JONATHAN KENT

 
Full Name: Jonathan Kent
Series Name: Spy-Hunters
Nationality: American
Organization: American Espionage Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Charles Sultan
Time Span: 1949 - 1951
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jonathan Kent is an agent with the Counterespionage Service.
       American Espionage Service is the name of the organization that he mentions when he is shown applying for a job with them in Washington approximately a year after the end of World War II. By the third recorded adventure, however, he is clearly shown to be employed by the Counterespionage Service. Whether the original department changed its name, which is not unheard of, or Kent moved from one department of Intelligence to another. It is for the CS that he says he work for on subsequent cases.
       When asked why he wanted to become a secret operative, Kent recounted his early years and the impressions they made on him. His father had been an American engineer hired by "a foreign government during an early five-year plan". Young Kent, then about 10 years old, accompanied his father and saw the oppression that was rampant in that nation; men and women "beaten, jailed and shot for speaking their minds". As he grew older he saw "the Red Army, master of a groaning nation" and the tyranny it imposed.
       Later when WWII began and Kent joined the American military, he not only achieve an impressive record as a fighter pilot, he was also on hand when the concentration camp at Buchenwald was freed and he not only saw the evils of the Nazi regime, he saw the total disregard for the suffering by the Russian soldiers who aided in freeing it. It cemented in him the desire to do something about both.
       Kent is now in his late 20s or very early 30s. He is good looking with brown hair and a quick smile though that can turn into a scowl easily enough. He is broad-shouldered and obviously athletic based on the actions he is seen doing; he seems especially found of climbing. He is an excellent shot with a hand gun and shows no hesitation to popping off a shot or two. His hand-to-hand fighting skills are also impressive though from the recounts he has an unfortunate habit of being hit from behind a lot.
       While Kent does not appear to have a steady relationship, hard to do with his constant travel for work, he is most definitely fond of the fairer sex and based on their actions the feelings are returned. He receives more than one kiss from ladies he deals with though he has the not uncommon for that era chauvinistic tendency to call them 'honey' and 'baby'. In one randomly selected adventure he referred to the female he was working with by name three times and by 'honey' four times, 'baby' twice, 'sweetheart' twice, and 'sugar-puss' once.

Silly speculation: We first meet the agent Jonathan Kent in August 1949. In February of the next year, DC Comics reveals the first name of Pa Kent who, along with his wife, Martha, found and adopted Kal-El when he arrived on Earth as a baby in a spaceship from Krypton and raise him to be Superman. It was Jonathan. Are they the same man? Unlikely because one is a Kansas farmer and the other a big-city spy hunter. Still ...

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:12
First Appearance:1949
Last Appearance:1951

1 'The Will To Plod On' 'The Will To Plod On'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 08/1949

From Spy and Counterspy #1 - Tells the story of how Jonathan Kent became a counterspy, and why he wanted the job, and follows him and two other recruits through training and their first big assignment. Also takes Kent to Berlin to fall in love with a Soviet spy.

2 'A Gas-House Slug Fest' 'A Gas-House Slug Fest'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 10/1949

From Spy and Counterspy #2 - A new radar receptor is the target of enemy spies who may be working with the female assistant of the inventor. Jonathan Kent is sent to protect the creator and the creation.

3 'Commissars In Korea' 'Commissars In Korea'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 12/1949

From Spy-Hunters #3 - Two communist agents working on behalf of the Soviet Union and North Korea are out to steal the location for a trove of weapons left by the US in South Korea for their protection. With it gone, the North could invade. Note: just a few months after this story came out, the North did invade.

4 'Vein of Hard White Metal' 'Vein of Hard White Metal'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 02/1950

From Spy-Hunters #4 - Coded messages using hieroglyphics confound Egyptian security and they appeal for help from American Intelligence who gives it to Jonathan Kent.

5 'Dog! Put Me Down!' 'Dog! Put Me Down!'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 06/1950

From Spy-Hunters #5 - An American nuclear scientist is asked by his government to work with the Yugoslavian government (still friendly with the US) to build a "steel mill that can be converted into an a-bomb plant" in that country. Foreign agents are out to scuttle the trip and Jonathan Kent is sent to stop them stopping it.

6 'A Few Million Dollars In Gold' 'A Few Million Dollars In Gold'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 06/1950

From Spy-Hunters #6 - A female parole officer learns of a plot by a gangster and alerts the CS who send in Jonathan Kent. The gang is working with the Red Chinese to steal the gold reserves in Formosa.

7 'Something Else Is Cooking' 'Something Else Is Cooking'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 08/1950

From Spy-Hunters #7 - Spies using a newspaper bridge column to pass secrets is after a researcher's 'heavy hydrogen-carbon dioxide process' and Jonathan Kent is out to stop him.

8 'A High Voltage Surprise' 'A High Voltage Surprise'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 10/1950

From Spy-Hunters #8 - Jonathan Kent must learn if a spy could copy 'the burned notes of an atomic scientist -- copy them word for word after the original documents are reduced to ashes'.

9 'I Am Crushed!' 'I Am Crushed!'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 12/1950

From Spy-Hunters #9 - A man fleeing Italian communists calls repeatedly for Jonathan Kent's help. Though he does not respond fast enough to same the man's life, he does work with the daughter to get revenge and stop a very nasty coup in Africa.

10 'Those Mysterious A-Bomb Plants' 'Those Mysterious A-Bomb Plants'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 02/1951

From Spy-Hunters #10 - A woman alerts the ACS about her brother's activities helping a communist agent set up a nuclear bomb plant in Belgian Congo.

11 'A Diabolical Device of Red Propoganda' 'A Diabolical Device of Red Propoganda'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 04/1951

From Spy-Hunters #11 - From Spy-Hunters #10 - To help free an American unjustly held as a spy by a European communist country, Jonathan Kent lets them know that Kent is a spy who is parachuting into that nation. And then he does exactly that to get caught.

12 'The Marco Polo Manuscript' 'The Marco Polo Manuscript'
Published by ACG
Contributors: Charles Sultan (artist)
Copyright: 08/1951

From Spy-Hunters #13 - Jonathan Kent visits the daughter of a book dealer to see why communist agents from a European nation was interested in her late father. He finds they are after a manuscript by Marco Polo discussing the area of Tibet. Since the Red Chinese already controlled the region, the agents' actions become very curious.

MY COMMENTS

       The stories of Jonathan Kent as of an impressive length, running more than a dozen pages and giving the writer a good chance to really develop the tale. No wham-bam-punch-the-bad-guy for Kent and that is a good thing. Being a comic book adventure, the plots are over the top but that is what the audience wanted and expected and the Kent tales deliver.
       The plots are varied as well, which is good. The bad guys are quite bad, which is good. The femme fatales are all delicious vamps, which is good. It is all good. And fun. And worth the time to read the dozen tales that we were given.
       Even better is the history lesson for those who did not live during the early 50s and had to worry about the threat of communists coming from two directions to destroy our way of life. Kent's stories might to passed off with a wave of the hand as old-style paranoia but as the adage goes, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out after you. The Soviets and the Chicoms were both determined to destroy the democracies and we knew it and the stories show we were worried. Lesson over.
       One closing comment about the chauvanistic way that I mentioned above that the author had Kent address female characters. While Kent's terms would now be considered offensive to most and annoying to the rest, at the time it was not at all uncommon (though probably still not appreciated by the females receiving such addresses). To the author's credit, however, Kent may be a lug with his mouth, the females are never shown as shrinking violets or damsels in distress pleading for rescue. Rather they are shown to be intelligent and determined people who can stand strong beside Kent as they face all sorts of baddies. A couple even save Kent's life more often than he does theirs.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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