Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Number 1283: Captain Daring's “gay courage and grim justice”

Reed Crandall demonstrates once again how illustrative comic art was done. I'm not saying other artists didn't share the gift of how to draw, and draw comic books, but Crandall had some sort of special mojo. He could draw anything in the Quality Comics line, and with his Captain Daring feature the headliner of Buccaneers, showed that historicals were also well within his considerable artistic abilities.

Despite that, Buccaneers, where this story appeared in #22 (1950) didn't last for long. No comic book featuring pirates ever did, although attempts were made. Buccaneers, Pirates from Hillman, and Piracy from EC, for all their exotic trappings, just didn't have staying power. And it's kind of odd, too, because pirates have been a popular subject in other media, especially movies. Captain Daring himself is taken from Erroll Flynn in Captain Blood. Buccaneers should've had easy sailin' in the crowded comic book waters, but instead was scuttled and sunk.


Brian Barnes said...

Another great artist that burned himself out -- like Wood and Ghastly.

I don't know what to say about pirate comics being short lived; while it does have super hero dynamics, One Piece (a super-power pirate manga) is (as far as I checked last) the world's best selling Manga, selling movies, tv shows, and comics to the point where there are entire rip-off theme parks dedicated to it. And it's been going on well over 15 years, selling near 260 million volumes.

That said, it's endless inventive, so it's a bit outside the kind of dry formula you'd usually see with pirate adventures.

Pappy said...

Apparently One Piece — and not being a manga fan I admit I've never heard of it — says something to its audience, but manga is outside the scope of my blog.

Eh? Crandall, Wood, Ghastly "burned [themselves]out"...?

Brian Barnes said...

A three of them suffered greatly in later life, with alcohol and eventually suicide for Wood. Fellow artists always said Wood "burned himself out" by his art. I think the same can be said for Crandall and Ghastly, Ghastly specifically who had a drinking problem (Al would mess with his due dates so he never knew he was being late with some art.)

Daniel [] said...

I think that it would be at best misleading to say that Crandall burned himself out. Family responsibilities dragged him away from NYC to Wichita, and he became an alcoholic in his attempts to cope with his burdens. Although he found the strength to give-up alcohol, I'd insist that some of his work towards the end of his career shows the damage done by the drinking. For example, his golden-age work is noted for how his figures are positioned in a way that mays their weight seem plausibly distributed, but that's quite lost in some of the work for Warren.

Pappy said...

Daniel, Brian, yes I knew of the alcoholism with all three men. I knew that Wood had diabetes. I didn't see much difference in the artwork of either Crandall or Ingels; Ingels quit comics and I assumed with Crandall that with his latter work he was going through the motions, but I thought he did a good enough job. Maybe I just wasn't looking close enough.

Brian Barnes said...

Daniel: Yup, that's true, as there were other circumstances that pushed Crandall down that path.

Pappy: I don't think you can say Ingels quit, but was forced to quit. He was so well associated with horror that there was next to no work for him after EC ended the horror comics, which is too bad, as he did great work in other genres.

Supposedly Ingels never liked doing the horror work and that contributed to the drinking, but that's all 2nd hand and maybe part revisionist history.