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SKIP SCHUYLER

 
Full Name: Skip Schuyler
Nationality: American
Organization: U.S. Army
Occupation Agent

Creator: Tom Hickey
Time Span: 1939 - 1940

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Skip Schuyler is an agent with the U.S. Army Intelligence.
       He apparently has been an operative for some time as evidenced by an old friend (character Ian Murray - see the general information in the Comic Section) describing Schuyler to his new wife as the "ace man in the U.S. Intelligence Service. He's cracked more spy rings than the rest of the department put together." How Murray knew that having been overseas for the last few years is unknown.
       For all his obvious abilities in the cloak and dagger world, he is still just a lieutenant. It could be he is so good his bosses do not want to promote him for fear of losing him or he could be turning down promotions to stay in the field. Neither is very likely.
       We know very little about the young officer for he is definitely not that old despite the plaudits about his achievements. He is decidedly tenacious and he is certainly resourceful. He needs to bug a room of an enemy agent before such easedropping devices were invented so he hides a dictaphone behind a radiator. It captures two spies discussing their plans and he is ready to pounce.
       Athletic, which is not surprising considering his profession. He had had aspirations for a life in professional sports after his stint in the Service but during his West Point days he was involved in a yearly Army-Navy football game when he threw a block that allowed the winning touchdown but also wrenched his shoulder so bad there was no hope of a career. So he stayed with the military and made a pretty good life there.
       Physically, Schuyler is slightly above average height, good physique, handsome with blond hair brushed back in a subdued pompadour.
       He is good in a fist fight and not bad with a pistol. He can also fly several types of aircraft with great skill.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:10
First Appearance:1939
Last Appearance:1940

       National Publications, soon to be D.C. Comics, opened production of what would be known as Adventure Comics in December of 1935. For the first 11 issues it was titled New Comics. January 1937 saw the name changed to New Adventure Comics and stay as that for the next 20 issues. Its name changed again to Adventure Comics with issue #32 in November 1938. The magazine ran continuously for almost a half century before the release of the last issue of this storied, #503, in September 1983. Of course in comicbook land, nothing is dead forever and a revitalized version returned in 1998 and hung around for quite a while again.
       For many of the years it was on the newsstands, it was the home for stories about Superboy and later the Legion of Super Heroes but when it got its start, it was quite a bit different.
       Initially as New Comics it was mostly a humor magazine with a large number of short stories with different characters. There were a fair number of serious titles in it as well but the covers clearly showed it was meant to be a "funny book". The anthology approach that the mag had, which was the norm for virtually all comic books out there, continued even after it switched to being New Adventure Comics. There were less comedic tales in it and the covers would slowly switch to showing stories more attuned to the fact that "Adventure" was now in the title.
       Did you know that in the pages of this magazine, the alien detective Jor-L was introduced a year before his creators came out with their landmark Superman? (I didn't until I read it in Wikipedia).

       Back to the topic, well, close to it.
       One of the "serious" storylines in New Comics was writer-artist Tom Hickey's The Golden Dragon. This comic told the story of three adventurers who got involved in a fair number of hair-raising escapades in the Far East. What happened to them and who they went up against naturally changed from story to story with many tales extending several issues. Leading the trio was Ian Murray, a stalwart fellow who clearly loved danger and excitement.
       Gradually, Murray took the most active role in the stories but was joined by a supporting character in the eventual love interest, Doris.
       I mention Murray and Doris because when the Golden Dragon tales came to an end, they were replaced by Tom Hickey's newest creation, Skip Shuyler, ace intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.
       And how did we get our first introduction to him? He is at a ?train? station on an assignment when he encounters Ian Murray by surprise. They obviously know each other from way back. Murray introduces Doris with whom he just got married earlier that day. After they exchange pleasantries and congratulations, Shuyler head out and Murray tells his wife, in answer to her question, that Shuyler was "the ace man of the U.S. Intelligence Service."
       Not a bad way to pass the torch. Granted, the torch stayed lit for only ten adventures but what the hey!

Note: the titles in quotes are my creation.

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MY COMMENTS

       By his short tenure in the magazine, it was obvious that either the writer/artist or the editor did not think Skip Schuyler had what it took to stick around and I would agree. The stories were alright but Schuyler was exceedingly vanilla in flavor and had nothing to make him stand out. When placed in an anthology like he was, he definitely got lost in the mix.
       The adventures were fairly subdued compared to the other military intelligence series told at the same time. While his contemporaries were fighting and winning single-handedly one war after another in battlegrounds all over the world, Schuyler's missions were decidedly more realistic (well, he did stop that one war in South America, I'll give him that) and that may have played a big role in his demise. They just might not have been over-the-top enough.
       At least the final panel in the final story does have him getting a huge thank-you kiss from a rescued damsel. Not a bad way to leave the arena.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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