Comics / Back Issues

DC Comics History: Federal Agent (1948 - 1951: End of an Era)


By Deejay Dayton
March 27, 2016 - 22:18



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I have a mea culpa to make with this series.  The first entry for it indicates that Federal Agent began in Gangbusters 1, which is correct, but I put the date for that book as January 1947, which is wrong.  The two Federal Agent stories in Gangbusters appeared in 1948.  So that means that all six stories for this series really ought to have all been listed in the period 1948 – 1951: End of an Era.  I do try to be as accurate as I can be, but sometimes a mistake creeps into my notes, and just gets carried on.

So Federal Agent moved from Gangbusters into Action Comics, and then a few months later in Star Spangled Comics, coming to an end in mid 1949.

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The one issue of Action Comics that it appeared in, issue 124, is one of the better tales, in terms of accuracy.  Federal Agent Steve Carter, and his young sidekick Bud Sammis, are dealing with car thieves, and the story has some impressive detail on how cars are stolen, re-used, and traced.  It’s not a highly dramatic story, but it is an informative one.

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As the series moves to Star Spangled Comics, in issue 91, Steve Carter and Bud Sammis, are working on a truck hijacking case.  Steve decides to be sealed in to one of the crates, while communicating with Bud on a dictaphone, to monitor the thieves. It turns out to be an inside job, with a disgruntled employee providing information to the thieves.  But nothing about this story really stands out.

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The tale in Star Spangled 92 deals with bacteriological warfare, and has an impressive first page.

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But the action never quite lives up to the premise, and in the climax of the tale Steve Carter tricks the hood by breaking bottle of cold medication

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The final Federal Agent story, in Star Spangled 93, has tree thieves set forest fires to cover up their crimes. It's really kind of puzzling.  The tree thieves find "rare" trees, which they cut down to sell to collectors.  Except they cut right through the trunk, so it's not as if these trees could be replanted.  And how they move these huge things, while everything around them is burning, is also a mystery.

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Steve Carter and Bud Sammis don't solve those puzzles, but they do find the murderous man behind it all.  But as their series ends at this point, I think the FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, had the same questions I did, and since neither Steve nor Bud could answer them, they both got fired.

Federal Agent: Action Comics 124 (Sept. 48)

Star Spangled Comics 91 - 93 (April –June 49)

Next up – Robin!


Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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