Monday, June 29, 2009

Number 549

Bank Robber Blues

Here's another hilarious story from ACG's funny animal Ha Ha Comics. "Those Bank Robber Blues" appeared in #59 from 1948.

I don't know the artist. GCD guesses Ken Hultgren. You laser beam-eyed art spotters out there tell me who did it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Number 548

Lee Elias' Green Lantern

Longtime comic artist Lee Elias drew every kind of comic book, including super heroes. I'm a fan of his Milton Caniff-styled artwork. Elias worked as Caniff's assistant for a time. The first time I saw his work was in the early '60s on Tommy Tomorrow for DC's Showcase. I searched out his earlier work, which included Black Cat for Harvey, a cute chick, Linda Turner, movie star by trade. Linda wore a mask and sexy costume for her alter-ego as a crime fighter.

This particular and un-sexy Green Lantern story, "Situation Wanted," is written by Robert Kanigher, penciled by Elias and inked by Bob Oksner.

I got this story circa 2003 from a DC fan web site; it's scanned from Comic Cavalcade #29, 1948. Comic Cavalcade was originally a DC anthology featuring stars like Wonder Woman, Flash and GL. If the original poster comes forward I'll give him credit.

Does anyone else find characters like Doiby Dickles completely obnoxious? Did kids of the era like this kind of comic relief? Ugh.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Number 547

Comics McCormick

Here's a story that up until now I've hesitated to show because of the racist character, Ajax. This sort of crude caricature wasn't uncommon in old comics, when racism was more upfront and public. I decided to show it, despite trepidations, because I like Ed Wheelan, a big favorite of mine since I discovered his 1920s comic strip, Minute Movies.

I've featured Wheelan before in Pappy's #215, a Minute Movies story he did in Flash Comics. You can check it out and see what I had to say about him.

"Comics McCormick" was published in the early EC Comics' Fat and Slat, a vaudeville-styled, "Mutt and Jeff"-inspired strip Wheelan did. The scans are from Fat and Slat #1, Summer 1947.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Number 546

The Shores of Horror

Web of Horror #1 came out in 1969, published by Cracked magazine's publisher, Bob Sproul. This issue used some (then) new artists, Berni Wrightson, Ralph Reese, Wayne Howard. It also used Don Norman, a name I believe is a pseudonym for Norman Nodel of Classics Illustrated fame, and the old Timely/Atlas/Marvel stalwart, Syd Shores. "Blood Thirst" would fit right into an Atlas horror comic, and showed that Shores lost nothing in the decade-and-a-half since the horror comics were erased by the Comics Code.

I especially like the dynamic panels of the crypt on page 3 and the vampire swooping in on page 4. Syd Shores learned his craft during the 1940s, batting out pages with Al Avison, carrying on Captain America from Simon and Kirby. His action figures jumped right off the page, as they do in this story.

Web of Horror lasted two more issues before expiring. Shores lasted four more years, dying in 1973. We fans lost both times.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Number 545

An Octeel for the Octomom!

George Tuska, another longtime veteran of the comic book wars, did the art for this science fiction short from St. John's Amazing Ghost Stories #16, the last issue of that title. Dated February 1955, it was also one of the last pre-Code comics. Comics with early '55 dates and no Code seal were usually the last of their breed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Number 543

Summer Camp stories

"What I Did At Summer Camp," by Pappy.

First of all, it was cold. It was wet, rained all the time. I had diarrhea, so I stayed close to the facilities. The sergeant made me clean rifles...

Wait a minute. That wasn't summer camp, that was Army basic training. Summer camp, when I was a kid, was actually a lot of fun! A lake, canoeing, swimming, leathercrafts in the afternoon...a big fire at night, marshmallows burned black, molten on the tongue. Or maybe I'm just thinking of an old episode of "Spin and Marty" from the Mickey Mouse Club.

Oh well, at least my memory isn't faulty when it comes to the Dell Giant Comics that arrived just before school let out for the summer. They were kind of a vicarious vacation, promising a lot of summer fun. I never had as much fun — or adventure — as the characters in the Dell Giants, but at least I had the comics, which I pored over. I bought this one, Little Lulu and Tubby at Summer Camp #2, in 1958. Not only did it contain one Little Lulu storytelling time with Alvin, a Witch Hazel story, but also a Tubby storytelling time with Alvin. I don't know if writer John Stanley ever did that again, but the story Tubby tells is every bit the whopper that is usually Lulu's imaginative stock in trade.

Not only did that break tradition, but having Lulu show up at the end of the story breaks the tradition from regular issues of Little Lulu, where the Tubby story at the end didn't have Lulu.

School's out...what are you doing that's fun this summer?

More summer camp from #1 of this series from Frank Young of Stanley Stories. You can access it here.