Created by Tom Lammers
“Things began to happen fast! Shots went off and I felt a searing pain in my left arm! Vaguely, I saw the punk collapse with a death rattle in his throat.”
— typical hard-boiled prose, right from Rocky’s mouth.
Here’s a blast from the past-another short-lived attempt to bring the P.I. to comic books. As far as these things go, ROCKY JORDEN was relatively successful — he survived in his own comic book for eight whole issues, published by Atlas Comics (an early incarnation of what would become Marvel Comics). The mag, originally called Crime Cases-Private Eye, promised “Dangerous Adventures from the Private Case Book of Rocky Jorden.” By the sixth issue, Rocky was definitely the headliner, and the title was changed to Rocky Jorden, Private Eye. But it wasn’t to last, even with the name change. Number eight was the last issue.
Too bad. Supposedly modeled after early television’s Rocky King, Inside Detective, red-headed Rocky was your typical tough-talking, two-fisted gumshoe of the time, complete with an extremely loyal secretary, Lisa Brown. And the stories were nothing special, either, although there was an occasional bit of pre-Code grit tossed in now and then, as in the second issue’s “Drums of Death,” where Rocky must rescue Lisa from the clutches of her “coked-up drummer” boyfriend.
There were usually two or three Rocky stories per issue, padded out with a couple of standalone tales, and trying to suss out who wrote what is like pulling hen’s teeth. The “creator credit” went to someone called Tom Lammers (or was it Ger Apeldoom? Or Frank Wimot?), but we know the editor for the series was Stan Lee.
Yeah, that Stan Lee.
Still, what really made him Rocky such an interesting guy wasn’t the pretty standard plots — it was some of the talent used to bring him into the world, including acclaimed comic artists such as Pete Morisi and George Tuska.
By the way, Rocky is not to be confused with radio’s Rocky Jordan. Or at least, I don’t think he is.
- CRIME CASES-PRIVATE EYE
(1951-52, Atlas Comics)
Writers: Tom Lammers
Editor: Stan Lee
Artists: Sol Brodsky, Vernon Henkel, Pete Morisi, Joe Sinnot, George Tuska
- “The Case of the Dangerous Doll” (January 1951, #1)
- “Washout!” (January 1951, #1)
- “The Face of Doom” (March 1951, #2)
- “Drums of Death” (March 1951, #2)
- “The Corpse Returns” (March 1951, #2)
- “Too Young to Die!” (May 1951, #3)
- “‘Save Me!’ She Cried!” (May 1951, #3)
- “The Case of the Cruising Cobras” (May 1951, #3)
- “Four Hours Till Doom” (July 1951, #4)
- “Danse Macabre” (July 1951, #4)
- “The Case of the Kindly Uncle!” (July 1951, #4)
- “Death Takes a Three Way Ride” (September 1951, #5)
- “Drink of Death!” (September 1951, #5)
- “The Cumming of Lo Hi San” (September 1951, #5)
- ROCKY JORDEN, PRIVATE EYE
(1952, Atlas Comics)
Editor: Stan Lee
- “My Gangster Client” (November 1951, #6)
- “The Country Club Murders!” (November 1951, #6)
- “Scream in the Storm!” (November 1951, #6)
- (January 1952, #7)
- “Fronty for Murder” (March 1952, #8)
- “Nightmare for Two” (March 1952, #8)
- “Panic!” (March 1952, #8)
- YOUNG MEN
(1950-54, Atlas Comics)
Various artists &Writers
- “The Murder Cargo Caper!” (August 1951, #10)
- Eyes on the No-Prize
Private Eyes of the Marvel Universe