This evening I got something that I not only like doing but wish I would get more of in the future: a request for information about a particular media item involving hypnosis. As a result, I was able to learn a little more information about this item than I previously possessed.
The item in question was a story from the adventure / crime / detective comic strip “Rip Kirby”. Rip is a detective in the ‘old school’ pattern of the ‘thinking man’s’ detective although as an ex-Marine he was pretty good with his fists or a pistol. Assisting him was his ‘gentleman’s gentleman’ butler Desmond (who was a former safecracker.) Rip Kirby was created by Alex Raymond in 1946 and was in continuous publication until the character retired in 1999.
All the person making the request had was a general description of the particular story line, but it was one that I was familiar with. As a result of the minor bit of research, I was able to determine the exact publication dates for the story.
The story involved a woman, Madeline Mesmer, who was inexplicably winning as a casino owned by a friend of Kirby, who asked him to investigate. As you might expect from the woman’s name, she was a powerful hypnotist who used post-hypnotic suggestions to help her win at blackjack. Unfortunately for Miss Mesmer, she also attracted some unwelcome gang interest and ultimately found herself isolated because of the misuse of her powers.
The story was published from June 11, 1979 through August 8, 1979, running only 60 days, making the story very short in comparison to other stories. It did, however, has several scenes of Miss Mesmer wielding her hypnotic skills on several people, including Rip and Desmond. By strange coincidence, I happened to see a collection of the earlier comic strips (mid-1950’s) at a local comic store just a few days ago and had wondered then when the strip would appear: now that I know exactly when it was published, I expect it will be several years before this particular one will be reprinted. And it was all because someone had a question for me to answer.