†Originally untitled story.
THE DOLL MAN QUARTERLY No. 2 (Spring ’42); cover by Gill Fox ⇒
also in this issue:
Doll Man Battles the Crime Combine†; story: unknown; art: Reed Crandall; 13 pages.
The Dragon; story and art: Fred Gardineer; 5 pages.
Doll Man vs the Vampire Bats†; story: unknown; art: Reed Crandall; 13 pages.
America–It’s Worth Defending; story and art: Feg Murray; 2 pages.
Lala Palooza; story and art: Bernard Dibble; 1 page.
Doll Man in The Toy Store Terror†; story: unknown; art: Reed Crandall; 7 pages.
Doll Man text story: The Giant Killer; story: unknown; 2 pages.
[includes Statement of the Ownership]
Mayor Midge; story and art: Tony DiPreta; 1 page.
Doll Man Faces the Fury of the Fog Gas†; story: unknown; art: Reed Crandall; 10 pages.
In the funny books published by Quality Comics, the Doll Man stories are usually credited as “by William Erwin Maxwell.” Such a man never existed. The first story was created by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger–in the Eisner-Iger shop. Thereafter, many diverse hands contribute to the Doll Man yarns. However, THE DOLL MAN QUARTERLY No. 2 is unique in featuring all stories with art from Reed Crandall (although, these credits are not certain).
Beginning in FEATURE COMICS No. 27 ( December ’39), Darrel Dane becomes the Doll Man thanks to some wonder drug that seems to compact his form down to the size of a doll. Just how small Darrel can go varies. In his compact form, Doll Man has superhuman strength and amazing agility. In the first few adventures, he needs to take the drug each time he reduces his size, but after that Darrel apparently can transform at will.
From his very first appearance onward, Darrel’s secret is known to both his mentor, Dr. Roberts and to Roberts’ daughter–Darrel’s fiancée–Martha. Yet by issue No. 50 (November ’41) and without explanation, the father and daughter have forgotten this fact and now Darrel’s identity is a secret he must hide from Martha. As it says in this issue [Doll Man in The Toy Store Terror]:
Although Dr. Roberts and his daughter, Martha, have often encountered that Cyclonic Atom, the Doll Man, she does not dream that he is really Darrel Dane, Martha’s fiancé, who can at will become the Tiny Fury.
It hardly makes much sense, given Doll Man wears no disguise–he’s simply a much smaller version of Martha’s fiancé. And Darrel is as much the hero in his street clothes as when he changes into his blue and red Doll clothes, with no attempt to effect a difference between the two.
The tales worked much better when Dr. Roberts and Martha did know the secret–as they could assist Darrel/Doll Man in fighting criminals and saboteurs. I can only guess that the writers thought they ought to copy the stereotypical funny book super-hero, where the girlfriend never knows what her man gets up to when he takes off his street clothes. Maybe Quality believed that’s what a reader expected.
Dane rarely is shown living in his own place (probably some low rent studio apartment, with the bare necessities and little furniture) and is almost always over at the Roberts house [as seen in Doll Man Battles the Crime Combine and other adventures in this issue.]
Martha and Darrel seem to be playing house right under her father’s roof, without the elder scientist caring one bit what they might be doing in private–and virtually encouraging their romance out of wedlock.
They’re supposedly engaged to be married, but they never really do marry.
Once Martha no longer knows Darrel’s double identity, she sometimes shows an erotic interest in the Doll Man. Which is weird. There’s no evidence to the rest of the world that the Doll Man ever increases in height above a foot–so what kind of relationship Martha imagines with her Tiny Titan is open to wild speculation.
This is the state of affairs as of THE DOLL MAN QUARTERLY No. 2 (Spring ’42). [See Martha trying to grab the “cute little fellow” to take him home with her, in Doll Man Faces the Fury of the Fog Gas.]
Together with Uncle Sam, Doll Man appears to be one of Quality’s first big stars. Both characters won their own quarterly titles in the late summer of 1941, spun off from their appearances in the anthologies, NATIONAL COMICS and FEATURE COMICS respectively. This would indicate that Quality had enough faith in their popularity to feature Uncle Sam and Doll Man in their own books.
THE DOLL MAN QUARTERLY continued for seven issues until late 1943, before going on hiatus for the remainder of the war, finally returning with issue No. 8, cover dated Spring ’46. The hiatus was probably brought on by paper shortages due to the war.
The other Doll Man adventures of this issue
Doll Man Battles the Crime Combine†: When the District Attorney investigates the Crime Combine to prosecute them before the grand jury, the mobsters threaten the D.A.’s life. Darrel Dane and Doll Man are on the case.
Doll Man vs the Vampire Bats†: A U.S. destroyer transports Darrel Dane, Dr. Roberts and Martha to Trinidad where they investigate a plague of vampire bats menacing the American base there. In this tale Darrel uses the pet-name Marty for Martha.
Doll Man in The Toy Store Terror†: A toystore becomes a shooting gallery when the Doll Man takes on gunsels employed by a corrupt city official.
Doll Man text story: The Giant Killer: Giant Nazi soldiers march on Britain’s shores, after Dr. Roberts’ gland growth serum is stolen. Go to the spoiler page for the full text story.
More features of this issue
Elsewhere in this issue, Fred Gardineer tells the adventures of the Dragon, an American leading a band of Chinese guerillas against the Japanese invading their land.
There are two funny pages: one page of Bernard Dibbles’ Lala Palooza humour strip and another with Mayor Midge by Tony DiPreta.
Doll Man vs the Fuehrer of America
Elsa, a former maid and family friend of the Roberts household, has been hired by von Brundt–the self-styled Fuehrer of America–as part of his plot to lure Dr. Roberts into his clutches. The scientist has developed an anti-poison gas formula which the fifth columnists hope to steal.Elsa is injured and rendered unconscious while trying to escape and warn of von Brundt’s plans. Our three heroes come to the aid of the former housemaid and, as Dr. Roberts and Martha set out for the hospital with Elsa in their car, they are waylaid by the Fuehrer’s military guards.Darrel–now as the diminutive Doll Man–is trapped in the tobacco pouch of one guard.