Sunday, December 16, 2012

Number 1281: Spook Comics

Spook Comics #1-and-only is one of those oddball one-shots that came out in the mid-'40s. It's credited to Baily Publishing, which would be Bernard Baily. Baily was co-creator, with Jerry Siegel, of The Spectre. He was a journeyman cartoonist and a longtime DC Comics contributor into the '60s. The Grand Comics Database lists only eight individual issues published by Baily, so it wasn’t like he was setting the world of comics on fire. Spook Comics cover featured Mr. Lucifer, credited by GCD to John Giunta, pencils, and a question mark after Frank Frazetta for inks.

I've decided to show all the stories from the comic because in its own weird way I like it. I like the unusual artwork for Mr. Lucifer in “Up Pops the Devil!”, which is well done, even if sabotaged by bad printing, I like that Gregory the Ghost doesn't fit any kind of popular conception of ghost that I know. I’m not as hot for Cheap Skate or Dr. Paul Barer, but I really like “The Obi Makes Jumbee,” which is a unusual take on the zombie story. The GCD credits it to Robert Baldwin, an artist with whom I’m not familiar.

I wonder how they did this comic...did they plan to make a series, or did they just have stories lying around that they put together for a one-shot? I also wondered the same about Tally-Ho Comics, another one-shot that followed the same pattern, also credited to Baily.

From Spook Comics #1 (1946):


Karswell said...

One of my favorite comics too, Pap!

Brian Barnes said...

You're right about Mister Lucifer, the art is ... unique. The heavy blacks (in many panels) is interesting, but it's also possible it's a technique to avoid drawing backgrounds.

It might be the 40s, but Mister Lucifer has already gotten down the arch-villain meme of constantly repeating your weakness.

The middle stuff, eh, standard cartoon-y jokes stories.

The art is the zombie story is very amateur hour, the figures seem first year art student, but again, it gives it an interesting look. The question is: intentional or just lucky?

Daniel [] said...

“Dr. Paul Barer” is actually an odd riff on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

To me, “The Obi Makes Jumbee” seems a brave and largely successful attempt to stretch the boundaries of comic-book story-telling.

Karswell said...

I love the Jumbee story, I especially think the art is fantastically unique!

Pappy said...

Thanks for the comments, guys, and sorry to take so long to get back to them. Busy, busy, busy...

I'm still puzzled by the story behind the stories...where did they come from and what was the story of Baily Publishing?

Mr. Cavin said...

This may be my favorite voodoo nightclub tale of them all! I thought the art was wonderful, with figure drawing more like what I might find in a large historical mural than the standard comic fare. Plus, someone must have gone out of their way to learn one or two things about the religion itself. It's hardly reverent, but it at least gets some of the vocabulary right. Thank you so much, Pappy.