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THE SPY FIGHTER

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Full Name: Saber The Spy Fighter
Nationality: American
Organization: S.I.D.
Occupation Agent

Creator: Will Eisner
Time Span: 1940 - 1941

ABOUT THE SERIES

       The Spy Fighter is an agent with the S.I.D.
       50 plus years in future from when the tales were first presented, we are introduced to the impossibly perfect man that is Saber, the Spy Fighter with these words:
       "The year is 1997 ... Only three nations have emerged from the Great War of 1939 ... Russmany, ruler of all Europe and all Africa ... Mongo, the kingdom holding Asia and the Orient ... and Greater America, last refuge of democratic government, a powerful and rich nation, which includes both the continents of North and South America, and numerous islands in the Pacific."
       Wouldn't you know it? Both Russmany and Mongo have temporarily banded together to take on and destroy their enemy but to do that, they decide they must "undermine her government with propaganda and spies". In desperation, America's Super Intelligence Department, hence the S.I.D., which was "created to combat this menace" went on the hunt for "a man who possesses both physical and mental ability of an unusual degree".
       They found that man in Saber, "holder of all modern athletic records, and possessor of the greatest mind of our time ... combined with an almost supernatural knowledge of the art of telepathy". [It struck me odd that this man needed to be introduced to the group. Seems someone with such amazing abilities and accomplishments would have been known already to, well, everyone. Also telepathy is considered "almost supernatural" and is an "art".]
       After Saber single-handedly routs the invading forces of Mongo, the President of Greater America appoints him as the "permanent" head of the S.I.D. As the head, he will still be the one he calls upon to repeatedly go it alone to fight all the enemies of the nation.
       Speaking of enemies, in the opening of the series we are told there were two other nations on the planet but in the second adventure we meet a third called Antartica. For several adventures thereafter, we learn of schemes and attack by "a foreign power". One of these speak German and is named Prussania. And then there is Grontonia. And so forth. A good number of countries, each with a desire and a plan to destroy Greater America (abbreviated U.S.) but always Saber is there to stop them.
       Saber starts out having the best mind and body with telepathy as a plus. He will go on to gain additional prowess here and there, such as the strength to hurl heavy objects several miles away. That not being enough, he attains "a power of voluntary growth", having now the ability to enlarge to near planet shape (he was floating in space at the time where apparently he did not need air). Saber does not have the power to fly on his own but he does have the magno-beams which he can ride through the air on. Not sure how they work or how they help him go from A to B but he gets there pretty fast.
       Some of the more interesting ways the stories announce Saber are:
"The mightiest and most intelligent man in the world"
"The invincible defender of freedom"
"Possesser of the keenest intelligence in the world"
"The mighty man with the piercing brain!"

       On the 14th adventure, everything switches for Saber and the world he inhabits. Instead of futuristic locales with spaceships and flying suits and ray guns and destructo-beams, not to mention Saber wearing a skin-tight red onesie, the time-frame jumps back to the early 1940s. Nazis are the enemies. Saber wears a three-piece white suit, unless he dons a disguise or a kafir. His abilities of telepathy and other exotic skills are no longer mentioned let alone used.
       The last three adventures all take place in the Middle East with Saber, now apparently in British Intelligence, helping to stop the Third Reich. Maybe this Saber was an ancestor.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:16
First Appearance:1940
Last Appearance:1941

1 The Spy Fighter The Spy Fighter
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Lee (writer and artist)
Copyright: 01/1940

After a brief history of the future, the leaders of S.I.D. are introduced to Saber. One of those attending does not believe in his telepathic abilities and is shown his error when Saber reveals that doubter to be a Russmanian spy. Then Saber must rush off to recover the stolen plans for the new Destroray.

2 'Spies From Antartica' 'Spies From Antartica'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 02/1940

The greedy nation of Antartica (sic) has spies galore inside the American armed forces. Saber is asked to find them which he does with his telepathy. America launches an attack with ice-boring submarines but that fleet disappears, requiring Saber to find what happened. Hint: it was an ice beam.

3 'Tiny Rocketlike Planes' 'Tiny Rocketlike Planes'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 03/1940

From seemingly nowhere, hundreds of tiny rocket-like planes appear over the capital of Greater America dropping tiny bombs and then disappearing. Saber is asked to find where they are coming from and stopping them.

4 'A Deadly Electo-Mort Machine' 'A Deadly Electo-Mort Machine'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 04/1940

An unspecified foreign power has 'gained a foothold in America' and will win when they 'undermine the American army'. First, though, they must eliminate Saber the Spy Fighter.

5 'I Vill Not Think!' 'I Vill Not Think!'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Franklin Harding (writer and artist)
Copyright: 05/1940

A beautiful female spy working for Prussany as they send hundreds of spies into America comes up against Saber the Spy Fighter and is surprised when he knows her plans, forgetting he can read minds.

6 'Transforma-Ray' 'Transforma-Ray'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Franklin Harding (writer and artist)
Copyright: 06/1940

Foiled (love that word) by the invincible Spy Fighter time and again, the agents of Grotonia are determined to capture him. They answer to a man who they call The Lizard. Somehow he has gained the ability to teleport via his transforma-ray suit.

7 'Here Is A Little Valentine, My Friend' 'Here Is A Little Valentine, My Friend'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 07/1940

Despite pledging peace with the U.S. at a conference, several nations have banded together to attack America. Luckily Saber the Spy Fighter reads the minds of the delegates and learns who is on the naughty side. Now he has to find their hidden base.

8 'You Miserable Traitor' 'You Miserable Traitor'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 08/1940

States in the southwest (looks like CA, AZ, NM, and NV) are unhappy with the Federal government and want to secede. The President sends Saber the Spy Fighter there to learn who is behind it. Garr Storm is the ring leader and wants to set up a dictatorship backed by an Oriental power.

9 'I Must Get To That Bomb!' 'I Must Get To That Bomb!'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 10/1940

The inventor of a new explosive is very greedy and after offering it to the U.S., flits to a nearby embassy and sells it to an enemy nation. Saber the Spy Fighter was leery of the man and learns of it even as the man plots to blow up a civic center out of spite.

10 'The Living Planet Monsters' 'The Living Planet Monsters'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 12/1940

Ridiculous story of three planets which have moved into the solar system, each of which is really a giant creature with people living inside it.

11 'Out of My Way, Weak Knees!' 'Out of My Way, Weak Knees!'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 02/1941

An angry hermit is able to control the minds of two foreign armies, causing them to advance to attack America on two fronts. Even if he is killed, the armies will continue. Only one thing can stop him and that is a detro-ray of a scientist he has sent people to eliminate unless Saber the Spy Fighter can save the man. Mind you, Saber uses this weapon to destroy lots of ships and tanks filled with mind-controlled soldiers. Doesn't seem right.

12 'They Look So Sweet When Unconscious' 'They Look So Sweet When Unconscious'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 04/1941

The year is 2041. A quiet day. Then buildings in a large American city begin to crumble and withing minutes, the city is totally ruined. "Great concern is felt in Washington." It turns out the dictator of Krieglandia sends a "valentine" saying surrender or all the cities will be turned to dust.

13 'What Persistent Fellows' 'What Persistent Fellows'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 06/1941

A great peace conference is being held on a floating base in the middle of the Atlantic. Saber the Spy Fighter shows up for the U.S. and announces that Nazania is really planning to invade its neighbor to get its mineral deposits. The Nazanians are not happy to be discovered and go after him. [At one point Saber takes over a tank and 'darts' into a tunnel.]

14 'This Place Was Thick With Nazis' 'This Place Was Thick With Nazis'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Jay Walker (writer and artist)
Copyright: 08/1941

This issue there are no fake countries. "Incited by Nazi agents, Arabian tribesmen, led by Sheik Mohammed Fey, attack a British outpost in the Arabian Desert." It is up to Saber, the "Great American Spy Fighter" to help save the day.

15 'I'll Be In A Pickle' 'I'll Be In A Pickle'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Jay Walker (writer and artist)
Copyright: 10/1941

A Nazi submarine is lurking in the Red Sea. The British commander in the area gives the job of finding the hiding crew in the desert of Arabia.

16 'Bring Down That Stuka' 'Bring Down That Stuka'
Published by Fiction House
Contributors: Leonard Frank (writer and artist)
Copyright: 12/1941

The British have a plan to unite the various Arab tribes and they ask Saber to attend a meeting of them all and present the idea. He is given a guide to the region but that man would rather stick a knife in Saber.

MY COMMENTS

       Oh, my gosh and golly, how I hated the daylights out of this ridiculous series. It was so badly written with such terrible plots, horribly conceived and even more horribly presented. The artwork was ridiculous. The characters so one-dimensional that disappeared when standing sideways. The powers of Saber were embarrassing. The fawning of everyone in America over Saber was nauseating.
       For 13 impossibly inane issues, the stories seemed to get worse and worse. Having to read them to write a synopsis was so very hard.
       Then in #14, the style changed. The future was the past. The artwork was darned good, compared to the previous issues. The plots actually made some kind of sense. It was suddenly looking hopeful.
       Too bad it did not last. After #16, it was gone forever.

GRADE

My Grade: D+

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