1st Issue Special #6 (September, 1975)
“Dingbats of Danger Street”
The Works – Jack Kirby
The Inks – Mike Royer
Cover Price: $0.25
Finally… their story can be told! Ladies and Gentlemen, today we’re going to meet the Dingbats of Danger Street. Hey, that rhymed!
This has been a post over two years in the making, about an issue that has been one of my “white whales” for even longer than that!
You all know me, if you’ve visited this blog a time or two… you know one of my obsessions is 1st Issue Special. And finally… finally… with today’s post, we’ve covered all of ’em!
This is an event so tremendous, I even engaged in some MS Paint-level image manipulation to “create” and add a new side-banner to the humble site.
Consider it a placeholder… until I, uh, ya know… become talented at manipulating images. Either way, if ya click the pic… you’ll be whisked away to our dedicated 1st Chrissue Special page!
Anyhoo… we’re finishing some long-undone business today, so let’s get right to it!
We open by meeting our titular stars, the Dingbats! If there was any doubt these were Kirby Kharacters, wait’ll you get a load of their names. First, we’ve got Good Looks… which is debatable, then Non-Fat… with a great big hot dog in his mitt, Krunch… the big guy, and finally the insane-looking, Bananas. A Kirbier bunch’a guys I’ve never seen. Anyhoo, their introductions are cut short when Jumping Jack bursts through the scene, followed by a member of the “Fuzz”.
Jumping Jack gets all caught up in Krunch’s “exerciser”… which is basically a gigundous rubber band. This snaps the baddie back, and the officer is able to apprehend the red-clad geek. Turns out though, he’s hidden some key evidence.
All of the excitement caused poor Non-Fat to choke on his hot dog. Krunch decides to employ the Danger Street Heimlich, which is just slamming the poor geek across the alley with a karate chop to the back.
Turns out, Non-Fat wasn’t choking on frankfurter… but a small cylinder with a film-strip inside. Looks like that was Jumping Jack’s “evidence”. The Dingbats try and figure out what’s so important about a strip of film… it’s not like it’s big enough to fit a whole movie on it, so what’s the point? Non-Fat rushes up to Krunch and kicks him in the backside… which hurts his own foot. This looks like it’s going to be his gimmick.
Just then, the Dingbats are held up at gunpoint by the real baddie of the issue… The Gasser, who really wants that film strip!
The kids don’t waste a beat handing over the evidence. They ain’t gonna get shot over a strip of film that probably doesn’t even have a full movie on it. Oh, and Non-Fat runs up and kicks the Gasser in the butt… which is no more effective than last time.
It does, however, provide enough of a distraction for Krunch to lunge forward with sock to the mush. The Gasser responds by… gassing the gang.
After a melee during which The Gasser loses both the film strip and his pistol (criminal mastermind here, folks!)… he rushes over to his nearby creep-van and takes off. He’s unaware to the fact that Dingbat Non-Fat stowed away on the roof…
… well, until Non-Fat makes his presence known, anyway.
We shift scenes over to the Danger Street P.D. where Jumping Jack is being interrogated. He’s bein’ tight-lipped, as you might imagine. He ain’t talkin’ bout no evidence. Just then… the Dingbats burst in… with that very evidence. They’re willing to hand it over, so long as the Fuzz gives them a hand rescuing their buddy.
Jumping Jack uses this momentary distraction to… break out! Let’s hear it for not restraining the friendly neighborhood super villain! He dives out a window to freedom.
The Dingbats presume that wherever Jumping Jack is headed, it’s probably where their buddy Non-Fat is. They insist on accompanying the police in their pursuit… and, get this, the Lieutenant thinks it’s a fabbo idea! Law Enforcement is pretty loosey-goosey on Danger Street.
The Fuzz and the Dingbats are able to track Jumping Jack all the way back to The Gasser’s van… which is conveniently parked in a dead-ended alley butted up against the pier. The police snipers swarm to the nearby rooftops and our buddy the Lieutenant tries to, uh, reason with the baddies.
The Gasser’s not havin’ none of this, and lets fly with a brand-new gas… one that ignites when it hits the air. Seems like a trigger I’d never wanna pull… but, then again, I’m not the Gasser. He does manage to singe the Lieutenant’s arm, so it wasn’t a total waste.
Or was it? Bein’ burned only enrages the Fuzz… and he rushes in to deliver one hell of a dropkick on the Gas-man. Before the bad guys know it… they’re staring down the barrels of a whole lotta guns.
As the dust settles, the Dingbats break into the Gasser’s van where they find… Non-Fat, and he’s as stiff as a board. He’s not dead, mind you, he’s just been zapped with some “freeze gas”. Also in the back of the van, an Executive… who I suppose was the point of this entire issue. Alrighty then.
We wrap up with the Lieutenant finally getting a name (Terry Mullins). He offers the Dingbats his aid any time they need it. For his kindness, Non-Fat rushes up and kicks him… and hurts his own foot. The Dingbats slink away, leaving ol’ Terry with the idea that… these kids have probably had some bad experiences with adults. He’s going to have a tough row to hoe if he ever wants them to see eye-to-eye. Of course, this is an issue 1st Issue Special not starring the Warlord, so this is all pretty moot.
Well, this was just goofy as hell… wasn’t it?
Let’s start with our “heroes”… they’re some of the “purest” Kirby kids I’ve seen in a long while. Everything from their names, to their positively charming “raw” dialogue… I gotta wonder what his future plans were for this gang… or if he had any at all!
When I first started doing my research on 1st Issue Special, back in the long ago… this was the one I had to do a double-take on. I mean, sure… Lady Cop is wonderfully weird, but she’s been something of a punchline for… ever. Nobody really talks about the Dingbats… and when I saw this cover, I was immediately captivated. It’s something I couldn’t even believe existed. Hell, I’m holding it, and just read it… and I’m still having a difficult time!
Something I find myself doing anytime I read some 1970’s DC Kirby… I wonder if the characters he’d introduced were ever earmarked to appear in Marvel Comics. Thinking about the New Gods, and Mister Miracle by extension… Manhunter… Darkseid… and now, the Dingbats! Like, were these guys maybe supposed to be the (ever faceless) Yancy Street Gang? It’s fun to consider.
Something I think about when reading 1st Issue Special is… why did they choose this story for their “pitch”? So many of these FIS installments have had the weirdest stories… that kinda defy the “pitch premise”. I mean, look at this one… did anything happen here that would make you get out a piece of paper, write a letter, buy a stamp, lick and affix that stamp, and trudge your way up to a mailbox? I’m not so sure.
I mean, I dug it… found it amazingly charming… but, I’m kind of okay with it being a one-and-done.
Overall… as a novelty, I’d say this is a must own. You know how we roll here at the Infinite Earths… if you come across an issue of 1st Issue Special in the wild… you grab it!
And with that, we finally put 1st Issue Special to bed. Remember, we’ve now got a dedicated page for all-things 1st Issue. Check it out for a trip down weird street!