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Number 2020: The Mad Dog Tri-State Terror

Wilbur Underhill, bank robber, escape artist and murderer, was yet another sociopath operating in the twenties and thirties. He died with thirteen bullets in him. His demise wasn’t exactly as portrayed in Crime Does Not Pay #63 (1948). Underhill lived for a week after being shot, and I doubt one of the cops who shot him moralized that “Crime does not pay!” as Wilbur croaked out his dying breath. But, that was the final line of many a crime comic book, in a futile effort to deflect criticism from their violent, bloody contents. The nicknames given by the press to Underhill, the “Tri-State Terror,” and “Mad Dog” are oddly missing from both stories of Underhill I am presenting today.

Underhill’s story was told a few times in crime comics, and even in the pulp magazine, G-Men, Vol. 4 Number 36 (1936), in a three-page comic-styled feature. The artist was anonymous, but the story was written by Henry Marcus, using the pseudonym Clayton Maxwell. Marcus is a guy who ended up in jail for publishing obscene literature. Who knows? Maybe he knew jailbirds like Underhill when he was in the joint.

The color version of Underhill’s story was drawn by Fred Guardineer.

SOURCE: Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine – Read entire story here.


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