Taxi Taylor

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #2 (April 1940).
Golden Age Appearances: Mystic Comics #2.
Modern Appearances: None.
Years Active: 1940-?

There's no real evidence that Taxi Taylor is in-continuity, but this is one of those Golden Age strips that is just so goofy that it more or less cries out to be dragged into continuity.

"Jim `Taxi' Taylor, master mechanic by profession, crime crusader by choice, has invented the most ingenious device the human mind has yet known, in his war against crime, a wonder car! A car designed to travel on land, under the seas and through the air. A car that is a laboratory on wheels, and which can be converted to almost any human need."

Taxi Taylor finishes his Wonder Car, telling himself "I almost hate to part with it, but it goes to the U.S. government, where it'll do the most good. This car will be the most powerful weapon in the world against the enemies of the government!" (Yup, battleships and aircraft carriers sure aren't a match for the Wonder Car.) But when Taxi approaches government officials, he's laughed out of the office and called bad names like "crack-brained." So rather than somehow, I don't know, prove to the government officials that he's got a super-car, he decides to become a taxi driver in Washington. One of his fares, of course, turns out to be a pair of spies (talking with German accents, naturally); Taxi listens in to the spies' discussion using the Wonder Car's microphones, which amplify the "slightest whispers." After Taxi drops off the spies, he returns to the spot where he dropped them and, using the Wonder Car's "super-sensitive short wave intercepter" (a big radio tower that emerges from the top of the Wonder Car) he intercepts their radio signal, which is deciphered by the car's "radio-graph."

The radio message tells him that mines are being planted to deal with two ships, so Taxi decides he has to get there and save the ships. (Call the police? Call the Navy? Nah, why bother?) Taxi throws a switch, "collapsible steel wings shoot out of the sides of the car," a propeller appears on the front of the car, and soon the Wonder Car is flying to New York as Taxi muses aloud that the "Swastikian government is trying to bring the war into the US." (The "Swastikian government"...ah, for the days of Golden Age comic-writing, when this sort of thing could actually see print--although, in all fairness, I'm sure that even the writers and editors of the Golden Age didn't see this as subtle.)

Taxi arrives above New York harbor and "trains his powerful focusing headlights" on the `Swastikian' boat. Taxi knows that the magnetic mines the Swastikians have planted have to be swept away, so he flips another switch and turns the Wonder Car into a submarine. The magnetic mines are attracted to the metal in the Wonder Car, so he has the Wonder Car send out "contra-magnetic electric rays to neutralize the magnetic mines and render them useless."

The Swastikians, seeing the Wonder Car following them, drop a "depth bomb." They then send a diver down to make sure the Wonder Car has been destroyed; the diver finds Taxi making repairs ("Good thing I built it with six inch steel plates"). The diver uses his acetylene torch on Taxi's suit, but Taxi tears the Swastikian's lifeline, and watches him die. ("That's the last bath you'll ever take!") (Oh. Stop. My ribs. I can't take much more of this humor. You're killing me.)

Taxi goes back to the Wonder Car and releases his new "weapon of death. Gas bubbles, which agitate the surrounding waters, and cause tremendous suction." The Swastikians' ship is dragged to the bottom of the harbor, and Taxi pilots the Wonder Car back on to land, and goes back to the house where he dropped the Swastikian spies, in the beginning of the story. They, knowing he is coming, try to burn the house and all the evidence in it, but Taxi puts on a fireman's outfit, "collapsible ladders shoot into the air" from the top of the Wonder Car, and Taxi goes into the burning building. He spots a wall safe and grabs it--but his hand is held solid to the safe's dial by electricity. And, of course, the safe is rigged to blow up when it reaches a high enough temperature.

Lucky for Taxi he's wearing a belt, attached to the Wonder Car, which is "timed to drag me out in about two minutes." He gets yanked out by the car and lands on "an automatically regulated net." Taxi then activates the Wonder Car's "powerful revolving chemical water jets" and saves the house. He calls in the location of the spy house to the police, and goes home.

As you might have guessed, Taxi Taylor and his Wonder Car do not appear again. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not. The Wonder Car does have the Plot Device Power of doing whatever is needed when it's needed. And Taxi Taylor is the standard one-dimensional Golden Age hero. And the writing and art are nothing special. And the Wonder Car looks like an overstuffed red sausage with wheels and a windshield.'s goofy as hell, and more enjoyable because of that than strips like Dakor.

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