Friday, January 21, 2011
Day four--and final---of Superzeroes Week:
We started this week with Dynamic Man, a story drawn under the influence of artist Lou Fine.
Doing this posting seems a bit like sacrilege. When I entered comic fandom the work of Lou Fine was venerated. It was the comic book equivalent of Da Vinci or Michaelangelo. So what if some of the stories Fine drew were hopelessly dumb, like this origin story of the Black Condor from Crack Comics #1, 1940? He was LOU FINE. And he was part of the Will Eisner group of artists doing some of the very best artwork of that early era of comic books.
And I do admire the artwork, except when I read this story I'm struck by how bad this origin story is. And it's not just because it was written 70 years ago. I believe it was just as bad in 1940. Richard Grey Jr. is a foundling adopted by a Mama Condor. She feeds him. The idea of him swallowing regurgitated condor food, which is--urp! gag!--carrion (think of dead cattle, bloated and stinking). Revolting. The child grows up, but he takes a long time. Well, that's what humans do. We have a long childhood so our larger brains can develop. Dick seems determined to do what his fellow condors do, which is fly, so he uses that human brainpower to figure out air currents and such and pretty soon he's flying just like a condor.
I'm aware the Black Condor was revived, although I haven't read any of the modern stories.
What I can tell you about this origin story is a) the art by Lou Fine is very fine; b) the story is attributed to Will Eisner by the GCD, and I'm sorry Eisner fans, but it is stupid.