Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Number 763

"I Wake Up Screaming!"

Billy Graham, the comic book artist and not the evangelist, worked in comics in the late '60s and '70s. He did such characters as Luke Cage, Hero For Hire (mostly inking George Tuska, but doing occasional solo jobs) and the Jack Kirby-created Black Panther. When his work first started appearing some fans saw a resemblance to Graham Ingels' art. So the rumor, that Billy Graham was really Graham Ingels returned to comics, was born.

The girl in panel 3 of page 4 might have been what fooled people. It looks a lot like an Ingels drawing. Despite that the rumor was short-lived. Billy Graham, who was African-American, was a talented artist in his own right.

Graham, who became an art director for Jim Warren, did stories in the first dozen issues of Vampirella. "I Wake Up Screaming!" from Vampi #3, 1970, written and illustrated by Graham, is sort of time capsule of American stars of the era. See how many you can pick out. Graham did a good job rendering likenesses.

According to various sources on the Internet, Graham was born in 1935 and died circa 1990.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Number 762

The middle Atlas

Pappy reader John Kaminski gave me the germ of the idea for this post by requesting the story, "The Trap," from Atlas' Mystery Tales #42. It's only four pages and that doesn't seem like much of a post, so I looked around at some of the other Atlas post-Code comics I have. I've always seen these comics as being somewhere toward the late middle of the Timely/Atlas/Marvel progression of the 1940s to early '60s. Until the Atlas implosion of 1957 a lot of the old horror comics artists, who didn't quit comics, got work from Atlas in a severely shrunken market.

These are some examples I've chosen.

"The Trap," drawn by Bob Bean, is from Mystery Tales #42, 1956, as is "The Captive," by Jerry Robinson.

Two stories from World Of Mystery #4, from 1956: "Things In The Window" by Werner Roth, and "The Man With The Yellow Eyes" by Dick Ayers.

Rounding it out, "The Ghost Wore Armor," published in Journey Into Unknown Worlds #55, 1957, drawn by Bob Forgione and Jack Abel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Number 761

The Shadow and the curse of the cat!

I think the Shadow was one of the best pulp magazine heroes ever, and I can still read a Shadow novel by Walter Gibson and be caught up in the mystery. The Shadow made a transition to a popular radio show, and then into comic books. The era where the Shadow was drawn by Bob Powell and his studio (see Pappy's #622 for a picture) had some of the best artwork in that title's long run.

The cover for this issue is like a poster, and its graphic excellence must've popped out at the casual browser at the newsstand.

The story is from The Shadow Comics Volume 8 Number 1, from 1948. Here is a note from the Grand Comics Database about the story:
Curse of the Cat is adapted from the 01/20/46 SHADOW radioplay by Lawrence Crowley. [Note from Anthony Tollin on 17 August 2004] Also: "It's possible that Bruce Elliot did the adaptations, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if artist Bob Powell himself simply adapted the radioplays to comic format."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Number 760

Let's see Batman do this!

Madam Fatal is one of the most unique concepts in comics, especially 1940, when these two tales originally appeared. Madam Fatal was actually a man, a wealthy "retired actor" who spent his time dressed as a woman, chasing down the man who killed his wife and kidnapped his daughter. There's the crossdressing element that makes it seem titillating today. Or maybe not. Madam Fatal is an old "lady" after all. Despite its originality Madam Fatal as a feature didn't last long. There were a lot of comic books to fill and a lot of ideas for heroes that didn't work out, and Madam Fatal was one of them.

Underground cartoonist Kim Deitch did a hilarious take on Madam Fatal in Corn Fed Comics #1...but it's pornographic and I can't show it, much as I'd like to.

The stories are from Crack Comics #1 and #3, respectively, 1940, drawn by Art Pinajian.