Skip McCoy

Created by Allen Bellman

One of the earliest private eyes in what would become the Marvel Universe, SKIP McCOY (aka “Detective Skip McCoy”) may have been, at best, a minor footnote in comic book history, but he sure got around.

We know he was a detective, but he seemed to conveniently fluctuate between working for the police and as a private investigator, depending on the needs of the story, which were variations on the “Can you solve it?” formula, often wrapped up as much by a knowledge of trivia (June has thirty days!) as by the visual clues. Of course, there wasn’t room for much more detective work — from what I’ve seen, all the stories were one or two page deals, usually under the “Let’s Play Detective!” or “Are You a Detective?” banner.

He appeared in various Atlas and Marvel titles as a back-up feature, surrounded by stories featuring such soon-to-be-iconic figures as Captain America, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. But his “cases” were just as likely to pop up in true crime comics and westerns.

The feature was the bainchild of Allen Bellman, a freelancer who did a lot of work for Timely and Marvel. According to an 2004 interview reprinted on the Timely-Atlas Blog, he knew (editor) “Stan (Lee) needed fillers for the books so I went to him with the idea. It was my idea to have the reader turn the book upside down at the end for the answer to the mystery. Soon afterwards other magazines were doing the same thing and copying me! I’d see it all the time.”


    Known writers: Allen Bellman
    Known artists: Allen Bellman, Syd Shores, Al Gabrielle
    NOTE: It’s not clear if Skip was always the featured detective in these stories. Just as his occupation mutated to suit the story, it’s possible that Bellman would use other detectives. Those I’ve been more-or-less able to confirm as “Skip McCoy” stories are marked by an asterisk.

    • “Let’s Play Detective” (October 1943, Captain America #31)
    • “Let’s Play Detective” (January 1944, Captain America #34)
    • “The Tell-Tale Tulip” (Spring 1946, Young Allies #19)
    • “Case of the Hermit’s Fortune” (April 1948, Captain America #66)*
    • “The Not-So-Perfect Alibi” (June 1948, Marvel Mystery Comics #86)*
    • “Let’s Play Detective” (August 1948, All Winners #1)*
    • “Bodyguard for Murder” (September 1948, The Human Torch #32)*
    • “Let’s Play Detective” (October 1948, Complete Mystery #2)
    • “A Burial for Benny!” (November 1948, Captain America #69)*
    • “Money on Order!” (Blonde Phantom, November 1948 #20)
    • “The Clue of the Sinking Gun” (December 1, 1948, Justice Comics #7)*
    • “Call a Spade a Spade!” (December 1948, Complete Mystery #3)*
    • “Clue By Video” (January 1949, All True Crime Cases #31)*
    • “The Running Killer” (February 1949, Sub-Mariner #30)*
    • “The Mark of Death” (March 1949, Captain America #71)*
    • “Murder in Model Row” (April 1, 1949, Justice Comics #9)*
    • “The Farmer in the Well” (April 1949, True Complete Mystery #5)*
    • “Planted Evidence” (April 1949, Marvel Mystery Comics #91)*
    • “Wheels of Death” (June 1949, Sub-Mariner #32)
    • “Mission to Murder!” (June 1949, Justice #11)
    • “The Imperfect Alibi” (June 1949, True Complete Mystery #6)*
    • “Carnival of Crime” (July 1949, Captain America #73)*
    • “Murder on the Rails” (July 1949, Crime Fighters #8)*
    • “Murder on the Line” (July 1949, All True Crime Cases #34)*
    • “The Hidden Money!” (February 1950, Suspense #2)*
    • “The Canine Killer!” (September 1950, Wild Western #12)*
    • “Kidnapped!” (September 1950, Reno Browne, Hollywood’s Greatest Cowgirl #52)*
    • “Are You a Detective?” (May 1951, Kent Blake of the Secret Service #1)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith, with a special thanks to John McDonagh for the heads up. |

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