Sunday, January 30, 2011

Number 887

Star Ranger #1

Dave Miller, to whom I salaam deeply in thanks, provided scans for a recent acquisition of his, Star Ranger #1. He found a coverless copy and agreed to scan it for me so I can show it to you. Star Ranger #1, dated February, 1937, is the first Western comic, but also significant because it is a platinum age comic book using original material, while many comics were still doing reprints of newspaper comics.

Some of the artwork is very good, but some is crude, some of the stories even cruder. There are racist depictions of Mexicans and at least one ugly page of caricatured black people. For those I apologize, with the excuse that it was the way things were done in those days, without regard to any offense they might cause.

I have reduced the size of Dave's scans, but essentially left them alone so you can see the comic as he bought it, as it survived 74 years until it came into his possession. The cover I took from the Heritage Auctions site.


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this one, Pappy. Those old Centaur books were Jurassic, but interesting.

borky said...

Pappy: "I have essentially...left [Dave's scans] alone so you can see the comic as he bought it, as it survived 74 years until it came into his possession."

That's one of the reasons I keep coming back here, Pappy, because your blogging style radiates this intense awareness a comic's not something meant to be left forever virginally pristine in a plastic bag - it's a thing meant to be read, to have its pages actually touched, actually turned, as a result of which it'll've inevitably incurred a history of its life on earth in the form of all manner of 'battle scars': creases, tears, stains, adhesions, marks, cigarette burns - you name it.

As a kid, the older the comic, the more alive it felt to me, which is why I could never understand - and still half don't - why a safely sealed-in comic that's never been read before could be worth so much more than another copy of the same comic which's somehow contrived to withstand the rough handling and sticky little fingers of countless generations of 'kids' to survive right into the present.

Daniel [] said...

I really appreciate getting a chance to see this, Pappy!

Chuck Wells said...

Interesting! I've always been curious about this old comic, so thanks to both of you for the neat scans.

Pappy said...

Borky, sometimes it's good to just show a comic book like it exists in real life: a chipping, folded, creased and brittle, much read and much handled pile of browning newsprint.

I am of your philosophy: putting comic books in plastic may make them worth more to an investor, but they are useless to me and I won't have any slabbed comics in my collection.

Darkmark, Chuck, Daniel, thanks for your comments. To my friend Dave, thanks again for the scans.

Chuck Wells said...

I "rescued" some Fawcett Comics from their CGC turtle shells just a few weeks ago.

Ah, the beauty!!

Can't believe some idiot sealed them up in the first place. Slabbed books belong in a museum or archive, not in a fans collection. If you can't read the damn thing you don't own a comic book, you own an expensive piece of plastic.

Pappy said...

Chuck, good on ya, mate...another blow against the CGC empire!

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah that's all fine and good, but part of loving comics enough to collect them can be loving them enough to curate them. I don't think it's best to seal them away from ourselves forever, either; but neither is this necessarily tantamount to a coldhearted speculation investment. One of the reasons we can still enjoy a seventy-year-old comic is because someone's spent the time and resources to take care of it for posterity, even if that has meant denying him- or herself regular access to the thing.


Page 2, panel 2 of Stolen Gold...unintentionally funny.

This is great! Thanks to Dave and you for sharing!

Trouble Hunters looks like it could be early Ed Moore. Some of the art by Flessel looks like it could have influenced (at least it's reminiscent of) some of the hatching technique used later by Maneely, and even Crumb.

This kind of post is what makes great comic blogs like Pappy's indispensable! Keep up the great work!