Thursday, August 21, 2014

Case Study No. 1524: Staff of Unnamed Library (The Owl)

Librarians in Comic Books... The Owl!
From: Funny Pages (1940) v.4 #1
Tags: librarians comic books owl
Added: 4 months ago
From: ComixLibrary
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[the first panel shows a young male librarian (glasses, orange hair, white shirt, blue pants, yellow tie) handing a male patron a newspaper]
JACK: Here you are, sir! The New York Blade!
NARRATOR: The scene opens in the public library of a large city in the south!
[the second panel shows the patron leaving with his paper, while the librarian looks down at something on the floor behind him]
NARRATOR: As the stranger goes to his seat with the newspaper, the librarian sees dirt on the floor!
[the third panel shows another male patron approach the front desk, but the librarian is grabbing a broom and dustpan]
JACK: Just a minute, sir!
[the fourth panel shows two other male librarians watching him as he walks off]
LIBRARIAN 1: Look Sam! The sanitation department is going to work again!
[the fifth panel shows Jack bending down and sweeping up the dirt, while the other two librarians continue watching him]
[the sixth panel shows a closeup of the two librarians (with big smirks on their faces)]
LIBRARIAN 1: He can't stand the sight of dirt! He sweeps this place about twenty times a day!
LIBRARIAN 2: Yup, he's a queer bird alright! He's been working here a year and all I know about him is his name and that may be an alias!
[the seventh panel shows Jack traipsing through the woods (now wearing a cowboy hat, red plaid shirt, and blue overalls ... without his glasses)]
NARRATOR: This young man's co-workers would have been surprised had they seen him a few hours later! For this neat young man of the library was now dressed as a ragged swamp native!
[the eighth panel shows Jack walking past a large rock and into a log cabin]
NARRATOR: After walking miles through the dense forest, he comes to a cabin cleverly hidden among large boulders!
[the ninth panel shows Jack entering the cabin, where an older man is peering into a microscope]
JACK: Hello dad!
DAD: This is a surprise! I wasn't expecting you until Friday!
[the tenth panel shows Jack holding up a package]
JACK: I brought some dirt for you! See if you can dig something out of it!
DAD: Thanks! And while I'm giving it the once-over, fix up some supper, will you?
[the eleventh panel shows Jack grabbing some things out of the cupboard, while his father goes back to peering into his microscope]
JACK: Find anything interesting?
[the twelfth panel shows his father holding up some of the dirt that Jack brought to him]
DAD: Most of the dust is the usual run! Stuff picked up in the city ... but this one marked "NN" came from the swamp!
JACK: Let's check it with the chart and see from what section of the swamp it came from!
[the thirteenth panel shows Jack pointing at a large wall map]
JACK: It has the same mineral contents as the land on Zeb Hale's farm!
[the fourteenth panel shows a closeup of Jack]
JACK: The dirt fell from the shoes of a man who wanted a New York paper! What would he be doing in the swamp? I'll have to pay Zeb a visit and find out!
[the fifteenth panel shows Jack (now wearing an apron) cooking eggs on the stove, while his father (with no visible legs?) sits in a nearby chair]
JACK: This may not be our lead, dad ... but I'm not going to pass it up! One of these days, you'll get your revenge!
DAD: I've worked ten years for it!
[the sixteenth panel shows the two drinking coffee together]
JACK: I'm anxious to see Zeb's farm and what he has on it! As a matter of fact, he may even have guests!
[the seventeenth panel shows Jack wearing a superhero outfit (yellow suit with grey-feathered mask and wings) while his father sits next to a row of blinking radio tubes]
NARRATOR: Leaving the table, the young man went into another room! A few minutes later, he re-appeared dressed in a weird costume! He was the dreaded Owl!
JACK: Say! I almost forgot ... I made another improvement on your flying suit! You should do about two hundred miles an hour now!
[the eighteenth panel shows Jack exiting the cabin]
JACK: Contact!
DAD: Okay! Remember, keep in touch with me!
[the nineteenth panel shows Jack flying through the air]
NARRATOR: Taking off with the speed of an airship, the Owl is soon flying over the treetops!
[the twentieth panel shows Jack hovering over another log cabin]
JACK: I was right! Zeb has visitors!
NARRATOR: A few minutes later, he is over Zeb's shack at the other end of the swamp!
[the twenty first panel shows Jack standing on the roof of the cabin, looking at a car parked nearby, as he speaks into his radio transmitter]
JACK: There's an out-of-town car parked in the yard! Dad! I've seen enough ... I'm coming back!
NARRATOR: The Owl radios back to his dad!
[the twenty second panel shows Jack back inside his father's cabin]
NARRATOR: The Owl returns to the cabin!
JACK: I have a hunch the same man will be in the library tomorrow! I'll find out exactly what he's reading!
DAD: Swell! I'll give you some powder!
[the twenty third panel shows Jack (back in his "librarian" outfit) talking to a young female patron]
NARRATOR: The next day in the library!!
JACK: I'm sorry Miss, but the latest copy of the New York Blade hasn't arrived!
[the twenty fourth panel shows the same male patron from before walking up to Jack]
CRIMINAL 1: The latest New York Blade!
JACK: Yes sir! Here it is, sir!
[the twenty fifth panel shows Jack holding the newspaper while pointing at one of the other male librarians]
NARRATOR: A few minutes later, the paper is returned!
JACK: Sam, will you take over for awhile ... Duty calls elsewhere!
LIBRARIAN 2: Sure, Jack!
[the twenty sixth panel shows Jack in a secluded room, reading the newspaper (with the front page headline "Dictator Demands") that the male patron had just returned]
JACK: He didn't have the paper very long ... Ah! Here's the article he was interested in! H-m-m-m!
[the twenty seventh panel shows Jack looking at an article with the headline "Wealthy Wall Street Man Still Missing! Disappeared 5 Days Ago!" (as fingerprints are clearly visible on the paper)]
JACK: "Wealthy Wall Street man missing" ... This powder of Dad's certainly brings out the fingerprints! Another five minutes and they'll be invisible!
[the twenty eighth panel shows Jack returning to the front desk (still holding the newspaper), where the female patron has an angry look on her face]
NARRATOR: Upon returning to the reading room, he finds Sam arguing with a young lady!
JACK: In trouble, Sam?
LIBRARIAN 2: Ye-es! This young lady claims you refused to give her a paper she asked for ... She said you gave it to a man after you turned her down!
[the twenty ninth panel shows Jack handing the newspaper to the woman (as she smiles)]
JACK: I'm very sorry, Miss! I thought you wanted the Newark Blade ... Here's your paper!
FEMALE PATRON: I'm sure you didn't do it on purpose ...
[the thirtieth panel shows Jack (back in his "swamp native" outfit) back in his father's cabin]
NARRATOR: The same evening, in Dad's cabin ...
JACK: Put all the ends together and you get but one thing ... kidnapping! They're laying low until the heat dies down, then they'll ask for ransom!
DAD: We must not be blinded by our own thirst for revenge! We must foil their plans!
[the thirty first panel shows a closeup of Jack's father]
DAD: A dirty racketeer made me a cripple for life! I'm going to make it hard for him and his kind to exist, Jack! The Owl must strike tonight!
[the thirty second panel shows Jack (back in his Owl suit) flying over Zeb's cabin while talking into his radio transmitter]
NARRATOR: Following his dad's desire, the Owl takes off on his mission, reporting all the while what he sees!
JACK: Dad! The car is gone! But there is a light in the shack!
[the thirty third panel shows Jack standing outside the window, as his suit emits a "Hoo! Hoo!" sound effect]
JACK: Zeb is playing cards with a heavy-set man! He's a prisoner, alright ... his feet are tied! I'm going in!
NARRATOR: As the Owl prepares to enter, he gives his "war cry!"
[the thirty fourth panel shows standing in front of the two men playing cards]
JACK: Zeb, how did you get mixed up in this filthy business? Untie your prisoner at once!
ZEB: The Owl!
[the thirty fifth panel shows Jack talking to Zeb (who has a guilty look on his face)]
JACK: I'm going to take this man to the city! I want you to be here when I return!
ZEB: I'm innocent! My nephew from New York forced me into this!
[the thirty sixth panel shows Jack flying away with the "heavy-set man" riding on his back]
NARRATOR: The Owl flies toward the city with his heavy burden!
JACK: I'll let you off at the outskirts of the city ... You get in touch with the police and bring them to Zeb's farm, understand?
[the thirty seventh panel shows Jack back in the cabin, kneeling down next to Zeb (who is clutching his heart as blood pools on the floor beside him)]
NARRATOR: In a few minutes, the Owl returns to the cabin! He finds Zeb lying on the floor, badly injured!
JACK: What happened?
ZEB: They came right after you left! The leader shot me ... wouldn't believe my story! They're making their getaway!
[the thirty eighth panel shows Jack flying through the sky, speaking into his radio transmitter]
JACK: I'm sorry dad, but I couldn't do a thing for Zeb! I'll get his killers, tho!
NARRATOR: Relentlessly, the Owl continues his work ...
[the thirty ninth panel shows Jack flying over a speeding car]
NARRATOR: And soon finds the getaway car!
JACK: Dad! The killers are speeding below me! I'm going to land on top of the car!
[the fortieth panel shows three mobsters (including the male patron from before) inside of the car, as Jack's "Hoo! Hoo!" can be heard outside]
CRIMINAL 2: Boss! Something just lit on the roof! Maybe it's the Owl uncle was telling us about!
CRIMINAL 1: Push it up to eighty, Pete! The wind will pull it off ... whatever it is!
[the forty first panel shows Jack on top of the car]
JACK: The fools are sealing their own doom! At Deadman's Curve, I'll cover the windshield with my wings!
[the forty second panel shows the mobsters with panicked looks on their faces]
CRIMINAL 3: Boss! I can't see! We're going to crash!
CRIMINAL 2: Stop! Stop!
[the forty third panel shows the car speeding right over a cliff, as Jack flies away with a triumphant "Hoo! Hoo!"]
NARRATOR: The killers crash to their doom, as the Owl gives his victory cry and flies on!
[the forty fourth panel shows Jack (back in his "librarian" outfit) carrying his broom and dustpan through the library, as the other two librarians continue to snicker behind his back]
LIBRARIAN 1: The whole town, talking and reading about the Owl striking again last night, and just look at him!
LIBRARIAN 2: Yeah! Cleaning up again! I'll bet he sees Shoily Dimple movies for his excitement!



Funny Pages #v4#1
(January 1940)
Centaur, 1938 Series

["When crime breaks out, The Owl prowls, and even arch criminals cringe..."]
The Owl / comic story / 6 pages


Script: ?
Pencils: Martin Filchock (signed)
Inks: Martin Filchock (signed)
Colors: ?
Letters: ?

Content Information

Genre: superhero
Characters: The Owl [Jack]; The Owl's father; Zeb Hale (death)
Synopsis: The fastidious librarian in a large southern city is secretly The Owl, who lives with his father in the nearby swamp. The Owl's father lost his legs because of a racketeer, and spent his life designing the Owl's flying suit. They track down a kidnapping gang to Zeb's farm and the Owl runs their car off a cliff.

Indexer Notes

Neither the Owl nor his father are named in the story. While Filchock generally wrote the stories he illustrated, Jerry Bails' Who's Who specifically lists him as only the artist here (Henry Andrews 2009-03-10).

The Owl's first name was Jack, but his last name was never revealed.



Real Name: Jack (last name unrevealed)

First Appearance: Funny Pages (v4) #1 (1940)

Original Publisher: Centaur

Created by: Martin Filchock

Jack and his father created the Owl suit to get revenge on a racketeer for crippling Jack's father. Jack works as a librarian in a large city in the south. He and his father live in a hidden cabin among large rocks in the swamp. The Owl's suit allows him to fly at around 200 mph. It also contains a communication device and contraption that emits a "hooting" sound when activated.

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