"By means of a secret charm to draw, and after me so as you never saw, all creatures living beneath the sun, that creep or swim or fly or run. / And I chiefly use my charm, on creatures that do people harm, the mole, the newt, the toad and viper, and people call me the Pied Piper."
So opens the first of his four cases, from the pages of Cat-Man Comics in 1941. Created and drawn by Allen Ulmer, Jr., and not to be confused with the early 1960s adversary of the Flash (shown on our right) who, although a straight-up villain, has a much lighter tone. The 1941-42 model is a 'hero' character per se - but a rather creepy one - just how I like 'em!
It seems that our protagonist, the lawyer 'Steve Prentice', has "quite a collection of flutes and rare instruments (he) picked up while touring the Orient" and uses noise to battle crime and corruption for four issues until his untimely demise. Today we'll look at all the adventures that this short-lived and strange character got to participate in - his flute playing is not well-liked by criminals and indeed even the authorities aren't too sure what to make of him either. Let's join our crime-fighting flautist right after the jump!
I should point out the extra production work that someone did on page four of the above story, an experiment at making the sound effect and caption header graphics red in color instead of black; unfortunately it didn't quite come off - it appears the original graphics weren't whited-out enough, and there are numerous paste-up marks, but it's kind of a cool effect anyway...
And while I'm discussing the art - the next story is the only one not done entirely by Mr. Ulmer, here he is helped by inker Ray Willner. Also, interestingly for a series about to be cancelled, the length of the stories is steadily increasing, from the early six-pagers to seven pages in the last tale, and now up to eight in this final story. Perhaps the editors liked this character better than the readers did!
Note that our hero is catching up on the latest Cat-Man Comics while on that plane flight above...
And another doomed character shuffles off stage whilst promising to return in the next issue.
Thanks again to the Digital Comic Museum for the chance to discover Cat-Man, who is pretty cool also, and our featured character today.