Wednesday, May 22, 2019
In “Herbie, Boy ‘Beetle’” the Beatles really aren’t prominent; they appear in a few panels and then vanish, leaving the rest of the story to Eibreh and jealousy from established artists Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Just when you think the story couldn’t get any screwier, Dean and Frank assault Herbie by cracking objects over his head. That physical stuff never works on Herbie, who is impervious to harm..
Written for Herbie #5 (1964) by ACG editor Richard E. Hughes under the name Shane O’Shay, and drawn by the master of deadpan humor, Ogden Whitney. Herbie is, as always, a very unusual hero. And we love him, yeah yeah yeah.
Monday, May 20, 2019
My jaw dropped to my desktop when I saw the cover of Captain Marvel Jr #115 (1952). Good thing I have a beard to cushion the impact. As we have seen before, Fawcett used horror for some of the Marvel Family titles, seeing as how horror comics were the big sellers in that period. The illustration by Bud Thompson is a good example of what Dr Fredric Wertham, M.D. in his 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, called the injury to the eye motif. In this era of graphic horror movies this cover does not seem as shocking today as it probably was to readers in 1952. What I can say about it now, decades later, is it is one that Dr Wertham missed.
Graphic eyeball violence notwithstanding, I like the story. “The Thousand Eyed Idol of Doom,” is credited to artist Bud Thompson, and script by William Woolfolk, according to the Grand Comics Database. Oh yeah, and flying eyeballs are the flying saucers!
Friday, May 17, 2019
“Atom Bomb Thief!” was written and drawn by Harvey Kurtzman for Weird Fantasy #14 (actual issue #2, 1950).*
At the time there was a lot of talk about atomic secrets being stolen, and the Russians building their own bomb (the Soviet Union detonated their first nuclear bomb on August 29, 1949, so it was in the news.) Besides the pay-off of the story being obvious, EC Comics used those snappy surprise endings so often the ending was not a real surprising surprise, but at least appropriate to the build up.
SPOILER ALERT: Kurtzman used a real life nuclear test as his ending, the Baker bomb test at Bikini Atoll in July, 1946. Camera footage from that test was used at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s dark 1964 fantasy, Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.END SPOILER
Kurtzman’s story was also a way for him to use some cinematic effects in his drawings, enhancing the storytelling. I especially like the the layouts of the first and last pages.
*Weird Fantasy had been “formerly A Moon...A Girl...Romance” in order to save on having to buy a new second class postal permit. In this case they got caught after five issues, so they had to start re-numbering with issue number 6. The result was issue numbers repeated later on, affecting issue numbers 13 through 17.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
I am showing this story because I like mechanical giants like the Steel Colossus. What a delight to read on the Grand Comics Database that Batman co-creator and scriptor, Bill Finger, is the author. I probably got my love for those types of huge villainous devices in the fifties from reading Batman.
Artists are the regulars, Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera.