VIRGIL STAGG

 
Full Name: Virgil Stagg
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Pete Morisi
Time Span: 1954 - 1954
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Virgil Stagg is an agent with American Intelligence.
       In one of the scant three recorded adventures, it is stated by a character that Stagg was of "The U.S. Secret Service". However, that person was impersonating a British chauffeur and the "Secret Service" could have been just another way of saying Intelligence rather than referring specifically to the Treasury department. Also the type of missions that Stagg is shown to perform would not have fallen under the pervue of that bureau.
       Whomever he works for, he definitely does not work for it alone because Virgil Stagg is but one half of a duo - the known half. The unknown partner is Leo Stagg, Virgil's identical twin brother who apparently has chosen to risk his life every bit as much as his more public sibling but without any recognition except behind the scenes. It could be that even the Staggs' boss at Headquarters does not know that Virgil Stagg is not working by himself though that is conjecture and would seem hard to believe.
       The Staggs are likely in their late twenties or early 30. Short dark hair, good lucks, and fairly good athleticism are the more obvious traits discerned from the illustrations. Based on their actions, they are both quite fearless. Based on the results of their actions, they are both prone to getting physically abused and are incredibly lucky to both still be alive. In the three missions we know about, one or the other is shot, beaten unconscious and thrown from a high trestle into the sea to drown, and shot again while leaping off a balcony onto the stair below.
       By the mishaps that befall them, it might be thought that they are less than qualified for their dangerous work but the fact that they have obviously had a good number of missions before and the fact that despite the injuries they both survived does show that they are resilient.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:3
First Appearance:1954
Last Appearance:1954

       There were several comics published with the name of Danger, not counting a couple that had Danger in their name (like Danger Is Their Business).
       The earliest I found was by Allen Hardy Associates under the imprint of Comic Media Publications. The first five issues, Jan-Sep in 1953, had the subtitle of "Men Without Fear" and were anthologies with different non-series characters in different genres, all putting the hero into awesome situations almost certain to cause their demise. Issue #6 was also an anthology but the subtitle changed to "Secret Agents.. Spies Espionage.. Intrigue".
       It was in issue #7 that the first recurring characters appeared and both were agents. Duke Douglas and Virgil Stagg both saw their initial stories told in this magazine. The latter would have just one story in that issue and one each in #9 and #11.
       Comic Media went out of business at this point and sold to Charlton Comics the rights to its titles. Charlton continued the Danger line with #12 but it would only last only 3 issues, none of which had any recurring character.
       One other company had a line of comics with the Danger title - Super Comics had a short run of 9 issues but no recurring characters and definitely no Virgil Stagg.

1 Double Jeopardy Double Jeopardy
Published by Comic Media
Contributors: Pete Morisi (writer and artist)
Copyright: 01/1954

Danger Comics #7 - A member of the American consulate in London is directed to courier secret engineering documents to the States. Virgil Stagg is order to be his bodyguard to ensure the safe delivery of the plans. His twin, Leo, acts as his butler.

2 Escape Escape
Published by Comic Media
Contributors: Pete Morisi (writer and artist)
Copyright: 05/1954

Danger Comics #9 - Still recovering from his injuries in the previous adventure, Virgil Stagg is ordered to Maine to escort a captured spy to Headquarters via the train. The prisoner's cohorts have other ideas and Stagg is thrown from the train. It is up to his brother Leo to recapture him.

3 Red Killers Red Killers
Published by Comic Media
Contributors: Pete Morisi (writer and artist)
Copyright: 08/1954

Danger Comics #11 - In a Central American country, Virgil Stagg is sent to find out who the Communist spies were trying to back a coup. Leo Stagg comes along to help and gets shot for his efforts.

MY COMMENTS

       The idea of an Intelligence agent having an exact double is not new with this series; not even in the comicbook spy realm. In the early 40s Harry Campbell created Bruce Blackburn, an agent who along with a colleague, Jackson, were surgically alterred to be identical in appearance. Virgil and Leo Stagg took the idea one step further by being actual twins.
       The plots were fairly standard us-against-the-commies but since this was the mid 50s, that is what just about every spy story was. To the writer/artist's credit, the story packed into the 6 pages of each adventure was impressive but the key to each one was the surprise factor of the bad guy when after killed Virgil Stagg, who should appear unscathed and nab him but Virgil Stagg. Of course we the reader knew that one of the Staggs was really Leo but no one else did.
       This "wasn't he surprised!" element is entertaining the first time. The second gets a brief nod. The third a mild grimace. It is not hard to understand why there was no apparent fourth.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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