KENT BLAKE

 
Full Name: Kent Blake
Nationality: American
Organization: Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Joe Sinnott
Time Span: 1951 - 1953
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Kent Blake is an agent with the Secret Service.
       Prior to the Second World War, Blake had been a police officer in New York City and was well on his way to making a name for himself as a man who got results.
       Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S.'s entry into WWII, Kent Blake was drafted. His assigned duties took him to McDill Airfield to train in a bomber squadron. One of his missions resulted in his aircraft being hit and the team he was in parachuting into enemy territory. Captured, he was tortured for information while in a POW campe from which he was finally able to escape. A man he broke out with was killed in the attempt but passed to him a message to be delivered to the man's boss back in Washington.
       Doing so brought Blake to the attention of a man named Kruger who would see a potential agent in Blake and offered him a job, resulting in his becoming an agent with the Secret Service. More importantly, he was given a job of Special Secret Agent and answered directly to Kruger, head of the agency.
       With the end of hostilities, Blake's missions moved from fighting Nazis to combating the increasing threat of Communists in both Europe and Asia. It is in that activity that most of the recorded adventures take place.

       Blake is single and shows no interest in settling down - certainly the demands of his job would make that impossible and his love of adventure is shown to be too strong to consider anything else.
       He is likely in his mid 30s during most of the stories about him, based on his having been a cop for a few years prior to 1941, placing his likely birth year around 1918. He has rugged good looks and an athletic build. His hair is brown with a slight wave to it.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:14
First Appearance:1951
Last Appearance:1953

       Before Marvel Comics was Marvel, it was Atlas Comics (before that it was Timely). The Kent Blake adventures took place during the Atlas years.
       Two decades after the switch from Atlas to Marvel and 26 years after the last recorded adventure of Kent Blake, the Amazing Spider-man had an occasion to take on yet again his archenemy, Doctor Octopus. In that storyline, we learn of a punk who kills a secret agent named Kent Blake but made it look like a suicide. Blake's ghost appears to Spidey asking for help clearing his name so his wife could collect his life insurance. The agent was obviously in his late 20s or early 30s so it is unlikely it was the same Kent Blake but having the same name and the same type of profession makes it seem so. Son?

Note: Most of the titles for the stories are taken from the pages of the comics. A small number, though, had no title given so I created one and put it inside "" marks.

1 The Actual, Uncensored Story Behind The Origin Of... Kent Blake The Actual, Uncensored Story Behind The Origin Of... Kent Blake
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Joe Sinnott (pencils), Hank Chapman (writer), Tom Gill (inks)
Copyright: 05/1951

Issue #1 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) The Actual, Uncensored Story Behind The Origin Of... Kent Blake - 8 pages - Communists kidnap a US Senator and replace him with a double to cast a No vote on a super-tank bill. He is unmasked by Kent Blake. Story also contains the origin of Blake as told by his boss.
2) Slaves of the Soviet - 5 pages - To attain proof the Soviets are maintaining slave labor camps. Kent Blake smuggles himself into such a place in Siberia.
3) Red Blood Over Berlin - 5 pages - A downed American bomber contains counterfeit plates. Kent Blake lays a trap for the Communist agents out to get them.

2 The Death Trap The Death Trap
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Tom Gill (inks), Joe Sinnott (pencils), Hank Chapman (writer)
Copyright: 07/1951

Issue #2 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) The Death Trap - 7 pages - In 1951, captured Communist spies are released when a key witness, a powerful politician, recants his ascertains they are spies. Kent Blake wonders what is up.
2) Merchants of Death - 5 pages - It is Kent Blake's job to put an end to some American sea traders selling items to China, causing trouble in the current Korean Conflict.
3) The Man Without A Face - 7 pages - The man suspected of being being a counterfeit ring is behind bars so Kent Blake has to figure out how he is operating things.

3 Terror In Tibet Terror In Tibet
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Joe Sinnott (inks), Tom Gill (pencils), Hank Chapman (writer)
Copyright: 09/1951

Issue #3 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Terror In Tibet - 7 pages - The Chinese have killed the current Great Lama and replaced him with a double aligned with them. Kent Blake does not fall for it.
2) The Stolen Plans - 5 pages - A scientist who developed a new tank weapon has been killed. His secretary calls in the Secret Service because she know it was not just a robbery.
3) Nightmare In China - 7 pages - Kent Blake must meed with a Chinese general in the Resistance but that means heading deep into Communist China.

4 Terror Underground Terror Underground
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Richard Kahn (script), Joe Sinnott (pencils), Tom Gill (inks), Tom Sutton (inks)
Copyright: 11/1951

Issue #4 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Terror Underground - 7 pages - A man in New York's Records Bureau has sold secret infrastructure plans to the city to communists who are planning a nasty event unless Kent Blake can stop them.
2) Jaws of Justice - 5 pages - Kent Blake is in Florida with the Coast Guard looking for communist infiltrators. He finds a ship wreck explorer who is not what he claims.
3) The Limping Man - 7 pages - Kent Blake is in Spain to meet with the Ambassador when he learns quickly someone does not want him alive to make the appointment.

5 Condemned To Death Condemned To Death
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Richard Kahn (script), Joe Sinnott (pencils), Tom Gill (inks)
Copyright: 01/1952

Issue #5 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Condemned To Death - 7 pages - Communists in Greece are hampering relief work. Kent Blake is sent there to hamper them.
2) The Man With Two Faces - 5 pages - A small Balkan nation is having elections. The current dictator wants to make sure he wins. Kent Blake wants to make sure the vote is fair.
3) Dangerous Vacation - 7 pages - On vacation on Long Island, Kent Blake comes across a bit of espionage happening thanks to hypnosis.

6 Tunnel of Death Tunnel of Death
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Richard Kahn (script), Tom Gill (pencils)
Copyright: 03/1952

Issue #6 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Tunnel of Death - 7 pages - It is to New York that Kent Blake is sent to find a communist counterfeiter.
2) Blood On The Sand - 7 pages - Blake is surprised at the airport by his boss, back in military uniform. He is told that they have both reenlisted to go to Korea.
3) Deadlier Than The Male - 5 pages - Someone is sending via radio facts on supply runs, causing logistics trouble, Kent Blake suspects a strange USO shoow.

7 Doom Mountain Doom Mountain
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 05/1952

Issue #7 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Doom Mountain - 7 pages - Fighting to help take a mountain nicknamed "Doom", Blake learns its summit is camouflaged and he wants to know why.
2) "One Is A Traitor" - 5 pages - The squad he is temporarily with is ambushed and Blake becomes aware that their movements are being betrayed from within.
3) Journey Into Terror - 7 pages - A nuclear scientist has been kidnapped by the Chinese and Kent Blake must head to the fortress where he is held to get him out.

8 Passage To Peril Passage To Peril
Published by Atlas Comics
Contributors: Bernie Sills (pencils), Tom Gill (inks)
Copyright: 07/1952

Issue #8 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Passage To Peril - 7 pages - Kent Blake is ordered to find how the Chinese know so quickly where the Allied forces are.
2) "One Of Our Own Planes" - 6 pages - American planes are disappearing and Kent Blake teams up with the Air Force to find out what is happening to them.
3) The Unseen Death - 6 pages - The North Koreans are working on a deadly virus and Kent Blake is teamed with a beautiful female agent to destroy it.

9 Death In His Hands Death In His Hands
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 09/1952

Issue #9 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) Death In His Hands - 7 pages - Peace talks are underway and reporters monitor them. Kent Blake is tasked with monitoring the reporters.
2) "Swing The Balance Of Power" - 6 pages - The influx of Chinese soldiers into Korea are hurting the war effort. Kent Blake is ordered to slow them down.
3) "Between The Moving Men And ... Slaughter" - 6 pages - Kent Blake is tasked with taking out a Korean listening post and he is given a green recruit for assistance.

10 The Traitor The Traitor
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 11/1952

Issue #10 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) The Traitor - 7 pages - American forces are surprise attacked and the man suspected of being a traitor is Kent Blake.
2) "The First Sickly Light" - 5 pages - Kent Blake is with a troop of soldiers who take a few enemy soldiers prisoner but getting them back to base for questioning is not easy.
3) A Time To Fight - 6 pages - The enemy has a new form of artillery and Kent Blake is ordered to find out about it by heading behind enemy lines.

11 'Good Hunting!' 'Good Hunting!'
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 01/1953

Issue #11 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) "Good Hunting!" - 5 pages - When foul weather prevents reconnaissance planes from flying, Kent Blake is ordered to sneak behind the lines to learn the enemy plans.
2) Bring Back A MIG - 7 pages - The orders are to sneak into fly a helo into enemy territory to recover a MIG pilot recently shot down.
3) "If A Shell Has Your Name On It" - 6 pages - Some arms dealers are providing the Chinese with armaments and Kent Blake is told to find out who they are.

12 The Caverns Of Death The Caverns Of Death
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 03/1953

Issue #12 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) The Caverns Of Death - 7 pages - Chinese soldiers holed up in a cave are preventing American forces from advancing. Kent Blake is sent to find another way into the cave.
2) Operation Killer - 6 pages - The capture of a supply truck by Chinese soldiers only net them a lot of new uniforms but they put them to good use.
3) Attack At Dawn - 5 pages - At the same time Kent Blake learns of an imminent attack by Chinese soldiers, they learn about him and a hunt is on.

13 'That Barbed Wire Barrier' 'That Barbed Wire Barrier'
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 05/1953

Issue #13 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) "That Barbed Wire Barrier" - 6 pages - Kent Blake is back in Europe, sneaking into Czechoslovakia to pull out a biological warfare scientist the Soviets are holding.
2) "K Company" - 5 pages - The last members of K Company are heading back to headquarters when HQ learns Chinese forces are nearing their position. Kent Blake is sent to help them get home.
3) The Coils Of The Snake - 7 pages - Blake is no longer needed in Korea and is sent to Istanbul to tackle a Soviet spy named The Snake.

14 'Somewhere In The Merciless Arabian Desert' 'Somewhere In The Merciless Arabian Desert'
Published by Atlas Comics

Copyright: 07/1953

Issue #13 contains 3 Kent Blake stories:
1) "Somewhere In The Merciless Arabian Desert" - 7 pages - Myra Tangier, a very dangerous adversary, leaves Kent Blake buried to his neck in the Sahara.
2) "A Green Alien World" - 5 pages - In Florida, Blake is working with the Coast Guard to stop the transfer of vital secrets via underwater dead drops.
3) "A Glasshouse For Espionage" - 6 pages - Diamonds are being used in the latest rocket generator and Blake visits a scientist to learn how.

MY COMMENTS

       This is the sort of spy comic series I love to sink my teeth into. It has a lot of depth to it and gives the character a lot of room to operate. I learn enough of the character to know I want to know even more and the idea of "leave 'em wanting more" fits. Unlike many series from this decade and most from the previous one, we actually discover quite a bit about the character before he becomes a secret agent and that helps a lot in liking the guy and wanting to follow him.
       The story writing is darn good. Many of the tales are short so putting in enough data to make it all make sense is tough but it is done story after story and I doff my hat to that kind of skill.
       There are not many comic spy series that had me wishing someone would write an actual book about the character(s) but Kent Blake is one I would have readily put money down for.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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