting.

Comment: Big Eyes and his gang used a high-tech printing press which also included exotic weaponry to unleash on the Human Torch and Toro.

Story 2: The Stone-Man Slayer

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: The Stone Man

Synopsis: The Destroyer battles a giant stone construct created by a Nazi mad scientist. In the end he destroys the creation.

Comment: In this story our hero aided some commandos from his beloved mother’s homeland of Great Britain.

Story 3: The Mock Mikado Strikes

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Mock Mikado

Synopsis: A fictional brother of Emperor Hirohito has been in hiding in Mexico for years, gathering a secret army around him. He leads that army in an invasion of California but is opposed by Cap and Bucky.

Comment: The Mock Mikado’s plan is an interesting throwback to World War One, when Germany tried to get Mexico to invade the U.S. as one of the Central Powers.

Story 4: The Black Avenger

Hero: The Black Avenger

Villain: Kurt Weidner

Synopsis: The previously established superhero called the Thunderer changed his nom de guerre to the Black Avenger in this story. He finds and shuts down a pirate radio operation run by Nazi spy Kurt Weidner and his men. They had been using their broadcasts to get coded messages out to the Axis powers.

Comment: This was the last appearance of a superhero who – under either name – never caught on for some reason.

Story 5: Spies Use Their Heads

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Professor Gojo

Synopsis: A Japanese-born California businessman who pretended to be working for the U.S. intelligence agencies was really the masked Professor Gojo, a Double Agent working for Imperial Japan. Sub-Mariner thwarts the villain’s plan to coordinate an invasion of California from a secret island base he owned.

Comment: A pretty interesting selection of wartime stories in this issue of All Winners Comics.     

all winners 7ALL WINNERS COMICS #7 (December 1942)

Story 1: Death For Breakfast

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: When American troops on Caraway Island are discovered poisoned down to the last man, the Human Torch and Toro investigate. They learn that a seemingly legitimate food concentrate magnate named Joe Grupper is really a Nazi spy. He is running a network in the U.S. and Canada which is sending poisoned food products to Allied troops in the field, planning to kill thousands in one blow.

Comment: Naturally our heroes expose Grupper and capture all his agents in both countries.

Story 2: The Return of Dr Crime

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Doctor Crime

Synopsis: Nazi agents break Captain America’s old foe Doctor Crime out of prison. He again dons his costume and arms himself with his weapons – a gun that shoots his shrinking fluid and a gun that shoots fatally poisonous darts. The villain targets military brass but once again Cap and Bucky defeat him, and this time he seems to have been killed at the end.

Comment: Doctor Crime never showed up again, so he must have really been dead.

Story 3: Smashing The Jap Trap

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Imperial Japan

Synopsis: A very busy Sub-Mariner destroys several Japanese subs and warships while also smashing a radio station they seized from U.S. troops. He also finds a secret island base where he liberates missing POWs from a brutal prison camp where they were subjected to horrible treatment. To top it all off, the Sub-Mariner retrieves tons of food supplies that the Japanese forces seized from American soldiers and gives them back to the troops.

Story 4: Strike Hard

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Colonel Schutter

Synopsis: The Destroyer steals secret Nazi war plans for an invasion of Switzerland. Despite the efforts of Colonel Schutter to capture him before he can get the plans to Great Britain, our hero does so and even heads off the planned invasion with a commando strike of his own at the border.

Comment: If you’re like me, you’re hoping that the next story was titled Strike Hard 2: Strike Harder.  

Story 5: The Whizzer

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Mister Thos

Synopsis: Radio tycoon Mr Thos sells out to the Nazis and agrees to help sabotage several of his radio stations around the country to help sow fear in the country. The Whizzer figures out the plan and puts a stop to it.

Comment: The defeated Thos tried jumping to his death but the Whizzer saved his life so that he would have to stand trial.

all winners 8ALL WINNERS COMICS #8 (March 1943)

Story 1: Invasion By Ice

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: Herr Blutcher

Synopsis: The Nazis release an insane genius and fanatical Party member named Herr Blutcher from a mental institution. He devises a freezing machine which is then placed in the English Channel causing it to freeze solid and the Nazis launch an immediate invasion of England from Occupied France. The Human Torch and Toro thwart the invasion, melt the “ice-bridge” linking the U.K. to Continental Europe and capture Herr Blutcher.

Comment: Blutcher even had some spies try to kill the Torch and Toro before using his freezing device.

Story 2: The Plot To Kill MacArthur

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Colonel Kuhomai

Synopsis: In New Guinea, Cap and Bucky foil a plan by the Imperial Japanese Colonel Kuhomai to blow up a military base there while General Douglas MacArthur is visiting.

Comment: Earlier in the war, Kuhomai’s father, a general, had committed ritual suicide after losing a battle to General MacArthur.

Story 3: Sub-Mariner Changes the Face of the Earth

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villains: Nazis

Synopsis: The War Department asks the Sub-Mariner to deliver a vital message to the French Underground. Our hero overcomes spies, U-Boats, land forces and Gestapo agents to carry out that mission.

Comment: The message that is delivered lets the Free French forces know that the Allies will be invading Europe. Obviously not much of a real-world secret if it could be divulged in a comic book.

Story 4: To Hitler, From Hell

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Madam Satan

Synopsis: A demonic woman called Madam Satan visits Hitler and provides his forces with weapons that fire poisonous gas that turns enemy soldiers to stone. The Destroyer was already in Berlin on a covert mission to terrify Hitler and he observes Madam Satan and her weapons from hiding. Our hero attacks the newly-armed Nazi soldiers and defeats Madam Satan, who vanishes when tossed into an open fire. He then destroys all of the gas guns, believing no army in the world should have such powerful, unearthly weapons.

Comment: I prefer heroes who didn’t have an annoying kid sidekick, so I think these Destroyer stories are great.

Story 5: Holdup! Robbery! Murder!

Hero: The Whizzer

Villains: The Riko Mob

Synopsis: The Whizzer defeats a gangster named Riko and his entire gang of armed robbers.

Comment: With the other superheroes active in the war, the Whizzer’s efforts against criminals seem a little pale by comparison.   

all winners 9ALL WINNERS COMICS #9 (June 1943)

Story 1: The Gorilla Men

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villains: The Gorilla Men

Synopsis: A mad scientist named Bashon creates a race of Gorilla Men after intensive study of the bones of prehistoric humans. He also designs high-tech tanks, planes and other mobile monstrosities that he has the Gorilla Men operate to level entire cities.

Comment: Oddly, Bashon did not seem to be working for the Axis Powers, and may have been driven by sheer insanity.

Story 2: Case of the Sinister Hun

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Baron Von Widemouth

Synopsis: When Nazi scientist Baron Von Widemouth escapes captivity in Brazil, Cap and Bucky are sent to find him. He resurfaces in the Panamania jungle with a plan to use an entire fleet of large model airplanes to knock out the defenses around the Panama Canal and then destroy the canal itself.

Comment: Needless to say, the Baron was defeated.

Story 3: Namor Cracks The Whip

Hero: The Sub-Mariner

Villain: Colonel Brusch

Synopsis: In the Mediterranean Sea, the Sub-Mariner uncovers a plot by the Nazi Colonel Brusch to run a false flag operation implicating the British in an aerial attack on Turkey, hoping to get the Turks to declare war on the Allies. Sub-Mariner defeats Brusch’s troops and destroys all of the phony British planes and bombers.

Comment: The Sub-Mariner was originally on his way to Greece to consult with the forces fighting the Nazis.

Story 4: The Flight From Peril

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Captain Erwin Krause

Synopsis: The Destroyer links up with a band of underground agents who are trying to smuggle war plans out of Germany. Our hero works with them against everything that the Nazi Captain Krause can throw at them and ultimately gets the sole survivor, a beautiful woman named Gloria, out of Germany and into England.

Comment: The Destroyer stays behind in Germany while Gloria travels on.

Story 5: The Bakery Spy Ring

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Axis Spies

Synopsis: When the Axis Powers are using a seemingly innocent bakery to operate a spy ring, the Whizzer gets involved and shuts down the villains.

Comment: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Marvel’s Golden Age stories needed more supervillains.

all winners 10ALL WINNERS COMICS #10 (September 1943)

Story 1: Bloody Talons of the Feathered Fiends

Heroes: Human Torch and Bucky

Villain: The Vulture

Synopsis: Our heroes tangle with a supervillain who is called the Vulture. He is able to communicate with birds and has assembled an entire flock to carry egg-sized explosives in attacks against any stateside military targets he wants.

Comment: This Vulture had no connection to Spider-Man’s later foe the Vulture.

Story 2: Kioto, the Mad Jap

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Captain Kioto

Synopsis: On an island in the Pacific, the Imperial Japanese Captain Kioto runs a POW camp for captured Allied soldiers. He tortures the men, mutilates their bodies when they die and then has their mangled corpses parachuted into American or British camps around the other islands.

Comment: Cap and Bucky find the sadistic Captain Kioto’s camp, free the POWS and blow up the camp AND Kioto.

Story 3: Alibi For Grim Deceit

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Marshall Kronin

Synopsis: In Berlin, Marshall Kronin orders German intellgence agents in America to abduct the Sub-Mariner’s World War Two-era love interest Betty Dean from over in his own comic book. The female reporter is brought to Berlin to use as a hostage against the Sub-Mariner. Our hero convinces the Nazis he has switched allegiances to them, but ultimately frees Betty and destroys several Nazi ships and tanks.

Comment: Years after the war, an elderly Betty Dean would help raise the Sub-Mariner’s cousin Namorita under the name Nita Prentiss.   

Story 4: The Rescue of the Partisan’s Sister

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Colonel Von Bitters

Synopsis: Nazi Colonel Von Bitters has the sister of a Free French operative kidnapped and brought to him. The Destroyer works with the Free French to get her back and then leads Von Bitters’ men into an explosive death trap.

Comment: Von Bitters was making the captive sister cook for him and his men and was putting the moves on her when the Destroyer and company showed up.

Story 5: The Terror of Triple Destruction

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Triple Destruction

Synopsis: A costumed Nazi agent called Triple Destruction and his soldiers travel the U.S. blowing up munitions factories and other defense sites. When he publicly taunts America about his and his men’s plans to blow up three separate targets in three widely-separated areas it seriously tests the abilities of the super-speedster called the Whizzer.

Comment: The Whizzer defeated Triple Destruction and rounded up all of his men, too.

all winners 11ALL WINNERS COMICS #11 (December 1943)

Story 1: Sky Demons Over America

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: The Hawk

Synopsis: A Nazi supervillain called the Hawk has constructed a massive airship called Der Tag and is flying around America with his crew, using gas weapons from his vessel to wipe out farmlands everywhere. Our heroes put a stop to it.

Comment: The Hawk blew up along with his ship and his crew in the end.

Story 2: The Case of the Yellow Fire Monster

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Nogatmi

Synopsis: In New York City, an Imperial Japanese spy named Nogatmi impersonates a Chinese drug lord and launches a narcotics empire. He forms a network of drug addicts called Snowbirds and uses them to commit arson all over the city. Cap and Bucky aren’t having it.

Comment: Yes, in a comic book in the 1940s drug addiction was already so well-known that the street term snowbirds was being used to describe them. 

Story 3: Terror In Tokyo

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villains: Imperial Japan

Synopsis: After the Sub-Mariner helps the U.S. navy take out several Japanese warships, Prime Minister Tojo personally oversees a high-tech plot that succeeds in knocking out the hero and capturing him. Tojo has him displayed in a specially-constructed aquarium/ cell in Tokyo as a propaganda victory. Naturally the Sub-Mariner escapes, blows up the royal palace and returns to the sea.

Comment: Obviously the royal palace did not get destroyed in real life.

Story 4: The Real Hitler

Hero: The Destroyer

Villain: Adolf Hitler

Synopsis: The Destroyer exposes and trounces a large group of Hitler doubles that the dictator uses as decoys.

Comment: Silly and lackluster for a Destroyer story.

Story 5: The Three Chances Of Cadet Cox

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Nazis

Synopsis: When Bill Cox, a military academy graduate, seems inclined to follow his late father’s footsteps into leadership of organized crime, the Whizzer intervenes, shutting down all the crimes before they can even occur and convinces Bill to renounce crime and go into the army.

Comment: Bill becomes a war hero in the Pacific Theater.

all winners 12ALL WINNERS COMICS #12 (March 1944)

Story 1: Horror of the Ghost Fiend

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: The Wisp

Synopsis: The Human Torch and Toro are called in by military intelligence when a Nazi spy called the Wisp alters documents to anger Saudi Arabia into entering the war on the Axis side. They are sent to the Middle East and defeat the Wisp before she can finish her efforts.

Comment: The Wisp had real potential as a villain, but unfortunately this was her only appearance.

Story 2: The Four Trials of Justice

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Red Skull

Synopsis: The Red Skull and an army of his men take over the American resort city of Lakehorst as the first step in conquering America for the Third Reich. Cap and Bucky infiltrate the city and defeat their old foe plus his Nazi troops. 

Comment: This story was an enjoyably cornball wartime tale contrasting the tyranny of the Nazi beliefs and the freedoms of the United States.

Story 3: Smash the Tunnel of Terror

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Captain Krashyu

Synopsis: The Sub-Mariner saves Australia from an invasion led by Imperial Japanese Captain Krashyu. The invasion was to be launched through a tunnel the Japanese built from Singapore to Australia. Our hero destroys the tunnel and floods away the invading army.

Comment: Kind of a rehash of the Destroyer story about a tunnel under the English Channel but transferred to the Pacific Theater.

Story 4: The Beachhead Blitz

Hero: Destroyer

Villain: Hauptmann Schnagel

Synopsis: The Destroyer coordinates with the Allied Army and the French Underground to lure the Nazi troops of Hauptmann Schnagel into an ambush.

Comment: No Whizzer story in this issue.  

all winners 13ALL WINNERS COMICS #13 (September 1944)

Story 1: The Case of the Masked Strangler

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: Madame X

Synopsis: A Nazi agent called Madame X covertly recruits female defense industry workers to help her sabotage the American war effort. When she has to start strangling to death some of the women who refuse to go along with her plans the Human Torch and Toro are drawn into the case and shut down Madame X’s network.

Comment: Madame X was revealed to be a man in disguise.

Story 2: Gardens of Doom

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Doctor Botan

Synopsis: Cap and Bucky clash with Dr Botan, a mad scientist, and his army of plant/ animal/ human hybrids. In the end a fire destroys the mad doctor’s lab and all his creations while our heroes escape with an American soldier that Botan captured.

Comment: Dr Botan made no mention of working with the Axis Powers, so he apparently was just plotting villainy on his own.

Story 3: Waterfront Terror

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Mr Schlick

Synopsis: The Sub-Mariner works with his WW II love interest, reporter Betty Dean, to expose and destroy a gangster ring violating gas rationing and selling the stolen gas to bloated rich pigs willing to buy it at higher than normal prices to satisfy their selfish activities like yachting.

Comment: Mr Schlick and his network consisted of gangsters and wealthy people around Long Island Sound.

Story 4: The Maze of Madness

Hero: The Whizzer

Villain: Doctor Krool

Synopsis: The villainous Dr Lars Krool moves on from using mazes in experiments on mice and rats to using a gigantic, booby-trap laden maze on captured human guinea pigs. The Whizzer learns of this and puts the kibosh on Dr Krool.

Comment: Dr Krool’s maze is like a forerunner of Arcade’s Murderworld.   

all winners 14ALL WINNERS COMICS #14 (December 1944)

Story 1: Twenty Million Missing

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: The Boss

Synopsis: As the monarch of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner is invited to a Florida party attended by world leaders and incredibly wealthy families. He takes Betty Dean with him as his guest. A villain called the Boss has his ray-gun and diving-suit wearing thugs steal priceless jewels from the partygoers. Our hero traces them to the Boss’ undersea base and defeats all of the villain’s men and recovers the stolen jewels.

Comment: A nice change of pace in a Namor story and good use of Betty Dean.

Story 2: Monstro, the Mad Jap

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: Monstro

Synopsis: Cap and Bucky defeat Monstro, a huge, hook-handed Japanese spy running a network that steals defense plans from the U.S.

Comment: Monstro had a psychological obsession with jigsaw puzzles, and that led to his doom.

Story 3: Kidnappers Folly

Hero: Whizzer

Villain: Twist

Synopsis: The Whizzer defeats a group of gangsters led by Twist when they kidnap and try to ransom off a member of a wealthy family.

Comment: Wartime paper shortages had reduced this issue to just 3 stories.

all winners 15ALL WINNERS COMICS #15 (April 1945) 

Story 1: The Man Who Killed Himself

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Mister White

Synopsis: The Sub-Mariner and Betty Dean get involved in the case of a brilliant inventor being murdered by a wealthy industrialist named Mr White, who also steals the plans for the revolutionary new high-tech boat engine that the inventor designed.

Comment: A menace that was way, way beneath the Sub-Mariner. It would have made an okay story for a street-level superhero.

Story 2: The Masked Trio Of Death

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villains: The Masked Trio

Synopsis: A long string of armed robberies committed by a Masked Trio has left 11 people dead in its wake. Captain America and Bucky get involved and are outfought by the Masked Trio in each battle. It turns out the trio are three exceptionally well-trained apes in masks and bullet-proof vests. Cap and Bucky finally take down them and their trainer/ boss, a man named Lupo.

Comment: Bucky casually machine-guns to death the three apes at the end of the story.

Story 3: Lightning Strikes Twice

Hero: Whizzer

Villains: A Nazi and 3 criminals

Synopsis: A Nazi spy arrives in the U.S. where he recruits 3 escaped criminals to help him steal a buzz-bomber so that Germany can start making such weapons themselves. The Whizzer thwarts this and catches all 4 men despite the ray-gun the spy has.     

all winners 16ALL WINNERS COMICS #16 (June 1945)

Story 1: The Fabulous Racket

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: Mister Vincent

Synopsis: The Sub-Mariner visits Betty Dean at Seaview, an island resort at which she is staying. When a fellow reporter is killed for investigating the rackets on the island, Betty and Namor look into it and expose Mr Vincent, the head of the local Chamber of Commerce, as secretly being the organized crime boss of Seaview.

Comment: Vincent accidentally blows himself to bits at the end of the story.

Story 2: Dead Man’s Shoes

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Beak

Synopsis: The Beak, a gangster with a prominent nose, leads his gang in a series of bank robberies before trying to rob priceless jewels from a museum. Cap and Bucky corral the whole gang.

Comment: The title came from the way the Beak was having one of his men impersonate a dead security guard that they had killed.

Story 3: Meteor III

Hero: Whizzer

Villain: Doctor Throttle

Synopsis: An unscrupulous inventor called Dr Throttle invents a souped-up racecar he dubs Meteor III. He runs afoul of the Whizzer when he needs to rob radium to keep powering the high-tech vehicle.

Comment: The Meteor III could travel at 600 miles per hour, but the Whizzer was still able to run faster than it.   

all winners 17ALL WINNERS COMICS #17 (December 1945)

Story 1: The Black Phantom

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villain: The Black Phantom

Synopsis: Betty Dean calls in the Sub-Mariner when she is investigating the Black Phantom and his gang. The villain is a man in a black costume and mask, and he & his crew ride around in an invisible boat to rob other vessels up and down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Comment: The Black Phantom, his crew, and his invisible ship exploded at story’s end.

Story 2: The Curse of the Bayou Witch and Wizard

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villains: The Bayou Wizard and the Bayou Witch

Synopsis: While in Louisiana, Cap and Bucky clash with a real witch and her mortal male partner who is impersonating a wizard. The duo were using the legend of an old family curse as a cover for the murders they committed.

Comment: Per Marvel Comics’ retcons decades later the Captain America and Bucky in this story were technically two replacements after the original Cap and Bucky went MIA in April or May of 1945.

Story 3: The Voodoo Doll Murders

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villains: Barnes

Synopsis: The Torch and Toro solve a series of murders. A butler named Barnes uses ivory voodoo dolls as a red herring while he tries to murder his way to an inheritance.

Comment: What a waste of the Human Torch and Toro in a nothing story. 

Story 4: The Bank Jobs

Hero: Whizzer

Villains: Jeff and Jock Blintz

Synopsis: Two identical twins commit a series of bank robberies in different geographical areas while trying to convince the Whizzer that they are all the work of one man who is as super-fast as himself.

Comment: The Blintz Brothers used a vast arsenal of automatic weapons.   

all winners 18ALL WINNERS COMICS #18 (June 1946)

Story 1: The Case of the Baffling Neptune

Hero: Sub-Mariner

Villains: Assorted robbers

Synopsis: When Namor and Betty Dean meet at a waterfront bar they get caught up in a case. A variety of dangerous hoods are trying to locate the criminal proceeds that were hidden on a ship called the Neptune by the late gangster who used to own the vessel.

Comment: Of course Sub-Mariner and Betty prevail and the crooks all get nabbed.

Story 2: The Silk Stocking Strangler

Heroes: Captain America and Bucky

Villain: The Silk Stocking Strangler

Synopsis: More boredom than you can handle as Cap and Bucky and the entire San Francisco Police Force take down a homicidal maniac who strangles women with silk stockings.

Comment: Y’know, the decline of interest in superhero stories after World War Two may have been caused by how boring and lackluster the villains became in those stories.

Story 3: The Eye Has It

Heroes: Human Torch and Toro

Villain: The Eye

Synopsis: The Human Torch and Toro wind up kidnapped by a hitman called the Eye. He doesn’t have any superpowers, that would be too exciting. The Eye subjects the heroes to a series of high-tech challenges while keeping them imprisoned in an asbestos dungeon.   

Comment: Don’t miss the thrilling scene in which the Human Torch and the Eye play a game of chess!

Story 4: Joyride To Death

Hero: Whizzer

Villain: Happyland Fun Park

Synopsis: The Whizzer (yawn) captures and exposes the owner of the Happyland Fun Park for sabotaging a competing park’s rides.

Comment: “Zzzzzzz” 

all winners 19ALL WINNERS COMICS #19 (September 1946)

Story: The Crime of the Ages

NOTE: This is the first official gathering of the All Winners Squad.

Heroes: Miss America, The Human Torch, Toro, Captain America, Bucky, Sub-Mariner and the Whizzer

Villain: Isbisa

Synopsis: The All Winners Squad were assembled by the Human Torch to battle the costumed Isbisa, a villain whose name was an anagram for the various Ages of Man – Ice, Stone, Bronze, Iron, Steel and Atomic. Isbisa was working in league with a vast organization of criminals around the U.S. in an elaborate plan to steel nuclear secrets. The Squad defeated his plan and captured him & all his co-conspirators.

Comment: Sadly, this All Winners Squad story imitated early JSA stories by having the heroes split up and face each gang separately rather than fight as a team the whole time.

all winners 21ALL WINNERS COMICS #21 (December 1946)

Story: Menace From The Future World

NOTE: All Winners Comics #20 never existed. Timely/ Marvel had changed the name to All Teen for the 20th issue in stories that featured no superheroes, just their teen comic characters like Patsy Walker and others. They changed the name and format AGAIN for this 21st issue, the last edition of All Winners Comics.

Heroes: Captain America, Bucky, Miss America, The Human Torch, Toro, The Sub-Mariner and The Whizzer

Villains: Future Man and Madame Death

Synopsis: Future Man, a villain from the year One Million A.D. comes back in time to take over the 20th Century. He plans to repopulate the Earth with his people from the future since our world is a dying planet in the year One Million. He allies himself with the villainess called Madame Death. The All Winners Squad foils the plan.

Comment: And so ended the All Winners Squad, which SHOULD have been used as a team book during its entire run.












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  1. Pingback: ALL TWENTY ALL-WINNERS ISSUES FROM THE 1940s — Balladeer’s Blog – Revolver Boots

  2. …and a tiny comic version of Slash is up there at the top to join in on the appreciation. He’s playing a classic 1980’s rock ballad to commemorate the ’40’s

  3. Samuels

    Stan Lee was hip to the ways of promoting yourself way back then too.

  4. A big thank you for your article post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  5. Im thankful for the article post.Really thank you! Great.

  6. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  7. Fatima

    So many stories about the heroes fighting for their country!

  8. Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  9. Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.

  10. I truly appreciate this article. Fantastic.

  11. Awsome info and right to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thx 🙂