Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Number 301

Lay off my roof, goof!

Here's a funny Wolverton strip from Daredevil Comics #22, February 1944. Can it really be that I haven't posted a Basil Wolverton strip since Pappy's #3? To rectify the situation, Jason, here's a hip strip to make you flip!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Number 300

Calling all Video Rangers!

To celebrate Pappy's #300 I'm bringing you two stories drawn by George Evans from Captain Video #1, a Fawcett comic from 1951. Evans went on to comic book glory with his stint at EC Comics. Fawcett stopped publishing comics in 1953. Captain Video lasted six issues as a comic book, and vanished from the airwaves as the network carrying his adventures went out of business in 1955.

To read some background on the TV program and the DuMont Network where it appeared, read this article. The show had its fans in the larger Eastern U.S. markets where it was carried. In the American hinterlands where I was raised, we had no idea it existed except for the Fawcett comic book and the great parody by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis in Mad #15.

The Secret of Sun City

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The Creatures of Doom!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Number 299

Billy and Bonny Bee to the rescue!

From New Funnies #79, September, 1943, comes this excellent 6-page strip by Frank Thomas.

As I explained the last time I posted a Billy and Bonny Bee story, the Frank Thomas who drew these characters was not the same Frank Thomas who was one of the Nine Old Men at Disney. But there is some sort of Disney connection: Billy and Bonny appear to be influenced by Disney's Bucky Bug. In my last "Billy and Bonny" posting I called it a funny animal strip, but "funny insects" is a sub-genre of "funny animals." A really small one. Get it? Insects, small? Oh well…maybe you had to be there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Number 298

Ghost Rider and The Haunted Tomb

Ghost Rider makes an appearance in this blog after several months. Last time I posted a Ghost Rider story was "League of the Living Dead." "The Haunted Tomb" is the cover story for Ghost Rider #7, from 1952, written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Dick Ayers and his cousin/assistant Ernie Bache. Love the cover: big snake and skulls. Yow. A Doc Wertham special!

The pencil checkmarks in some of the panels mean this particular copy is from the Cosmic Aeroplane collection, which turned up in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the late 1970s. The man who owned the comics had bought them off the stands from 1939 until his death in 1961. Several of the comics used in this blog have come from that collection, including all four issues of Jet by Bob Powell.

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Say what?

It's nice that some folks can keep it in the family!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Number 297

Pussycat wins!

What a babe! With a body like this Pussycat isn't built for speed, but she wins anyway. With guys especially. With protests over the upcoming Beijing Olympics headlines the past few weeks it's time to run an Olympics related story, and this is the only one I have. It's a funny Bill Ward story from the only issue of Pussycat, published by Marvel Comics in 1968.

There's another Pussycat strip by Ward in Pappy's #148.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Number 296

Foley of the Fighting 5th

You won't see a lot of Wild West-type comics on Pappy's cuz Pappy don't like 'em. Most of them, anyway; there are a few I like. Tom Gill's Lone Ranger and Dick Ayers' Ghost Rider spring to mind. I also like some of the DC Western comics, and I'll show you a couple as we ride along the dusty trail. I like this one from All-American Western #104, November 1948, because of the early Joe Kubert art. I like Joe's 1940s art but there are flaws, like the bad figure drawing on the bottom of page 4. John Giunta did the inking.

All-American Western, a continuation of All-American Comics, went for 24 issues, then became All-American Men Of War. In its war incarnation it lasted a lot longer than it did in its Western phase. This "Foley" strip is one of the stories in tear sheet form, cut out of the original comic books by a man who liked certain artists. The vandal would clip those stories and throw the rest of the book away. I got them over 25 years ago, hundreds of pages of loose tear sheets in a big box, and put them together like puzzles. It was probably that task that finally convinced me to wear glasses.

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Karswell, of The Horrors Of It All is posting a Zebra story today. He asked if I had any, and what I have is another of those crumbling stories cut from comics. The pages are much worse than the Foley story. They've disintegrated, as you can see, but the story is understandable…just screwy. John Doyle, the lawyer who is the Zebra, won't show up in any John Grisham novels. Considering how he represents this client I'm surprised he wasn't disbarred. The story, "The Phantom Philtre," was the last Zebra story, is from Green Hornet Comics #30, May-June, 1946, and is drawn by Bob Fujitani.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Number 295

Melvin Monster and Crazy Klutch

The Stanley Stories website has a funny Melvin Monster story from Melvin Monster #3. The lead-in page also tells of Stanley's lifelong battle with depression, which probably affected his themes and storytelling. He refused to seek treatment, instead letting his depressive episodes run their course. In that way he was like Charles Schulz, who worked out his depression in his comic strips for 50 years, refusing treatment because he thought it would take away his gift.

Ain't it funny how funny people can be so sad?

The Melvin Monster stories were written and drawn by Stanley, and they have a dark side to them. Melvin's parents threaten to turn him over to a bogeyman. As we find out in the story from Melvin Monster #5, Crazy Klutch isn't how he's portrayed by the parents. The strip is constructed like a shaggy dog story, ending different from what is expected.

As smart and good a writer as Stanley was I can't figure out him spelling daisies as "daisys".

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Number 294

Mr. Sardonicus

Author Ray Russell wrote the short story, "Sardonicus," which was made into the 1961 William Castle film, Mr. Sardonicus. It has nothing to do with this story, "Death Takes Four," from Strange Mysteries #13, October, 1953, but I thought I'd impress you with my knowledge of arcane trivia. Risus sardonicus, called rictus sardonicus in this strip, is a pretty horrible condition that contorts and freezes the face into a smile. You know, like all of the contestants on American Idol when they're being ripped a new blowhole by one of those idiot judges.

The sardonicus sufferer in "Death Takes Four" is a murderer who fakes--or think he's faking--insanity. It's by the Jerry Iger shop, and it's published by Superior, which used the worst printer in comic book history. My copy of this issue was a target. It has a couple of b-b holes through it, which shows what the previous owner thought of it.

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Say What?

No wonder they call him Sad "Sac."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Number 293

Bikini babes in space

Trust Fiction House to come up with undressed heroines to the rescue. This tale is from Planet Comics #69, Winter 1952, in turn reprinted from Planet #20, 1942. According to the GCD the breathless artwork is by Saul Rosen, an artist I'm not familiar with.

Fiction House plots are usually unmemorable for me. I just re-read this interplanetary story of jewels and a queen, also eventually undressed, and better write this while I can still recall it. The girls in the stories I can recall because they bought their work outfits from Frederick's of Hollywood.