Monday, January 28, 2013

Number 1306: Lorraine the Brain and her “Atomic Amour”

My heart swelled when I read this touching story of a girl who achieved greatness in her field — nuclear physics — only to find failure in love. Tsk, tsk. The only guy who really loved her was a boorish carny barker who embarrassed her endlessly. She fell for the sinister Frenchman who lead her astray, all the way to a cabin in the woods where we assume he wanted his way with her, only to find out he wanted to pick her nuclear brain!

This entertaining love story is from ACG’s Search For Love #2 (1950). In the comments section for this post comic art historian Alberto Becattini has named the artist as John Celardo. Thanks to Alberto for helping with that identification.

Search For Love was very short-lived, only two issues. I don't know why unless sales were bad. Yet ACG’s other love comics, Lovelorn and Romantic Adventures continued for years. It may have been cancelled because of the expanding ACG line taking resources that would have gone into Search For Love. That's a way of saying I don’t know why, trying to sound smarter than I am (no nuclear scientist, I) and now I’m kinda sorry I brought it up...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Number 1305: “The Plague of Plastic People!”

Two months ago in Pappy's #1268 I showed a Plastic Man story that in my comments I said reminded me of my childhood, when I saw the character as belonging in the same league as Mad comic books. So, okay, then, “Plague of Plastic People!” belongs right alongside that earlier story. I'd call this incredible, joke-in-every-panel story zaniacal...a cross between zany and maniacal. This one pulls out all the stops, the best of what Plastic Man could deliver, and that's saying something.

Also, if you read through the story you'll actually get to see Plastic Man in one panel without his goggles covering his eyes. I don't know if that happened any other time.

From Plastic Man #22 (1950):

Friday, January 25, 2013

Number 1304: Headlights on full beam

With the 1948 cover of Phantom Lady #17, artist Matt Baker helped give us comic book fans a code word we've used now for decades: “headlights”. It happened when Dr. Fredric Wertham, M.D., published his book, Seduction of the Innocent, which pointed out how murder, crime and sexual perversion were all part of the comic books kids loved. Wertham used the cover to point out that children called big breasts on comic book women “headlights”. (This page has been razored out of some of copies of SOTI I've seen. By headlights fans, no doubt.)

I've pointed out before that Wertham’s book is a good example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. It was used at the time to condemn comic books, but is used now to identify comics that belong on a special list of desirable collectibles. Interior art on this story is also by Matt Baker, and the whole issue was prepared by the Jerry Iger comic book shop, where Baker was a star. The publisher was Victor Fox, and the blobby printing was by some fast and dirty web press printing company of the 1940s, which didn't care that they were printing one of the most iconic covers and collectible comic books of all time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Number 1303: More Wild West Woody

I promised this to reader Darci back in November. It's another of the Western tales Wally Wood did for Western Crime Busters. This is from issue #9 (1952). It's the first of two stories he did for that issue. Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. attributes the art on “Tex Gordon” to Wood and Joe Orlando.

Schoolmarm Kathy Butte (who is a beaut, all right), dresses provocatively for the time. Wood and Orlando miss no opportunity to have her show some leg, even when nobody's looking (page 4 panel 5). Tex is a fast worker. He admits it. When Kathy asks, "Who’s the fastest, Tex?” He says he is, then demonstrates. Between the next to last panel and the last he’s got Kathy’s dress down off her shoulder and is moving in for more. Yeeeee-haw!