Monday, May 30, 2011

Number 956

Blackmail Terror!

Sparkle Plenty, daughter of B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie, becomes a child star on a TV show patterned after the real-life Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, then is kidnapped by a pervert ("Come sit on my lap!" "No! I don't set on strangers' laps, dadburn it!"), whose plan is to extort money by hijacking her income.

This is Harvey Comics Library #2, from 1952, a one-shot issue set apart from the usual comic, Dick Tracy Monthly, which Harvey also published. It's clever the way Harvey Comics packaged a well-known strip like Dick Tracy under the provocative title, Blackmail Terror. They did it with Rex Morgan, M.D. in Teenage Dope Slaves, also. I suppose they did it to attract comics buyers used to more lurid comics in the pre-Comics Code era.

Al Avison, who could mimic other cartoonists like Chester Gould, drew the cover, which was offered in 2004 on Heritage Auctions, where I downloaded this scan of the original artwork.

According to the inside front cover, today is Sparkle's 64th birthday. Happy birthday, Sparkle!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Number 955

Basil "Weirdwit" Wolverton's funny business

Amongst other comic artists, Basil Wolverton is unique. You look at a strip by BW and you know immediately it's his work. I've thought about it, and wonder if it had something to do with having a name like Basil Wolverton. Right away that name would set a fellow apart from the John Smiths and Joe Joneses. Perhaps having an unusual name gave him the impetus, in a conscious way or not, to fill his pages with the outrageously original and unique comic book characters he did. I don't know that for sure. I'm just sayin'.

Back to what I do know: "Powerhouse Pepper" was scanned from a black and white reprint in one of those cartoon magazines published by Martin Goodman, who also published Marvel Comics. In this case it was from a 1973 issue of Wheely Nuts. It originally appeared in comic book form in Powerhouse Pepper #4, 1948. I have shown it before.

"Scoop Scuttle" is from Lev Gleason's Daredevil #16, published in 1942, and the "Jumpin' Jupiter" stories are from Weird Tales Of the Future numbers 2 and 4, from 1952.