Rick Masters, Foreign Correspondent
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These best stories of the comic books are preceded by their issue number.
Hatvia on the Brink (1941). (Title made up by me.) Rick Masters, foreign correspondent in Europe for an American newspaper, gets involved with the small republic of Hatvia, a country about to be overrun by vicious Nazis.
Rick Masters is a handsome young man, in a good blue suit. His partner, Skinny Dane, is a comical sidekick - but also impresses one as a person of talent and determination.
Alfred Hitchcock had made a film Foreign Correspondent (1940), about a young American newsman caught up into Nazi-era intrigue in Europe. This comic book story is very much in the same mode. Like the film, the comic book story is genuinely complex, with numerous factions and issues in the politics of Europe of the time being incorporated in a breezy narrative.
The New Pilot (1942). Tale signed by "Ken Ernst". (Title made up by me.) Rick is captured by a fifth columnist in Hatvia.
This tale is a direct continuation of the story in the previous issue. In some ways, the two should be regarded as a single, unified work. However, the subject matter is also quite distinct, with the previous tale showing his Hatvia as a whole, and this second tale concentrating on a plot to kill Rick. It is too bad that this series only lasted two issues - it had real potential.
Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent had a thriller finale on an airplane. This second comic book story is also an airplane thriller. The details are different from Hitchcock's film, however. The villain's plot in this story is preposterous - no one would ever go to such lengths to kill the hero, when simply taking him out and shooting would do the trick. However, the story is also engrossing and fun to read - so the issue of plausibility can be forgiven.
Rick Masters looks absolutely splendid in his British pilot's uniform. There is also something deliriously exciting about his being forced to wear it.