Oh what do we have here?
1. A barrel-chested hero in tiny pants and what appears to be a plastic racecar helmet from the dollar store, fighting to save…
2. A tied-up blonde in what appears to be a solid gold bra from the menace of…
3. A small army of communist midgets.
Conclusion: This Story Is Awesome.
Say hello to Rockman, folks, fresh from the pages of 1942’s USA Comics #3. According to the indefatigable Jess Nevins, this particular Rockman is not to be confused with his Japanese Counterpart, who would go on to far greater fame after saving the world from Dr. Wily’s sinister robot masters something like thirty-eight times.
This guy, on the other hand, was Stan Lee and Basil Wolverton’s “Underground Secret Agent” (here drawn by Charles Nicholas), which might seem like a redundant excuse for an acronym until you realize that, as the monarch of the subterranean kingdom of Abysmia, he’s an underground agent in a slightly more literal sense.
Man. Abysmia. The tourism board really dropped the ball one that one.
Anyway: This mind-boggling adventure opens up in “Jugoslavia,” one of those minor European monarchies where people dress like there’s a Rennaisance Faire all year long that were pretty common in the Marvel Universe right on up through the ’80s, where the sentry standing guard outside Princess Alecia’s room is suddenly clubbed from behind by a pair of “pixies,” presumably raiding the surface world for women at the sinister command of Frank Black:
Exactly how a pair of Keebler Elves manage to club a palace guard whose head is about four feet out of their reach, we may never know, but within three panels, they’ve got the Princess tied up, gagged, and kidnapped.
The pixies, it seems, are nothing if not efficient.
Say, it sure would be nice if there was someone around to provide some exposition for this odd turn of events. Dimestore Merlin, you want to field this one?
Thanks, DM. That clears everything right up.
Before long, Rockman and his Crash Helmet show up, and after being informed that the pixies are causing no end of trouble, decides to hop into his vaguely vibratoresque “Mole Ship” and go settle their hash, because that’s what they damn well did back in the day.
“Down, ever down. For adventure.. and pleasure.“
Princess Alecia, meanwhile, has been dragged on what one can only imagine was a pretty long walk down to the underground city of the pixies, where she’s confronted with your standard-issue golden age villain, a guy who looks like a cross between Marvin the Martian and Ming the Merciless, is never actually given a name, and is only remarkable for having the tiniest pants in the entire story.
And given what we’ve already seen from both Rockman and the Princess, that’s no mean feat:
Of course, as you might expect, Rockman and a crew of his brown-singleted countrymen show up just before the Queenly Crown gets placed and proceed to hand out a liberal dose of beatings, which is made infinitely more hilarious by the fact that it looks like they’re kicking the crap out of a gang of Marxist hobbits.
Ah, the Golden Age: When you couldn’t go six pages without somebody getting spanked.