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[personal profile] strannik01 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Because [personal profile] feyandstrange was the only one who voted for it, consider this post a fulfillment of request.

Spy and Counterspy was published by American Comics Group - publisher you may remember as home to Herbie the Fat Fury and Cowboy Sahib. The title was billed as a combination of intrigue and action (for boys) and romance (for girls), which was a fairly interesting concept. After 2 issues, it was renamed Spy-Hunters. together, the title lasted 24 issues, between 1949 and 1953.

Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Header

Now, some historical background. The first issue of Spy and Counterspy was published in August 1949. The tensions between United States and Soviet Union have been simmering since the end of World War II. In the aftermath of the war, nobody was too keen to fight again, but the risk was always there. Only a few months before the issue was published, the Cold War almost turned hot when Stalin tried to prevent Western powers from delivering supplies to Berlin. And it would only be a few more months before the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea would invade American-backed Republic of Korea, triggering the Korean War. You can't really blame Americans for being paranoid, and boy did the writing in the comic reflect that.

I wasn't old enough to really remember Soviet Union, but I was still old enough to be exposed to its propaganda. I am used to reading stories about brave Soviet agents stopping insidious American spies who sought to sabotage the Soviet Union, steal its defense secrets and pave the way for the invasion. Like Americans, my people lived under constant threat that an evil foreign superpower and its allies would try to conquer us. Reading Spy and Counterspy, I couldn't help but try to imagine what the stories would have looked like if they were written from the Soviet perspective. And, I confess, reading comics with American spies as protagonists was a bit...disconcerting. I imagine American readers would experience similar dissonance if they read translations for Soviet stories I grew up

The first issue of Spy and Counterspy had many interesting stories, but ultimately, I decided to share this one for a simple reason - the name of the protagonist. Because a name like that is just asking for jokes and wild theories. Unfortunately, the credits were lost in time, so I have no idea who wrote or drew that.

With this in mind, on with the story:

Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 01
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 02

The part with Red Army soldiers shrugging off the horrors of concentration camps strikes me as unlikely. Most of them were conscripted from the worker and peasant population - they had no idea what was going on in labor camps at the time.

Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 03
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 04
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 05
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 06
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 07
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 08
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 09

"Agent Gregorvyev died valiantly trying to acquire the secrets of the Capitalist weapon of mass destruction. The Motherland shall not forget his sacrifice"

Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 10

"Vera" means "faith" in Russian. I wonder if the writer knew this.

Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 11
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 12
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 13
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 14
Sky and Counterspy 01 - Jonathan Kent - Page 15

Yeah, sure, Agent Kent, she died for the right to love and live - not because she was trying to protect you. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Looking it the story as a whole, though, I can't help but wonder how this story would have played out if it starred Ivan Kentov, agent of NKVD, and Vera was Faith Blankenship, agent of the CIA.

Tune in next time to see some letters' pages from various Novelty Press comics.
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