Sunday, July 30, 2006
Basil Wolverton is on the Top 10 list of just about every fan of Golden Age comics because there wasn't anyone like him. Literally. At the beginnings of the comic book era Basil Wolverton seemingly sprang forth out of the forehead of the God of Mirth. Or the God of Nightmares.
As funny as Wolverton could be (and this episode of Bingbang Buster from Black Diamond Western #17, January 1950, is typical in that it is so funny), he could just as easily switch gears and draw some very unfunny and horrific visions, which he did for several memorable horror comics of the early 1950s.
What makes it even more remarkable is that he was also a religious person, who was an elder in The Worldwide Church of God, under its leader, evangelist Herbert W. Armstrong. He even went so far as to transfer his nightmare fantasies into several apocalyptic illustrations for his church's publications.
My introduction to Wolverton was like that of many others: I saw his work in Mad. His grotesque caricatures jarred me out of my complacency about what humorous illustration is or should be.
Wolverton's body of work was scattered around between many comic book companies, but luckily for us fans a lot of it--maybe all?--has been reprinted in one accessible form or another. Just look on eBay or Amazon.com under Basil Wolverton.
Those of you with dial-up are in for a straight wait, Skate! Don't be in a fluster, Buster. Relax with some snacks.
Your scrappy, happy Pappy
Friday, July 28, 2006
Mother of Murderers
I want to thank Dr. Fredric Wertham for his 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, which introduced me to crime and horror comics. Thanks, Fred! Without your book seducing me, I don't think I would have searched out those sleazy old comic books. You turned straw into gold when you put out that book, mein herr.
Today's edition of Pappy's Golden Age Comics reproduces a classic story from Crime Does Not Pay #49, January 1947, by another Fred, artist Fred Guardineer. Guardineer was a Golden Age Comics pioneer…literally one of the first artist-stars of the early comic books. He retired in 1955 from comic books, but his old work still commands admiration from old-time comics fans. He had a great line style, very bold inking, with uncluttered designs and solid drawing. I have a copy of the fanzine Graphic Story World #2, from 1972, with a short article and photo of Fred. By the early '70s Fred Guardineer was drawing outdoor life pages for a paper called The Long Island Fisherman. He died in 2002.
This story, Mother of Murderers, is classic Crime Does Not Pay material. That comic book earned its reputation with stories like this, and Fred Guardineer didn't disappoint. Lots of gunplay, killings, all of the real fun stuff about crime comic books. Those of you with dial-up may want to go out and rob a convenience store* while these pages are downloading.
As a bonus, and I'll include these from time to time, is a classic ad from that same issue of Crime Does Not Pay. This is the infamous KISS ME IN THE DARK, BABY tie.
I could never figure out how a guy wearing a tie that said KISS ME IN THE DARK, BABY could actually get a girl in the dark so he could kiss her. If this worked for you let me know. I'm always looking for tips on how to get girls. Even a stud-muffin can use a new approach from time to time.
Until next time, stay happy! Pappy*I'm only kidding, here. I do not want you sending your parole officer to my house to tell me to quit seducing the innocent.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Welcome to the first Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine! In the past 50 years or more I have accumulated shelves full of dusty old comic books. I want to share. I like to share. Mainly I want to pass off this old crap to you to justify keeping it on my shelves so long.
Every few days I'll publish something to this blogzine. It might be a story, or a favorite cover, or covers. It could be just about anything to do with comics from long ago when kids used to stand around the drugstore reading them and the clerk would yell, "Hey, kid! You gonna buy that? This ain't the liberry, y'know!" Ah, those were the days. Nowadays comic book fans have to go into a specialty comic book stores, when in those great old days comic books were available everywhere: the five-and-dime stores, toy stores, drugstores, barbershops, opium dens...
I do not want trouble with lawyers. Nosiree, Blob! The stories I have picked are supposedly in public domain, but if they aren't, just contact me and tell me to remove them. Believe me, I'd rather face a moonlit graveyard at midnight, full of Ghastly Graham Ingels' walking corpses, than one live lawyer.
...and that makes for a lead-in to our first story. This is from Atlas Comics' Adventures Into Terror #9, from April, 1952. It's a nifty, short little thriller drawn by Joe Sinnott. Lots of folks know Joe Sinnott from his time inking the great Jack Kirby on The Fantastic Four comics of the 1960's, but Joe is more than capable of inking another kind of Thing altogether, as witness from this carefully crafted little masterpiece called Talking Corpse!
Enjoy! Yours in four-colors, Pappy