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“Come and get it, chumps!”
MIKE DANGER was a so-so comic book P.I. out of New York who appeared in a short-lived run of so-so private eye tales back in the fifties, in short-lived, so-so anthology series, Danger and Adventure, published by Charlton.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Mike (besides the fact that he shared a name with fellow comic book eye Mike Danger, created by Mickey Spillane) was the way the character was introduced to readers. In a short vignette in issue #24 of Danger and Adventure, two men are shown good naturedly arguing in New York’s Sportsmen’s Club over whom has the most exciting profession. The men are Mike Danger, of course, and his companion is–I shit thee not–some dude named Johnny Adventure, whose business is “big game and expeditions — anything that offers a thrill.”
They banter back and forth, trading tales to prove their point. As a narrative device, it’s a tad obvious and corny (and their names even more so), but it’s still a nifty idea. If only the stories themselves were up to the concept.
Mike does all the P.I things expected of a character in a comic book aimed at kids in the Seduction of the Innocent era. This means he’s clean shaven, good looking, tall, broad-shouldered and always wears a suit and tie (but no fedora). There’s not much gun play (at least by Mike, who rarely carries one), no sex, some painfully obvious racial stereotypes, and justice of course triumphs in the end, after a prequisite number of fist fights, car chases and other “private eye stuff.”
In the course of his cases, Mike sometimes teamed up with his pal Johnny, and he apparently got around–in his handful of cases he, sometimes working in tandem with his pal Johnny, he manages to pop up in Cairo, Paris and Instanbul.
Danger and Adventure, a retitled, numerical continuation of This Magazine is Haunted, only ran for six issues, from February, 1955, #22 to February, 1956, #27. With issue #28, the magazine was again retitled, and became Robin Hood and His Merry Men and Mike and Johnny, not to mention Ibis The Invincible, two-fisted sailor Lance O’Casey and Nyoka The Jungle Girl, were never heard from again.
Who wrote the Mike Danger stories? Well, it turns out that at least a few of them were reprints of Mike Barnett stories, acquired when Charlton Comics purchased Fawcett’s comics line in 1953. And it’s just as difficult to figure out who wrote those.
Still, it’s worthy noting that “Mike Danger and the Mint of Dr. Dyonysos” first appeared as simply “The Mint of Dr. Dionysos!” in the December 1951 issue of Mike Barnett, Man Against Crime, and “The Racing Stable Mystery” first showed up as “Death Goes to the Races” from the April 1952 issue of Mike Barnett, Man Against Crime. Some of the other stories may have also been “re-purposed” stories from the Fawcett archives.
- DANGER AND ADVENTURE
(1955, Charlton Comics)
Artists: Maurice Whitman, Sal Trapani, Pete Riss, Rocco “Rocke” Mastroserio
Writers: Charles Nicholas, Vince Alascia
- “Introducing Mike Danger and Johnny Adventure” (June 1955, #24)
- “The Racing Stable Mystery” (June 1955, #24)
- “Mike Danger and the Mint of Dr. Dyonysos” (August 1955, #25)
- “Versailles Incident” (November 1955, #26)
- “Allies of Hate” (November 1955, #26; also featuring Johnny Adventure)
- “The Purple Peacock” (February 1956, #27)
- “The Pyramid Trap” (February 1956, #27; also featuring Johnny Adventure)
- The Complete Danger and Adventure Readers Collection (2019) | Buy this book
Collects all four issues of the short-lived Danger and Adventure series.