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JERRY NOBLE

yankee_eagle_cb_mc07 yankee_eagle_cb_mc05 yankee_eagle_cb_mc03 yankee_eagle_cb_mc01 yankee_eagle_cb_mc08 yankee_eagle_cb_mc06 yankee_eagle_cb_mc02 yankee_eagle_cb_mc04
 
Full Name: Jerry Noble
Series Name: Yankee Eagle
Codename: Yankee Eagle
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Stewart, William Smith
Time Span: 1941 - 1943

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jerry Noble, the Yankee Eagle, is an agent of the U.S. Naval Secret Service.
       At least that is what it is written about him at the end of his illustrious career, i.e., the last recorded adventure we have of him. Prior to that he is apparently an independent adventurer who invariably finds ways to help out his country in defending itself against both German and Japanese agents (not specifically identified as such, of course, because these activities take place before America was drawn into the soon-to-be world war).
       When we first meet Noble, he is having a bit of trouble with a D.C. policeman for having a caged bald eagle in his car. Except that he could prove the cage was empty and it was he that was speaking 'eagle'. It is that encounter where we learn that Noble can "imitate any animal on earth" and who "can make eagles and sheep and wolves and chickens get along". He does this, he indicates, on his ranch "out west", a facility he owns thanks to being left "an independent fortune" by his late mother.
       All of this is "kid stuff", in the words of his initially irritated father, a prominent Senator but Noble, incensed by having his talents belittled proceeds to show his moxey and the value of his communication skills by finding and rescuing a stolen U.S. destroyer. This detective work comes with the invaluable aid of his favorite animal friend, Sam the bald eagle. Well, him and a flock of sea gulls Noble convinces to help dive bomb the hijackers.
       After that escapade, which Noble wants to be kept quiet but which I would guess his father learned of anyways, Noble becomes the man to call by the Senator and later other officials when things get dicey and extraordinary assistance is needed.
       In several of the remaining adventures we have, Noble's allies are "all the birds and beasts of the land, whose language he understands and imitates so well that he can talk to them just as you and I talk to another human being". First and foremost among these allies is, as I said, Sam who is not only Noble's good friend and companion, he also delivers messages to Noble from the Senator (no idea how the Senator lets the eagle know there is a new message to be delivered, though).
       In addition to being in tune with animals, Noble is also a skilled ship operator, whether it be a sailboat or a large destroyer. He is also an accomplished pilot, so much so that he is able to engage in high-speed dogfights.


       The animal communications ability plays a major role in the actions of Noble in all the adventures except the last, as follows:
              1 = Sam the eagle and a flock of seagulls
              2 = Sam the eagle and an injured puma
              3 = Sam the eagle, a few sea lions, a crew of monkeys manning a destroyer
              4 = Sam the eagle and a ?chimpanzee? (hard to tell) who is on the bad guy's side.
              5 = Sam the eagle and a billy goat
              6 = Sam the eagle, the puma again, a cage full of rats, and then some cave owls
              7 = A little mouse
              8 = no animals
       What happened to Sam in the last two adventures is not explained. Indeed, in that final escapade, there is no mention whatsoever to Noble having any extraordinary communication skills whatsoever, being now treated as an enterprising albeit normal government agent.


Note: it must be pointed out that this individual, Jerry Noble, the Yankee Eagle, is from everything I can find absolutely not connected with Larry Noble who also goes by the nickname of the Yankee Eagle. Granted, both are Americans and both work on occasion for some branch of the American government and both had their adventures recounted in the same magazine, albeit a year apart from each other. But these two Noble fellows are not related.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1941
Last Appearance:1943

       In the Summer of 1941, war was well underway both in Europe with England and what was left of France fighting Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and in Asia with the Japanese making tremendous headway in China and Korea and heading south to the Philippines and IndoChina. In America, controversy was rife between those who wanted to maintain a neutrality and those who wanted to get in on the action.
       In the pages of many comicbooks, the decision had already been made to get involved. Timely Comics, later to become Marvel Comics, had already thrown Captain America up against Hitler's minions and other publishers were also vying their lead characters either against Germany and Japan by name or against unnamed or oddly named countries where the foreign agents and saboteurs spoke with German or Japanese accents.
       Quality Comics was one of the publishing houses that would produce an impressive number of titles over the years before life and fickle fans would desert it and it would sadly go away. It got its start back in 1937 and had already created some impressive character series of both superhero and normal hero nature. It would, IMHO, hit its stride in that summer mentioned above.
       Two titles had their premiere with imprint dates of August, 1941 (coming out a month or two earlier than that as was industry standard). Police Comics and Military Comics both hit the stands.
       The former gave the world Plastic Man and Phantom Lady along with several others that time has mostly forgotten.
       The latter gave it Blackhawk and Miss America, again with a string of others who did not endure.


       One of those that would not stand the test of time was the subject of this page, Jerry Noble, the Yankee Eagle.


       Noble was an odd duck from the beginning and, IMHO, never quite knew what it was about. It tried for 8 issues and then gave up.


       And then!!! Get ready for an oddity.


       The same publisher, Quality Comics, that tried and failed with Jerry Noble, the Yankee Eagle, a hero who could and did talk with animals as he fought the enemy of America, decided to try again with the name, just a bit differently this time.
       In the pages of another of its titles, Smash Comics, which had been running since 1939 and had as its more famous and longer lasting residents Midnight and Espionage Starring Black X, added to its roster in issue #38 "Larry Noble, the Yankee Eagle". Same codename. Same last name. Totally different fellow!


2 The Coming of the Yankee Eagle The Coming of the Yankee Eagle
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Military Comics #1, August 1941, with 8 color pages.
Nazi spies have taken an American ship and its crew. Jerry Noble and his pet eagle Sam are go to find them.
Click here to read the story.

2 The Von Weismann Affair The Von Weismann Affair
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Military Comics #2, September 1941, with 8 color pages.
Jerry Noble saves a puma from a possible death and then must rescue his own father, Senator Noble, from Von Weissman and others. Luckily he has help from Sam, an eagle, and Queen, the puma.
Click here to read the story.

3 The Noah's Ark Destroyer The Noah's Ark Destroyer
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Military Comics #3, October 1941, with 8 color pages.
Three enemy subs are near some islands off the coast of California destroying ships. Senator Noble gives his son, Jerry, the chance to stop those responsible. To do so, Jerry uses an old destroyer and a number of animals.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Fiddler and the Ape The Fiddler and the Ape
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Military Comics #4, November 1941, with 8 color pages.
A street fiddler with a particularly vicious chimpanzee has a plan to replace a couple of midshipmen on a naval vessel in order to get his hands on a "new radiomagnetic depth charge device". Jerry Noble and his pal Sam the Eagle are out to stop him.
Click here to read the story.

5 The Mary Jane II The Mary Jane II
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1941

Published in Military Comics #5, December 1941, with 8 color pages.
An innocent looking fishing vessel, the Mary Lee II,  heads out to sea in order to rendezvous in American waters with a foreign submarine. A transfer of magnetic mines to the vessel is done along with instructions to lay the mines along the passenger routes and the 'bridge of ships' route, all because America has become 'troublesome'. A steamer that runs afoul of one of these mines happens to have as a passenger Jerry Noble, the Yankee Eagle, who does not take kindly to the attack.
Click here to read the story.

6 The Jerry Noble Trap The Jerry Noble Trap
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #6, January 1942, with 8 color pages.
During war maneuvers off the Pacific coast of America, the fleet is hit with two explosions. Hidden in a fog bank is a Japanese sailboat but Sam, the eagle friend of Jerry Noble, spots them and relays the location to Noble who passes it to the Navy. In retaliation for the interference, the two become targets themselves by the Japanese agents onboard.
Click here to read the story.

7 Spies in the Shipyard Spies in the Shipyard
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #7, February 1942, with 8 color pages.
Jerry Noble has joined his father, the Senator, for a tour of the navy shipyards currently building three new state-of-the-art cruisers. At the same time, German agents have murdered a member of the work crew on the dock to get his ID to infiltrate the facility.
Click here to read the story.

8 Yankee Eagle and the Blonde Torch Singer Yankee Eagle and the Blonde Torch Singer
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: John Stewart (writer), William Smith (artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #8, March 1942, with 8 color pages.
Jerry Noble is on the trail of 'that Commander bloke' who has "killed or had killed a half dozen or more of our best men". This comes about after a speeding car throws out a gorgeous but angry blonde torch singer and then comes back around to try to shoot her. She has the low-down on the killer's location. Somehow it all involves a tunnel beneath the ocean floor is to be used to attack America's "greatest naval base".
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

     I strive to not be overly critical in my comments about a series. There have been a handful that have suffered, I'm sure, in my lack of good things to say about them but usually I look for the good in a series rather than the bad. At least I like to think I do.
     In this case - I am at a loss to find much good.
     This is a silly, silly series.
     At first I was intrigued because having a pet eagle I could talk to and have it talk back to me was a cool idea. I mean, I've talked to my dog and my cat and they responded but I have no idea what they were actually saying and it is likely they did not understand me or, if they did, they didn't care (especially the cat!).
     Then there was a puma and that was neat as well, albeit a bit on the spooky side. But when we got to the destroyer-crewed-by-monkeys, well, that is just nuts! True, I served onboard frigates in the past and there were plenty of grease monkeys keeping it going but real monkeys?
     Still, if you are going to go with an adventurer turned government agent who can talk with animals, why drop the whole schtick at the end? No birds, no pumas, no monkeys, no nothin'. Not even a rat!
     If you are going to be weird, consistently weird should be your mantra.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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