When I find a crazy old golden age story with a villain named "Dr. Drool" involved in it, you know I'm going to have to comment on it here somehow. Dr. Drool is a public domain character, therefore any comics creators reading this should use him immediately, though I recommend you depict him salivating copiously at all times. Unfortunately, Doctor Drool doesn't actually drool much at all, but what he does do, a LOT, is die and come back from the dead. In fact, he starts off the story in The Flame #4 dead, which his dwarf assistant Scully works frantically to change:
The refreshing thing about Dr. Drool is that he shows no interest in ruling the world and no urge to create atomic super-monsters, he just wants to kill all the jurors that sentenced him to death for his unspecified earlier crime.:
Understand, Dr. Drool didn't shoot the guy. He fired the gun, and this candy-ass died of fright. Back in the golden Age, a villain didn't have to work as hard, obviously. Dr. Drool sends out a lot more of these adorable little drooly-skull notes throughout the course of the story to build a sense of growing tension and not just because they were easy to draw. (Okay, it's probably because they were easy to draw.)
The Flame uses the greatest divining secret of the high Lamas, the reading of the morning newspaper to learn that Doctor Drool has returned from the dead, and sets out to stop him. While Dr. Drool is out killing a judge, the Flame explores Drool Manor, when a ghostly face appears!
Back in the Golden Age, a superhero could be forgiven for being suckered by the old empty-coat-and-mask-lit-up-by-a-flashlight trick once. The next day, Flame reads of the Judge's death in the newspaper, and heads straight back for Drool's mansion, where he sees a light in a third floor window. He leaps in the window where he confronts the madman:
But Dr. Drool outwits the Flame by employing the cunning stratagem of turning off the lights and running away. Flame gives chase but crashes through a hollow wall and lands in a tank of water. warm, thick water with froth around the edges.
Wait, Why is this guy called Dr Drool again...?
Yeah, er, Flame? That's not water...!
Anyway, Dr. Drool escapes until Big 3 #3, which finds him still plotting to kill jurors, and the Flame deciding to search that fucking mansion yet again. He sees a silhouette against the window and crashes in, only to find an empty room. Then he starts blundering around the room and trips a wire that turns out the lights, revealing:
Why that sneaky...! who could have predicted the old empty-coat-and-mask-lit-up-by-a-flashlight trick? This guy ain't the brightest Flame, is he? Our doughy moron wanders around the mansion for awhile longer, dodging some more deathtraps before accidentally finding, and getting thrown off a roof by, Dr. Drool. Oh yeah, he also fails to save Prosecutor Day, Drool's third victim. Not bad for a villain with such an asinine name.
The fourth Victim falls, and Drool kidnaps his daughter. The Flame follows to rescue her, but is captured in a net. Finally, he escapes and kills Dr. Drool with one punch. Freeing the girl, he turns to see the body is gone, and on a hunch, he drives to Dr. Drool's tomb. Sure enough, the dead body is in the coffin, and the Flame basically says "Good enough for Government work!" and calls it a day. BUT:
Oh look, the girl's father lived, no thanks to the Flame, but thanks to not dying with ridiculous ease.
By the time we get to the Flame #4, Dr. Drool is back to being dead, so here comes Scully to bring him back to life again:
Drool wastes no time getting right back to killing those jurors; in fact this is starting to look a Hell of a lot like the previous issue of the Flame. The funny thing about these three stories is that the artist obviously drew the same story twice for some reason, and by God, he was gonna figure out a way to use each and every page. The overall effect was like reading a crappy Golden age version of Groundhog Day.
Cut to the Flame, reading his newspaper yet again, stunned that Dr. Drool is back from the dead yet again. He goes to the cemetery and gets himself ambushed and buried alive by Drool and Scully. Then its back to the mansion to fall for the same trick a third fucking time:
If the Flame did as good of a job tracking down Dr. Drool as he did keeping track of those bloody mice, five Jurors would have survived this awful, idiotic story. Anyway, much fighting, blundering, escaping, and chasing ensues until:
"Yeah, no use turning the body of this wanted murderer over to the police, they'll only think I swiped it! Guess I'll just take it back to the boneyard, again, and chuck it back into the coffin, again!"
The whole terrible journey might have been worth it for "Here we are pal, back again to your little house!"
And yes, after all that inanity, Dr. Drool lives to drool another day!
Scans from The Flame #4
Big 3 #3
The Flame #5 By Basil Berold
Fox Feature Syndicate
All scans found at the Digital Comic Museum