In the previous post to The Big Blog o’Fun we met a Holyoke “mystery man” character known as The Deacon. In that post I mentioned that I’d seen The Deacon described on another web page as being similar to Batman but “with religious overtones”, and I went on to question that assertion. In the week subsequent to my post that web page has been edited and the phrase has been deleted. Interesting…

 

Aside from his name, his clergyman garb, and the fact that his “secret hideout” is an abandoned church, there really aren’t any religious trappings to the ex-criminal known as The Deacon – and that’s a huge shame. The Deacon could have been a much more intriguing and memorable character had his origin been informed by the same pulp/noir background of quite a few other Golden Age comics (such as The Batman, who in so many ways is just The Shadow or The Spider in a fancier outfit). Imagine a character who is the priest of a small church by day, but who by night becomes the mysterious masked crimefighter known as The Deacon! Ably assisted by his sidekick Altar Boy (who is, in reality, his young ward Mickey), The Deacon bursts from the shadows to tirelessly battle Midland City’s criminal underworld of racketeers, gangsters, smugglers, and fifth columnists – all those who threaten our freedom and, indeed, our very way of life! Now that sounds like some good, fun reading.

 

Instead what we encounter in The Deacon is an average run of the mill “mystery man” who isn’t at all mysterious – he doesn’t even wear a mask. He’s not even particularly interesting, and the biggest mystery surrounding The Deacon is how he managed to make thirty-two appearances in the pages of Cat-Man Comics when many, more compelling, Golden Age comic characters (such as Lev Gleason’s Pat Patriot and The Bronze Terror, or Enwil’s The Green Turtle) made fewer than a dozen appearances each.

 

And, not to flog the proverbial dead horse, but the only “religious overtones” to be found in The Deacon’s adventures are those we wish to insert ourselves, such as on page two of the following story in which a crook pulls a gun on The Deacon and Mickey and shouts, “Don’t move or you’re dead fish!” The customary cliché is “dead meat”, not “dead fish”. Then again, maybe it’s Friday – after all, The Deacon is dressed as a priest.

 

Despite the deficiencies in The Deacon’s first half-dozen appearances (all that I’ve read so far), there’s something about the character that makes me want to stick him into a Hideouts & Hoodlums session. Maybe I just want the chance to jazz him up a bit. At any rate, our next post in the Big Blog o’Fun will contain Hideouts & Hoodlums RPG stats for The Deacon.

 

Today’s story pits The Deacon against a literal army of criminals, a plot so fantastic and ruthlessly deadly that our hero gets two extra pages over his previous appearances in Cat-Man Comics. The page scans are courtesy of The Digital Comic Museum. As always, right-click on a page and open it in a new tab to get a larger, more readable view.

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Cat-Man Comics #5, December 1941

 

Have fun! — Steve

 

Copyright 2014, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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