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SANDRA OF THE SECRET SERVICE

sandra_cb14 sandra_cb19 sandra_cb26 sandra_cb28 sandra_cb1 sandra_cb32
 
Full Name: Sandra McLane
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Charles Flanders
Time Span: 1935 - 1938

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Sandra is an agent of the Secret Service.
       This is not the Secret Service as we know it, formerly of the Treasury Department and now a part of Homeland Security, but rather a catch-all name for some intelligence bureau in the American alphabet soup group. Which one is never revealed but it, as is to be expected, has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
       Before she became involved in international intrigue, Sandra was a well-to-do single woman living quite happily in New York City (assumed, not certain). We know she was well-off by inference in that when first we meet her, she is completing a shopping trip and climbing into a limousine driven by James (who else) and she has a butler named Haskins. We conclude she is single by the fact that when adventure calls, she takes off with no hesitation and no need to let anyone (like a spouse) know.
       We know that Sandra is athletic just by looking at her pictures and seeing how she handles herself. We also know she is quick-witted and resourceful and very brave by the fact that when she is accosted by gunman, she immediately grabs a chair and hurls it at him with no hesitation. We also learn quickly that Sandra loves adventure and "excitement" as she jumps at the chance to head overseas on a mission.
       As time go by, we also learn Sandra is quite capable of operating boats, using a wireless, and even piloting a small plane. How she learned all this is never mentioned but each is done with surety and skill.
       First meeting Sandra, she is dark-haired. Halfway through her set of adventures, she becomes a blonde (around the time a new artist took over drawing duties).

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:6
First Appearance:1935
Last Appearance:1938

       The saga of Sandra of the Secret Service is of some pretty impressive significance.
       In 1935, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, a writer of pulp adventures who had just started his own small magazine of stories, noticed that several pulp publications had launched large size digests reprinting comic strips previously published in newspapers. He decided to go one step further and started his own which was the first monthly oversized magazine containing all original work. Thus was created the comic book.
       Also significant is the fact that while many others would come close on his heels, his company would persevere (though he would soon leave) and would, with a few bumps and swerves, eventually become D.C. comics, one of the two comic book biggies of the last 50 years.
       Regarding Sandra herself and the significance she owns, besides being the lead story in the first original comic book, she was also the first comic book heroine. She was not the girl friend of the main characters, or the sister, or the femme fatale out to scuttle the hero's goodness or the pretty always finding herself in peril needing rescue. She was the one doing the saving.
       
       While the magazine contained original work instead of newspaper reprints, the style was same and more resembled
Sunday editions of comic strips than later comic book styles. Moreover, the initial stories were one page long and the stories serialized over numerous issues. The first adventure Sandra had would take 13 months to tell.
       After a while, Sandra's monthly stories got bigger and contained 3 pages, giving her readers more per issue.

       The series starts in New Fun Comics #1 and continued through #6 when the magazine was renamed More Fun Comics but continued the numbering with #7.

       I have made available many of the pages that I have found but a couple of them are missing.

Note: the 6th and last story does not have a conclusion. The storyline was dropped before it was allowed to be finished.


1 The Gavonian Affair The Gavonian Affair
Published by National Allied
Contributors: Charles Flanders (writer and artist)
Copyright: 02/01/1935

Found in New Fun Comics #1-#6 then More Fun Comics #7-13 - Sandra was heading home from shopping when the sudden appearance of a man being hunted changes her life and soon finds her crossing an ocean, getting kidnapped more than once, and helping stop a war.

2 The Resbian Affair The Resbian Affair
Published by National Allied
Contributors: W. C. Brigham (writer and artist)
Copyright: 10/01/1936

Found in More Fun Comics #14-18 - The Princess of Gavonia asks Sandra help rescue a Gavonian held prisoner by neighboring Resbia.

3 The Brain The Brain
Published by National Allied
Contributors: Will Georgi (writer and artist), W. C. Brigham (writer and artist)
Copyright: 03/01/1937

Found in More Fun Comics #19-25 - Sailing back to the States from Gavonia, Sandra is spotted by two Resbians who are out for revenge. As they attack her, Sandra sees a fellow American, Michael, come to her aid. When the ship is attacked, Sandra and Michael end up abandoned in the cold ocean waters only to be rescued by The Brain, a munitions dealer who profits when wars continue.
Note: W.C.Brigham was the talent behind the first two segments of this story and then was replaced by Will Georgi.

4 The Gas Murders The Gas Murders
Published by National Allied
Contributors: Will Ely (writer and artist)
Copyright: 11/01/1937

Found in More Fun Comics #26-27 - Back home, Sandra's boss at Intelligence welcomes her home. She is soon involved in figuring out who is murdering people with a poison gas.

5 Sandra's Vacation Sandra's Vacation
Published by National Allied
Contributors: Will Ely (writer and artist)
Copyright: 01/01/1938

Found in More Fun Comics #28-31 - Sandra's boss thinks she needs a vacation so she boards a boat heading to Florida. Meeting Michael on the ship, she learns he is there reporting on a wealthy newlywed debutante. Together they get involved in a missing jewelry case.

6 The Mobster's Kidnapping The Mobster's Kidnapping
Published by National Allied
Contributors: Will Ely (writer and artist)
Copyright: 06/01/1938

Found in More Fun Comics #32-35 - Sandra is looking forward to a quiet vacation in Florida but that is not to be as she learns of a kidnapping of a mobster leader and just has to investigate. Story ends abruptly even though it says it will be continued.

MY COMMENTS

       As I mentioned in the Comic Book section, Sandra's adventures put her in several "first" categories. The most important, to me, is that fact that she was the first heroine to host her own series. As time will pass, a fair number of new female leads will show up but most of them are super-powered. The few that are not costumed tend to be reporters or police women. Sandra remains one of the very few female espionage operative.
       Her adventures are very much in the newspaper comic strip style with precast defined panel sizes. The pacing is also very much like you would expect in a daily strip which is understandable knowing that the publisher and more importantly the writers and artists were used to this type of work as what we know of modern comics were just coming along.
       As several different writer/artists were involved in the short but fun series, we never really get much background on Sandra but she definitely keeps busy and is quite enjoyable to follow, allowing for the confusion missing issues present.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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