Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Minute Movies


By Deejay Dayton
Jun 13, 2015 - 6:20

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The successor series to Flash Picture Novelette, Minute Movies alternated with the other series in Flash Comics for a while, before completely supplanting it.

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It really isn't significantly different than its predecessor.  These are all one-issue stories, varying from comedy to mystery to western.  None of them are exceptional.

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The first "movie," from Flash Comics 12, is Manhattan Madman, about an evil doctor who develops a mind control formula, which he plots to use on a young girl he lusts for.

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In issue 34 there is a historical tale, set on the high seas, which makes for a more visually stimulating change of pace.  The Robin Hood story gets a treatment in issue 46.

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Flash Comics 43 has a story about World War II, which deals with an American writer in a Nazi concentration camp, escaping and making his way through occupied France before getting to safety in England.

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One thing that does make the series stand out is the way they use the same "actors" in each "movie."  I suppose that made it much easier for the artist, Ed Wheelan, but it does wind up typecasting the various characters.  Hazel Dearie and Dick Dare will fall in love in every single story.

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Considering that there is a second level of "reality" in the series, with the "actors," I kept hoping for more to be made of that.  It briefly happens in Flash Comics 30, where the "director" comes back from vacation at the end of the tale, and much moreso in issue 37.  Sometimes the last page of the story will contain "Film Flashes" from "behind the screen," showing the actors at home or at play.

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This would be, without a doubt, my favourite story from the entire series.  And it's not even really a story.  All the cast assemble for a musical revue to raise money for charity.  The execution of the idea is only mediocre, but at least the concept is fun.

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As with Flash Picture Novelette, one of the major problems with this series is the dialogue, of which there is often far too much in a given panel.  And, as before, this has the frequent result of reducing the speakers to talking heads.

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Still, this series must have been popular. It not only lasted all the way until the fall of 1944, but there were even two installments in the first couple of issues of Comic Cavalcade.

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The final Minute Movie, "The Demon Dozen," deals with a secret organization, who sure look like the KKK, except their hoodies are red.

Minute Movies: Flash Comics 12, 14, 16, 18-58 (Dec. 40, Feb. 41, April 41, June 41 - Oct 44)

Comic Cavalcade 1 - 2 (Winter 42 - Spring 43).


Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 - 9:28

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