By Beau Smith

I always appreciate it when folks let me in on “Hidden Gems” that I may not know of. This week I’m going to try and return the favor by letting you in on some gems that I’ve discovered.

The Serial Squad
Written & Illustrated By Paul E. Schultz
Bad Place Comics

If you have a special place in your hearts for Golden Age character sand adventures , then you might want to seek out The Serial Squad by Paul Schultz. It’s got that JSA/Golden Age feel with its own unique look that will entertain you and maybe even surprise you. Best of all it has Nazis as the bad guys and you can never beat down Nazis enough.

In The Serial Squad you have a group of stunt men, actors and Olympic athletes that are heroes to boost the country’s morale on Saturday afternoon movie serials. When not busting bad guy’s heads on the silver screen, they are out selling War Bonds and backing the troops overseas, that is until the President calls on them for a secret mission to fight real Nazis that may or may not have some serious strings attached.

The roster for The Serial Squad is made up of heroes like: Former Olympic medal winning swimmer and actor, The Blue Wave, The crimson, Latin, Swashbuckler known as El Rojo, the rocketeering wonder known as NightFlyer, Former Olympic archer, The Scarlet Archer, The high-flying Captain NightHawk, The mysterious Chimera, and Jack Hart-The All-American Hero.

They names may be different, but you can pretty well figure out their many counterparts in various other guises with other publishers. These guys have more of a realistic point of view on what their doing and why they are asked to go on this mission for the President. Their very different attitudes make them very interesting characters to read about. They are not cookie-cutters and neither is the story. It has plenty of twists and turns that you don’t always see coming, including Tasma The Congo Queen.

Schultz has his own style of art that works perfectly with not only the characters, but the black and white presentation. He obviously comes from the Alex Toth, Milton Caniff school of doing the most with lines and spotting blacks. Make sure you check The Serial Squad out. I think you’ll agree that it’s a hidden gem. Hey! I even got a Serial Squad Decoder Ring!

Pin Ups: A Collection of Images
Art by Jay Fife

The mix of real life photo reference and illustration has really found its own place in today’s tech savvy world. So many artists are starting to show that there are some really innovative things that you can do to enhance your art. I don’t mean photo-shop tracing, I mean really mixing photo reference and art together to make a perfect marriage. In Jay Fife’s pin-up book you’ll find this. Jay is a great illustrator and he shows it here in his new pin up book. I saw the same kind of talent over 20 years ago when I first met a young kid named Tim Bradstreet. Maybe you heard of him?

Jay’s art book is filled with all kinds of characters you know and some that you may want to know. In these pages you’ll see Agent Scully from The X-Files, Iron Man, Hawkgirl (JLU,) Danger Girl, Batgirl, and even “Bat-Vader”. I highly recommend that you check out Jay’s site and pick up some of his work. This Ohio boy is doing it right.

The Dreamer
Written & Illustrated by Lora Innes

I’ve mentioned Lora Innes here in Busted Knuckles many times. She is a good friend and co-creator with me on a college/romance/humor project of ours called “Courting Fate”.

Right now, Lora is doing her own creator owned book called The Dreamer. It’s a great action/romance/historical comic that also adds a bit of time travel into the mix. I met Lora years ago when she was just a kid through my buddy Jeff (Bone) Smith. Jeff and I were both guests at Mid-Ohio Con and he thought I should meet up with Lora because, even then, he could see that she had talent and just needed to be networked some. Her book The Dreamer is one of those rare projects that you can see TV, film or novel as other branches the first time you see it.

Lora’s latest work just came out this week from DC Comics/Vertigo in the form of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor Season 2 #2. Make sure you take the time to check out her website and Myspace at

Tell her Beau sent you.

Smoke and Mirrors: The Art Of Scott James
Art by Scott James

He’s worked on Savage Dragon, designed tons of role playing games and is a very well-known talent in the advertising world. He also looks like he could step into the WWE ring and give anybody a run for their money. Scott James is another hidden gem that you should know more about. His art book Smoke and Mirrors shows you why. There are characters within it that you know well like Savage Dragon, but the best part are the characters that Scott has created and there are a ton of em’ here in his book. Lean over to Scott’s site and check more out, then step up on a ladder and tell him you want to buy some of his work.

Riddle Me This: The Un-Official Compendium Of The DC Universe B-List Characters

Written by Bruce MacIntosh

As most of you regular Knuckleheads know, I have a deep love for DC Comics characters. The more obscure the better. To me B’wana Beast and Tiger-Man should have their own monthly books. Through the years I’ve done my part to bring back other DC characters that time had forgotten, (Lady Blackhawk & Wildcat) and won’t rest until I can bring back the real Vigilante and finally put Aquaman on the level he deserves.

Anyway, Bruce MacIntosh has written for the fine folks at TwoMorrows Publishing, many comic book websites and is a insider expert on the DC Universe. Bruce was also an actor in the movie Clerks II. Recently I met up with Bruce at Pittsburgh Comic Con and he laid on me an advance reading copy of his latest work-in-progress called Riddle Me This: The Unofficial Compendium Of The DC Universe B-List Characters. It’s over 375 pages of great info on all the characters in the DCU that you may or may not know of and remember. I’ve been reading it and I would love to see it published and out there for you to read as well.

The book covers so much of the characters that we all love at DC and it also gives lifetime readers like me some new info and slants that never made it on to my radar. The research and facts are all there and you’re richer for reading them. This is a textbook of comic book history. I’d really like to see Bruce find a publisher for this and soon so everyone can enjoy it. Please check out Bruce’s site and let him know that you’re interested in seeing it in print as well.

Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week: Little Al of the Secret Service #2

Oh, right… like you think some turban-wearing thugs can stop Little Al of the Secret Service. Fat chance!

Back in 1952 with the Cold War going on and bad guys were still bad guys, you could always depend on Little Al of The Secret Service to put his boot on the neck of evil everywhere. Little Al pistol-whipped more evil-doers in 15 minutes than Jack Bauer in a whole season. For all we know, Little Al may be related to Bauer. He’s THAT good!

This is another hidden gem that you should be seeking out when you attend a convention, shop on Ebay or when you hit your local comic book retailer. (I hit mine all the time. That’s how I get a discount.)

Great painted cover and fun stories. Find ’em.

Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Raquel Alessi

Since this is “hidden gem” week, I thought I’d include The Babe of the Week in as well. How does Raquel Alessi fit the bill?

She’s one of my favorites from such movies and TV shows as Standoff and Ghost Rider. I think she is one of Busted Knuckles picks of an actress that is going to do nothing but get bigger and more popular. Look for Raquel in the upcoming comedy Playboys next year.

The Roundup

Going along with the hidden gems theme, I came across a photo that others might call a “Hidden Horror”. This was a shot of me loafing in the halls my senior year in high school. (1973) Notice a couple of things, I was sporting my then hip, Burt Reynolds mustache (Now called a Porn Mustache) and they listed me by my first name, “Steve”. (Stephen Scott Beau Smith) See, you read Busted Knuckles long enough and you can find out all sorts of secret stuff. Here’s a recent shot of me as well. You can see, Father Time has beat me like a rented mule and enjoyed it.

Make sure you find some hidden gems this week.

Stephen Scott Beau Smith (1973)
(the caption reads “Steve Smith is caught by the cameraman
in one of his many moments of leisure.”)
Beau Smith as you know and love him today, 2008

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin