Monday, November 24, 2014

Number 1661: Dagar, the Euro-Arab Desert Hawk

Dagar, Desert Hawk, the character of the 1940s, is not the same as Dagar the Invincible, the Gold Key barbarian hero of the '70s. We try not to confuse.

In Don Markstein’s Toonopedia this is what is said of the Dagar we are showing today:
“. . . Dagar, subtitled ‘Desert Hawk’, was a hero in an exotic land, who flourished for a couple of years at Fox Comics, starting in 1947. He was sort of a white sheik, a man of European extraction living as a wealthy and powerful (but, of course, adventurous) arab [sic]. He had his share of stereotyped characteristics, of course; but unlike stereotyped arabs in more recent fiction, was a good guy.”
That being said, there are a couple of Americans thrown in. Chuck Day and his sister, Wendi, are friends with an “Arab” girl, Ayesha,* whose scant costume would surely be banned by the Taliban. Ayesha gets mixed up with a phony pharaoh, Dagar is called in to rescue Ayesha from said pharaoh.

The story appeared in Dagar, Desert Hawk #15 (1948), the second issue. The artist is Edmond Good, whose work I have shown before. Later adventures of Dagar were taken over by none other than Jack Kamen, but Dagar had a short run, and by the end of the 1940s the Desert Hawk was covered over by the shifting sands of time.

*Friend and commenter, Daniel, would be the first to point out that Ayesha shares her name with the immortal character of H. Rider Haggard’s novel, She.

More Edmond Good goodies. Just click on the thumbnails.


Daniel [] said...

I would indeed be the first to point-out that bit about the name, but someone beat me to it. :-D

“Ayesha” is also the name of the most controversial of Mohammed's wives. (We'll avoid a fatwa against this 'blog by letting readers find the controversies elsewhere!) And it's a fairly popular name in the Arab and Persian world. And, with variant spellings, it can often be found as the name of african-American women.

But, yes, I first think of the mad sorceress queen of Kor. One of these years, I'll scan the many images that I've collected of her, and post them at my own 'blog.

Ryan Anthony said...

Would Ayesha really have gotten away with wearing that outfit (with golden nipples, no less) in the Middle East in the 40s?
I'm rather sick right now, but I had to get my Pappy fix!
Just finished reading the complete b&w Alex Toth Zorro comics collection (from Image). Also, on a recommendation in one of your older posts (I mentioned I'm working my way through them), I ordered Craig Yoe's "Boody" from Amazon.

Brian Barnes said...

I like this art, though I find the circle panels a bit distracting. There's a good bit of Eisner in there and even though it would be later and so obviously not an influence, a little bit of Feldstein. I do appreciate an artist that decides to drape breasts over the panel border!

The artist manages to give almost every native women the exact same hair cut, and it seems every last woman in that country is beautiful!

The story is paced strangely, Chuck and Wendi seem useless to the narrative and the fake pharaoh's capture is almost a second thought in the story. Still, a fun 40s adventure story.

Pappy said...

Ryan, get well soon, and thanks for keeping up with this blog despite your illness.

I hope Craig Yoe sees this note! I have his Boody close. (Notice I said "Boody" and not "booty"!)

Pappy said...

Brian, the circular panels were once quite popular and I assume they were meant as a design tool to break up the strict panel grid. As I've said before I like the panel grids because it gives more emphasis to the story. The circle panels call too much attention to the format.

(That includes lightning bolt-style panel borders, feet jumping out of panels, etc.)

Having said all that, I have seen so much of it I tend now to overlook it, only bringing it up when, as in your note, it is mentioned.

As for all the women being beautiful, it is a Fox comic, after all...home of Phantom Lady, Rulah and others.

Pappy said...

Dan'l, just thought I'd get a jump on you with the reference.

Speaking of She, Helen Gahagen, later congresswoman from California, had her one starring role as Ayesha in the 1935 movie version. She was also referred to by Richard Nixon as "the pink lady" for her supposed communist leanings. She responded by giving him the nickname he kept the rest of his life, Tricky Dick.

It doesn't have anything to do with Dagar, Desert Hawk, but what the hey, this morning I've got some time to spend on that kind of trivia.

Daniel [] said...

Helen Gahagan was blamed for the commercial failure of that movie, which is why her film career tanked. (Actually, the movie has a number of things deeply wrong with it, and a better performance by Gahagan would not have saved it.)

As a Congresswoman, she had a fairly flagrant affair with LBJ, though each of them were married to other people.

Gahagan was quite far to the political left, but not a sympathizer with the Communists. Meanwhile, Nixon was supported in that race by … JFK. (Ah, the things that go down the Memory Hole!)

Arion said...

Nice post. I can't say I've read Dagar, but it sure reminds me of other comics from that era.

I'll keep visiting your blog (I always find good stuff here).


Anonymous said...

"banned by the Taliban"! Ha! I enjoyed this romp of a comic book story but just as funny, although more purposely funny, reads your commentary, Pappy. Thanks.

Pappy said...

Arion, glad you find good stuff here. I spend a lot of time looking for it!

Pappy said...

7f7, thanks for the comment on my comments. I talk like that, too...the advantage to the written version is I get to edit myself, something I find a problem at times in my spoken dialogues.