Monday, December 31, 2012

Number 1290: New Year’s Eve with Jet Powers

Closing out 2012, and staying in the ’50s science fiction mood we’ve set the last couple of days, here are the final two Jet Powers stories from Jet #2, 1951.

They're drawn by the Bob Powell studio and written by Gardner Fox. You Su Shan fans will be happy to know that Su Shan is featured prominently in “House of Horror.” The lead story for the issue can be found at Pappy's #1257.

Tonight, while others revel (for whatever reasons people revel when greeting a new year, which is just a date on the calendar, folks), if past is an indication, I shall be rattling off snores to offset the midnight sounds of my neighbors shooting off fireworks or banging pots. That doesn't mean I won't wish you a happy new year, but be careful and we'll all get back together here on January 2.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Number 1289: The Man from Planet X

Fawcett Publications had a couple of short-lived lines of movie adaptations, including Fawcett Movie Comic. The issues were mostly comic book versions of Western movies, but #15 in 1952 was science fiction, “The Man from Planet X.” I remember the movie, but I saw it a long time ago. Based on memory, this adaptation seems fairly faithful.

Overstreet lists the original U.S. printing as “scarce.” What I'm showing today is a European reprint, according to the indicia a French and English co-production. It was printed in black line in France. Uneven ink distribution makes it look fast-and-dirty, and I did my best to clean up the scans. I'd like to thank scanner Jimpy for providing the originals which I used as the basis for this presentation.

The Grand Comics Database provides information on writers and artists based on an American reprint from 1987, and who am I to disagree? They have a bunch of question marks, giving their ? credit to several artists including George Evans, Kurt Schaffenberger and Peter Costanza, and a ? inking credit to Jack Kamen. The artist I mainly see is Schaffenberger, but I'm not discounting their guesses. I've learned in my time doing this blog that with comic books and their production sometimes several hands went into getting a job done. While identifiable styles may peep out here and there, often the real credits can only be guessed at.

I stopped counting (after a dozen or so) how many times in the story the extraterrestrial is called the man from Planet X. Not “the alien” or “the spaceman,” which would be less cumbersome. In my case, after seeing the movie all those years ago I called him the man with the papier-mâché head.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Number 1288: Island in the sky

I like the idea of a “sky island,” a platform hovering high over earth, like a space station, only inside Earth's atmosphere. Others did too, because the motif shows up in science fiction plots, including stories featuring characters as disparate as Mickey Mouse and Flash Gordon. Here the characters are the Blackhawks, and the villain with the sky island is the Corsair, who uses Zeppelins to support his flying city.

That idea I can accept, or at least suspend my disbelief for a moment; it's the idea that the Blackhawks, in their private aircraft, are delivering supplies to a country in Indo-China I can't accept. So where in those aircraft are they putting said supplies? Ah, those comic book plots...

Bill Woolfolk is given credit by the Grand Comics Database for the writing, and the art is credited to Harry Harrison, of all people. That is a surprise to me. I haven't seen enough penciling by Harrison to be able to tell, although as usual in Quality Comics, pencils can be often nearly buried under an inker’s style, and that artist isn't identified.

The subject of identifying comic book writers and artists gives me a chance to give a plug to a deserving blog. I've learned quite a bit about identifiers for several writers and artists from Martin O'Hearn in his Who Created the Comic Books?. Martin is certainly knowledgeable, and I recommend his entertaining and informative blog.

From Blackhawk #15 (1947):