Chip Gardner
Created by ?

"For twenty-five bucks a day, I'm anybody's servant."

A recurring character in the infamous Crime Does Not Pay comic book, CHIP GARNEReventually became -- at least for a while -- the ongoing lead feature in the books, appearing often on the covers.

Crime Does Not Pay was, of course, the infamous "true" crime comic published from 1942 to 1955 by Lev Gleason Publications. It was edited and mostly written by Charles Biro, and was the first (and by far most successful) of the "true crime" comics, inspiring countless imitators. Famous cartoonists included Bob Wood, George Tuska, and others.

Although, of course, it was painfully obvious that most -- if not all -- of the "true" stories were fiction.Certainly the adventures of tough guy private eye Chip Gardner were fiction.

But hey, they were a large cut above most comic book private eyes of the time, with far more complex plots and more intriguing characters than were expected of the genre at the time. A good example is "Death Watches the Clock" which was the feature story of the September 1950 issue. In it, Chip, at the urging of his loyal secretary Wendy, agrees to help a young woman whose brother is on death row awaiting almost imminent execution. It's a mad rush against time, but within the confines a comic book stiory the writer manages to fit in a car chase, a little breaking and entering, fisticuffs and an extended flashback sequence. Even better, though, is that the pipe-smoking Gardner proves himself to be suitably and beliveably tough and resourceful, and not a mere caricature.

Although the writers were rarely credited, one likely candidate is -- according to Anthony "Tex" Tollin, an acknowledged expert on old-time radio and The Shadow, apparently Walter Gibson.



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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