Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Number 2557: No man is an island...not even Samar

Besides sharing his name with an island in the Philippines, Samar is another white jungle guy. He appeared in Feature Comics from 1940 to 1942, and shared something with the much more successful character, the Phantom. They were both headquartered in India, which often looks more like Africa. 

Nicholas Viscardi (who later went by Nick Cardy) and Ted Cain are credited with creating the character Samar. Viscardi/Cardy, born in 1920, was just a youngster when he began his comic book career. This story, which appeared in Feature Comics ##32 (1940), is not credited for a writer by the Grand Comics Database, but gives Maurice Gutwirth credit for the artwork. 


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Number 2556: “Feed me, Seymore!”

Artist Tom Sutton might have used Little Shop of Horrors as the springboard for “A Budding Evil,” which he wrote and drew. That is the original version of the movie, and not the remake, which would not be made for ten years from the time of the story’s publication. That aside, the comic book story is a six page horror story from Charlton, only without real horror, unless big scary plants give you the shivers. I would appreciate looking at a ghastly corpse or two. (I am effectively housebound except for trips for groceries, or a walk with Mrs Pappy, and it has turned me into...what? A grumpy old comic book reader who needs the sight of blood to satisfy his homicidal thoughts.)

The indicia says this is from Charlton’s Haunted #35, with additional title added to the cover, Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library. It appears that Charlton changed the title of the comic book, but not officially, so it wasn’t necessary to pay the U.S. Postal Service for a new mailing permit. The comic book has no Comics Code badge on the cover, so I was hoping it would have an EC Comics-like scene. The indicia told me this was a reprint of a 1964 original printing, and I guess that printing had the old familiar Code approval.

P.S. “Homicidal thoughts” is just a joke, you know. Ha. Ha. No need to call the police.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Number 2555: An all-wet drama

Navy Jones was a character inspired by Sub-Mariner. He was created as an undersea dweller through surgery, despite being a great-great-grandson of Davy Jones. The artwork, by Bert Whitman, who also created the character for Victor Fox’s line of comic books, is okay as an artist, but not exceptional. Jack Kirby appears in this particular issue, and there is a Joe Simon cover, so Navy Jones, done by Whitman, appears in the company of fair to excellent artists. Styles and drawing ability were all over the place in a typical Fox Features comic published over 80 years ago. Comic book fans eight decades ago could flip through the pages of a comic book like Science Comics and and not feel that anything was too far removed from that of other publishers.

I admit to being interested in the Navy Jones story because I like the villains of the tale, which include a huge one-eyed octopus. Its master, the evil and ugly prime minister, says to Navy Jones and his princess sweetheart, “The octopus will strangle you to death and drink the blood out of your crushed body.” A dire threat. But never fear, Navy Jones has a pepper shaker handy to fend off the octopus. That sounds somewhat original. Really. I kid you not.

From Science Comics #4 (1940):

Monday, September 06, 2021

Number 2554: Having the time of his life...or death

I like stories about time travel, aliens from other planets, dinosaurs, and Murphy Anderson’s artwork. So we have all of those elements in “The Cycle of Time.” A driver hits and kills a man with his car, some alien scientists land and claim they are from Alpha Centauri. The aliens and the hit-and-run driver then all go back in time.

Those alien “scientists” say that Alpha Centauri is “a solar system trillions of light years away from the Earth and the sun.” I looked it up: Alpha Centauri is a galaxy, not a solar system, and it is 4.367 light years away, not trillions. Some scientists, eh? At least they have a time machine. (Note: I neglected my homework. Go to the comments below and read the corrections for my errors about Alpha Centauri. Chagrined, but glad to be set straight. Pappy)

Artist Murphy Anderson was one of my favorite artists in DC Comics, and I liked his work on the series, Atomic Knights, in early '60s issues of DC’s Strange Adventures. During his career Anderson did a lot of science fiction, including a couple of stints as the “Buck Rogers” artist in newspapers.

There are no writing credits for “The Cycle of Time,” but Jerry Siegel was the editor, and a guess would be that he may have written some of the stories.

From Weird Thrillers #2 (1951):