“Playmates Of Peril” (k035)

Posted in K100.

“Playmates Of Peril” is a 13-page Newsboy Legion by Simon&Kirby from STAR SPANGLED COMICS #15 [1942], inked by Arturo Cazeneuve. The Newsboy Legion ran as the cover feature in the series from #7 to #64 (1942 to 1946), the second half of the run mostly without Kirby and including early work by artists like Gil Kane and Curt Swan. Kirby brought them back (as clones of the now adult original members) as supporting characters in the 1970s. In the original series the premise is that the four good-hearted but trouble-making young newsboys in Suicide Slum are put under the guardianship of rookie beat cop Jim Harper, who works outside the job as vigilante hero the Guardian, with the kids always suspecting, but never being able to prove, that Harper is the Guardian.

This time around, there’s an unusual lull in the action on Harper’s beat, so when he overhears some suspicious characters he decides to take a break from his beat to follow them as the Guardian. He busts them up, but manages to miss the action when some rivals coax his young charges into a fight. Harper gets in trouble for leaving his beat, and is under the watchful eye of his sergeant.

For the rest of the story, Harper has to find a way to get the boys to keep an ear open for criminal activity and get out from under the eye of his sergeant when they get in trouble.

Entertaining work, with a lot of good work done on the various characters, with some colourful mobsters, the main rival of the Newsboys who has a change of heart and various civilians adding some New York flavour. The action scenes all have some nice slapstick elements.


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