Sunday, August 19, 2012

Number 1212: Black Ace, Archie O. and Bozo

These stories from Smash Comics #4 (1939) have a rigid panel arrangement. It goes throughout the book. I wonder if it was to make the comic book originals look more like they came from newspaper comics, which had a set format, not the relative freedom of a comic book page. Will Eisner, who did the “Espionage starring Black Ace” strip could still set a mood, as he did later with the Spirit, but the page layout is ultimately self-limiting. It's no wonder other artists like Jack Kirby decided to use the whole page divided in a way to maximize the effect of the individual drawings.

To go along with this story, I've included a two-page humor strip by Eisner, "Archie O'Toole," which is immediately recognizable as being Eisner's by the beautiful dancing girl. Archie asks of her, "Can she shag?" which should cause you to chortle gleefully over the modern sexual implication. I looked it up, and the Shag was a popular swing dance from the 1920s to the 1940s. You can see a couple shagging if you go to this video,

Sandwiched between the two Will Eisner jobs is a George Brenner story, using the pseudonym Wayne Reid, of my favorite metal man, Bozo the Robot.

There's a racial caricature in this story. I apologize to readers who may be offended.


rnigma said...

The shag, after its initial popularity, continued to be danced for decades in Myrtle Beach and along the S.C. coast.

Daniel [] said...

Hahahahaha! He … just … lets … her … go!

Pappy said...

rnigma, I have heard there is a lot of shagging in Myrtle Beach.

Pappy said...

Daniel, a gentleman spy, that Black X! And you know he's a gentleman because he wears a monocle.

cash_gorman said...

Not just Myrtle Beach, but in NC as well at least well into the 1980s. I was a college student at dance club and some beach music came on and people started "shagging". I mentioned this to an exchange student from England who looked at the floor and then me curiously. That was when I found out the other meaning of the term. Then found out, according to him that "smooching" was what we called slow dancing.