Sunday, July 31, 2011

Number 991

"If you go out in the woods today..."

According to Don Markstein's Toonopedia website, the Flame was created in 1939 by Will Eisner and Lou Fine for Fox Features' Wonderworld Comics #3. This particular episode, from Fox's Big 3 Comics #6, is dated November, 1941. The Flame was gone by January, 1942. A brief flaming career, snuffed out like a candle.

Also according to Toonopedia, the Flame's first appearance pre-dated the Human Torch by a few months.

This story seems old, even for 70 years ago when it appeared, because despite its comic book trappings and superheroics, it's just an old fashioned melodrama. The rich guy will foreclose on the mortgage unless the daughter of his enemy marries him! Baaaaa-hahaha! All he needs is a top hat, cape, and a long mustache to twirl. Wait a mo'...he does have a long mustache when he's in the persona of the monster kidnapper. Ooops. I didn't spoil it for you, did I? I thought the denouement was telegraphed quite early in the story, so if you hadn't guessed you were probably not reading, just scanning the bright primary-colored artwork.

Speaking of artwork, attribution is given to comic book journeymen Pierce Rice and Arturo Cazeneuve.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Number 990

Mothman to the flame

This well drawn story by Gil Kane and John Giunta is from Mystery In Space #3, 1951. Kane learned his comic art lessons well since the 1948 crime story of his I showed you in Pappy's #787. In "Vengeance of the Moth" with Kane's powerful drawings of the human figure in action you're getting an advance look at his work on Green Lantern and The Atom a few years later.

The story has nothing to do with space, despite appearing in Mystery In Space. It likely belonged in Strange Adventures, and perhaps it was placed in this comic to fill up a hole left by an artist who wasn't as fast as Kane.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Number 989

Statues and tombs

Lou Cameron is one of the better artists of the early '50s horror comics. His work popped up with regularity, even if he didn't seem to be exclusive with any one publisher. Cameron usually signed his name to his work, when many other artists didn't.

A few years later Lou traded his drawing board for a typewriter. He went into writing paperback novels, which was a very good career move.

A couple of years ago via e-mail I was in touch with Lou's son-in-law, who reported Cameron was quite elderly, but still living. Let's hope that's still true.

"The Night the Statues Walked" is from Ace Comics' Web Of Mystery #19, 1953, and "Within the Tomb of Terror," is from Chilling Tales of Horror, a black-and-white reprint magazine from 1970. Under its original title, "The Tomb of Terror," it was published in ACG's Forbidden Worlds #5, 1951. I featured it five years ago in Pappy's #47. The scans are pretty bad, but if you've got to see it you can click on the link.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Number 988

The Ditsy Chicks

Owen Fitzgerald was an animator, first with Disney, then Fleischer Brothers, then went into comic book work with the Sangor (ACG) shop. At some point he went to DC and did Adventures Of Bob Hope comics (a very well done comic book, by the way, in both writing and art), then at another point replaced Al Wiseman as the artist on the Dennis the Menace comic books. Fitzgerald died in 1994.

Bob Wick (Wickersham) was also an animator/comic book artist, and did excellent work for ACG, including the wonderful Kilroys comic book. These two stories, Moronica by Fitzgerald and Our Kid Sister by "Bob Wick", appeared in The Kilroys #28, from 1951. As a character Moronica is more from the My Friend Irma mold, and sixty years later, dumb blonde jokes are still funny. As for Sis, she's a normal teenager, easily distracted in her own little world.

Something I really like about Fitzgerald's artwork is economy of line. He doesn't have any more lines in his drawings than what needs to be shown. His inking is beautiful. He made it look easy, which as we all know, means it isn't easy at all.

Wickersham's Kid Sister is in motion all the time; I love the sequence in the chair while she talks on the phone. I also like that she wants to save her comic books when she thinks the house is on fire. Personally, I would have gone for the comics first, records second (records being more easily replaced than comic books), but everyone has their priorities. She'd even try to save her pictures of Van Johnson. Like I said, ditsy.