First, let me apologize for missing last week's post.  

Second, let me apologize that for this week (and perhaps future weeks) this is all I have for you.

Third, let me give you a brief update that will help explain this dereliction of duty.  Ever since it's inception, this blog has been something I did on the side. 

Unfortunately, I learned on May 14th of this year that I was being let go from the university where I had worked as an academic librarian for about 9 years.  Since that time, I've found myself in a bit of a fog....having to pack up and get out, having to start the job hunt, having to break the news to our early teen children that we'll almost certainly have to leave the only home they've got much memory of.  

To be honest, I just don't have it in me to blog about comics right now.  If you are the praying sort, I'd greatly appreciate you sending up a few words on our behalf that some better doors will open (and soon)!  
I hope that this isn't the last post I ever make on this blog, but it might be.  At the very least, posting is probably going to get a lot more sporadic until I can get my feet underneath me again.  

Thanks for everything, guys!

The Perils of Dating a Crimefighter -- Smash Comics #67 (OCT 1946)

It seems like we've been on a tear recently with Midnight adventures centering--one way or another--around one-off female characters.  This week we sort of explore Dave Clark's dating life (something that's been unaddressed since "The Circus Mystery" by Jack Cole back in Smash Comics #24.  Apparently there was no love connection with Miss Taylor, perhaps our boy will have better luck with Miss Annabelle Sweete.

This story again opens with Dave's roommates at swords' points.  Sniffer has apparently helped himself to Doc Wackey's store of "pre-war grape juice."  

When Gabby and the Doc come to exact their revenge, Sniffer barricades himself into his bedroom and threatens to let them, "have both barrels right through the door!"  His will for revenge inexplicably broken, Doc gives up his pursuit...but before walking away he issues a prophetic warning to Sniffer:  " of these days Dave Clark'll need his spare bedroom and out you'll go!"  This gets Sniffer to fretting...and scheming.

Meanwhile, blocks away an appropriate-looking criminal attorney named Denslow is lying in wait for District Attorney Westcott.  Denslow approaches and, before the D.A. can fully grasp the danger he's in, guns down Wescott!  A block away from these happenings, Dave Clark is exiting his radio station when he hears the gunshot.  

Midnight-sense, tingling!

Quickly donning his mask, Dave somehow knows exactly which direction to run to and he arrives--attired as Midnight--at the scene (apparently) mere moments after the murder.  While he's examining the body of the late D.A., our hero is surprised by a whisper behind him.  Wheeling about for action, Midnight is shocked to discover not a hardened killer, but a witness!  

It turns out that this blonde bombshell--eventually to be revealed as Miss Annabelle Sweete--was standing nearby when Westcott was gunned down, and tells Midnight she recognized the killer! Before she can say more, a second shot rings out--narrowly missing Sweete!  However unlikely it might seem, Denslow has stuck around and now knows he's been made. Having--literally--dodged a bullet, Midnight swiftly, he spirits the young woman out of the alley and into a nearby taxi cab.

Once safely away, Annabelle reveals she passed both men close enough to hear them speaking to each other and got a good look at their faces (though--unbelievably--neither of them noticed her?). 

Midnight decides Annabelle needs a safe house to hide out until she can testify against Denslow.  He suggests she in his "friend" Dave Clark's spare room.  Miss Sweete not only agrees, she really...uh...commits to the role.

At the house, Midnight asks Annabelle to wait a  moment while he goes informs "Dave" of the plan.  Then he'll send Clark out to escort her in properly. 

As soon as he's inside, Dave (he's apparently removed at the mask on the walk up to the front door?) tells the boys to frantically get the place spruced up because his girlfriend is waiting outside.  Despite being shocked and little offended that they've been left in the dark about this romance, the trio comply.  They do, however, pause long enough to spy on Dave lip-wrestling his new lady friend in front of the house.  From the looks of it, Dave may have lost that particular match.

Back inside the house, Dave makes the entirely reasonable announcement that, "Annabelle is visiting us for awhile! One of you'll bunk on the couch until we make regular arrangements for her room!"  Immediately, the wild speculation begins.  Sniffer is enraged that this surely signals and his and Hotfoot's impending ouster.  Vowing that he "won't take this lying down" and that, "if anyone leaves it'll be that be that female Dracula!"  

Meanwhile, Doc and Gabby entertain fevered fears of their own.

Oh, Doc...Your lingo has not aged well. smh

All of Dave's roomies decide to pursue reverse-psychology strategies to get Annabelle to leave.  After Doc politely excuses himself to go work on his latest invention, Gabby warns Annabelle she might not want to sit too close to the door as the Doc is "getting a bit careless" in his old age and that new super atomic bomb could make a nasty hole.  

While Gab and Doc are painting pictures of mortal danger, Sniffer prefers to appeal to his assumed feminine sense of disgust.

I'm not gonna lie. Annabelle is startin' to grow on me.

Meanwhile, Midnight's search for Denslow is reaching a dead end.  Denslow, however, has hit upon a strategy for finding (and snuffing out) the mystery woman who witnessed his crime.  He knows radio man Dave Clark is buddies with Midnight, so Denslow wonders if the woman might be stashed there.  Okay...kinda convenient but I guess the story isn't too outlandish.  Next, however, Denslow decides that he personally should go and check out Clark's home.  (Mind you, this is despite the fact that up til now, Denslow's apparently remained in hiding and has been sending his underlings out to look for the woman...So, why the sudden change of heart?)  

When his oathmen cronies object that their boss can't go out in public without being nabbed on the spot! (Nevermind that it makes no sense why he would be nabbed, since Annabelle has yet to testify to any legal authority!) .  Never they should worry, though.  Da Boss has a plan:

Umm...yeah.  Looks perfectly normal.

Despite Denslow's desires, his two thugs worry about the boss heading to Clark's house alone. (Awww. Isn't that sweet?)  They decide to secretly tail him...just to make sure he isn't nailed for Wescott's murder and they don't wind up being sent to jail along with him.  And anyway, they reason, "that Clark oughta be rubbed out for bein' chummy with Midnight!"

Spying Denslow coming up the drive, Sniffer seizes upon yet another moronic idea.  

No sooner is he escorted into the living room, than Denslow dumps the headgear and produces a gat.  He's prevented from shooting Annabelle, however, by Hotfoot's intervention.  While the bear cub goes chows down on the lawyer's ankle like a ribeye, one of Denslow's shots goes wild.  The report sends his goons racing to their boss' aid, and causes Wackey and Gabby to (incomprehensibly) conclude that Annabelle has started housecleaning?!

Perhaps Doc should invent a hearing aid.
Midnight returns home--in costume, mind you--to find his quarry in his living room.  The standard fistfight ensues.  Whatever Doc is cooking up (we're never quite told) it blows the door off its hinges striking Denslow in the face.  Apparently, the smoke (or is it the stench?) coming off the experiment is pretty bad too.  It empties the house!  When the cos show up to arrest Denslow & company, the (shockingly) fickle Annabelle starts hittin' on the balding (and presumably much older) chief of police.  

Guess Midnight dodged more than one bullet this time.

A Pig in a Poke (part 2) -- Smash Comics #66 (AUG 1946)H

Meanwhile, despairing of their pal ever returning with the promised pork chops, Wackey and Gab have stepped out and are on their way to pick up their own dinner at The Coffee Pot when they abducted at gunpoint by a woman calling herself Circe.  Apparently, Circe is simply a misandrist with a particularly bizarre plan for exacting her feminine vengeance.

Despite their skepticism, a quick dosing of Circe's "pig medicine" and Midnight's sidekicks become swinekicks.

We next learn that the mystery man buying all the pork is named Quimby.  If you want to get a sense of Quimby, try to imagine an anti-Ron Swanson and I think you'd be pretty spot on.

The next couple of panels are confusing.  I think we're to understand that Circe has set up in Doc Gage's basement.  Further, we're supposed to divine that Midnight followed Quimby around town, but for some bizarre reason didn't overtake him to demand an explanation until he arrived at Gage's.  Mind you, the exact location of Circe's lab is not specified...However, I can't make sense of these panels with any other explanation:

A quick inspection of his late friend, reveals that Gage took a rap to the head...though apparently with more long-lasting consequences.  About this time, Midnight spots his caged pals, and Circe is breathless at the prospect of another "pig-man" for her collection.

The femme fatale protests that she didn't kill the doctor, and Midnight compliments her on an "almost convincing" act.

Meanwhile, Sniffer Snoop is still in search of dinner when he spots our old pal Quimby attempting to scale a security fence at the Kirkey Packing Plant.  Concluding that the Kirkey Plant will reward him handsomely for capturing a thief in the act, Sniffer gives chase and--like Midnight before him--follows Quimby all the way back to Circe's lab before overtaking him.  (Makes one wonder just how fleet of foot that little shrimp Quimby is.  After all, he's been running around all day...toting  a large amount of pork...and still manages to outrun two regular crimefighters!)

In any event, Sniffer charges in as Circe is delivering her manifesto about the mission to turn all men into pigs...oh yeah, and she totally has no idea what happened to Gage.

Midnight looks super engaged here, doesn't he?
Despite getting the drop on her and being armed himself, Sniffer somehow manages to not subdue or shoot the deranged vixen...and even manages to get himself stuck with her porcine transformation serum, and then somehow locked in the cage with Doc and Gabby!  (Yeah...real helpful there Sniffter.)

Quimby--who's suddenly reappeared--explains it's getting harder and harder for him to locate meat sources.  It's so bad, he pleads, that he had to "risk" swiping his most recent haul from the Kirkey Packing Plant.

At this point, Midnight--who for some inexplicable reason was never locked up or shot or injected by Circe despite all the time she's had him down in her basement laboratory, abruptly decides he's got more important things to do than stop this mad scientist or free any of his caged roommates.

Meanwhile, a distraught Hotfoot decides he can wait no longer for his master and sets out to find Sniffer Snoop.  Apparently, the bear cub follows his scent because suddenly el oso blanco arrives at Circe's Lab, where the aforementioned ne'er-do-weller is given to a surprising (and, frankly, kind of unbelievable) fit of panic at his sight!

Circe recovers pretty quick, though.  Grabbing the nearest needle, she decides she'll just turn Hotfoot into a pig too.  Unfortunately for her, in the melee she gets confused and injects him with the antidote.  When Hotfoot, then pursues his piglike master and roomies, the little bear's bites transfer the antidote to them and everyone is returned to normal.  (Yeah...because that's how medicine works.)

While Wackey and the others are busy cornering Circe, Midnight is crashing through an office window over at the Kirkey Packing Plant.  Just before he does so, Gustavson treats us to an omniscient narrator view of the office interior, explaining just who was behind the fatal attack on Gage.

While delivering his standard beating of the bad guys, Midnight lets Kirkey know that he's owed an extra blow or two for the blackjack slug he gave Midnight back at Dr. Gage's home.  Bereft of his muscle, Kirkey promptly surrenders and begins spilling the beans on all his criminal activities.  After acknowledging that he clubbed Midnight, the packing plant impresario admits to following Gage to the home of the late vet's lab assistant, where he knocked Gage unconscious and left him in a freezer to die of hypothermia.  Suddenly putting two and two together, Midnight leaves Kirkey with the cops and rushes back to Circe's lab.

Upon arrival, he finds all his buddies are back to looking like regular ole hominids.  A broken Circe is crying about how she still loves Jim, and it was only her grief that drove her mad.  "If only he were still alive!"

This our cue for the improbable wrap-up scene as Doc Wackey announces that Gage is alive.  "He just needed a little reviving!"

There's a lot of words you could use to describe a story like this
but I don't think "simple" is one of them, Midnight.