Johnny Peril

Created by Howard Purcell

JOHNNY PERIL was a comic book private eye created by Howard Purcell who usually found himself caught up in all kinds of weird suspense tales, bouncing around in the back pages of various All-American (and later DC) titles.

Not much is known about his past (as in, nobody gave him one — he was just there), and in early adventures that appeared in Comics Calvacade, an anthology series that featured funny cartoon animals and early appearances by The Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, he was often a minor character or simply served as a narrator to some pretty eerie tales.

His first official appearance in a “starring role” was in the August/September 1947 issue, where it was made clearer that he was a private eye (or possibly a newspaper reporter), specializing in — whether he wants to or not — oddball cases involving monsters, ghouls, killer robots and the like, occasionally working alongside renowned psychic, Heather Storm. Not that she was his steady or anything — through the years he had a bevy of girlfriends.

By the time Comic Calvacade had switched to featuring just cartoon animals, DC had already required the rights to the All-American characters, and Johnny began appearing in All-Star Comics. A persistent little cuss, he went on to appear in Danger Trail, Sensation (Mystery) Comics and other DC titles. At first his stories were still being done by creator Howard Purcell, but within a few years such celebrated artists and writers as Joe Kubert, Robert Kanigher, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Jack Sparling, Mike W. Barr, Ed Robbins, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia were handling the job. But whoever was doing it, the consensus is that Peril’s original blast of adventures which continued into the fifties,  were the best.

Johnny has occasionally shown up since (including a brief re-emergence in the late sixties as the featured character in The Unexpected, another weird tales anthology which — for one issue — bore the tagline “Weird World of Johnny Peril!”), as well as in occasional reprints, but in his more modern original incarnations, he’s a scientist/adventurer working for ARGUS, specializing in the study of magic and the supernatural.

Still fun, but not a P.I.

COMICS

  • COMIC CALVACADE
    (1942-54, All-American Comics)

    • “The Kid by the Side of the Road” (August/September 1947, #22)
    • “Just a Story” (October/November 1947, #23)
    • “Just a Story” (December/January 1948, #24)
    • “The Talking Dog” (February/March 1948, #25)
    • “The Doorway into Time” (April/May 1948, #26)
    • “The Island of Little People” (June/July 1948, #27)
    • “The Treasure of Diaz” (August/September 1948 #28)
    • “The Lovely Lady” (October/November 1948, #29)
  • ALL-STAR COMICS
    (1940)

    • The Man Who Hated Science!” (August/September 1948. #42)
    • “The Secret Of The Golden Universe!” (Oct/Nov 1948, #43)
    • “Evil Star Over Hollywood!” (Dec/Jan 1949, #44)
    • “The Case of the Cosmic Criminals!” (February/March 1949, #45)
    • “The Adventure of the Invisible Band!” (April/May 1949, #46)
    • “The Strange Lives of Edmund Blake!” (June/July 1949, #48)
    • “The Littlest Planet” (August/September 1949, #48)
    • “The Invasion of the Fire People!” (October/November 1949, #49)
    • “Invaders From The World Below!” (February/March 1950, #51)
    • “The Secret Conquest Of The Earth!” (April/May 1950, #52)
    • “Circus Of A Thousand Thrills” (August/September 1950, #54)
    • “The Man Who Conquered The Solar System!” (October/November 1950, #55)
    • “The Day The World Ended” (December/January 1950, #56)
    • “The Mystery Of The Vanishing Detectives” (February/March 1951, #57)
  • DANGER TRAIL
    (1950-51, DC Comics)

    • “Rendezvous in Rio” (March/April 1951, #5)
  • SENSATION (MYSTERY) COMICS
    (1942-53, DC Comics)

    • “Queen of the Snows” (January/February 1952, #107)
    • “I Was King of the Moths” (March/April 1952, #108)
    • “The Demon in the Mirror” (May/June 1952, #109)
    • “Horror in the Lake!” (July/August 1952, #110)
    • “The Screaming Death” (September/October 1952, #111)
    • “Death Has Five Guesses!” (November/December 1952, #112)
    • “The End of Death” (January/February 1953,  #113)
    • “The Haunted Diamond” (March/April 1953,  #114)
    • “The Phantom Castle” (May/June 1953, #115)
    • “The Toy Assassins”(July/August 1953, #116)
  • THE UNEXPECTED
    (1968-82, DC Comics)

    • “The Doorway into Time” (April/May 1968, #106)
    • “The Whirl of Fear” (June/July 1968, #107)
    • “Journey to a Nightmare!” (August/September 1968, #108)
    • “Baptism by Starfire” (October/November 1968, #109)
    • “Death Town, U.S.A.!” (December/January 1969, #110)
    • “Mission into Eternity!” (February/March 1969, #111)
    • “The Brain Robbers!” (April/May 1969, #112)
    • “My Self — My Enemy” (August/September 1969, #114)
    • “Midnight Summons the Executioner!” (February/March 1970, #117)
    • “The End of Death” (July/August 1974, #158) (r)
    • “House on the Edge of Eternity” (July 1980, #200)
      “Featuring the Return of Johnny Peril!”
    • “The Second Possession of Angela Lake” (December 1980, #205)
    • “The Ultimate Assassin” (January 1981, #206)
    • “Secret of the Second Star” (February 1981, #207)
    • (March 1981,  #208)
    • (April 1981, #209
    • (May 1981, #210
    • (June 1981, #211
    • (July 1981, #212
    • “The Woman Who Died Forever!” (August 1981, #213)
    • The Unexpected (January 1982, #218)
  • DC 100-PAGE SUPERSPECTACULAR
    (1971-73, DC Comics)
    Super-sized anthology of reprints

    • “Horror in the Lake!” (1971, #DC-04; subtitled “Weird Mystery Tales”) (r)
  • SECRETS OF SINISTER HOUSE
    (1972-74, DC COMICS)

    • “Death Has Five Guesses!” (April/May 1974, #17) (r)
  • ECLIPSO
    (1992-94, DC Comics)

    • “Perilous Waters” (July 1993,  #9)
    • “‘The Man Who Cracked” (1993, Annual #1)
    • “Fall Out!’ (February 1994, #16)
    • “Big Game” ()March 1994, #17)
    • “Sand and Stars: An Epilogue/Hell and Back: A Prologue” (November 1996, #24)

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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