Friday, January 4, 2008


Largely forgotten today (for example, it doesn't have an entry in, 'Radio Patrol' was one of the above-average strips of the pre-war era. It was created for a local Boston newspaper in 1933 by crime reporter Ed Sullivan and staff artist Charles Schmidt, but picked up for syndication by King Features. It had been initially titled as 'Pinkerton, Junior', referring to the kid character who helps the cops, but was retitled by King to capitalize on the public's infatuation with the introduction of the two-way radio into police force's fight against crime. It would later be once again retitled as 'Sergeant Pat of Radio Patrol' even though the protagonists of the strip were a team, nominally led by Sgt Pat due to his rank, and consisting of a female cop named Molly, as well as the kid Pinky and his dog.
'Radio Patrol' is considered noteworthy for its realistic look and feel in terms of its characters, settings and stories, as opposed to the 'larger than life' protagonists, situations and villains featured in other crime-fighting strips. Even the physical geographical depictions of Boston locales is said to be true-to-life.
What strikes me most in ‘Radio Patrol’ is the cinematic look of it. Not only the art, but even more significantly, the compositions and the pacing is excellent, with dynamism of the scenes established by the masterful sequencing of different ‘camera-angles’ positioning the view-point of the readers. Indeed, pursuing an analogy with cinema, while most pre-war comics, however ‘beautiful’ their artwork might be, look like the works of Edison, ‘Radio Patrol’ looks more akin to the level of Griffith (not in terms of duration, but in terms of mastery of filmic 'language').
In 1937, the strip was adapted to the screen as a serial and four 'Radio Patrol' 'big little books' were published between 1935-40. Starting from 1941, the strips were reprinted in King Comics. Nevertheless, the strip couldn't survive for decades and would cease in the early 1950s.

It was one of the popular American strips in Italy in the pre-war era, with 11 Radio Pattuglia albums being published by Nerbini between 1935-38.

In Turkey, it debutted in the weekly children's magazine Çocuk Sesi published by M. Faruk Gürtunca in 1937, retitled as 'Küçük Yılmazın Maceraları' [Adventures of Little Yılmaz]. While the top-billed Pinky was given a Turkish name, the rest of the cast had preserved their original names. In 1943, 'Radio Patrol' resurfaced in rival publisher Tahsin Demiray's comics weekly 1001 Roman, starting with no. 189 (15.3.1943) where it replaced the outgoing 'İki İzci' [Tim Tyler's Luck] on the magazine's last page. In 1001 Roman, it was titled more properly as 'Radyolu Polisler', but the character of Pinky was once again Turkified, this time renamed as Oğuz.


‘Radyolu Polisler’ serialized in the weekly 1001 Roman starts with the first-ever syndicated ‘Radio Patrol’ episode and follow the original sequence of the first four episodes in the strips from their start at 16.4.1934 till 12.1.1935. They also correspond to the first four Italian Radio pattuglia albums published in 1935. As published in 1001 Roman, the episodes did not have separate titles.

No.189 - No.204: It starts with Pinky and his pet dog catching a criminal and getting introduced to Pat and Molly who take him for a ride in their patrol car. Upon an announcement on the police car radio of a bank robbery, they fall on the trail of the robbers. This is an action-packed adventure involving car chases, shoot-outs, Molly getting kidnapped, and ending with a fatal fist-fight on a ship. While the ‘Radyolu Polisler’ pages in 1001 Roman were initially printed in mono-chrome for the first 13 issues, enabling a faithful reproduction of the original b&w art, the Turkish publishers later began to colorize them and poor color printing demolished their quality somewhat.
Italian album title of this episode was simply Radio pattuglia della polizia.

No.205-217: Pinky’s dog finds the lost dog of a lady who in turn invites him and Molly to her sea-side house. At night, a male corpse is found on the raft off the shore. In contrast to the previous adventure, this is more of a police procedural story with less action even though the second night-time attack in the house is once again masterfully depicted visually.
The Italian album title was Il mistero del galleggiante (Mystery of the Raft). This and the previous episode would later be re-printed in traced versions as filler space in the weekly Red Kit [Turk. ed. of Lucky Luke] comics magazine (no. 12-19) in 1965.

No. 218-?: A contractor is resisting bullying from racketeers and our heroes come to his aid. Unfortunately, issues featuring the conclusion of this episode are missing from my collection (as are those with the start of the next epissode), but a scene along the way on the catwalks high atop a construction was breathtaking.
The Italian title was La distruzione degli intoccabili (Destruction of the Untouchables).

?- No.263: When Pat is sacked for meddling in affairs outside his jurisdiction and Molly resigns in protest, Pinky uncovers the plot behind a stolen race horse. Pat and Molly are re-admitted into the police force after a very dynamicly visualized finale.
The Italian title was I filibustieri dell’ippodromo (Filibusters of the Hippodrome).

In addition to its run in the weekly magazine, 'Radyolu Polisler' was headlined in two of 1001 Roman's monthly special issues: no. 48 (Dec. 1943) and no. 51 (March 1944). Unfortunately, these special issues appear to print only the concluding segments of two episodes. The former is titled as 'Kalpazanlar Çetesi' [the Gang of Counterfeiters] and start with a raid on a counterfeiters hideout and feature the eventual capture of the ringleader who evades the raid. It is almost certainly the strip episode about the counterfeiters from 1938-39. The latter is titled as 'Gece Baskını' [Nightime Raid] and features the capture of another criminal who has evaded arrest. I couldn't identify it precisely, but it must also be a strip from 1938 or onwards as it includes the assistant prosecuting attorney Buster among the cast who had began appearing in the strip in 1938.


No comments: