Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Number 1564: Two Alarming Tales by Kirby

Two stories from Alarming Tales #2 (1958) make up my 40th posting for Jack Kirby. I could do a lot more, too...that guy made up the history of comic art for decades and examples are all over the place. I chose these today for sentimental reasons. I liked them when I bought this issue off the spinner rack in 1958, and was taken — as always — by the power of Kirby’s art. “The Fireballs” is credited to Kirby and George Roussos, and “I Want To Be a Man” has a tentative credit for Kirby inking his own pencils.

Both stories are credited to scripts by Kirby, but it seems to me someone else edited them or rewrote them to remove the exclamation points Kirby liked. He usually used two (!!) and if he had something special to emphasize, he used three (!!!) As an aside, I believe sentences are just fine ending in a period, and exclamation points should be used sparingly! Never use two!! or three!!!

“I Want To Be a Man” I took from the Heritage Auctions website, and once again, thanks to those fine folks for doing these great scans. In 2004 the story sold for a bargain price, $1,897.50, but was resold the next year for $4,600.00. I would guess it’s worth much more now. It’s not only very well drawn, but it has a poignant ending, which I sniffled over as an 11-year-old, and I find it still affecting all these years later.

(Note the name of the character, Ed Snowden. I kid you not.)


Kirby stories from Alarming Tales #1 here. Just click on the thumbnail:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Number 1563: Barry Kuda

Jeez, “Barry Kuda.” How obvious can it get with a character name? Names like that used to be popular at one time. I give Barry Kuda low marks for a name. Relatively high marks for artwork, though, which according to comic art spotter Jim Vadeboncoeur could be Al Plastino.

Like this story, some of the other art in Harvey’s All-New Short Story Comics #2 (1943), is Lou Fine-inspired. It is inspiration that affected several artists early in their career. Even Joe Kubert uses the style in a story he has in the issue, drawn when he was 16-years-old. I will probably show that some day. Even though some artists were smitten by Fine’s style, not all matched Fine’s skill. Still, this particular story is well drawn.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Number 1562: Easter with Oswald and the prehistoric egg

It’s Easter Sunday, and so I scrambled to find a story with an Easter egg (ho-ho). Lame joke aside, I present this epic adventure of Oswald the Rabbit, his buddy Toby, and their adventures in a babeland inside the Earth, from Dell’s Four Color #143 (1947).

Sexy little cartoon girls in an all-female society were not what I was expecting in a kiddie comic from the 1940s, but the unexpected is to be expected in any comic book written by John Stanley. Stanley pulls out the stops in this story, extending the idea of a pretty young queen with the addition of an old queen, and even an old old queen. Stanley had one of the most inventive minds of any comics creator.

Art is by Dan Gormley, a prolific comic book artist about whom not much is known. At least we know what he looked like thanks to this photo from Frank Young’s Stanley Stories blog.