According to Don Markstein’s Toonopedia, Torchy was introduced by cartoonist Bill Ward, then a member of the U.S. Army, in the base newspaper at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York. After the war, Quality Comics publisher Everett Arnold asked Ward to come up with a backup feature, and he re-introduced Torchy to the world.
This is that re-introduction, from Doll Man Quarterly #8 (1946). Torchy looks different than she did later, which is not uncommon in many features. The usual humorous situations are there, with guys falling all over themselves at the sight of her. Ward left comic books a few years later, and Torchy remained under his ownership. For the rest of his life Ward made his living drawing pretty girls.
I got an email the other day. A reader asked what I actually do on this blog. I decided to share it publicly:
I just wanted to drop a line and say I have been reading your blogzine posts for years and have enjoyed your well thought out and extremely informative posts. Your wealth of knowledge of the golden age of comics and its creators is amazing and inspiring. I was just curious how you go about picking the topics of your posts? What is your process like? With all of the creators and characters from the golden age i'm sure it is quite the task!
Thanks for the note, Dave. I appreciate your questions.
The work that goes into choosing what stories to show is fairly easy...I just try to keep a variety. To do that I go through old comics, looking for something that interests me. I figure if I like it someone else will like it also. Not always true. But I am always trying. My process is a set of tasks I do to get the projects completed. I work two months ahead and when I make my choices of what I want to show I keep a log of upcoming posts.
My computer equipment is ancient. My desktop PC is from 2010, the newest thing I have. The software I use and my flat-bed scanner are from 2003. They are all growing old with me. The most time consuming part of my job is preparing scans of the comic book pages which I do with the help of a couple of old photo-editing programs.
As I have found when checking my counters, the posts that are the most popular with readers are sex (as in the Torchy post above) and superheroes. If all I did was show pictures of superheroines with huge boobs I would probably have the most popular comics blog on the Internet. Although I have few scruples, the ones I have prevent me from such obvious pandering. I try to make my pandering a little less obvious.
I own a lot of literature about comics, collected over decades. If I had to go through magazines and books to do the comic book research for the blog I would never get anything else done. Websites like Grand Comics Database, Toonopedia, and Public Domain Superheroes help me tremendously. It isn’t possible with every post, but I try to have something interesting to say about the story, the artist, or something historical to put the story in the context of its time.
And finally, yes, there are a lot of creators and characters from the Golden Age, but they all helped to create the art form. I have my favorite comics and artists, and show them more often (that’s called “heavy rotation” when playing popular songs on the radio). But every comic, every artist or writer, no matter if they are excellent, good, bad or indifferent, deserves to be recognized for adding to the history of the comics. By showing a lot of different comics in many different styles I believe I am helping to keep that history relevant.
Best wishes, Pappy