Monday, June 30, 2008

Number 333

The Conscientious Klepto

Our girlfriend, Lady Danger, is back. As with the other two Lady Danger stories, shown in Pappy's #254 and Pappy's #302, our pretty young heroine is drawn by Bob Oksner, this time with inks by Bernard Sachs. The story is from Sensation Comics #86, February 1949.

Valerie Vaughn, Lady Danger, was one cute but tough tootsie! She could kick butt with the best of them. Unlike Wonder Woman, who was the headliner in Sensation Comics, Lady Danger depended on martial arts skills and smarts, not Amazonian-style super heroics.

She dressed well, too. I love the slacks and the high heels with the puffball on them. They look especially good buried in some bad guy's crotch when she turns him into a tenor.

Valerie Vaughn is va-va voom.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Number 332

Little Giant

This strip was drawn on spirit duplicator stencils by Ronn Foss and used in the first issue of Steve Gerber's 1962 fanzine, Headline. Gerber wrote it under a pen-name, S. G. Ross.

Foss was a popular fan artist and got a lot of requests to do artwork. He was older than Gerber or me, working with teenage fans too young to have drivers licenses. At the time he drew this he was a Post Office employee living in Suisun, California.

Like me, Gerber was young. He wrote "Little Giant" when he was 15 and it shows. No originality here. He even borrowed the War Wheel from Blackhawk.

In looking at the story now I'm struck by how "Comics Code" it reads. It reflects the type of thing we were reading in the mainstream comics of the early 1960s. Steve Gerber went on to bigger and better things, and made his name in the business. Ronn Foss never hit it big in the comics biz. He always drew, though. He moved east to a farm and did artwork for various publications right up until his death in 2001.

I don't have the second part to this story, but I'll bet the Little Giant wins.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Number 331

The bloody eyeball

The Thing #16, a Charlton horror comic from late '54, is notorious for having some sort of gory violence in every story: a spear through a guy's throat, a guy stabbed in the chest, a spike through a guy's cheeks. Kind of a one-note comic book! This story, "The Mentalist," has a spear thrown into a guy's eyeball. It's what Doc Wertham called "the injury to the eye motif." Whatever, this is one gruesome comic book.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Number 330

The Day That Vanished

The Hairy Green Eyeball is having a "Flying Saucer Week," and I'm joining in the celebration. I scanned this great story by Reed Crandall from Twilight Zone #14 several months ago, then forgot it until I saw the Eyeball's blog on Sunday. I posted a flying saucer story that day, too.

This Twilight Zone story has the aura of alien abduction mystery, missing time. That could creep me out because I've experienced missing time. But mine is more along the lines of, "Where did all the damn time go?" as I get older and my life hits warp speed.

Good story, and of course the Crandall art is great.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Number 329

No high-hattin' for Hatlo!

While I was growing up Jimmy Hatlo was one of my cartooning heroes. I turned to his single-panel feature first thing every morning, and read his Sunday panels religiously . (The Sunday funnies were the only religion I got or wanted on Sunday.)

I loved the ironic humor, the foibles of people pointed out by Hatlo through his contributors: his readers. Hatlo, who had been a sports cartoonist, had a wonderful ability to connect to his fans, who read his panels and said, "Yeah! I recognize that situation!" Saying that, it must've been havoc around the Hatlo studio, opening thousands of envelopes and reading submissions by the train car load. I wonder if they ever did a cartoon about that?

These panels are from a David McKay Co. 1943 hardcover collection of They'll Do It Every Time panels. Like the greatest cartoonists, Hatlo could draw not only funny faces, but perspective and architecture. His panels are rich with detail, eye candy everywhere. And everything looks right. The office settings he drew aren't Dilbert's, that's for sure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Number 327

Fremont Frog's devilishly heavenly music

As you might have guessed by now from past Pappy's postings, I really like Jack Bradbury. Fremont Frog was a character he drew (maybe wrote, also?) for Giggle Comics. This is from #52, April 1948. Funny story with top notch Bradbury art.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Number 326

John Stanley's Mudman

In "The Mudman" from Tales From The Tomb, the Dell Giant Comic from 1962, John Stanley again shows us his storytelling skills. I don’t know who the artist is. A boy and his dog go into a swamp, encounter a monster, the dog saves the boy. It's a compact and intense story. There are some Stanley-isms. With some changes this could be a humor story. There are panels where you can visualize Tubby or Melvin Monster running while yelling, "Ma-a-a-a!" or at the kitchen table hollering, "No Ma! No, no, no!"

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Number 324

Rat Man!

Today Karswell of The Horrors Of It All and I are running two versions of the same story: He has the printed version of Bob Powell's "The Rat Man" from Harvey Comics' Tomb Of Terror #5, and I am showing the original art. Wish I owned this art, but I stole…errrrrrrrr…I mean borrowed it from the Internet.

This is a good example of how Powell used blue watercolor to indicate to the color artist where he wanted color emphasis. You can compare these pages to the printed pages and see if he got through to that colorist.


...and while we're showing original art, here are three pages I bought over 20 years ago at the San Diego Comics Convention, all hand-picked for their horror qualities, drawn by a couple of superfine Filipino artists.

"Beware the Snare of the Tarantula," from Witching Hour #54, is drawn by Jess Jodloman, written by EC Comics vet Carl Wessler. Love that Modred figure in the splash panel. Love the whole splash panel!*

Fellow EC vet Jack Oleck wrote "Way of the Werewolf," and here's a great page by Gerry Talaoc. A really nice werewolf tale, and this issue, House Of Mystery #231, has an incredible cover by Bernie Wrightson.

My thanks to best friend Dave Miller for doing the work of stitching the pages together via Photoshop.

*After posting this Karswell sent me this poster for The Fly, which obviously influenced the splash. Thanks, Karswell!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Number 323

Golden Lad finds a haven for all

Here's a fine example of artist Mort Meskin at the top of his form on a Golden Lad story. Since I scanned this from tear sheets I don't know what issue it came from. Golden Lad only went five issues, so one of my astute readers will tell me which one it was. Grand Comics Database doesn't have the information on this particular story.

Mort Meskin is an artist who was prolific for decades and an inspiration to other artists, including a teenaged Joe Kubert.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Number 322

How deep is death? How much salve do I have to sell to win a pony?

From Mystic #31, 1954, comes this tale of getting in over your head; getting wet without going near the water. Jack Katz drew it. He went on to do The First Kingdom for Bud Plant.

By coincidence, the back cover of this issue is an ad for White Cloverine Brand Salve*, which uses the underwater motif.

I hope the kids did better than the murdering husband in the Jack Katz story.

*Ads like these were all over the comics for many, many years. Tony Kornheiser tells a funny story about this salve and its marketing techniques. I was surprised to find out it's still being made, although not by the original company, and it's not being marketed the same way, either. It was a product just made for comic books and young entrepreneurs.