Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Number 1114

Bad blondes

Women didn't fare too well in pulp crime fiction or crime comic books of a bygone era; they were either on the covers being threatened in hideous ways by evil men, or inside being victims or victimizers (read: "bitches"). Women engaged in "normal" female activities were usually relegated to character rather than starring roles. Okay, I know that's a pretty broad statement. (Hyuk hyuk. Get it? Broad?) Maybe it's true or just my perception, having read a lot of crime comics and pulp crime fiction over the past half century.

The two blondes who both appeared in 1948's Pay-Off #1 meet the bitch specifications: they are manipulative and murderous. Murderous because they arrange for a killing, but manipulative in that they get someone else to do their dirty work. "The Guilty Conscience," drawn by Louis Schroeder, is even more blatant. Della, the gangster's girlfriend, uses the promise of sex (shown as a kiss and a flash of leg, plus her thought, "I've never seen a chump yet who wouldn't double-cross his own mother for a a pretty leg."*) She gets the youthful criminal wannabe, Jud Gibson, to ice-pick Nick Lavino to death.

In "Diamond Lil of Otsego," art by Bob Jenney, Lil gets her friend May to do the murder of the poor old caretaker for his life insurance. In this case the blonde gets another woman to do a murder, but May is a brunette.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Number 1113

Beany & Cecil & Bob & Jack

Bob Clampett was the creator of the popular Time For Beany puppet show, a very early children's program on television. When it came time to do a comic book version, Clampett asked for Jack Bradbury.*

It's been a long time since I featured any artwork by Jack Bradbury, who is one of my favorites of the moonlighting animators drawing comic books in the '40s, working on comic books like Giggle Comics and Ha Ha Comics, and his own creation, Spunky, Junior Cowboy.

Bradbury, who was born in 1914, died in 2004.

"Horse-fly Hubbub" is from Bob Clampett's Beany in Horse-Fly Hubbub, Four Color #414 (1952):

*Source for this information is the web site The Comic Art of Jack Bradbury, a site maintained by Bradbury's son. There are over 1700 pages of comic art scans there, including Beany and Cecil. Another Beany and Cecil story is available from Mykal Banta's The Big Blog of Kids' Comics here.

After this posting appeared I got a nice e-mail from reader John Hindsill, who shared his reminiscence of the Time For Beany puppet show, the basis for the comic book version:

Boy does this take me back...waaay back to 1949 or thereabouts when I was 9 years old. If you did not grow up in Los Angeles, (or even if you did) allow me to flesh out Beany's history as I recall it.

Time for Beany began as a daily live television show during the late afternoon/ dinner time period. It is alleged that its most famous, most erudite fan was Albert Einstein when he was at CalTech in Pasadena. This is not as far-fetched as it might sound, as many of the jokes, puns and use & allusions to current music (Ragg-Mopp, comes readily to mind) often was above the ken of the under-10 set.

The characters were hand-puppets voiced by Stan Freburg, of song and TV show parody, and commercial production fame (Ann Miller dancing on a soup can), and Daws Butler. Freberg is still alive, and, one hopes, in good health.

Fridays were shows either with an in studio audience, of the illusion of same, during the tirst year or two. At any rate, Cecil would hand out presents from the Leakin' Lena to kids in the audience. I don't recall that I ever actually saw any kids, though.

By the time my sister was old enough to watch such things TfB either was off the air or had become a cartoon show. The animated version lacked the charm, the spunk and the imagination (my considered opinion) of the puppet version.

I'm guessing that a fuller and/or a more accurate history can be found on web, but I thought you might enjoy the reminiscence of somebody who really was there.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Number 1112

Delinquent in Space

I've had the scans for these two stories prepared since January, 2011. I'm just now getting around to posting them because in over a year I haven't really been able to think of anything to say about them, except they're crazy. The scripts are by editor Richard E. Hughes writing as Shane O'Shea.

Under the O'Shea pen-name Hughes wrote the classic Herbie stories. There's one sequence in part 2 of "Delinquent in Space" which I could swear I've also seen in a Herbie comic: Gene the delinquent masquerades as a bearded Soviet in order to get access to the spaceship. Or am I just hallucinating after licking one of Herbie's hard-to-find-cinnamon lollipops?

The original story, appearing in Adventures Into the Unknown #114 (1960), was apparently popular enough to call for a sequel in AITU #122. Artist Ogden Whitney, whose solid art style didn't vary no matter the subject, gives it his professional polish, just like he did for Herbie.