Back in the Golden Age we didn't have computer-lettered comic books, no sir! (At least that's what Grampa Bull told me during his story about the time he refereed a bare-knuckle fistfight between Woodrow Wilson and The Kaiser.) No, it was an age of big talk and for that big talk we demanded big lettering! And nobody was a master of BIG TALK like the Golden Age Crimson Avenger! (It's actually listed as one of his metahuman powers in Who's Who Who Doesn't Exist in the New DC Universe Anymore.) With his ginchy yellow shorts, his kicky finned helmet and his unerring hat-tossing skills, the C.A. was fond of announcing what he was about to do, even if he was only talking in a normal voice...at first!
Panels from the Crimson Avenger story in Detective Comics #44 (October 1940), script, pencils and inks by Jack Lehti
But as soon as criminals strike, the Crimson Avenger snaps into
Meanwhile, at the lair of an evil scientist attempting to create the world's mightiest soft-serve cone, BIG TALK commences and the Crimson Avenger is there to talk big right back at him! If this was a movie serial, the kids would be covering their ears right around now. And who's paying for that window? There was a perfectly good open door right there, Crimson Avenger. Sheesh.
Pretty soon everybody in the story is SHOUTING THEIR HEADS OFF! Is it any surprise that with this popular comic book came free a packet of Stuff-'Em™ brand Cotton Balls? "When you need to put cotton balls in your ears...Stuff-'Em!"
Around about now you're probably wondering where the animal-punching I promised you in this story is going to show up. Are you in luck...it's coming RIGHT ABOUT NOW!
Yes, this comic book had more ape-tossing action than any other book on the spinner rack that month! Curiously enough, even more than Fawcett's Ape-Tossing Adventure Comics #4.
It's gone strangely silent after all that shouting. Well, you wouldn't be likely to be shouting when you fall down into a lion pit, would you? It's kind of like a library. Shhhhhhhh.
And now...SHOUTING and animal abuse in the same sequence! For all of you wondering about the physics of the feat in panel two, it's established canon that Crimson Avenger's specially developed "center of gravity shoes" allow him to lift as it says on Wikipedia, "up to and including the weight of a fully-grown lion without bracing himself." Wow! Also, he can apparently toss a lion so hard that all its stuffing flies out.
Now's the point in every mystery man story where the hero puts the criminal in cuffs and frog-marches him to the baffled but grateful police commissioner, leaving enough time in the final few panels to sum up the baddie's arrest, incarceration, weeks-long trial, conviction, last meal and execution in the big chair, thus showing America's youth that it may be complicated and lengthy, but by gum, the American justice system works.
Or, he could do, y'know, that. Care to sum this entire shouty and animal-abusey case up with a clever debonair quip, Crimson Avenger?
Or, y'know, not.
Later in this series examining BIG TALK comics of the Golden Age, we'll examine Speed Saunders, Ace Investigator, with the superhuman ability to mix BIG TALK and normal speech within the boundaries of a single word balloon. Gasp!
Panels from the "Speed Saunders" story in Detective Comics #44 (October 1940), pencils and inks by Ed Winiarski (aka Fran Miller)
Special Bonus: your collectible Ironic Deaths of the Golden Age Collectible Trading Card! Clip it out and shove it in a shoebox under your bed!