Behind Captain Marvel, Fawcett Comics second most popular character was Spy Smasher. The series followed the adventures of Alan Armstrong, a detective who fought Nazis with gadgets and a specialized vehicle called the “Gyrosub”, which was a combination airplane, automobile, and submarine. James Bond had nothing on this guy.
The character’s popularity lead to a starring role in the Republic Pictures 1942 serial Spy Smasher. Kane Richmond starred in the role. The film kept the costume and Spy Smasher’s main villain but added a twin brother to the plot that Kane Richmond also played. The story is simple. Spy Smasher is fighting The Mask, an evil Nazi who is trying to destroy America. As with a lot of Republic Pictures serials, the stunts are pretty good and the death traps are extremely amusing.
Despite the film’s popularity at the time, Spy Smasher eventual disappeared from the public eye. Fawcett Comics stopped making the comics in the 1950′s (due to declining sales and the Superman / Captain Marvel lawsuit). Eventually DC Comics bought the rights to the character in the 1970′s and have done little with him to this day. But Spy Smasher does have an entertaining movie out there and some of DC’s bigger named characters still have not had the chance to grace the big screen.