There’s a lot of wacky stuff out there in Golden Age comics books if you know where to look. One of the strangest I’ve come across in a while is the case of “The Pink Eyebrow”, from DC’s All Funny Comics #16 (March-April, 1947). All Funny was a anthology humor book that got its start in 1943 and ran for 23 issues until June, 1948. All Funny features such characters as Genius Jones, Tinkerman Tad, Dover and Clover, Cave-Man Curly, Sillie Willie, Two-Gun Percy and Penniless Palmer, to name a few. It’s the Penniless Palmer story from All Funny Comics #16 that caught my “eye”, with an amazing adventure of none other than “The Pink Eyebrow”. A superhero called “The Pink Eyebrow” is strange enough, but the story is made even more bizzare by the appearances of Superman, Batman, Robin and some other well known DC Comics superheroes.
As it turns out, the Pink Eyebrow was a superhero created by O. Howe Tragic for his popular comic book, Tragic Comics. Not only was Mr. Tragic the creator of this colorful superhero, he was also a collector and avid comic book reader, having bound volumes of every comic book published, including those with Superman and Batman. Sound strange? Listen to the rest of the story…
The story begins with Penniless Palmer and his friends, Beauteous Bunny and Omnivorous Oxie being visted by Mr. Tragic at Penniless’ detective agency. He claims that the superheroes from his bound volumes of comic books are coming to life and running around his apartment! Penniless and the gang hardly believe this story, but Tragic offers to drive them there to look around while he completes a business transaction. When they arrive, Tragic shows them the huge library of bound Golden Age comics and tells them that “Superman and the others step right out of them”, to which Penniless replies, “Mr. Mxyztplk, maybe–but not Superman!” As if on cue, Superman and Batman in miniature form emerge from the books and become lifesize. For a moment it appears that these heroes may have come to life (along with Robin, Green Arrow and Vigilante), but the crew soon realizes that something is wrong when the heroes start fighting them and Beauteous is able to knock Superman out with a blow to his head with a large book. That’s when Tragic’s creation, The Pink Eyebrow appears on the scene!
The Pink Eyebrow uses his powers to subdue Penniless and the gang. He first sprays Omnivorous with his “burning tears” and subdues Penniless with his “artificial eyelashes” around his wrists like handcuffs. Tragic explains to Penniless that the Pink Eyebrow is “a terror” and absolutuely uncontrolable and “That’s why I’m selling him”. The Pink Eyebrow ties up Penniless and his friends and tells Tragic to go about his business and that the heroes will “wander around before returning to our books”.
The scene shifts to Penniless discovering that the miniature images they first saw of the heroes are nothing more than a projection and that the “heroes” were really men in costumes who came from a hidden room to terrorize Tragic. It seems that it was all a plot to cause Tragic to sell his famous “Pink Eyebrow” creation to an unscrupulous competitor, Taymer Comics. Penniless and his gang free themselves, subdue the “heroes” and stop Tragic in the nick of time before he signs away his character to Tryamer. As a reward, Tragic gives them a bound volume of Tragic Comics with every appearance of the Pink Eyebrow.
Whew! What a crazy story. If not for the appearance of the main DC heroes of the day, this story would hardly be worth mentioning. As it turns out (even though they were imposters in costumes), this is one of the earliest DC stories where Superman, Batman and Robin are seen fighting side by side, and several years before the real team ups began first in Superman #76 (May-June 1952) and later in World’s Finest #71 (July-August 1954).
Real or not, and as bizzare as this story is, it’s fun to see this early “team up” of Superman and Batman.
But what of the Pink Eyebrow? As far as I know, this was his one and only appearance in the Golden Age of comics books. Maybe it’s time for a revival!