Friday, October 5, 2012


Fawcett published six issues of Mike Barnett, Man Against Crime and
this first issue was dated and apparently hit the newsstands in my
birth month of December 1951.  That’s the extent of my knowledge on
the comic book.  However...

From Wikipedia and Thrilling Detective, I learned that Man Against
(also known as Follow That Man) was on both radio and TV.  It
was one of the first TV shows about private eyes.  It was created
by Lawrence Klee and starred Ralph Bellamy for most of its TV and
radio runs.  Robert Preston subbed for him on the radio show while
also playing Barnett’s brother Pat in both venues.

The show ran on CBS and NBC/DuMont from October 7, 1949 to August
26, 1956. It was broadcast live until 1952. The series was one of
the few ever to have been simulcast on more than one network: the
program aired on both NBC and DuMont during the 1953-54 television
season.  When NBC brought back the series in 1956, the title role
was played by Frank Lovejoy.

Thrilling Detective says the series may have “slipped into the grey
area of public domain.” There are no official DVDs of the series,
but there are “budget-priced, hit-and-run collections of assorted
episodes of occasionally dubious technical quality”

Anyone out there want to tell me something about the Mike Barnett
comic books? I’m ready to be educated.


My local Medina Ohio library and the 100-plus libraries with which
it’s connected remain a great source of reading material, comics
and otherwise.  I request items online, generally after I’ve read
about them somewhere, and, when they arrive at my local library, I
am informed by computer and phone call that the items are available
for pickup.  Service like that is why I always vote in favor of any
levy the library puts on the ballot.

Mangaman [Houghton Mifflin; $19.95] is a graphic novel written by
Barry Lyga and illustrated by Colleen Doran.  Handsome young manga
hero Ryoko Kiyama is thrown into our world through a deadly rift in
reality and brings with him all the characteristics of his manga
existence.  His body can contort like a manga character.  His speed
lines take physical form and drop to the floor after they emerge.
He is an “extrascientific” phenomenon being studied by a government
scientist working to close the rift.  While the research goes on
and despite his manga appearance, he attends a normal high school,
or, more accurately, a high school that was normal before he became
a student there.

This is a smart graphic novel, especially for those readers who are
familiar with manga.  Lyga and Doran have clearly put a great deal
of thought into how manga effects would be perceived in our world.
But it’s more than a clever gimmick.  It’s a romance between Ryoko
and the young woman who questions her life in our world and a tale
which doesn’t shy away from the serious consequences of actions and
emotions. I thought it was a swell book and recommend it to manga
aficionados and neophytes alike.

ISBN 978-0-547-42315-9


I recently reviewed Swamp Thing Vs the Zombie Pets by John Sazaklis
and Art Baltazar [Picture Window Books; $4.95] for Comics Buyer’s
.  It’s one of a series of “DC Super-Pets” children’s books
featuring animal heroes like Ace the Bat-Hound, Streaky the Super-
Cat and others.  I enjoyed it.

Since then, I’ve been getting the other “DC Super-Pets” books via
my library.  There seems to be about two dozen of them and, since
my kids are grown and I don’t have any grandkids yet, buying them
seemed like an unnecessary expense.  But, even though the writing
is occasionally clumsy and the plotting a bit off, I do get a kick
out of these books.  Baltazar’s art is a big factor - it’s bouncy
and fun - but the insanity of this concept makes the books equally
entertaining for adults and, I presume, kids. 

Royal Rodent Rescue was the first DC Super-Pets book I got from the
library.  It pits Streak against Rozz, Catwoman’s evil Siamese cat.
I got a fair amount of chuckles from this 56-page book.  Which was
all I needed from the few minutes it took to read it.  You should
check some of these books out, especially if you have young kids or

Swamp Thing Vs the Zombie Pets
ISBN 978-1-4048-7667-5

Royal Rodent Rescue
ISBN 978-1-4048-6622-5


I didn’t plan it this way, but I seem to be borrowing a lot of Dark
Horse trades from the library.  On the pile of books waiting to go
back are B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs by Mike Mignola and Guy Davis,
Concrete: The Human Dilemma by Paul Chadwick and Ghost Omnibus 
1 by Eric Luke and several artists.

The Hellboy/B.P.R.D. books are solid adventure horror fiction with
good characters and an occasional poignancy.  I’m enjoying them and
expect to continue requesting them.

Concrete is one of the finest comic books of the modern era.  This
volume, which I think is the last collected book, is a very scary
yet thoughtful examination of overpopulation, the varied viewpoints
on the problem and the sometimes horrific solutions to the crisis.
Yet these issue-oriented stories also focus on the series regulars
in a manner that kept me on the edge of my seat.  The whole series
has been wondrous, but this is the best and strongest collection of
Concrete tales.

Ghost? It’s very well-written and drawn, but I’m not sure how many
more Ghost stories I want to read.  This first volume is over 300
pages of men abusing women, women abusing men and precious little
to recommend either sex have anything to do with the other in the
future.  It’s depressing fare with a lead character that seems to
dislike herself.  I don’t demand a feel-good vibe to the comics I
read and I don’t demand super-heroes be pure of heart and I surely
don’t shy away from comics starring villains.  Even so, I’m less than
eager to read the second Ghost Omnibus, though I have requested
it from the library.  I’ll get back to you on this one.

Comics fans on a budget - and aren’t we all? - would do well to
see what’s available from their local libraries or library system.
It’s a good way to read great comics at no cost.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Another benefit of comics at libraries? It makes sampling comic material outside your normal comfort zone so much easier.


  2. Tony:

    Until I read your post, I wasn't really aware of the existence of a Man Against Crime book. I did have one of those public domain DVD compilations, and later traded it away. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tony: A couple of Man Against Crime issues are available at the Digital Comics Museum, which see.