TERRY TAYLOR

 
Full Name: Terry Taylor
Nationality: American
Organization: U.S. Foreign Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Robert L. Wood
Time Span: 1937 - 1939
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Terry Taylor is an agent with the U.S. Foreign Service.
       Probably. That is how he identifies himself in the first of two recorded adventures. As such an operative he is involved in a mission to courier some important documents to the embassy in Shanghai. While he is trusting enough to fall into a trap immediately upon arrival, he is determined enough and lucky enough to snatch onto a clue and follow it until it results in a successful conclusion. That does mean forcing a taxi driver to crash and then waylaying a passing motorist and finally taking part in an aerial combat. One interesting question came to mind when he talked with three different citizens of Shanghai - did they all just happen to speak English or did he speak Chinese like a native?
       On the other hand regarding his employment, in the second story he is reporting to the Department of Justice headquarters and is on the trail of a couple of kidnappers, neither of which are involved in anything foreign so maybe he switched departments (State to Justice).
       We the reader learn almost nothing about Taylor in the two very short tales we have of his exploits.
       He is likely in his mid to late 30s based on his appearance. He has dark closely cut hair with a receeding hairline that adds to his mature image. He always dresses in a suit and tie even when on a chase or shooting down a fleeing bad guy's plane. He is resilient but human shown by the fact that when he is knocked unconscious on one mission, he stays that way for a couple of hours but when he does come to, he is raring to go.
       We also know that he has a sense of humor, or possibly irony, shown when he risks his life to leap off a cliff into water to save a man he wants to arrest and see later seated in an electric chair. Odder still because he is the one who moments earlier threw the man off the cliff in the first place.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:2
First Appearance:1937
Last Appearance:1939

       Comics Magazine Company was a short-lived operation which had as one of its claims to fame the fact that it hired Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster a couple years before they created Superman. It had a couple of titles it put out including the first masked hero in comics, the Clock.
       One of its titles was Funny Picture Stories which started in 1936. It billed itself as "The All-Picture Magazine - In Colors" and presented "rapid-fire, smash color and action stories" by an assortment of writer/artists in a variety of genres.
       Issue #6 had the first of the two Terry Taylor stories in it, reaching the newsstands in April of 1937. When the second one came out I do not yet know.
       In 1938 Centaur Publishing acquired the holdings of Comics Magazine Company and shortly thereafter many of the stories were reprinted in Centaur magazines. The first Terry Taylor story found itself again in Keen Detective Funnies #4 (vol 1-11) in December of 1938 and the second story was in Keen Detective Funnies #5 (vol 2-1) in January of 1939. This second one might also have shown up in Amazing Adventure Funnies #2 in September, 1940, but I cannot confirm that.
       It is a guess of mine that the author made Taylor a Foreign Service officer but then decided to change direction by making him a G-man of sorts. Whatever happened, it was not enough to keep the character around past the second mission.

1 Dangerous Documents Dangerous Documents
Published by Centaur Publishing
Contributors: Robert L. Wood (writer and artist)
Copyright: 04/1937

Terry Taylor takes a ship to Shanghai, "the port of missing men", to deliver a set of secret documents to the embassy. Upon his arrival he is accosted and the plans stolen. He is determined to get them back.

2 Snatch Racket Snatch Racket
Published by Centaur Publishing
Contributors: Robert L. Wood (writer and artist)
Copyright: 01/1939

Terry Taylor is now working for the Justice Department and is partnered with a man named Brown to find a kidnapping pair and bring them to justice, hopefully rescuing the boy they just nabbed in the process.

MY COMMENTS

       There is so little to the character of Terry Taylor it is impossible to like him. The artwork was standard for the time, simplistic at best, and the plots were unadorned fare with little to them which is a shame since they each had seven pages to make a better tale.
       I almost voted against adding this character to the compendium but decided, why not? He is a spy-type in 50% of the stories, after all.

       I was impressed at the magazine, however, for giving the impression that there was something of value inside the covers which, for their time was definitely the case. Each issue had at least one story billed as a "complete novelet". The Terry Taylor stories went just a tad further by indicated that each story was "illustoried". That is such a great word I am saddened it did not catch on.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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