Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Number 1779: Origin of Doll Man: Let’s get teeny-tiny

Feature Comics, which had once been Feature Funnies and was composed mainly of comic strip reprints, went over to superheroes when that genre exploded, saleswise. Will Eisner created Doll Man for Feature Comics #27 (1939). He wrote it under the name William Erwin Maxwell, and it was drawn by him, probably with some help from his art shop employees.

Doll Man is a tiny man, and the story is a tiny story. Four pages. There is no portent of how popular the character would become. Doll Man appeared throughout the forties, through the superhero crash, into the fifties. DC bought up the Quality superheroes, including Doll Man, who did show up later in DC’s revivals of the Quality heroes.

Getting small is a really popular theme, used over and over again. In this horror story from Mysterious Adventures #2 (1951), becoming tiny is the horrible fate of a young couple. They do nothing to deserve their fate but be in the wrong place with the wrong villain. That is what makes it so horrible!

In 2012 I showed the origin of Doll Girl. Just click on the thumbnail.


Alicia American said...

OMG Prof Roberts loox just like Doc Cyclops! who shrunk peeps! But I dont think that came out till tha next yr? #WEERD omg #SPOOKERY

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Tiny story, maybe... but an Eisner story.
The page where the girl deals with Falco is just superb (I'd like to read that letter of hers). Writing, visual rendering, all is just great.
I don't care about Doll Man, that page is arty enough for me.
Incidentally, the name Falco made me think about one of the oddest Golden Age comics I ever saw: "The Eye".

Falco was a character from "the Eye" 1987 reprint by Eclipse Comics.

This is a "double feature", Mr. Pappy! The second story is interesting, but the Eisner's story shines like a diamond in comparison.

P.S. Please don't try Aqua Regia, that won't do you no good .

Daniel [] said...

I hate to think what might have been in that letter! Darrel of course should not have read it, but….

It appears that the original intention were to leave Darrel doll-sized. I'll leave to others speculation as to how that might have affected … uhm … the logistics of his relationship with Martha.

Was there any explanation of how, in some later stories, Martha didn't know that Darrel were the Doll Man?

Tmdess said...

Hi Pappy -- I saw a Twilight Zone a few weeks ago,where a young couple wakes up in a dollhouse world after getting drunk at a party...wonder if the writer (Serling?) read comic books when he was younger? Aren't there other TZ stories that seem to have come out of comics?
(I always found it amazing that Doll Man's clothes all became too big except his briefs...whew, that was lucky!)

Pappy said...

Tmdess, without knowing for sure, I'm sure Rod Serling, as a youngster, read everything that was interesting to him...and that may have included comic books. (Born in 1924, and about 16 when this story was published.)

The Incredible Shrinking Man, the movie from the book by Richard Matheson, had the character in a dollhouse, being threatened by a cat! I think it's kind of a natural if doing a story about tiny people to put tiny people in tiny houses.

Thanks for the note. Serling was one of my favorite television writers. He worked in a time when censorship was crushing writers, and somehow managed to get his ideas across.

Pappy said...

Alicia, I loved Dr. Cyclops, but laughed at the scene when a doll-sized man is shot at point blank range by a rifle and instead of disappearing in a bloody mist, clutches his chest and sinks to the ground. Now THAT is fantasy!

Pappy said...

Daniel, I've read a lot of Doll Man stories, but retained few. I don't know why Martha didn't recognize Darrell as Doll Man. Maybe there is something in a comic book somewhere that instituted a law where people, even without masks, are unrecognizable in their civilian forms, even by those closest to them.

Pappy said...

J D, why, say no more about the Eye, just go to your friendly Pappy's Eye posting, with a link to his first Eye story, in Pappy's #1533.