We've been doing Stupid Comics here at Mister Kitty dot Org for a while, and we've been collecting comic books for even longer than that, and after a while you get a feel for what's out there. We can paw through a short box of "miscellaneous" and figure we'll see five Classic Comics, a bunch of westerns, some Dell TV tie-ins, and a few non-superhero Atlas titles nobody knows what to do with. So when something like today's book comes up, something that doesn't fit neatly into one of our precise little categories, well, we're probably going to buy it in the hopes that we can make fun of it here. And we did, and here we go.
Here's Tony Trent! And that's all we know about him. Well, okay, we know he lasted at least four issues, he cost ten cents, and from what I can gather he's skydiving into Fantasyland.
Surely page one of this comic will clue us in on who he is and what he does and why he does it, right?
Nope, just a couple of airplanes and some talk about wrong zones. Why not talk to *your* kids about wrong zones today?
You know how it is when you wander into the wrong zone in your jet plane, those wrong zoners are gonna start shooting at you. Which isn't a good idea as you're in a vastly superior aircraft, but I guess they gotta find out the hard way.
We call this one "Portrait Of Tony Trent Just Before He's Sliced In Two By The Horizontal Stabilizer."
The boys were out hunting zombies. Fortunately the first words out of Trent's mouth weren't "Bbbbbrrrrrains!"
Looks like Tony Trent's involved in one of those fake Eastern European countries that you always see crop up when the writers want political intrigue but don't actually want to name names. The "Mission: Impossible" crew spent a lot of time in these kinds of countries.
Oh, okay, Trent is a news reporter! You couldn't tell us this on page one? Now go with big, surly, suspicious Gorgas, Tony. Have fun now.
We're getting that Fantasyland castle after all, aren't we? But first some sweet off-roading mountain biking action!
Gorgas was indeed a turncoat working for the new regime, but that's OK - Tony Trent's radio fists have been itching to punch something.
And enter the missing Paul Gadone, played here by Pete The King Of The Wrong Zone Hobos.
Trent seems to cultivate a pretty tough breed of radio reporter. I'd like to see these guys handle some of those softball celebrity interviews, maybe see a few movie stars sucker punched and hogtied on the red carpet.
Guys, he's not gonna do it just because you tell him to. You're gonna have to throw him out of the window. Don't act so shocked, it's not like this hasn't happened so many times in the past that they don't have a word for it.
Here Trent is literally knocking their heads together, Three Stooges style. Take that, Wrong Zoners!
And here's Trent's private pilot Willyum here to fly everyone home and explain how he faked his crippled jet so Trent would parachute into Wrong Zone and find the premier.
So, are fake European nation adventures all that await Tony Trent? No sir.
You can tell the newsboy is Asian because of the bad haircut, the giant glasses, and the weirdly pigmented skin. On the other hand instead of "look out" or "duck" he hollers "low bridge", which makes us think he's suffering from some sort of aphasic brain injury or other neurological disorder.
We've gone from Fake European Nation to Thinly Veiled General Chiang Kai-Shek, and by the way Tony Trent is married and his wife's name is Babs.
And - vital information contained in the dialogue - we're in a Chinatown somewhere in the United States. Now don't leave the General alone, Tony!
Aw jeez, the not-Chiang has been killed! Honestly this might work out okay for everybody, considering how Taiwan was run for the next 40 years. But the bad news is that Tony's being fingered for the crime!
No freelance Chinatown militia can stand up to the mighty Radio Fists of Tony Trent!
But not even Trent can handle the dreaded bottle to the back of the skull.
Finally a real policeman and Babs, looking for Tony, and not finding Tony because apparently Tony is in Chinatown Jail. It's like regular jail, only when you're released after six months, fifteen minutes later you feel like doing six more.
And that's the Chinese food joke. Thank you!
When you commit a crime in Chinatown they haul you before Chinatown Court and you plead your case! You can take one public defender from column A and one public defender from column B.
And that's the OTHER Chinese food joke! Thank you!
Isn't that just like Trent, he witnesses the murder of an international figure, uncovers a Communist spy ring right in America's beloved Chinatown, and now he wants hamburgers. Hamburgers!
But let's check in on one more Tony Trent adventure before we go.
Tony and Babs are home from the show, but Tony's gotta rush right out, lose his tail, and grab a cab. What mystery is so urgent Tony can't even take the time to get out of his tux?
Hey, it's Willyum again, ready to fake aircraft damage or anything else adventure requires!
Trent and a whole gang of reporters are whisked out to the Southwest in the middle of the night so that the Army can show off their greatest, most secret new weapon, the Atomic Fighter Plane! Just don't ask what the ARMY is doing with it, because if the Air Force finds out they'll be plenty mad. Also, even though we dragged you news reporters thousands of miles to unveil this super atomic plane, please don't tell anyone about it. In fact we're not sure why we brought you out here to begin with.
hey Tony, come along with me in the atomic fighter plane. You weren't planning on having any kids, were you? Of course not.
If there's one thing we know about trial flights of experimental aircraft, it's that they're always flown with installed, fully loaded machine guns. Just in case the Spy Air Force shows up.
And that's the look of a fellow who realizes his wife is an enemy spy, and everything he's known and loved has been a total lie. The end!
Now I know what you're thinking, who the hell is Tony Trent anyway, and how did a nonentity like this get his own comic book? Well, here's why.
Back in the early 1940s Tony Trent was the civilian identity of the masked crime-fighter "The Face" - which meant that he put on a crazy mask, "loses his affability" - and immediately starts punching the daylights out of anyone and everyone crime-related. Eventually the masked crime-fighter trend died out and Tony Trent segued into being merely Tony Trent, still punching the daylights out of crime. In fact, the first two issues of this "Tony Trent" series were actually titled "The Face", with Tony only headlining the other two issues of this four-issue run before vanishing forever into oblivion. (yeah, we know The Face came back a few years ago, but it's not the same, is it?) Anyway, let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can quit putting on the mask and fighting crime - you can take off the mask, but you'll still be doing the punching.
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