Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Spacemen Against the Supernatural
Except for a roster of artists, the American Comics Group was a one-man office: editor/writer Richard E. Hughes, using pseudonyms like Shane O'Shea, Bob Standish, Zev Zimmer, Lafcadio Lee, and the "author" of this story, Kurato Osaki. It seems only fitting that Hughes used pen-names since Hughes wasn't his real name, which is said to have been Leo Rosenbaum.
This is one of those stories you just have to read to believe that it came from someone's brain. The best character in "Spacemen Against the Supernatural" is the villain. On the first page we see that Nazi scientist Hans Ehrlich has invented a modern rack for torture, an improvement on the gas ovens to kill millions (the word "Jews" unused but understood), and finally we find he was a big part of the V2 rocket program. Yet he's a secondary character. The main character is a typical Hughes doofus.
Hughes was big on hyperbole and not against stretching whatever point it was he was making, so he gives dialogue to the "writer," and artist, Whitney. Whitney "says" for this story he drew in two separate styles. Of course he didn't draw in separate styles, just his usual Ogden Whitney style, which is characterized by solid pencilling and composition, and very precise inking.
All we'd need in this outrageously off-the-wall plot is Herbie and his lollipops and it would be a perfect story.
The Fortress of Fortitude blog shows an even more zany Hughes/Whitney story, "Reggie Rides a Rocket."
Midnight Mystery was an ACG title that lasted 7 issues, and this is the only one I own. This is issue #2, dated March-April 1961.