Saturday, October 8, 2011
TONY'S BACK PAGES: AFTER DARK
From Comics Buyer’s Guide #1683:
I have a fondness for small short-lived comics publishers and they
don’t come much smaller or more short-lived than Sterling Comics.
In 1954 and 1955, Sterling published just 18 issues combined of
five titles: After Dark, Captain Flash, The Informer, Mr Secret
Confession, Surprise Adventures, and The Tormented. I also have a
fondness for cop stories on TV, in movies, books, and, especially,
comic books. After Dark is right up my doubtless dark alley.
After Dark ran three issues. The only one I own is also the only
one I’ve ever seen: After Dark #8 [September 1955]. Three of its
four stories, all pencilled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Mike Roy,
star Detective Sergeant Mark Fabian. At this time, the writer(s) of
these tales have not been identified.
Fabian is a good-looking guy who looks a bit young to be the senior
partner in these cases. Pat Polo, his partner, is a head shorter,
a bit wider, and somewhat rumpled. They could almost be prototypes
for David Caruso and Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue, the best TV cop
show of all time.
Their three cases are fairly down-to-earth: a pretty teenager who
runs away from her strict father and ends up playing piano in a mob
club; a destructive juvenile gang; and a bank officer whose money
woes has him working with ruthless criminals. I liked that Fabian
and Polo close the cases without any outlandish heroics. They are
simply skilled cops doing their job.
The issue’s fourth story is a non-series tale. “The Cop” is veteran
beat cop Kenny Coogan. Disappointed in and feeling neglected by his
hard-working mechanic dad, a young boy fixes on Coogan as his hero.
Coogan takes an interest in the lad and helps bring father and son
back together. It’s a nice little human drama in a mere six pages.
Neither the artist nor the writer of the story have been identified
at this time.
I would love to read the other issues of After Dark and the other
15 Sterling comics. If I track any of them down, I’ll write about
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2011 Tony Isabella