The Silver Streak Archives, Vol. 1

Jack Cole, Author, Jack Binder, Author, Bob Wood, Author, Dick Briefer, Author, Ralph Johns, Author, Kane Miller, Author, Fred Guardineer, Author, Jack Cole, Illustrator, Jack Binder, Illustrator, Bob Wood, Illustrator, Fred Guardineer, Illustrator, Ralph Johns, Illustrator, Kane Miller, Illustrator
Edited by Phillip R. Simon. Dark Horse, $59.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59582-929-0
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
This collection of the golden age title from issue 6 through 9 at its strongest point, in the fall of 1940, like any collection of the era, is a mixed bag of innovation, tradition, and kitsch, and the stories are often at their best with humor in the mix. That’s the case with the titular Silver Streak, a speedster hero whose standout adventures are played more for laughs. The breakout star is Daredevil, no relation to the Marvel version. Following a unexceptional debut, Daredevil is coupled in permanent conflict with Fu Manchu–style villain the Claw. Those entertaining stories are by a pre-Plastic Man Jack Cole, editor for the series starting with issue 7 and creator of the two shining gems of the collection: “Dickie Dean, the Boy Inventor,” a madcap and often surreal outing involving futuristic gadgetry, and “The Pirate Prince,” which gives a sophisticated comedic bent to swashbuckling adventures. The latter story also provides the most progressive moment in the archive, a story line involving the freeing of slaves, although so many other stories in the volume are marred by the casual racism too common in that era. Cole’s energy saves the day creatively, and admittedly the racial biases have historical value. (July)