Sunday, February 08, 2009

Number 467

Black Hood is back in the 'hood

Thanks to correspondent 1506NixNix for scans from the old MLJ Comics. Nix provided the origin of Cliff Campbell and Al Camy's Black Hood in Pappy's #382 last September. I'm finally getting around to showing the second of the series, from Top-Notch Comics #10, December 1940.

I've mentioned before that in their early days the MLJ Comics line was pretty wild. The cover is the kind that would make parents cringe. Anyone randomly flipping through the book might spot the gruesome hanged man on page 3. MLJ morphed into Archie Comics, and replaced their devil horns with a halo.

There is another kind of sin here; a storytelling sin. The hero, after the first page, doesn't show up again in costume until page 10.


Booksteve said...

For all of their explicit, casual violence, I've found over the years that I prefer MLJ to any other Golden Age comics for generally superior story and art (with the posssible exception of DC/AA).

Mr. Cavin said...

"There is another kind of sin here; a storytelling sin."

Um, yeah. It's Ethel Lina White's 1936 novel The Wheel Spins, adapted for the screen as The Lady Vanishes by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938--only now the three main characters have been re-tasked into a silly Black Hood story in 1940. If you ask me, that's going from the top to the bottom pretty fast.

But thanks for the awesome curiosity, Pappy! I especially liked the frame-within-a-frame when Margaret Lockwood ticks-off the Football nuts. There were some conventions of graphic storytelling back the thirties and forties, a freedom within the rigid squares of the golden age, that are really missing from the stories of the fifties.

Daniel [] said...

Doesn't anybody ever cut-down some who was strung-up just seconds earlier? Is doing that considered to be cheating or somesuch?


carreaux said...

May I just say as a Briton what an outrage it is that the characters of Charters and Caldicott were transformed from cricket enthusiasts into football fans in cheap suits. I shall write to The Times to protest.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure I've ever seen such a barefaced piece of plagiarism before, and that's saying something. I'm reasonably sure it's based on the film rather than the novel, primarily because I believe the characters of Charters and Caldicott were invented as comic relief by the scriptwriters, Gilliat and Launder, who held copyright on them and so used them again in several subsequent scripts like "Night Train to Munich."