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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Number 1936: Little House on Mars

If nothing else, this episode of the Ghost from Nedor’s Thrilling Comics #17 (1941) should serve as a jaw-dropping example of how many elements can be dropped into a story. Time machine to Mars. Red Martian rocks holding the essential component to a successful defense weapon for America. A little house, almost a log cabin, really, on Mars protected by a bunch of ugly little men with ray guns. And out of the door to said house comes a tall blonde girl in a bra top and miniskirt.

Oh, and the Ghost is a comic book magician, so there is some of that finger-waving hokus-pokus going on, also.

The Grand Comics Database credits the art to Ed Wexler, and the story to Richard E. Hughes. Hughes, who was also the editor, stuck with the comics until his death in the late '60s. In my opinion Hughes’ magnum opus was the Herbie series, which made the goings-on in a screwball tale like this Ghost story seem almost normal. But Herbie was intentionally funny.









Monday, August 22, 2016

Number 1935: Ghastly's real-life horror

Graham “Ghastly” Ingels’ gothic and moody artwork for EC Comics can still send a shiver to anyone encountering his work for the first time. But Ingels struggled with alcoholism, and it was (according to some) at EC that his drinking got worse. In an article in Filmfax Outré #5 (1996), author/interviewer Don Vaughn tells of Ingels’ drinking: “Ingels quickly became one of EC’s premiere [sic] talents, drawing the lead story in . . . Haunt of Fear, secondary stories for the two other horror title and the occasional crime tale. It was a grueling schedule, but Ingels was fast with a brush and had little trouble keeping up, says fellow EC alumni [sic] George Evans.

“It was during this period, associates recall, that Ingels’ drinking started to get out of hand. His work never suffered, but he occasionally missed deadlines, forcing EC editor Al Feldstein to give him advanced deadlines so that publishing schedules wouldn’t be affected. Sometimes, say friends, Ingels would disappear for days at a time — often with the completed artwork under his arm. Amazingly, he never once misplaced it.”

In the article Evans describes a ride home with Ingels after Ingels had imbibed several beers. “We would be tearing along at 65 miles per hour on the parkway and I would see lights a mile ahead and he would suddenly hit the brakes. Then we would be approaching traffic and he would put his foot on the gas pedal. At a given point, I would say, “Hey, Graham, you’re coming up on that pretty damned fast!” And he would say, “Not to worry, George, I’ve got everything under control.”

So Ingels drove drunk. He is lucky he and his passengers — or innocents in another car — didn’t end up looking like the cadaverous creatures he sometimes drew. As the article goes on, in later life Ingels backed off drinking so much, but by then it had ruined his marriage and his relationship with his children. Before he died in 1991 he reconciled with his daughter, but not his son. Alcoholism was the horror story Ingels lived. But there is some sort of happy ending: Ingels became a respected art teacher in Florida, and author Vaughn quoted some comments from Ingels’ students praising his teaching and artistic ability.

In a more traditional sense, Ingels’ paper nightmares, those he drew for EC Comics, are readily available in various forms, deluxe hardcover compilations to the original pre-Code comics to reprints of those comics. In the case of “Nobody There!” from Haunt of Fear #16 (1952), these are scans of the original art I am posting with grateful approbation to Heritage Auctions, who sold these eight pages for $28,680.









Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pappy's Sunday Supplement #1: Tarzan and rampaging dinos!

This coming Friday I am presenting a tribute to the anniversary of Tarzan, now 104 years old, and still swinging through the trees. But today I have an issue of Tarzan from Dell Comics, with a couple of dinosaur tales. It has been awhile since I have shown a Tarzan story illustrated by Jesse Marsh, and this is my way of atoning.

Pappy’s Sunday Supplement will be a sometime thing (I would like to do it at least once a month, but I am not promising. How is that for equivocation, eh? Like including fine print on a contract, I am not leaving myself open for breaking a promise if I don't get to it some months.) Like the weekly anniversary specials I did last month, I would like to show something special for these supplements.

I believe today’s entry qualifies for that special status. Using the 52-page format, two Tarzan stories could be shown, as well as the U.S. Post Office-decreed 2-page text story, and a serial. Tarzan #24 (1951) has two Tarzan stories with dinosaurs by Gaylord Dubois, drawn by Jesse Marsh, and the final chapter of “Two Against the Jungle," the serial that preceded the more famous and long-running “Brothers of the Spear,” which made its initial appearance in the next issue. Issue #25 was also the last of the 52-page issues, going back to 36-pages with #26. All of that information will be on the quiz. I hope you are taking notes.