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VIC JORDAN

jordan_vic_cb_cov3 jordan_vic_cb_cov5 jordan_vic_cb_cov1 jordan_vic_cb_cov2 jordan_vic_cb_cov4
 
Full Name: Vic Jordan
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Other - Publicist

Creator: Payne
Time Span: 1941 - 1945

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Vic Jordan is a publicist.
       There is some indication that prior to this current gig, he may have spent time as a reporter but when we first encounter him in Paris in the Summer of 1940, he is working as the publicist for the International Revue, an entertainment troupe comprised of an American ballet company as well as an up-and-coming French musical comedy star. Considering the influence with the members of the group he shows from the beginning, he could also be running things but that is speculation.
       Certainly it is Jordan's idea for a publicity stunt that will find him sought by the Gestapo and will lead soon to his dropping his current career to join the French Resistance, or 'Underground' as they called it. The Gestapo had been ordered by Berlin to close down the performance of the troupe. The beautiful French star Adrienne lamented to Jordan that her career was "one great ruin", to which Jordan grinned and promised that it was just beginning and that she would be on Broadway in a month because he had a "terrific idea". That genius move was to put the show on despite the prohibition and to add a fun little number where Adrienne made herself look like Hitler in a less than flattering skit. Naturally, the German officials were decidedly unpleased and attempts at arrest were made with Jordan and company were on the lam.
       I believe it was seeing first Adrienne arrested, though soon released after paying a fine, and then another troupe member getting snatched up by the Gestapo that switched Jordan from being a fun-loving easy-going fellow having a grand time working with the Revue to being a dedicated enemy of all things Nazi. For the next four years he will work closely with both British Intelligence, the American military, and the Maquis and will over time gain an impressive reputation both with his colleagues and with his opposition.
       In the final story, taking place after the liberation of France but while the War continued in Germany, Jordan is approached by the editor of a French newspaper to assist in learning about a large group of Germans left behind when its army were forced back, said army becoming its own version of an underground. Whether it was the wish of the editor for Jordan to do the reporting or just the investigating is not known. In typical Jordan style, he lands in the middle of a very sticky situation.

       Jordan is likely in his mid-30's based on his depiction, with dark slightly wavy hair. There is no doubt that Jordan is a very handsome man who definitely enjoys the attention and company of beautiful women. He enjoys good food and good refreshment and spending time with his friends but once he takes up the mantle of fighting the Nazis, his determination to keep pounding on them never lets up.
       
       As mentioned above, Adrienne Charlet is one of Jordan's associates both before his switch to fighting the Nazis and after. She is an up-and-coming French musical comedy star, possessor of lots of talent, enthusiasm, and spirit and capable of some deviousness, especially when the man she is certain she loves, Jordan, is in the company of any other female over the age of consent and under the age of alive. She is quite impulsive, though, which makes things interesting now and then.
       There is also Sue Bennett, a member of the American ballet company, which really seems to be a Follies-style chorus line who is revealed early on to actually be a member of British Secret Service. She was placed undercover with the troupe likely as a means of entry into German-controlled France since by this time England was at war with Germany but America was not as yet. Jordan is unaware at first of her real occupation but shakes off his surprise quickly when she gets into trouble. She will works with Jordan on several assignments, much to Adrienne's displeasure.
       Then then there is Marty O'Brien, an American expat now running a small training facility/gym in Paris. The glass door to his facility proudly proclaims him as the "former heavy weight boxing champion of Rhode Island". He is an old friend of Jordan who at first gives shelter to Jordan and Bennett when they first go on the lam but who happily joins the Underground with Jordan. He could never be accused of being very bright but he is fiercely loyal and brave and his abilities with his fists saves Jordan's hide several times over.

       There are not many references online concerning Vic Jordan but at least two of them refer to his being helped in his fight against the Nazis by the mysterious man known as 'The Noose'. This fellow, while not being that terribly mysterious, is absolutely not an ally but is a traitorous American who will devote a great deal of effort on behalf of the Gestapo to eradicating Jordan and vice versa.

Good Line:
"No one shoots himself in the head three times."

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:22
First Appearance:1943
Last Appearance:1945

       There were 22 comic books which were issued containing adventures of Vic Jordan.
       The first 21 were as part of the anthology comic book Big Shot Comics put out by Columbia Comic Corporation, a company whose one comicbook title was this one. That magazine itself ran May 1940 to August 1949 for a total of 104 issues. Vic Jordan saw adventures in issued #32 through #52.
       The 22nd incarnation of Jordan was in what was to have been a standalone eponymous comic put out by Civil Service Publications, Inc. Vic Jordan was billed in the indicia as being published quarterly but the only issue to ever exist was the inaugural #1 in April of 1945.

       In all cases the stories were reprints of the comic strip but in color. Numerous panels from the actual newspaper runs were omitted to tighten up the storylines. In the case of the Big Shot portion, the story would be spread over several issues of the comicbook. In the solo issue from CSP, it is obvious that the same thing was planned just with a lot more panels included.
       It is curious that the solo/inaugural run of the CSP line came out just before the sudden cessation of the strip by the two creators. That may have doomed the planned second issue.

1 'The Beginning Of Vic Jordan's War' 'The Beginning Of Vic Jordan's War'
Published by Columbia Comic Corp
Contributors: Paine (writer), Elmer Wexler (artist)
Copyright: 1943

Published in Big Shots Comics #32 (Feb 1943) - #36 (Jul 1943)
As Vic Jordan, reporting on and friends with the members of the International Revue, discovers, making fun of the Fuehrer in German-controlled Paris of 1940 is a very dangerous act. This tale shows how Jordan and his boxer friend O'Brien, in order to free a friend, Sue Bennett, from the Gestapo, end up joining the French Underground.
Comprised of panels from the strips of story arc #1, The Beginning Of Vic Jordan's War.
Click here to read the story.

2 'The British Flyers' 'The British Flyers'
Published by Columbia Comic Corp
Contributors: Paine (writer), Elmer Wexler (artist)
Copyright: 1943

Published in Big Shots Comics #37 (Aug 1943) - #38 (Sep 1943)
In his first real mission working with the French Underground, Vic Jordan takes part in helping two British RAF pilots shot down over France make their way to the coast and a rescue ship.
Comprised of panels from strips of story arc #2, The British Flyers as well as the early part of story arc #3, The Phony Pilot.
Click here to read the story.

3 'The Phony Pilot' 'The Phony Pilot'
Published by Columbia Comic Corp
Contributors: Paine (writer), Elmer Wexler (artist)
Copyright: 1943

Published in Big Shots Comics #39 (Oct 1943) - #44 (Mar 1944)
A German agent, Captain Koenig, who spent 4 years at Oxford and can easily impersonate a British citizen, pretends to be a downed pilot in order to trace the make-up of the French Underground from the inside.
Comprised of panels from strips of story arc #3, The Phony Pilot as well as the very beginning of #4, Seven-Seventy.
Click here to read the story.

4 'Seven-Seventy' 'Seven-Seventy'
Published by Columbia Comic Corp
Contributors: Paine (writer), Elmer Wexler (artist)
Copyright: 1943

Published in Big Shots Comics #44 (Apr 1944) - #52 (Jan 1945)
Vic Jordan and Sue Bennett meet a British operative undercover in France trying to learn how ship convoys are being so easily targeted. Before he can pass along the vital intel he has learned, he is killed with a thrown knife in the back, his dying words being, "Seven Seventy".
[Note: the final two panels were slightly different than from the strips and depicted the end of German occupation of France.]
Comprised of panels from strips of story arc #4, Seven-Seventy.
Click here to read the story.

5 'Guthrie, The Noose' 'Guthrie, The Noose'
Published by Civil Service Publications, Inc
Contributors: Paine (writer), Paul Norris (artist)
Copyright: 1945

Published in Vic Jordan #1 (Apr 1945)
Efforts by Vic Jordan and his group have plagued the German occupation forces for long enough. They are anxious for anything that can help them and that comes in the form of J. Harrington Guthrie, an American described as "tall, portly, wears dark glasses, a perfect gentleman". What he offers is a plan to "liquidate the French Underground".
[Note: the last page promised further adventures of Vic Jordan but there was no more issues.]
Comprised of panels from strips of story arc #6, Guthrie, The Noose.
Click here to read the story.

COMIC STRIPS

Number of Arcs:8
Number of Strips:1068
First Appearance:1941
Last Appearance:1945

       In 1941, two reporters working in the New York City area got an idea for a comic strip that would feature one of their own, an American investigative correspondent, working in and reporting from Europe. This was before the United States was pulled into the soon-to-be global conflict but war was already going strongly for other nations and Kermit Jaekiker and Charles Zerner had a story to tell.
       Why they chose to use a single pseudonym to represent them is not known but according to Don Markstein's Toonopedia, they chose Paine to honor Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers and the man behind the Revolution's Common Sense.

       According to my research, five different artists were to draw the strips throughout its 4-year run. Having different people work on a strip over the course of its life is in no way unusual. What is impressive is that the artists who came after the start of the series were able to keep the look and feel remarkably the same, in my unskilled opinion.
       Elmer "Ed" Wexler was the initial artist and he worked on it for 156 strips from the first panel to May 30, 1942. He departed the strip, according to Markstein, to join the War effort by enlisting in the Marines.
       He was replaced by Paul Norris who produced 348 panels starting with June 1, 1942 and going until July 10, 1943. He too left to aid in the actual conflict when, according to www.pulpartists.com, he was drafted.
       David Moneypenny was handed the drawing pen and continued the artistic work from July 12, 1943 to February 12, 1944, a total of 186 panels. It is not known why he left the position.
       It looks to my poor eyes that an artist who signed his work "Robinson" provided a dozen panels, Feb. 14 to Feb. 26 of 1944.
       Then the last artist to work on the strip took over. Bernard Baily started his run on Feb. 28, 1944 and ended it with the final one on April 28, 1945, for 366 panels.

       I do not know how much lead time was needed from when they got to work to when the first strip was printed in a newspaper but I am guestimating several months at least, said time being taken up with finding an artist that satisfied them, lining up newspapers that wanted to carry the strip, and then getting a distributor to handle the delivery.
       I mention this because it is eerily interesting that the first strip about Vic Jordan would appear in print on December 1, 1941, a Monday. Six days later, before the second full week of the Mon-Sat strip would start, Pearl Harbor was attacked and America joined the War.

       Another interesting fact is that the two writers decided to bring to an end the adventures of Jordan fighting the Axis. One of the newspapers carrying the strip said on the final day, May 28, 1945: "For some unknown reason the authors of 'Vic Jordan' have decided to discontinue the strip".
       Besides the mystery as to why they chose to end it, it is again a tad chilling, albeit, of course, totally coincidental, that five days before the last strip, Benito Mussolini would be captured by partisans and executed. Two days after the last strip, Adolf Hitler would take cyanide and then blow his brains out.
       For the character of Vic Jordan, however, he would be told that his services fighting with the Resistance in France and in Germany would be brought to an end and he would be allowed to recuperate from his recently suffered wounds back in the States.

       Not to belabor the point but I have to enjoy the coincidences. The adventures of Vic Jordan fighting the Nazis in Europe started Dec. 1, 1941. On Dec. 11 of that year, 11 days later, Germany declared war of the United States. The adventures of Vic Jordan came to a close on Apr. 28, 1945. On May 8 of that year, 10 days later, V-E Day was declared, bringing the war in Europe to an end.

       As was apparently the norm, there were Sunday editions of the strips but I have found only one of these Sunday strip online. What that showed me was that the Sunday augmented the weekday storyline (as opposed to a separate storyline). What this meant, in my opinion, is that the events on Sunday would be interesting but not necessarily crucial to the ongoing tale; this due to the likelihood that not all papers would run the Sunday edition OR that many subscribers would not receive the Sunday edition.

1 The Beginning Of Vic Jordan's War   The Beginning Of Vic Jordan's War
Strips: 1 - 59
Dates: 12/01/1941 - 02/06/1942
Writer: Paine
Artist: Elmer Wexler

Acting as a press agent for the International Revue performing in German-controlled Paris in the Spring of 1940, Vic Jordan is there when the show is closed by the Gestapo but the troupe take the stage nevertheless. When German authorities try to arrest them, Jordan and several others fight back, making them all fugitives.
Click here to read some or all the story.

2 The British Flyers   The British Flyers
Strips: 60 - 78
Dates: 02/07/1942 - 02/28/1942
Writer: Paine
Artist: Elmer Wexler

In his first real mission working with the French Underground, Vic Jordan takes part in helping two British RAF pilots shot down over France make their way to the coast and a rescue ship.
Click here to read some or all the story.

3 The Phony Pilot   The Phony Pilot
Strips: 78 - 158
Dates: 02/28/1942 - 06/02/1942
Writer: Paine
Artist: Elmer Wexler

A German agent, Captain Koenig, who spent 4 years at Oxford and can easily impersonate a British citizen, pretends to be a downed pilot in order to trace the make-up of the French Underground from the inside.
Click here to read some or all the story.

4 Seven-Seventy   Seven-Seventy
Strips: 159 - 308
Dates: 06/03/1942 - 11/24/1942
Writer: Paine
Artist: Elmer Wexler

Vic Jordan and Sue Bennett meet a British operative undercover in France trying to learn how ship convoys are being so easily targeted. Before he can pass along the vital intel he has learned, he is killed with a thrown knife in the back, his dying words being, "Seven Seventy".
Click here to read some or all the story.

5 Duval Steel   Duval Steel
Strips: 309 - 420
Dates: 11/25/1942 - 04/03/1943
Writer: Paine
Artist: Paul Norris

As Vic Jordan returns to France to be reunited with his friends and continue the fight, he listens to a news broadcast that talks of a German steel magnate who touts a "revolutionary process to increase war production", said process being tested at the Duval Steel factory in France. Jordan and team know what their next mission must be.
Click here to read some or all the story.

6 Guthrie, The Noose   Guthrie, The Noose
Strips: 421 - 702
Dates: 04/05/1943 - 02/26/1944
Writer: Paine
Artists: Paul Norris, David Moneypenny

Efforts by Vic Jordan and his group have plagued the German occupation forces for long enough. They are anxious for anything that can help them and that comes in the form of J. Harrington Guthrie, an American described as "tall, portly, wears dark glasses, a perfect gentleman". What he offers is a plan to "liquidate the French Underground".
Click here to read some or all the story.

7 Felice Dubois   Felice Dubois
Strips: 703 - 798
Dates: 02/28/1944 - 06/17/1944
Writer: Paine
Artist: Bernard Baily

Still recovering from injuries, Vic Jordan is anxious to return to Paris. On the train from Switzerland, he meets the grandmotherly Madame Lachise and her young female companion Felice heading to Eagle Rock Chalet. Jordan is suspicious of the older woman and learns the hard way that she is a very dangerous Gestapo agent holding Felice hostage to force her husband, a French rocket expert forced to work for the Germans.
Click here to read some or all the story.

8 Colonel Masette   Colonel Masette
Strips: 798 - 889
Dates: 06/17/1944 - 10/02/1944
Writer: Paine
Artist: Bernard Baily

Col. Eugene Masette is a "notorious Vichyite attached to the German High Command in France". Intercepted communique tells Vic Jordan that the man is suspected by the Gestapo after a run-in with a German High Command officer over the colonel's wife. When Jordan has Adrienne pass him a suicide note from the woman regretting her running off with the German, Masette is persuaded to join the underground. Fearing, though, that the Resistance will still try to kill him, he insists he will only talk to a Major Jones of American Army Intelligence. Getting Jones will be an adventure all its own.
Click here to read some or all the story.

9 The Traitor Mallieu   The Traitor Mallieu
Strips: 890 - 966
Dates: 10/03/1944 - 12/30/1944
Writer: Paine
Artist: Bernard Baily

The conclusion of the previous mission provides the incentive for Vic Jordan to start the pursuit of Andre Mallieu, French oil magnate who had collaborated with the Germans to have a secret pipeline built from Germany to his palatial estate.
Click here to read some or all the story.

10 Underground Army of Count von Hartz   Underground Army of Count von Hartz
Strips: 967 - 1068
Dates: 01/01/1945 - 04/28/1945
Writer: Paine
Artist: Bernard Baily

An editor for a Paris newspaper appeals to Vic Jordan, now that the German occupation of France has ended, to look into the fact that some 40k German men and women were left in France to create a dangerous underground army. Jordan agrees but then the editor supposedly commits suicide by throwing himself out his window. This puts Jordan on a hunt that will reveal the leader of that army to be Count von Hartz on a mission to kill all the key members of the French Resistance by order of Himmler.
Click here to read some or all the story.

MY COMMENTS

       I first saw this series in the comic book format and I thought that was it, just a secondary character in an anthology magazine. I was surprised to find out that these were in fact colorized reprints from a newspaper comic strip. It took a while and a membership to newspapers.com and a lot of snipping of strips out of several different cities' newspaper funny pages (as my father called them) before I had a set of the dailies. I still have not gotten the Sunday editions.
       Jordan is a pretty interesting character. He switched pretty quickly from joking, playful publicist to a devout enemy of the Nazis in general and the Gestapo in particular but then again, the mannerisms of the Gestapo and their tactics will do that to a guy.
       There were not tons of different adventures for Jordan but then again the ones he was involved with were complicated and took a while to play out.
       Add to that the fact that the two writers who billed themselves as Payne did something pretty interesting - they decided that their character had done enough and ended the series, much to the surprise of the handful of newspapers that carried it. Always leave 'em wanting more is an entertainment staple. Jordan was in the entertainment business before he fought fascism, so he would know.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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