Issue No. 65

June 1953

Dungeon of Fear! - In the free city of Bladheim, bordered by the Iron Curtain, Doctor Kurtz is working on a process for extracting medicines from weeds. Commisar Drakov and his men break in and kidnap the scientist. But their plan is foiled by the Blackhawks, who had been tipped about the kidnapping plan. A rousing fist fight breaks out (with one of those great panels with every Blackhawk socking a bad guy at the same time) and the commies are quickly hustled back to their side of the fence. The Black Knights get a call for another mission, but Olaf can't go because his plane sucked in a bush on landing and he has to fix it before he can take off. When the rest of the team leaves, commies cross the fence and overpower him. They take him back to the communist side of the Iron Curtain. While Drakov holds Olaf in the dungeon of his castle and forces him to make a false confession of spying to save the lives of innocent peasants, the rest of the team infiltrates red territory, takes a uniform from a guard and dresses Stanislau as a commie. We learn that Stan can speak Russian like a native and he escorts the Blackhawk 'prisoners' to Drakov's castle headquarters. With a lot of fighting and brawling, they rescue Olaf and make their escape. The neat thing in this story is the way they use the Jeep's famous ability to go anywhere as an integral part of the story. Their escape involves driving a Jeep up the stairs of the castle and through windows and doors.

Chop Chop - Chop is having romance problems and thinks a love potion will fix things, but of course it just makes the situation worse.

The City of Mindless Men - A 'small European democracy' is suffering a plague of zombies. Men wonder out of the hills with their minds wiped clean. The authorities call in the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are scouting the country in their planes when Blackhawk, Chop Chop, and Andre are forced by a storm to make an emergency landing in a mountain valley. They take shelter in a cave which, by an amazing coincidence, leads to a large cavern that contains a hidden city. Of course, this is the source of the mindless men. It is a Red atom bomb factory and the mindless men are slave laborers. The three Blackhawks are discoverd and overpowered. The Red leader puts Blackhawk in the mind-wiping chair and zaps him. Blackhawk appears to be mindless, but when the rest of the team breaks in, he responds normally and joins the fight. The other Blackhawks had spotted the tire tracks of the jets leading to the cave and came to the rescue. They had cut the power to the mind-wiping device which is why Blackhawk was okay. He realized it hadn't worked and pretended to be a zombie. The Blackhawks get the slaves out and then destroy the city with one of its own atomic bombs.

Diplomatic Courier - text story, Ned Rogers, a highly successful diplomatic courier, is on his last mission, to carry very sensitive papers from a 'cold-war country' back to Washington. He thinks he is in the clear when he is met by a FBI agent at the Washington airport, but the agent is really working for the Reds and tries to kill Ned. Ned fights him off until the real FBI arrives.

The Space Mirror! - The Republic of Brosnia is suffering mysterious fires and an invading army. Naturally, they call the Blackhawks. The Knights' jets and fists take care of the army in short order, but the fires are a tougher problem. They get a clue when one of the invading soldiers, remorseful at his part in such a horrid scheme, points to a magnifying glass on a desk and then to the sky with his dying gesture. A trip to Brosnia's observatory and a peak through the telescope reveals a huge magnifying glass in orbit. It has two 'docking holes' that Blackhawk guesses serve as airlocks. One is occupied by a space ship, which leads them to deduce that there must be a second ship. They use seismograph records to locate the launch site, figuring that large a ship must send out shock waves when it takes off. The Blackhawks capture the launch site and use the second space ship to travel to the giant lens. The usual fist fight defeats the Reds, though this one is done with everyone wearing space helmets (but no space suits, just their regular uniforms). Seeing the battle is almost lost, Ratchek, the leader and inventor of the space lens, removes his magnetic shoe to use it to break Blackhawk's helmet. But without the magnetic shoe to hold him to the structure, he drifts away into space. The Blackhawks set the space mirror's controls to crash it on the Moon and fly the space ship back to Earth. This is a decent attempt at doing a sci-fi story, but it is filled with the kind of errors common to pulp sci-fi in the '50s, like the bubble helmets without space suits. The 'airlock' really is just a docking hole that serves no airlock-like function. The 'mirror' is really a lens, though a mirror would be much more practical to construct in space and do the job just as well. But despite the bloopers, it is a fun read.

Thanks to David Chapman for submitting the cover for this issue.



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