Friday, July 30, 2010

Number 781

Backwoods gal makes good!

This story, from St. John's Cinderella Love #13, 1953, feeds into a stereotype of country folks, if you see it as something of Li'l Abner, only done more seriously. Betty Lou lives with her lazy pappy and hard-working mammy in Arkansas, where she has to walk 30 miles to a hog-callin' contest. Betty Lou is accosted by Hurd Maxwell, a hillbilly her pappy is having a feud with. Hurd has rape on his mind, but he's interrupted by the movie feller from Hollywood. That's where this unlikely story veers from stereotype into outright fantasy, and the story ends with Betty Lou a movie star. (I don't write these things...I just post them.)

Maybe Hurd Maxwell had been reading some of these paperback books of the era, where backwoods girls are mighty sexy, and mighty easy.

John Benson's excellent book on St. John's love comics, Romance Without Tears, is still available from "My Prince Charming" is not included in Benson's book.

Starting this Sunday, August 1, a special theme month for Pappy's. Each week will feature a genre of comics. First up, "Science Fiction Week," followed by "Crime Does Pay" week, "Un-super Superheroes" week, and finally, "Comical Comics" week. I had a great time finding stories to fit into the themes and I believe you'll enjoy them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Number 780

The long and short of Rackman

Rackman,* who appeared for a short time in Airboy Comics, had a tricky secret. He was a dwarf standing on a rack which he wore under his trouser legs. He could make the rack go up and down, increasing or decreasing his height. No elevator shoes for Rackman. The story doesn't explain that this rack system would be akin to walking on stilts, and trying to look taller while walking around would give one herky-jerky movements, at least. Perhaps Rackman, who shared this secret with his family, all dwarfs, had the trick down pretty well after years of practice.

The artwork is by Bernard Sachs and Carmine Infantino; it's from Airboy Comics Volume 4 Number 4, 1947:

*Yes, I'm aware of modern slang usage of the word "rack" and what a "rackman" would be.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Number 779

The little girl who always laughed

A classic by John Stanley, originally from Little Lulu #21, reprinted in the Dell Giant, Little Lulu and Alvin Storytelling Time, from 1959.

I can't give the deep insight that Frank Young of the Stanley Stories blog gives to John Stanley's stories, but what I've determined from this tale are the debilitating effects of low self-esteem, looksism, and the psychologically healing powers of rhinoplasty. If you're in this situation and need it, I suggest you contact your local medical association for a good plastic surgeon. Do not attempt this at home.

Today is the fourth anniversary of this blog. Who'da thunk it? Knowing and understanding my own short attention span, when I started this endeavor in 2006 I had no idea I'd still be at it by now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Number 778

Americommando and the Little One

Americommando was a character in his third incarnation: He had been Tex Thomson from Action Comics #1 to #33; he was Mr. America until #54, and then none other than President Roosevelt sent him to commando school and he became Americommando.

Created and drawn by Bernard Baily, an artist working in comics since their earliest days, and also co-creator of Hourman and Spectre. His villain in these consecutive stories from 1943, Action Comics #57 and #58, is a grotesque character, half Japanese and half Prussian...and wow, you couldn't get much more villainous than that combination in those dark days of World War II. (As always, these racist caricatures can be painful to look at with modern sensibilities, and all I can say is they were created in a different time.)

Americommando didn't last out the war, losing his position in Action by #74 in 1944. Baily went on to be an editor, writer, artist and publisher, and eventually ended up back at DC Comics. He died at age 80 in 1996.