SECRET AGENT X-101

 
Full Name: Bart Benson
Codename: Secret Agent X-101
Nationality: American
Organization: Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Dick Dawson
Time Span: 1941 - 1941
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Secret Agent X-101 is an agent with the American Secret Service.
       It is possible that by the "Secret Service" what is really meant is the American Intelligence community since at the time of the recorded adventure, the Secret Service was not officially in the spy catching business but then again, it was the "secret" service so who knows.
       X-101 is the codename for Bart Benson, a man likely in his mid 30s who has a cover job for his activities. When not fighting foreign agents and saboteurs, he is the editor and publisher of (probably) large city newspaper, the Daily Record. Which city it is remains unknown. Benson is certainly the man in charge as everyone at the office calls him 'Mister' and not his first name but he also must be a frequent investigator for when he yells that he is out to get a scoop and for them to hold the presses, no one acts surprised.
       In the two short and swift recorded adventures we have, we can see that Benson is blond haired and good looking. He has an athletic build and is not hesitant to put himself in harm's way. In the first mission to learn more about the bad guys he climbs the outside of a building going high enough that a slip would mean certain death. He does slip but his agility allowed him to make "a hair-raising dive down into a near-by tree".
       Other skills we know that Benson has include the martial art jiu-jitsu of which he is definitely a practiced user. Benson also knows how to fly a plane shown by his leaping into one to chase a bad guy.
       In both of his adventures, Benson goes up against a spy ring lead by the "High One" though in the field the one calling the shots is the lovely and very deadly Sandra (last name unknown) who throws a mean dagger and has no qualms about dispatching Benson in a blink of an eye.
       Back in the office of his "day-job", Benson has the help of his lovely confidential secretary, Pat White, who appears to be devoted to her boss and in slight awe of him but has no idea he is a reporter/publisher by day and a secret operative on the side.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:2
First Appearance:1941
Last Appearance:1941

       The creator/author I credit for this series, Dick Dawson, according to Jerry Bails' excellent Who's Who of American Comic Books did not exist but was just a byline. The actual person may have not been able to take credit or, considering the grade I give the series, might not have wanted to (that's mean!).
       Lev Gleason Publications put out several comic magazines during the late 30s and the 40s before coming to an end in the mid 50s. It did not have many titles and the few that it did have were not too memorable although it did put out Crime Does Not Pay which is considered the first comic devoted to crime stories.
       One of the titles that Gleason and his company imprint "Comic House" produced was Silver Streak Comics, a vessel created to showcase the superhero of the same name. It was an anthology mag so there were numerous other denizens to entertain the reader. One of those was Secret Agent X-101 for two issues. Obviously it was a trial run which did not pass.

       The titles for the two stories come from that given by Comic Book Plus - another awesome site to spend hours at.
Comic Book Plus here

1 The Bomb Site Mystery The Bomb Site Mystery
Published by Comic House
Contributors: Dick Dawson (writer and artist)
Copyright: 03/1941

From Silver Streak Comics #8 - A company has perfected a new bomb site which would allow pinpoint accuracy for munitions dropped from 50000 feet. Foreign agents want it and more than one Secret Service agent has died protecting it. Secret Agent X-101 is determined to find who is behind it all.

2 The High One's Death Gas The High One's Death Gas
Published by Comic House
Contributors: Dick Dawson (writer and artist)
Copyright: 04/1941

From Silver Streak Comics #9 (4 pages) - The leader of a foreign spy ring is known as the High One and he has perfected a gas which can kill without leaving a trace. It will even dissolve the vial that holds it. He uses it to kill key government officials including the Secretary of State. Bart Benson is out to stop him.

MY COMMENTS

       There is not much to say about Bart Benson, Secret Agent X-101 and definitely not much good. The premise is interesting in that it was felt necessary to have a secret identity while he worked defending the nation against fifth-columnists but confusing. I mean, ah, why? Being an agent for the government is not a hush-hush fact. Operatives for the Secret Service usually carry badges and ids. Being in the reporting business might get one to uncover facts of interest but when he took what he knew to his boss, it seemed his boss already knew it. Like I said, confusing.
       The main point about X-101 and why it not surprising the dude did not last more than two issues is his stories were just bad. Of course, the author only had 4 pages to introduce the character, set the scene, discover the culprit, vanquish him (or her) and then revel in the glory. Still, when the second story ended and there were no more, I really did not care.
       I did appreciate the fact that the main bad gal, Sandra, got away both times and was still out there causing trouble. Don't know why that pleased me but it did.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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