Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Foley of the Fighting 5th
You won't see a lot of Wild West-type comics on Pappy's cuz Pappy don't like 'em. Most of them, anyway; there are a few I like. Tom Gill's Lone Ranger and Dick Ayers' Ghost Rider spring to mind. I also like some of the DC Western comics, and I'll show you a couple as we ride along the dusty trail. I like this one from All-American Western #104, November 1948, because of the early Joe Kubert art. I like Joe's 1940s art but there are flaws, like the bad figure drawing on the bottom of page 4. John Giunta did the inking.
All-American Western, a continuation of All-American Comics, went for 24 issues, then became All-American Men Of War. In its war incarnation it lasted a lot longer than it did in its Western phase. This "Foley" strip is one of the stories in tear sheet form, cut out of the original comic books by a man who liked certain artists. The vandal would clip those stories and throw the rest of the book away. I got them over 25 years ago, hundreds of pages of loose tear sheets in a big box, and put them together like puzzles. It was probably that task that finally convinced me to wear glasses.
Karswell, of The Horrors Of It All is posting a Zebra story today. He asked if I had any, and what I have is another of those crumbling stories cut from comics. The pages are much worse than the Foley story. They've disintegrated, as you can see, but the story is understandable…just screwy. John Doyle, the lawyer who is the Zebra, won't show up in any John Grisham novels. Considering how he represents this client I'm surprised he wasn't disbarred. The story, "The Phantom Philtre," was the last Zebra story, is from Green Hornet Comics #30, May-June, 1946, and is drawn by Bob Fujitani.
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Another first time glimpse at a golden age tale for a character who I was familiar with by name only.
Dr. Diabole was a nice foil for the "Nimble Nemesis" too.
Boy, the Striped Striker sure isn't above tooting his own horn, is he? :) I guess when you've got a costume like the Zebras, you have to be very aggressive about getting your positive PR out there!
Dr. Diabole is a great-looking villain--very gruesome. I'd like to see more of him even than the Zebra.
But of course there are a lot of confusing things in this--did they allow hearsay as evidence in the 40s? (I can't produce the Zebra, but I can tell you what he told me!) How did Diabole survive his acid bath? And where can I find my nearest local EATOMAT? :)
Great stuff Pappy--I found your blog through Karswell's, and I'll definitely be coming back.
I'm super glad you decided to post this story after all Pappy, and despite the crumbling page edges it still reads well enough. For all it's strengths in the art and the unabashed, no holds barred action packed fun, (including the story I posted today) it's kind of obvious why the Zebra aka The Gallant Crime-Cracker (ha?) never caught on with fans as he's never more memorable than his evil foe of the month. Even the narrative strains to make him more appealing: "It must have been a nerve-wracking site as Zebra stalked Diabole..." uh yeah, in his red short shorts and zebra fur shirt-- REAL nerve-wracking. And surely by this point in comic history every villian knows that hanging someone by rope over a vat of anything with a slow burning candle never works. Especially if the villian doesn't stick around to see the actual death occur.
But it's all just cornball cool enough to leave me wanting more... we've seriously got to find more of these Zebra tales Paps, especially the Gore of the Vampire tale from Green Hornet #23 which sounds like it should give both our posts a run for the money:
I'm sure Dr. Diabole's next lawyer, if there was one, had many grounds for appeal, like a defense attorney putting his own client in the electric chair, and a judge who graduated from the Judge Roy Bean College of Law.
As for the Zebra's costume, I edited this out of my blog, but what the hell...looking at him reminded me of an outdoor jazz concert where I saw a cross-dressing male who wore a very similar outfit, tight short-shorts, tight striped shirt. Jeez, maybe he was a Zebra fan! He wore platform wedgie sandals and lots of eye makeup instead of boots and a mask. I guess if the Zebra dressed like that he could always distract his enemies with the shock--or yok--value.
But hey, guys...how 'bout that Foley of the Fighting 5th? Or did anybody read that one?
Everything is good about Zebra comics except The Zebra.
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