Friday, March 30, 2012

Number 1131: Mo Gollub's Leonora the Beautiful

According to biographical information available online for Morris “Mo” Gollub, he worked at Disney in animation, and got into comic books thanks to “his friend, Walt Kelly.”

I must say, Mo moved in the best circles.

Gollub illustrated some comics, including “Leonora the Beautiful,”attributed to him by the Grand Comics Database. It's from Fairy Tale Parade, Four Color #114 (1946). But he is primarily known as an illustrator, and cover artist for Dell. He did some knockout covers, including these for Turok #11 (1955) and Tarzan #121 (1960). Tyrannosaurus lover that I am, these two dramatic covers are among my favorites.

Turok Son of Stone #11, 1956.

Tarzan #121, 1960

Not only did Gollub draw great dinosaurs, but he had a firm grasp of anatomy, as shown in the original art for a Tarzan cover. This striking painting displays his knowledge not only of the human figure, but  animals as well.

Tarzan #71, 1955.

“Leonora the Beautiful” is not a typical comic book story because it is told in captions. I don’t think captions-only always works in a comic book story, but it does here.

Mo Gollub, who was born in 1910, died in 1984.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Number 1130: The Talking Head

It’s an election year in America, and television is full of talking heads. Those are people who sit around a table and endlessly talk politics, political strategy, polls, statistics...blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! I’m a voter, and I know for whom I’m voting. I suspect many other citizens are the same, but we put up with these damn talking heads...I wish I had a job where I got paid a huge amount of money to be a gasbag. As it is, I'm doing my gasbagging right here for free.

On to today’s post, which, beyond the title, has nothing to do with my rant on television. “The Talking Head” is a Ghost Rider tale, drawn by Dick Ayers for Best Of the West #4. That title used the four Western stars of the ME Comics line: Durango Kid, Straight Arrow, Ghost Rider and Tim Holt. Best Of the West was a very nice comic book which had a run of twelve quarterly issues between 1951 and 1954.

The Indian babe, Fawn Woman, reminds me of what Harvey Kurtzman once said in Mad: “. . . if they'd had girls like this, the Wild West would have been a lot wilder!”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Number 1129: Charles Biro and Bob Wood's eye a-peel

As I mentioned a few days ago, Bob Wood, who partnered with Charles Biro to create and edit Crime Does Not Pay, a few years later was convicted of killing a girlfriend. The story is told in the trade paperback, Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped: Crime Does Not Pay, from Dark Horse Comics, along with over 200 pages of crime comic book stories from that magazine.

These two stories predate Crime Does Not Pay. They're from Daredevil #11 (1942), which was published soon after war was declared against Japan, and I've included a centerspread board game called "Slap the Jap." Sorry for the racist content, folks. It was wartime, and it's interesting, an elaborate game for a comic book.

Biro's early stuff was as lurid as he could make it. He knew what got attention on newsstands, and he hewed to primary colors to make his stories stand out. Quality Comics was doing much the same thing. Someone once commented that coloring like this is "like taking a potato peeler to your eyeballs." Even so, for emphasis I've given the coloring a little extra push to make it really bright. If any eye damage occurs, well, sorry. You've been warned.

I have shown both these stories before, a few years ago, but these are brand new scans.

Bob Wood's story of The Claw, despite his drawing, has a lot of energy to it, though, just as Biro's tale of a murderous horror movie star does. That kind of energy went into Crime Does Not Pay when that publication began with a date a month later than this issue of Daredevil, July 1942 to the Daredevil date of June.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Number 1128: Alex Toth in the Land Unknown!

Number 1128

Alex Toth in the Land Unknown!

This is one of my favorite Alex Toth art jobs, done for Dell in 1957 as a tie-in to the Universal movie.

Toth penciled and inked. He used a pen, filling in blacks with a brush. See the original art for page 27 (downloaded from Heritage Auctions) I've inserted after the printed page for a good look at his technique. Years later Toth went to felt tip pens for inking, although he probably could have used a toothpick dipped in road tar and come up with something great. He was just talented, regardless of the tools he used.

The lettering looks like his, and—dare I say it?—I believe he could have colored the book, too. Comic book colorists are usually addicted to color filling in any area where white should be, but there's lots of white space in this book, used very effectively, too. The coloring job is excellent, which makes me believe he had something to do with it. That's a guess on my part, so take it for what it's worth. If there's anything I don't like it's the shape of his speech balloons, but that's an awfully small quibble for an otherwise masterful job.