Monday, December 15, 2014

Number 1670: New masthead, old origin story

I have a new masthead, based on the cover of Exciting Comics #49 (1946), drawn by the greatest Golden Age cover artist of them all, Alex Schomburg. As you can see I have done my usual, distorting the illustration to fit over the top of the blog. Forgive me, Schomburg fans.

Black Terror was a superhero from the World War II era, who lasted during the 1940s and in this original incarnation disappeared before 1950. According to Don Markstein’s Black Terror Toonopedia entry, the Black Terror was instantly popular. I think it was the costume with the skull and crossbones. Otherwise Black Terror’s adventures during the war involving saboteurs, Nazis, Japanese and the usual suspects, were fairly typical of the era.

Black Terror’s origin, brought about by “formic ethers” is pure hokum. That is de rigueur for a superhero origin, which just has to give off some illusion of making sense. It is from Exciting Comics #9 (1941). Story attributed to Richard E. Hughes, art by D. Gabrielson.

Here is another Black Terror story. You can see it and a link to another BT story by clicking on the thumbnail.


Alicia American said...

OMG tha White Terror! I meen tha white guy in a black suit terror! LOL We luv u Pappity <3 Congrads on ur new masthead!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Ryan Anthony said...

It's the 98-pound weakling story! It's all there--the weak guy gets knocked down, the other guy and the woman belittle him, he gets strong, and he even knocks out the other guy! The only difference is, the weak guy skips the workouts and just juices.
And as for his "disguise":
"Jean, you wait here until the dangerous men come. When I return, you won't recognize me because I'll be wearing a little domino mask!"
His first story, and the sidekick has to save him! Top notch.
Speaking of the sidekick, some people seem to think he was only called Tim, which he was much of the time, but I read a story where he was called Kid Terror.
Anyway, this one was action-packed, at least. And funny, if unintentionally.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

This is very stereotypical, in a funny way.
The bashful, feeble-guy-wearing-glasses who becomes "der ├╝bermensch"; the Average-Lois Lane-Who-doesn't-recognize-him; the bully city comptroller who gets beated (some of them deserve it); the sidekick. Siegel and Shuster really did hit the mark in 1938.
An original touch: the drugstore owner experimenting with acid 18 years before Woodstock: well ahead of its times. And his potion even anticipates Steve Rogers.

But the Gorilla story is incredible! Real Helzapoppin' style. The bald thug ends up in jail, but he's had the fun of his life!
P.S.: I agree the skull on his chest is a powerful sign. Wonder: what if Frank Castle had a sidekick? :)

Pappy said...

J D, Lord knows what else he is mixing up in that pharmacy lab of his.

Also, the death's head symbol is so strong that Black Terror could use it even though the Nazis were using it also. But then I've noticed that sometimes the line between Nazis and World War II American superheroes was often blurred. Both were often ruthless.

Pappy said...

Alicia, I was wondering if I'd hear from you again. Thanks for checking in.

Glad you like the masthead.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I wonder if Hughes got the idea from those ubiquitous Charles Atlas sand-in-the-face ads seen in every comic and pulp magazine.

That is beside the fact of universal adolescent power fantasies, that is...the weak kids dreaming of suddenly gaining great strength.

Alicia American said...

Thanx Pappity <3 Me & Deb wer bizzy hangering out w/celebs @ tha Northeast Comic Con Yay! We R Frends w/famus actorers now LOL & SANTA! & we got intervued 4 a docudromedary Yay plus we dropped our new album & stuff or whatevar

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Death's head symbol is Nazi trademark (aside from Henry Morgan), I think using it against them would be a lot confusing (don't know if BT actually did during the War).