All-Winners Comics #1: Review

Jun 1941
Carl Burgos, Carl Burgos

Story Name:

Carnival of Fiends

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

All-Winners Comics #1 Review by (November 10, 2020)

Review: Concentrating on the Cap tales we’ll leave the rest for the editors of the Torch and Subby (not to mention Angel and Black Marvel) Libraries. Captain America versus zombies! Back when it was actually a fresh idea, too! I’m sure Cap is glad that this story was hidden away in a quarterly rather than appearing in his regular title since it is not his finest hour. Note that it is Cap himself who blows up the bridge (albeit accidentally), handing the villain his only success. And Cap isn’t even embarrassed; seems like his attitude is “We had to destroy the bridge in order to keep the villain from sabotaging it.” And the text story makes the damaging admission that a kid can fall asleep reading Timely Comics; what was Stan thinking?

Comments: Quarterly title features separate stories for Timely’s hottest characters, not a team book. 1. Story takes place between THE HUMAN TORCH #5a and b (yes there were two issue 5s). 2. Black Marvel’s only appearance in this title; his main title was MYSTIC COMICS, where he appeared in issues #5-9. 3. Story takes place between CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #4 and 5. 4. Text story. The comic tales Johnny mentions are real, with the Black Marvel story being the one from this very issue. 5. Story takes place between SUB-MARINER COMICS #2 and 3. 6. Angel’s only appearance in this title; his main titles were MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #2-29 and SUB-MARINER-COMICS #1-21, making him one of Timely’s longest-running Golden Age heroes. He returns as the narrator of THE MARVELS PROJECT (2009-10).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

All-Winners Comics #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In New York’s Chinatown, the citizens plan a festival to raise money to support the war effort against the Japanese in their homeland. Axis agent Matsu plans to sabotage the festival so the night before the event, the warehouse where the fireworks are stored catches fire. The Human Torch and Toro, who were passing by, manage to contain the blaze but the fireworks are a total loss. Torch and his young pal volunteer to put on a show in place of the destroyed entertainment. The amazing display of pyrotechnics inspires the guests to give generously but the bad guys burst in and make off with the chest of cash. Torch and Toro trail the getaway car to the crooks’ hideout where they are trapped in a gas chamber and rendered unconscious. While dazed, Matsu hypnotizes them into stealing a gold shipment (also earmarked for China) from the local bank. Returning to the hideout, Torch tumbles down the stairs and the spell is broken. Matsu orders Toro to attack his mentor but a smack in the face snaps him out of it too and they mop up the gang, stopping Matsu from setting off an explosive charge that would have destroyed the building in the nick of time.“The Order of the Hood”

Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Al Avison. Inks: Al Gabriele. Colors: ?

Synopsis: Members of the sinister Order of the Hood, a gang of crooks who wear purple robes, are robbing banks in Los Angeles in an armored car. Young playboy Dan Lyons excuses himself from his pals Pat Casey and Mary Nash to change into his secret identity as…the Black Marvel! He heads to the reserve bank where a gold shipment is expected today and waits for the Hoods to arrive. Sure enough, the gang makes a play for the gold and Black Marvel launches himself into action and overpowers them, then vanishes as mysteriously as he came. The Hood leader has henchmen break into the newspaper office and plant a phony item about a jewelry display at a local shop to set a trap for the hero. Black Marvel arrives on the scene and is conked on the head and taken prisoner. Back at the hideout, the helpless hero is trapped in a ray machine so his death by slow burning can be televised to the nation. Instead Black Marvel uses the ray to burn through his bonds and overpowers his foes, pursuing the leader to a nearby mountain where, after a battle, the villain tumbles to his death in a rockslide.

“The Case of the Hollow Men”

Writer: Jack Kirby, Joe Simon. Pencil: Kirby, Al Avison. Inks: Joe Simon, Al Gabriele, Syd Shores. Colors: ?

Synopsis: Late one night in the Bowery, a zombie stalks and kills a police officer; this is the final test for the Lord of Death that his zombie-making experiments are a success. He contacts Adolf Hitler directly (!) and offers his services to the Third Reich; Der Fuhrer orders him to sabotage ships carrying Lend-Lease material to the British. At the docks Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are on guard duty when an army of the living dead arrive to burn the ships. They change into Captain America and Bucky to assist the troops in driving the zombies into the sea. The heroes recognize one of the monsters as a panhandler they saw earlier in the day so they go undercover as Bowery bums to get a lead on the villains. The Lord of Death’s next assignment is to destroy trucks carrying Lend-Lease materials and the bridge to the docks; the truck-driving zombies cause a massive pileup on the bridge and begin attacking vehicles and pedestrians. Again, Cap and Bucky arrive and use grenades to drive away the monstrous hordes but a stray bomb ignites a cache of explosives and the bridge is blown up. Later, the Lord of Death approaches the disguised Steve and Bucky and takes them back to his mad laboratory where they discover how he can turn living men into unkillable zombies. Steve and Bucky change into their hero costumes and defeat the villain. When Hitler phones for a progress report, Bucky blows him a raspberry!

4. “All Winners”

Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Ed Winiarski

Synopsis: After reading his comic books, young Johnny Blake wishes he could meet the superheroes from the stories. Suddenly his wish comes true as the Human Torch and Toro fly in the window then summon Captain America and Bucky, the Black Marvel, the Sub-Mariner, and the Angel! After he gushes about reading their adventures, they reward their loyal fan with a show: Bucky and Toro do some flaming acrobatics, then Namor and the Torch play catch with a ball of fire. Finally Cap, Angel, and Black Marvel have a three-way wrestling match on the roof—until they all tumble over the edge…at which point Johnny’s mother awakens him from his dream.

“The Torpedo Boat Terror”                                                                               

Writer: Bill Everett. Art: The Torpedo Boat Terror. Colors: ?

Synopsis: Swimming off the Atlantic Coast, Namor the Sub-Mariner heads in to a cove near Virginia for a rest. There he discovers a secret Nazi base where they are building torpedo boats to attack American ships. Namor boards a boat and sabotages the weapons and tosses the crew overboard and takes the boat to ram another. He falls overboard though, and decides to head back to the base and mop up the Nazis, then he goes after the boat that was running free. As he comes upon it, the boat rams a pleasure craft causing a blaze. Namor dives to rescue a sinking woman but he is hit by the propeller and knocked unconscious. The woman ends up saving him and he places her safely on an island, seizes the last remaining Nazi boat, and returns to take her to shore, stopping off to warn the authorities.

“The Case of the Mad Gargoyle”

Writer: ? Art: Paul Gustavson.

Synopsis: American passenger planes have been disappearing over the Yucatan Peninsula so the costumed adventurer known as the Angel decides to look into the matter. Chartering a plane to take the same route, the craft is seized by a magnetic ray. Angel parachutes overboard and watches as the plane is taken inside a huge pyramid. Angel enters and is captured by the natives who are led by the brutish Gargoyle. Locked in with prisoners from the earlier flights, Angel learns that on the nights of the full moon, one of the prisoners is catapulted over a volcano to slam into a native as part of a sacrifice. Angel fights with the guards to make sure he is the next chosen one to provide a distraction while the others escape. Launched over the volcano, Angel manages to land safely and engages the Gargoyle (who was capturing the planes to prevent the Americans from converting them into warplanes) in battle which ends with the villain falling to his death from the top of the pyramid. He then joins the prisoners as they take the planes back to the USA.

Carl Burgos
Carl Burgos
Alex Schomburg (Cover Penciler)
Alex Schomburg (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)

(Thomas Raymond)

Plus: Angel (Tom Halloway), Black Marvel (Dan Lyons).

> All-Winners Comics: Book info and issue index

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