Thursday, January 31, 2008

Doll Man's Knotty Adventures

Doll Man is one of the more interesting characters of the Golden Age. Although small in stature, he ended up having more legs (and showed more legs) than all but a handful of superheroes of the era. Perhaps one of the reasons for his staying power were the wonderfully creative covers designed for both Feature Comics and Doll Man’s eponymous title. Many of these covers feature all sort of wonderful bondage-based traps for our man Darrel Dane. Here’s a look at a few of my favourites.

All of the Doll Man bondage covers the cover to Feature Comics #93 is my favourite because of the sheer craziness of the trap. A James Bond villain could not have designed a better Dolltrap. This is about as crazy as it gets – as the villain took the time to hammer the pistol into place and used a very complex system of rope and knots. Correct me if I’m wrong, but won’t Doll Man be just fine if he simply back up and creates some slack in the rope? Like any Bond villain, I am certain that this guy was defeat because he was too clever for his own good.

The cover to Feature Comics #124 is an example of using everyday household objects as a part of your superhero torture plans. I am not sure exactly what is going on here, but I imagine Doll Man put a wrinkle in the villain’s plans. This obviously steamed off the bad guy who, feeling pressed for time, quickly thought up an ironclad way of ridding himself of his mini-foe. Doll Man’s fate depends on how quickly the iron’s automatic shut off kicks in.

The final selection for this round of Doll Man bondage covers comes from Doll Man #10. Like all of the others traps, the villain who set this one must have incredible fine motor skills. It’s must take a lot of patience and concentration to tie such teeny tiny knots. The Encylopedia Brown in me can tells me that Doll Man has been capture in England, as the hot and cold water faucets are on the wrong side (at least as far as us North Americans are concerned). So, not only is he dealing with some water torture; he might be groggy from jet lag. This may explain why he hasn’t figured out that all he needs to do to escape is grow back to normal size. Darrel Dane, you may be the smallest knife in the drawer, but you ain’t the sharpest.


Scott said...

I've never understood the fascination with shrinking superheroes personally (and maybe it's because I'm a little above-average in height myself), but Doll Man is one of those heroes that absolutely mystifies me. "Doll Man?" Yeah, that'll strike fear into an evil-doer's heart. Why not just call yourself "Hello Kitty Man" and be done with it?

MDG14450 said...

Craig Yoe does Doll Man Monday's on his blog, exploring the often Freudian nature of the book's covers.

benday-dot said...

Good blog entry... as usual Scott. I [i]am[/i] a fan of miniature superheroes, as well as of miniaturization stories in general. ACG stories of the 50's and early 60's seemed to specialize in these sort of plots. But whether its the Bottle City of Kandor or another Ant Man tale wherein a rat is warded off with a pencil my fascination for these scenarios abides. I think it must have something to do with a witnessing of the transformation of the prosaic, domestic or utterly commonplace (a chair, a table, a tin can, or blade of grass) into something other, quite altogether alien. It is an image of the human humbled, ill at ease and a stranger in a world thought made for him. Sorry for waxing philosophical. Great stuff you put on here. Craig

Scott M said...

Thanks for the link MDG - that's a fun site. Craig - I too am a big fan of the little guy (maybe I watched too many Land of the Giants reruns as a kid).

Scott - give some of the early Ant-Man or Atom stories a try. They are lots of fun, especially because they deal with some of the things Craig mentioned. I used to own about 15 Doll Man and Feature books, but I've sold all but one. The stories are all quite consistenly good - and I can't say that many Golden Age books.

Thanks for your comments, everyone.