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.


Jeff Overturf said...

Gorgeous stuff. I love these early Wolvertoons.

Pappy said...

Jeff, so what do people like better with Wolverton's Golden Age comic art, his straight science fiction stuff, (Spacehawk for instance), horror comics (very chilling, all of it),the funny strips (Powerhouse Pepper, et al), or the hideous people (Lena the Hyena, and too many others to count)?

I'm voting for the horror comics, with a close number two being the funny comics. The hideous stuff I can like but don't love, and Spacehawk is interesting, but not my favorite.

Even with giving my tastes in that paragraph, it still means that work that to me is lesser Wolverton is better than much of other Golden Age artwork.

Mike Britt said...

I knew Basil for about ten years and I can honestly say that he was just as funny in person as his humor strips. While he attempted syndication with several sf strips he tried humor strips also, like Flash Bulb a variation of Scoop Skuttle.

Erik Robinson said...

Well, I sound like I'm imitating you, but I agree completely! I think his horror comics are absolutely terrifying! If I hadn't seen his humour/MAD stuff I'd say he was born to do them. Well...maybe I like the humour/gross stuff better, because you can feel so much absolute joy of cartooning in them. I think he was born to clown around with stuff like that.
As you said though, it's all gold!! Thanks so much for posting!

Jeff Overturf said...

While I find his "Spaghetti and Meatballs" (Lena the Hyena) stuff fascinating to look at, and "Spacehawk" interesting as all's his "Powerhouse Pepper" and big-foot cartoony gold age stuff pure gold.

It's all good stuff though.

Kirk said...

I vote for the hideous people.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Wolverton once win a Sadie Hawkens drawing contest that Al Capp than featured in his Li'l Abner strip, or am I thinking of something else?

borky said...

This type of Basil
Burns my brain to a frazzle!
His art is sublime
But his rhymes're a crime!

Pappy said...

Kirk, Wolverton won the Li'l Abner contest to draw Lena the Hyena. Winners were announced in the October 28, 1946 issue of Life magazine.