Quote1.png And here’s something else, Folks. Everything was quiet after the murder of the scientist known only as 'Hugo' but now the wires are buzzing with activity! Quote2.png
-- Billy Batson

Appearing in "Ghost of the Deep"Edit

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Adversaries:

Other Characters:

  • Scientist Hugo (Death)
  • one Admiral
  • one General
  • three MPs

Locations:

Items:

  • Z-metal

Vehicles:

  • submersible tractor-submarine three-man warship
  • submersible tractor-submarine fast one-man vehicle

Synopsis for "Ghost of the Deep"Edit

A weird, cloaked figure, calling himself The Ghost of the Deep, kidnapped and enslaved a scientist, Hugo, and made him work night and day, for weeks, until he had developed a particular formula, then gunned him down in cold blood. The formula was for an extremely durable transparent material called Z-metal, and The Ghost used it to build a heavily armed, submersible, bottom-crawling, ship-killing machine, with a 2-man crew, commanded by himself. He then started sinking U.S. government ships, off the west coast, and leaving taunting notes floating at the scenes, signed “compliments of the Ghost of the Deep.”

A few days later, broadcaster Billy Batson reported on this story, and assured his listeners that Captain Marvel was heading out to the coast to get to the bottom of this mystery. That night, as Sterling Morris, head of Amalgamated Broadcasting and Billy’s good friend, is driving him home, down a road running beside a large river, their car is sideswiped by another large sedan. Two gunmen emerge and kidnap Sterling and Billy at gunpoint, speaking with German accents, and promising to introduce them to the Ghost of the Deep. The second nobody’s looking his way, Billy marvels up and thrashes these hoodlums and hurls them off a steep embankment into the river below. While they’re still sputtering and starting to swim back to shore, a dark hooded figure surfaces behind them. The Ghost of the Deep has no patience for failure; he yanks them both beneath the surface and drowns them.

Captain Marvel drives Mr. Morris home to his swanky apartment building in the kidnap team’s car, then leaves. Just then a dapper, well-dressed stranger walks up and introduces himself, he’s Spriggins, chief newscaster for the Monopoly Broadcasting Company, Morris’s main competitor, and he’s overheard enough to know there’s a big story brewing on the west coast, and he hurries away to go cover it.

Billy Batson is of course there ahead of him, interviewing U.S. Naval authorities, who assure him that steps are being taken to defend ships and harbors against this menace, and Billy goes on the air from a local station to reassure the public. The broadcast is interrupted by the mocking voice of an unknown announcer, who gloats that Captain Marvel has left unguarded an even more vital spot in America’s defenses, and that this is where the Ghost of the Deep will strike next!

As he’s leaving the west coast affiliate’s studio, Billy meets Spriggins, who has been having the same problem on his network, and who proposes that they should team up, take down the Ghost, and get the story. They next meet with the Naval authorities again, and there’s a discussion about where the vital target might be. The admirals and Billy both think it’s probably the Panama Canal, but Spriggins scoffs that it’s more likely the Canadian border, where there are no defenses at all. They go their separate ways.

Later, off the coast of Panama, a U.S. patrol boat spots a weird-looking transparent conning tower breaking the surface and radios in a report, which is interrupted by gunfire as the PT boat is destroyed. Billy Batson is aboard a nearby battleship interviewing the Captain, and is there when the radioman relays this message. The battleship changes course to search the area for enemies or survivors, and as it approaches, we get our first look at the Ghost’s vessel: it’s like a submarine’s hull grafted onto a tank’s chassis, crawling across the ocean bottom, and is transparent. The lurking craft fires a torpedo and scores a hit; the battleship’s hull is damaged. The weird seacraft then surfaces to bring its gunnery to bear on the battleship. Billy ducks behind something and shazams up; Captain Marvel flies out and intercepts an incoming shell, then flings it back at the enemy vessel. It submerges and sails invisibly away like a conventional submarine. Captain Marvel then gets to work on rescuing the battleship and doing some makeshift repairs to its hull. Then he returns to the bridge talks to the captain, getting permission to broadcast this story from the battleship’s transmitter. As he does so, the grating voice of The Ghost cuts in, to taunt the public and the Navy that the Panama Canal is as good as doomed!

As the battleship puts in at port, for emergency repairs, Billy meets Mr. Spriggins on the pier. The Canada story was just a ruse, between competing newsmen, but now that they’re both here, Spriggins can tell that he and Billy are both getting close to what they’re looking for, and proposes a plan: he and Billy should each guard one side of the Canal’s entrance, and stay in touch by portable radio. Billy falls for that, and while he’s rowing a small boat over to his watch station, he’s leapt upon, from a nearby embankment, by the Ghost of the Deep, who drags him below the surface before he can say his magic word. Billy is half-drowned in the process of boarding the submerged war machine and getting tied and gagged. The Ghost gloats that this tank, and others like it, have been made from the new, indestructible Z-metal, and that no explosion can even dent it. He and his organization are all set to tear down America! Then he leaves Billy, still tied up and guarded by the crew, to take “one of the fast tanks” to the Canal’s mid-point, to cave in the banks and block the Canal. While he’s gone, the two crewmen, who also have German accents, taunt Billy with a slice of pie, and remove his gag in the process. So pretty soon Captain Marvel is in charge of the situation, and he listens politely while one crewman brags about how bomb-proof and shell-proof their ship is, then he punches a hole through the hull, and rips it, like cellophane, into a wider opening. The ship is flooded immediately but the two crewmen escape to the surface and flounder about while Captain Marvel flies away in search of the Ghost. Then a transparent conning tower breaks the surface; it’s the Ghost, in a smaller, one-man version of the crawling submarine, and the Ghost still has no use for failures; he shoots these two poor stooges dead with a machine gun, then submerges to gloat about his big plans. This attack on the canal is only the beginning …

But Captain Marvel soon finds the two dead henchmen, and follows the tank tread tracks across the sea floor to shore, where he finds the one-man sub parked and the Ghost absent. He’s busy underwater, planting an explosive next to a key bulwark, when he sees Billy Batson drive past, in his own sub-tank, giving him a Bronx cheer. Billy rams the machine into the Hood, using its prow to scoop him up off the bottom, and then zooms out to sea with him and his time-bomb still on the bow. A good ways out, he says his magic word, and the lightning strike coincides with the bomb’s detonation. The explosion flings the Ghost of the Deep way up into the air, but it doesn’t kill him. Marvel catches him, figures out that he’s wearing Z-metal armor under the cloak, and smashes him against a pile of rocks until he’s busted some of the armor.

The Commander of the Canal Zone runs onto the scene, with three MPs, and Captain Marvel exposits what’s been happening and what’s been figured out, then yanks off the villain’s hood and reveals that The Ghost of the Deep is Spriggins. But Spriggins wriggles loose and grabs a pistol from one of the MPs, then takes a shot at the General, but Captain Marvel is too quick for that to work, he steps into the path of the bullet, with bounces off his chest and hits Spriggins, fatally.

Appearing in "The Riddle of the Ages"Edit

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Sergeant Kent
  • Officer Clancey

Adversaries:

Other Characters:

  • Mickey, security rifleman (Death)
  • another unnamed security rifleman (Death)
  • two truck drivers

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:



Synopsis for "The Riddle of the Ages"Edit

Caption: “Murder lurks in the back streets – and one by one victims disappear into nowhere – never to be found again! What is the incredible mystery of the Invisible Man? Only Bulletman can answer that stirring question – only he can solve The Riddle of the Ages!”

At Midtown Bank at closing time, the sole teller on duty is robbed and murdered by an invisible robber, and calls the police before he dies. At Police HQ Jim Barr and Susan Kent are on hand as the call comes in; they duck out and change clothes and fly to Midtown Bank, where the police are quite stumped: no prints, no weapon, no clues.

The Flying Detectives cruise around the tougher parts of town, looking for any kind of disturbance, and land in an alley, where the Invisible Man just happens to be. He mocks them, and Bulletman dupes him into briefly appearing before them, as a ghostly, radiant outline, then vanishing again. Stymied, the Bullets fly away to work on a plan for trapping this guy. After they are gone, the same strange glow again radiates, takes on the form of a man, and now appears to be a man in a 3-piece business suit, gloating like a maniac about how invisible and uncatchable he is, then turning and fading into the shadows of darkness.

Back at Police HQ, Jim Barr reads (in “The Kingston Daily” newspaper) that the Invisible Man has been doing more crimes, and that a $10,000 reward has been posted for him by the State Government. Jim has a plan which he whispers to Susan. In the next day’s papers is a fake press release about a shipment of gold being trucked into town over a particular route. When he reads this story, the Invisible Man fades himself from sight, then has a conference with his boys. Five well-dressed gangsters file nervously in and get their marching orders for tomorrow’s truck robbery.

The next day, on the road into town, over the North Mountains, the two-truck convoy stops, and one driver impulsively breaks regulations by picking up a married couple of elderly hitch-hikers. Further on up the road, a large number of gangsters opens fire on the truck, and Mickey the security rifleman is shot dead. But the elderly hitch-hikers turn out to be Bulletman and Bulletgirl, and one short melee later the bad guys are mostly beaten and fleeing on foot. But the Invisible Man is here! He moves next to the second truck, shoots one guard dead and knocks out the second with a pistol handle. He gets into the gold truck and drives away with it, and soon is pursued by the Flying Detectives. Then the truck seems to vanish. For the moment, they’re stymied again. That’s twice now he’s gotten away from them.

Back at Police HQ, Sergeant Kent and Officer Clancey are also stumped. Kent calls in Jim Barr, and Barr seems to get an idea right there on the spot, but doesn’t tell Kent what it is, before he runs out of the room. In the lab, he tells Susan all about it, and according to Barr’s theory, the I-man has to use sunlight to make his invisibility gag work, so he proposes to lure him out at night.

So that night Bulletman and Bulletgirl fly back to the scene of the gold-truck hijacking, out in the secluded mountains. Then they watch the road, a pedestrian comes along and knocks at a particular spot in the steep escarpment on one side of the road. A giant rock slab hinges upward and admits the man, then begins to close. The Flying Detectives swoop down but the enormous door has already slammed shut. Inside, the Invisible Man is mightily displeased to learn that his secret HQ has been found, and deploys three henchmen (Butch, Tony, and Croaker) into positions from which to ambush Bulletman, who would certainly be along very soon. Next thing you know, the Flying Detectives have crashed through the door and are ready to mix it up with the gangsters. The Invisible Man, now appearing as a radiant area of white light, orders his guys to open fire. Another short melee ensues and at the end of it all of the gunsels are strewn about, only the Invisible Man remains. Bulletman throws something at the only light fixture in the room, breaking it. Once the room is dark, the Invisible Man is relatively more visible, so Bulletman can see him whipping out his pistol, and punches him out before he can even shoot it once.

Then he finds the invisibility-rendering invention, and either it’s already destroyed when he finds it or he destroys it himself. Either way, Bulletgirl thinks it’s a shame that this device couldn’t be put to some good use. Then as usual they fly away before the police arrive.

Appearing in "Minute Man Meets Mr. Skeleton"Edit

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • General Milton

Adversaries:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:



Synopsis for "Minute Man Meets Mr. Skeleton"Edit

  • Synopsis not yet written.

    Appearing in "The Coming of America-Smasher"Edit

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Adversaries:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:



Synopsis for "The Coming of America-Smasher"Edit

  • Synopsis not yet written.

    Appearing in "The Death Battalion"Edit

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Miss Wade

Adversaries:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:



Synopsis for "The Death Battalion"Edit

  • Synopsis not yet written.



NotesEdit

  • "Ghost of the Deep" is reprinted in Shazam Archives, Volume 3.
  • We don’t find out what happened to the rest of the Ghost of the Deep’s high-tech tanks, or how many more of them there were, or the plans for their construction, or the forumula for Z-metal. One copy of the "fast" version was captured by Billy Batson, who would probably turn it over to the military authorities. What became of this technology afterwards is unknown.
  • The newspaper at Jim Barr’s office is "The Kingston Daily (something)". So is Kingston the name of Bulletman’s contextualizing city?


TriviaEdit

  • An African American man appears in "The Death Battalion" as a house servant, Pinky calls him "darky" a common boy-slang for African Americans at the time. The man's actions and speech pattern can be deemed offensive even for the time period as well as being attacked by The Ghost, a man clad in a white hooded point cap and gown. No mention of the servant was ever made again.

See Also



Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.