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ROGER LINCOLN

lincoln_roger_cb_ett lincoln_roger_cb_cod
 
Full Name: Roger Lincoln
Nationality: American
Organization: State Department
Occupation Agent

Creator: Milton Luros
Time Span: 1951 - 1955

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Roger Lincoln is an agent with the State Department.
       By agent, we mean that he is referred to as a Special Agent in some places, as an "S-Man" in other spots, and he definitely can be found by checking in with that organization. That is what a woman named Cynthia Blake did and that is how we first meet Lincoln.
       Cynthia, as everyone calls her, a young, attractive, and intelligent woman who earned a good salary as a top fashion reporter for a major magazine, was on a train sitting next to a man named Jack Saunders who was carrying two packages. A terrible accident derailed the train and the man was mortally wounded. His dying words where "give p-packages to ... to ... Roger Lincoln ... W..Washington S.s.s." Being extremely conscientious, and more than a little adventurous, she undertook the difficult task of locating someone named "Roger Lincoln" in the nation's capital. Not knowing anything more about him, she decided to "start at the top and work my way down". To her, the top was the State Department, and soon enough to Roger Lincoln.
       Cynthia asked of Lincoln "are you a government agent - or an undercover man of some sort?" to which he responds, "Why, no! I just sort of do this, that and the other thing - with a bit of travel thrown in." Being not only perceptive but also determined, she immediately countered with "Is that supposed to mean Yes or NO?" Lincoln dodges the question and invites her to dinner.
       Back for a moment to the "S-Man", in the case of Lincoln the "S" definitely stands for "State" as he is identified on many occassions as being a representative of that cabinent department and by extension, the American government. His coyness in his answer to Cynthi'a question comes largely from his being a trouble-shooter (my term) who is sent anywhere in the world (and beyond) where there is trouble that could affect American interests.
       In one mission he looks for a missing leading voice for democracy in a Latin American country. In another he is sent to find out why a trade agreement for a needed mineral has hit a snag in a Middle Eastern nation. When an American pilot is captured behind the Iron Curtain, it is Lincoln who is sent to calm the waters and get the man back safely. For a while, his sphere of operation even leaves this sphere we call home, first when a stolen space station is being offered for sale to the highest bidder with Russia being most interested, and then when other extraterrestrial problems find their way to this planet with trouble like slavery and drug addiction.
       There is even a matter of a 300+ year old female space alien falling for Lincoln. While that 'romance' will not last, it is not hard to understand why she would be interested because Lincoln, a blond-haired attractive man likely in his mid-to-late 30s, is quite the ladies' man

Good Line:
Being told that he routinely went looking for trouble, Lincoln says , "Never do - I just walk down the street and it finds me!"

Talking to a woman who seems upset by the words of an older man, "Looks like the square is giving you the heebie-jeebies."

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:2
First Appearance:1955
Last Appearance:1955

       The two comicbooks that I have found (well, a fellow spy-fan sent images of the covers to me) come from an Australian publication. While I have not seen the insides, I am certain that the first one is a reprint of one of the U.S. newspaper comic strip arcs and the second one is likely as well.

1 Currency of Doom Currency of Doom
Published by Approved Publication

Copyright: 1955

From Roger Lincoln #1, April 1955
Has Lincoln been killed? Most likely not, because spies meet in a deadly game of wits!

2 Escape To Terror Escape To Terror
Published by Approved Publication

Copyright: 1955

From Roger Lincoln #1, August 1955
The bad guys seem to be getting away, so it is up to Roger Lincoln to stop them.

COMIC STRIPS

Number of Arcs:1
Number of Strips:882
First Appearance:1951
Last Appearance:1953

       In the 40's a very popular comic strip about a matronly woman who got involved in the lives and loves of a wide assortment of people, Mary Worth, came into the homes of people every day in the newspaper. It was no surprise that with its success would come a variety of imitators. One such strip was that of Cynthia which got its start in October, 1946.
       The main difference between Mary and Cynthia was that instead of a silver-haired grandmother like Mary was, the protagonist Cynthia was a fairly young and quite attractive blonde. She was labeled as a 'career woman' as she preferred to dress nicely and head to the office every day.
       I believe that the still fairly young and ambitious Irv Novick, who would years later make his mark with the DC comicbook Batman, was the creator of this strip. He certainly was the artist for the strip and his style was intentionally quite similar to the Mary Worth strips. From what I read about it, the strip was never very popular and did not appear in that many newspapers around the country. Nevertheless, it had to have been good enough to have survived daily, including Sunday, exposure a half decade.
       Novick left the series in 1951 and he was replaced by Milton Luros.
       A whole book could be written about Luros (and maybe already has been) because the man would eventually leave comicstrip drawing for the more lucrative soft porn industry, become quite wealthy, and even have a major obscenity case brought before the US Supreme Court (check out Wikipedia for a ton of info on this). None of what would come later for Luros has, of course, anything to do with Cynthia or Roger Lincoln but it is fascinating reading.
       Back of the subject of Cynthia, it seems to me that with Novick gone and Luros in, the desire to change the direction of the strip was strong as it moved from largely romance soap-opera style stories to more adventurous outings. Either that was not enough or the desire of the creative team was to step up the change but in what would be the last story arc for Cynthia, she would come into contact with a new character named Roger Lincoln and take part in several missions with him.
       Then on Nov. 4, 1951, the title of the strip changed from Cynthia with her leaving completely to Roger Lincoln. The Sunday strip would expand to be Roger Lincoln, S-Man. That appellation of "S-Man" was used in the very early strips of his participation and were shown to likely stand for "State Department Man" in the same vein as the more commonly used "G-Man" and "T-Man".
       Within a few months of the new series, the direction of the adventures will take an even stranger turn as Lincoln is shown to be a representative of the State Department in outer space! That is a pretty wide jurisdiction. Three of the daily story arcs would center around this concept and several of the Sunday arcs would. Then, apparently seeing that the space angle was not what the public wanted, the storyline switched back to standard spy-fi fare with U.S. vs U.S.S.R. back as the main theme.

       While the creator of Cynthia was Novick, I do not know for certain the creator of the character of Roger Lincoln was Milton Luros but since I would be willing to bet $1 on it, I will list it that way until proven wrong.

       The Sunday element is confusing to me so I am sure I will make it confusing to you here.
       For most of its existence, the pre-Roger Cyntha Sunday page was in line with the dailies; I mean that what was happening on Saturday would carry onto Sunday for usually 3x the content and then on to Monday. This meant that, for the newspapers that did not carry the strip on Sunday or did not have a Sunday edition at all, nothing vital would likely happen OR there would have to be a quick recap on Monday.
       With the introduction of Roger Lincoln, though, this changed.
       Inn Saturday, 01/20/1951, daily, Cynthia receives a telegram from her boss to come back to company headquarters right away. The next day in the Sunday page, it is shown that she was to work to explore a matter dealing with what will turn out to be a Svengali of an artist and that storyline will continue in the Sunday editions until 04/22/1951. In the dailies, however, starting on the Monday following the telegram receipt, Cynthis begins her train journey that will lead to her meeting Roger and an adventure dealing with counterfeit money and foreign agents.
       The separation of the daily arc and the Sunday arc would continue for some time. That pre-Roger Sunday arc with the Svengali will be followed by six Roger arcs, all having no direction connection to the eight Roger arcs in the dailies that went on during the same timeframe.
       Then on 10/26/1952, the Sunday edition would suddenly again fit snuggly between the daily's Saturday and Monday storyline and would continue that way until the end of the strip, at least as far as I have found since the Sunday's near the end of the strip's run have proven difficult to find.


Really good articles to read on the matter of Cynthia and/or Roger Lincoln can be found at:
The Fabulous Fifties, Cynthia Oh Cynthia.
The Fabulous Fifties, Early Romance.
Stripper's Guide

1   "Trouble With Counterfeit Money"
Strips: 1 - 60
Dates: 01/20/1951 - 03/31/1951

Daily story arc #1
Cynthia Blake is on a train when she accidentally trips a man who is conveying two packages, important enough that he purchase a seat for them rather than let them out of his sight. When a sleepy train engineer causes an accident, the man is critically injured and implores Cynthia to take the packages to "Roger Lincoln .. Washington ... S..." This will eventually put her working with Lincoln as they seek out who has a most impressive counterfeit money system in place.
Click here to read some or all the story.

2   "Trouble With The Chromite Treaty"
Strips: 61 - 120
Dates: 04/02/1951 - 06/09/1951

Daily story arc #2
Roger Lincoln and Cynthia Blake are in London are out to celebrate the success of their first mission together. At the nightspot they choose, they are placed at a table next to the visiting Maharajah of Punjab, an Indian royal who turns out to be an old friend of Lincoln from their college days when the man was known as 'Beans Bengal'. The man is about to marry a woman from his homeland name Bibi but there is some mystery causing trouble. He asks Lincoln and Blake's help which will involve that region's precious mineral called chromite.
Click here to read some or all the story.

3   "Trouble With The Infamous Colonel Koch"
Strips: s1 - s14
Dates: 14/29/1951 - 02/03/1952

Sunday story arc #1, likely taking place like between the events of daily arc #2 and #3.

Click here to read some or all the story.

4   "Trouble With Dr. Cinco"
Strips: 121 - 216
Dates: 06/11/1951 - 09/29/1951

Daily story arc #3
Having completed the mission in India, Roger Lincoln is surprised to be accosted by a short fat man named Dr. Cinco who warns him must strenuously to not go to the Argentine. Lincoln is confused because he has no plans to do so and then is amazed to be given orders from the State Department for he and Cynthia Blake to head there to locate a missing newspaper editor, Miguel Bolvar. That man had run afoul of the growing communist party and had either gone into hiding or had been killed. The mission is going to difficult as it turns out the obese Dr. Cinco is very much in charge there.
Click here to read some or all the story.

5   "Trouble With Operation Moonbeam"
Strips: s15 - s28
Dates: 07/29/1951 - 11/04/1951

Sunday story arc #2, likely taking place like between the events of daily arc #3 and #4.
[plot unknown]
Click here to read some or all the story.

6   "Trouble At The Space Station"
Strips: 217 - 252
Dates: 10/01/1951 - 11/10/1951

Daily story arc #4
Ordered to visit the Mt.Wilson Observatory, Roger Lincoln is told how six years before, a Dr. Echols invented and built for the U.S. a space station. "The night before its launching, it shot into space - Dr. Echols, plans, and all!" Now it is in orbit 1000 miles above the Earth. Lincoln and Blake have the assignment to take another rocket to the station to learn who stole it and why. Lincoln's job is to handle any problems that might come up. Blake's role is to make sure that Echols allows them to dock with the station since it is known that Echols cannot resist a pretty woman. Things get dicey when Echols proves to be a megalomaniac but even worse when after resolving that issue, Lincoln learns an android was sent to fetch him to Planet 694.
Click here to read some or all the story.

7   "Trouble With Love In Space"
Strips: 29 - 41
Dates: 11/04/1951 - 02/03/1952

Sunday story arc #3, likely taking place like between the events of daily arc #4 and #5.
Roger Lincoln becomes the love obsession of a female space alien with a mechanical heart who is 300+ years old and wants a mate who will not age and die. She has chosen Lincoln. He is not so interested.
Click here to read some or all the story.

8   "Trouble On Planet 694"
Strips: 253 - 324
Dates: 11/12/1951 - 02/02/1952

Daily story arc #5
Stunned when his two companions on his journey to the space station disappear, Roger Lincoln encounters an android who says he was sent from Planet 694 to bring Lincoln to that planet. Arriving there, Lincoln meets the "executive ruler", Kala, who says that when Lincoln deposed the station's leader, he interrupted that man's suppling of a "nerve tonic" that Kala needs to survive. On threat of Cynthia's harm, Lincoln must return to Earth to get a supply of this "tonic". Soon Kala will arrive herself to bargain a shipment of uranium for the "tonic". The ending is an odd one with regards what happened to Cynthia!
Click here to read some or all the story.

9   "Trouble At The Space Penal Facility"
Strips: 325 - 378
Dates: 02/04/1952 - 04/05/1952

Daily story arc #6
This adventure starts with Roger Lincoln returning home to Washington and getting a bit annoyed that the shirts returned to him in his laundry were the wrong size (14's vs 16's). Deciding to waste an hour, he heads to the Orbit Laundry to complain about 'Inspector 126'. This will throw him into a mystery which will involve illegal aliens (really alien!). The laundry is "a penal colony for prisoners from another planet".
Click here to read some or all the story.

10   "Trouble With The Girl From Centauri"
Strips: s42 - s52
Dates: 02/10/1952 - 04/20/1952

Sunday story arc #4
A young woman is working with a top industrialist to launch a space ship with a small bauble hung around her neck which she claims has incredible power. She wants to use it to power the spacecraft to return her to her home world, Centauri, and she wants Roger Lincoln to pilot it. Once there, they learn that her "uncle", who welcomes her with open arms, is really planning to usurp control.
Click here to read some or all the story.

11   "Trouble At The Suez Canal"
Strips: 379 - 456
Dates: 04/07/1952 - 07/05/1952

Daily story arc #7
The Secretary of State calls Roger Lincoln at home at night with the request for an urgent meeting right away. Racing to a cab, Lincoln is instead hijacked by a beautiful woman named Dahla and taken to a meeting a fat, bearded Arab named Fawzi. Fawzi tells Lincoln how wiretaps let him know that Lincoln's next mission will be to head to the Middle East to monitor Fawzi's actions as he goes about selling guns to any and all states. Fawzi is planning on bringing lasting peace to that region (??) by forcefully closing the Suez Canal. Lincoln subsequently learns of his mission as expected and is told he will be assisted by a highly trained and capable operative - the very same Dahla who snatched him.
Click here to read some or all the story.

12   "Trouble With"
Strips: 53 - 62
Dates: 04/27/1952 - 06/29/1952

Sunday story arc #5

Click here to read some or all the story.

13   "Trouble At The Panama Canal"
Strips: 457 - 546
Dates: 07/07/1952 - 10/18/1952

Daily story arc #8
Roger Lincoln is offered a chance to rest back home but refuses, determined to track down whoever was the real brains behind the gun smuggling scheme he just broke up. He has but to leave his hotel in Port Said, Egypt, before a beautiful American blonde approaches him with an offer to be his guide to the city. She works for Farrul Pasha, an unusual 'collector' of army and war surplus equipment. That sets him up for meeting the eccentric Pasha outside of town where the Pasha runs over Lincoln's jeep with a tank! After that things get interesting with the Pasha talking about destroying the Panama Canal with an old atomic bomb he might have.
Click here to read some or all the story.

14   "Trouble With The New Fuehrer"
Strips: 547 - 654
Dates: 10/20/1952 - 02/21/1953

Daily story arc #9
Noted nuclear scientist Dr. Klause tries to enter the U.S. but is having trouble because he is deemed an undesirable due to his working with the Reds. When he disappears, the question moves from why he is trying to get in to how he vanished; as in who is helping him and again why. A nasty automobile tycoon, A. H. Furor, is the man behind it all and he is sneaking a fair number of other specialists for a very nasty reason.
Click here to read some or all the story.

15   "Trouble With The Samurai"
Strips: 655 - 726
Dates: 02/23/1953 - 05/16/1953

Daily story arc #10
Roger Lincoln is rushed to his newest assignment where he is told that three American judges presiding at the Tokyo War Crimes trial have all met with 'accidents', one by car, one by hunting, and one falling out a high window. Behind it is a cabal of samurai wanting to restore their country to its height. Lincoln is joined in his mission by a British female agent, Gwen Huntley, who has a less than flattering introduction to the dashing Lincoln.
Click here to read some or all the story.

16   "Trouble With The Missing Pilot"
Strips: 727 - 822
Dates: 05/18/1953 - 09/05/1953

Daily story arc #11
Roger Lincoln is given vacation time to spend in England. Traveling with Gwen, the British agent from the previous assignment, he learns she is worried about her boyfriend, an American Air Force pilot Captain Sprague. He, we learn, is in a coma where he is being indoctrinated while he sleeps for a special mission taking the role of a man named Hans Mueller. That mission is behind the Iron Curtain. When Sprague goes missing, Lincoln heads there himself to look for him. Complicating things is a woman there with a major axe to grind with Lincoln.
Click here to read some or all the story.

17   "Trouble With The Ambassador's Daughter"
Strips: 823 - 882
Dates: 09/07/1953 - 11/14/1953

Daily story arc #12
Heading from Paris to London after his mission behind the Iron Curtain was over, Roger Lincoln is surprised to be pulled out of the plane by the Sureté. In Paris is an American woman, Kim Lawson, who has proven to be an absolute nightmare for one of the premier couturiers, among other places. She is the Ambassador's daughter and is running amok all over the city. Lincoln is asked to learn what is causing her erratic behavior and to find a way to curtail it. What he discovers is a very sinister man controlling her every move.
Click here to read some or all the story.

MY COMMENTS

       The fascinating journey I took with regards Roger Lincoln got its start when a spy-fan friend of mine found while looking for info on a different comicbook series the two images of comicbooks about Roger Lincoln. Not knowing anything more about them, he sent the images to me to consider using. Checking the web, I learned just enough to get interested. Then I did a deep dive and found a couple of sites (mentioned above) which made me even more fascinated.
       At that point I found through my membership in newspapers.com that there were a couple (only) publications that carried the comic strips which was the medium for the Lincoln adventures. While those sites mentioned above had a few (thank you for them!) images, I wanted to learn more so I began the long and tedius process of clipping each strip of the Cynthia series from the newspaper archive.
       Finding newspapers which carried Cynthia/Roger Lincoln was tricky. Finding those that carried the Sunday editions proved even more troublesome. Eventually, however, I would be able to clip and straighten and clean over 900 strips to finally learn all that there was to know about Lincoln, culminating with the abrupt ending of the series without, apparently, ending that final storyline. I even grabbed a couple years' worth of Cynthia before she boarded that train to see if there was anything Lincoln-esque to them (there was not).

       I really got to enjoy this series. Now, when the author decided to move the character from a secret-agent-ish vocation to being a U.S. representative/troubleshooter in outer space, that was a bit odd but still interesting. Even when he is returned home and life got "back to normal" he runs into a problem with his laundry and ends up breaking a space penal colony cum slave labor racket.       
       But then the Cold War obviously took center stage for the last couple of adventures and those were a lot of fun. They apparently were not fun enough for either the author or the audience or the comic syndicate to keep it going. Just shy of three full years went by from when a dying man on a wrecked train uttered Lincoln's name up to the last panel when it seems the show just ended without warning.

       But very interesting to me is that with all the research I have done over the one and a half decades I have been doing this (as of this typing), I had never heard of Roger Lincoln before I received those comicbook cover images about an unknown State Department Special Agent.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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