Friday, August 31, 2018

Cutting Corners

Crime Must Pay the Penalty #17 (Ace, December 1950, 10 cents)
This coverless comic includes several seven- and eight-page crime stories. The first piece, "Crimson Blades of Doom," is uncredited and details "an actual case" about Al Lewis, who "always collected his cut!" Deserting his friends, he sells bookies protection, to fund his own gambling losses. Eventually, his deceitful ways catch up with him.

"Crime—and the Country Cousins," perhaps drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Vince Alascia, is another "actual case." Two rural relatives begin running moonshine, interfering with the "booze racket" in "a large eastern city." Their entrepreneurialism doesn't go well for them, and they both die in a fire caused by "vats of inflammable liquid."

The third story, "Oscar Riddle—Scrooge of the Underworld," might have been drawn by Bill Walton. One of the more interesting stories in the issue, this piece proposes that if you lead a criminal organization, cutting corners as a businessman won't pay off. So don't ration your heavies' ammo, dig?

And "Thrill-Crazed Triggerman," perhaps drawn by Louis Zansky, involves the highjack of a tank, the robbery of a bank, and a singing criminal mastermind who—you guessed it—dies in the end. A two-page text piece, "Flowers for a Grave," is an inventive little mystery that features some flowers planted graveside that can detect the cause of death.

Availability: The first six issues of this series have been collected in Crime Must Pay The Penalty: Volume 1. This issue is included in Crime Must Pay The Penalty: Volume 3.

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