Wednesday, June 07, 2023

The Saint Settles a Score - Keith Chapman

When I was in junior high, it would have been difficult to decide who was my favorite fictional character: the Saint, Doc Savage, or Ben Grimm. I'm sure it depended on what I was reading at the time. But I loved all three of them and still do. I've written before about how I discovered the Saint and told the story again in the introduction I provided for the most recent reprint of THE SAINT IN MIAMI, which is available in an inexpensive e-book edition and can even be read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

So I don't know how I missed "The Saint Settles a Score", a 16-page Saint comic book story from the early Sixties written by Keith Chapman, an old friend of this blog. It was reprinted on Gary Dobbs' Tainted Archive blog a number of years ago, but I'm just now catching up to it. And I'm glad I did, because it really takes me back to those days when I was devouring Saint stories as fast as I could get my hands on them.

"The Saint Settles a Score" is very much influenced by Leslie Charteris's early stories about the character. Simon Templar answers a call for help from an old friend, a professional burglar who's opposed to violence. The fellow is in trouble, and it catches up to him quickly when he keeps a rendezvous with Simon. He's gunned down by some thugs and lives just long enough to put Simon on the trail of his killers, an investigation that involves wealthy art dealers, a beautiful blonde, a fabulously valuable painting, and some deadly double crosses.

Chapman's script is swift, humorous in places, and has plenty of action. Its light yet adventurous tone matches up very well in comparison to Charteris's Saint yarns. The art, furnished by an unknown Spanish artist, does a pretty good job of capturing Simon's personality and conveying the action. All in all, this is a very good story and I really enjoyed reading it.

If you're a Saint fan and missed this one like I did, you can find all 16 pages in two posts on the Tainted Archives blog, here and here. Be sure and read the comments, too, as they contain further information about the story and Chapman's involvement with the character. Check out this post, as well, for more background. It's great stuff.

1 comment:

Chap O'Keefe said...

Those are very kind comments, James. Thank you very much. I'm always worried whenever I look into one of the comic-book scripts that formed the larger part of my early writing. At age 80, will I be embarrassed? I would have been around 19 or 20 when I wrote this one. At the time, I was also editing EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERY MAGAZINE and a photo still reappears from time to time of an impossibly boyish K. Chapman meeting with Wallace's very senior son and daughter!