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MICHAEL LEE

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Full Name: Michael Lee
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jay McKellar
Time Span: 1940 - 1941

ABOUT THE SERIES

Michael Lee is an agent with the British Secret Service.

That pretty much sums up what we know about this man, unfortunately, except that he operated during the Second World War and that he is quite obviously the man to call when there is trouble to be dealt with.

From the very few images I have come across so far, he is clean shaven, wears a fedora (as was normal in those days), is partial to checked suits, and commonly seen smoking a pipe.

We know that several of his adventures take him up against the Nazis who were occupying France at the time but one of his missions clearly takes him to the Far East where he had a go at the Japanese.

For a short time, Lee is joined in his missions with an attractive young woman named Dee Alden who shows she has no qualms about getting into the action along with her boss, and from the looks of it when she as a passenger in a convertible racing down the two-lane, shooting her pistol at a strafing aircraft just a few feet off the ground, she means business. To Lee's credit, he is monitoring the situation while staying on the road.

Towards the end of his recorded career, he was joined in action by Duncan MacLean who is clearly a very tall, brawny Scotsman (based on his name and his constant wearing of a kilt). How they met and became partners is not known but this big guy is ever eager to smash his way in to get at the bad guys, though he is shown pounding his way through a brick wall when a door might have been easier. In another adventure he is shown holding up a two-wheeled cannon to toss at fleeing Germans. Handy fellow to have around!


COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1940
Last Appearance:1941

       The Anglo American Publishing Company in Toronto, Canada, came into being in 1940. According to Canadian Animation, Cartooning and Illustration, it "was created because of the cancellation of a cartoon adventure strip".
       The newspaper comic strip was Robin Hood and Company. When it was discontinued, the talent behind it, Ted McCall, who owned the rights to the comic and actually held the plates, decided to repackage it and created a comic book by the same name.
       Following up that release, McCall teamed with others to create more titles for the new publishing firm. The biggest it would create was Freelance, an adventurer-for-hire.
       One other title was Three Aces, an anthology publication as was the norm at the time.
       The first issue of that new title had as its characters Pat, the Air Cadet, 'Clip' Thomson, The Crusaders, and Michael Lee, promising 64 pages of Thrills-Adventure-Mystery.
       Michael Lee would continue with adventures in just over a half dozen more adventures. We know for certain that he was in issues 1-8. He may have had an adventure in #9 and #10 but that is speculation. According to the same source as above, "between issues 109 and 2-1, Michael Lee British Secret Service was replaced by Fawcett Publications character Bulletman and Bulletgirl".

       One interesting note about the Michael Lee series is that just at the end of the adventures, in fact the penultimate one, Michael Lee is joined in his missions by a very tall, brawny fellow named Duncan MacLean. This chap is not only much larger than the hero he joins as a sidekick, he is immensely strong. The interesting aspect comes in that the original reason for creating the publishing company was to continue the adventures of Robin Hood who had a very tall, brawny fellow named Little John as his sidekick. The very popular other title the company had, Freelance, had as his sidekick Big John Collins who could easily be described as a very tall, brawny fellow. Both Robin Hood and Freelance lasted a lot longer than Michael Lee. Perhaps if the British secret agent had run into Duncan MacLean sooner, he might have hung around.

Note: titles in quotes are my creation. Those without are taken from the covers and may or may not have been intended as titles.

1 'Introducing Michael Lee' 'Introducing Michael Lee'
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1940

Published in Three Aces Comics #1, Nov-Dec 1940
[plot unknown]

2 Michael Lee Foils An Invasion Attempt! Michael Lee Foils An Invasion Attempt!
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #2, Jan-Feb 1941
Michael Lee Foils An Invasion Attempt!
Click here to read the story.

3 'Michael Lee Recovers Stolen Plans' 'Michael Lee Recovers Stolen Plans'
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #3, Mar 1941
Michael Lee recovers plans stolen by Nazi agents.

4 Michael Lee Outwits The Nipponese Michael Lee Outwits The Nipponese
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #4, Apr 1941
[plot unknown]

5 Michael Lee To Bat Michael Lee To Bat
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #5, May 1941
Working with a new female assistant named Dee Alden, Michael Lee has to stop a band of saboteurs.

6 'Michael Lee Catches A Train' 'Michael Lee Catches A Train'
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #6, Jun 1941
[plot unknown]
Note: comics.org lists this as a second #5.

7 Michael Lee Uncovers A Secret Weapon Michael Lee Uncovers A Secret Weapon
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #7, Jul 1941
[plot unknown]

8 'Michael Lee Meets Duncan McLean' 'Michael Lee Meets Duncan McLean'
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #8, Aug 1941
[plot unknown]

9 Adventure In Cyreneica Adventure In Cyreneica
Published by Anglo American Publishing
Contributors: Jay McKellar (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Three Aces Comics #9, Sep 1941
[plot unknown]

MY COMMENTS

I could only find a small handful of pages from the few issues of the comics series holding the Michael Lee stories. That is, of course, hardly sufficient to get any good idea of the quality of the stories.

The anthology comic ran 64 pages which would have held several different characters in them and Michael Lee got cover mention in a couple and cover image in a couple. That shows initial confidence in the series.

The fact that after the 8 (and possibly 9) tales, that attitude changed as the comic continued but Michael Lee did not. From that I take it that either the editor or the audience, or possibly even the writer, did not want any more.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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