Sunday, June 10, 2012
Number 1172: Superman in Oz
Last Sunday I called Superman "stodgy" compared to Captain Marvel. I mean that while both Captain Marvel and Superman stories could be very silly, in the Captain Marvel universe the silliness is played for laughs, but in the Superman stories of the same era the humor is sometimes unintentional.
"The Adventures of Mental-Man" has a ridiculous premise and depends on extraordinary circumstances to make the plot work. You'll see what I mean when you read it. Wayne Boring did the artwork, and he was "my" Superman artist growing up. If nothing else, I knew it was a Wayne Boring job just by the panels showing Superman in flight. Al Plastino* did "The Dog Who Loved Superman" in much the same Boring style (and yes, I'm being intentional). It's inked by Stan Kaye, who inked a lot of Superman stories to give them some consistency. Jerry Coleman wrote the first, Bill Finger the second.
"The Adventures of Mental-Man" was originally published in the US in Action Comics #196 (1954), and "The Dog Who Loved Superman" was originally from Superman #88 (1954):
In a 2007 interview Plastino claimed he did all his own inking, and that he was told to draw like Boring, whose style he described as "rigid."
Plastino's style is evident, and confirmed by his signature, in these two "U.S." Royal advertising strips from 1951 issues of Boys' Life magazine. Advertising is where the money was, and artists good enough to get these jobs did very well.