Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Obscurity of the Day: Hunter Keene
Norman Marsh, the creator of that 'me too' detective strip Dan Dunn in the 1930s, came back from the war to find that his strip had been a stateside casualty. Undaunted, he jumped right back on the horse and created Hunter Keene, yet another hardboiled detective strip. It first appeared on April 15 1946 and was distributed by King Features as a daily only strip.
Dan Dunn had achieved a measure of success in the thirties mainly because it was one of the first Dick Tracy imitators in a crime drama field not yet crowded with lantern-jawed sleuths. Hunter Keene, on the other hand, had no such leg up on the competition and sales were abysmal. King pulled the plug on the strip at the end of a one-year contract. The strip last ran on April 12 1947.
Marsh was a smart cookie, though, and didn't let this setback keep him on the sidelines for long. After a survey of the field Marsh came right back with Danny Hale, a strip about pioneer days. While not a major success (it merited an Obscurity of the Day posting) it did keep Marsh busy for the next fifteen years, riding the tide of the Western craze.
If I'd seen this strip by itself I'd have sworn it was from the early to mid-1930s. It must have looked ancient to the postwar audience.Post a Comment