Friday, December 30, 2016

Number 1992: Nostalgic nostalgia: “Hah! Noon!”

This is the last posting of 2016.

One of the many celebrity deaths we had this past year was Jack Davis, a cartoonist I will always revere. By 1959, when I saw the satire, “Hah! Noon!” in the paperback, The Bedside Mad, Davis’s work already had a magical quality to me, and while I could not always collect everything he did I was always looking for his work.

“Hah! Noon!” is originally from Mad #9 (1954), and is a satire of the classic movie, High Noon (1952), with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. I don’t think I actually saw the movie until sometime in the sixties, but I already knew and loved the story based on the Kurtzman/Davis version. That is an ass-backwards way of viewing satire, but that was the way it was with me and Mad paperbacks in the '50s and early '60s.

This is a reprint from The Nostalgic Mad #3, from Mad Super Special #12 (1973). As for the inexorable passage of time, the clock strikes midnight on Saturday night, so goodbye and good riddance to 2016: “I’m a-leavin’!”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Number 1991: “You’ve been readin’ too many comic books, Clancy!”

Lady Crime is a character who popped up in a few Harvey Comics of the 1940s. This particular story is from Kerry Drake #6 (1948), and features art by the inimitable Bob Powell and his assistants. If I wanted to make a statement about sexism I might say that presenting crime as a beautiful. seductive woman is more in line with beliefs that women should cover up because men go stupid from the mere sight of a woman — and a female’s power over them. But, I don’t want to get into that right now. So why did I bring it up? Probably because of the uncomfortable feeling I get when I think of the power some women had, and still have, over me.

’Nuff said!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Number 1990: Commander Battle: always ready for...errr...battle!

Commander Bill Battle, captain of the famous atomic sub, is a smart guy! In the face of an attack by spheres sent by an underground Antarctic (“Antarcs”) civilization, only Bill is smart enough to figure out what to do. And luckily, he has the pull to get it done. When a man’s only boss is the President of the United States that gives him a lot of clout. Bill really has President Ike’s confidence. Bill can order up a special atomic shell to fight the enemy. He can come up with a scheme to have his sub picked up and flown into what looks like a sure suicide mission, dropped directly onto the ice with an idea to plow through and detonate the new atomic shell! I am surprised Bill Battle just doesn’t run for President and still keep his atomic sub command. There would then be no need to have a middle man for his outrageous plans. (Not discussed is who exactly is he blowing up with his atomic device. A whole civilization including innocents as well as warriors? Better not to get into moral dilemmas like that; it would just slow the breakneck pace.)

This exercise in over-the-top storytelling is from ACG’s Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub #6 (1955). It was produced after the Comics Code was implemented, but the Code didn’t have any powers to prevent wild plots like this. Artwork is by Kenneth Landau.

In case you missed it this past October, click on the link for a trip to the moon by the Atomic Sub:

Pappy’s Number 1961

Friday, December 23, 2016

Number 1989: It’s beginnin’ to look a lot like a Albert and Pogo Christmas

Dog bone it, Christmas is done snuck up on me this year! It comes from havin’ young'uns livin’ near 2000 miles away. Now those young‘uns is drivin’ they daddy crazy like when he was a young’un at Christmas time and he drove Pappy crazy!

Albert and Pogo celebrates Christmas in the swamp...excep’ when ol’ Albert thinks he has et Ms Rackety Coon’s chile. Tsk tsk. Thet Albert...swallerin’ the cake whole...just like a gator do.

From Santa Claus Funnies, Four Color #254 (1949), by Mr Walt Kelly. And a HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO Y’ALL FROM PAPPY!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Number 1988: The Saint: song stumper and head thumper

“The Saint in the Musical Mystery” is from The Saint #5 (1949), drawn by the incredible Warren Kremer, who had two stories in the issue. Kremer, as has been mentioned before in this blog, is one of the most prolific comic book artists of all time, but is mostly anonymous to fans. If it helps any, he drew thousands of pages for comic books like Richie Rich, Casper, Wendy, Spooky and Hot Stuff the Little Devil. As a cartoonist, Kremer was fast and could draw basically anything. In his early career in comic books he did the standard comic book things, including stories of crime and horror (see the link below).

The story today shows the “behind the scenes” of a radio program. Television gets a mention in the last panel, a portent of doom for radio as it was known at the time this comic was published. Before television became ubiquitous, for millions of people nightly entertainment was gathering around the radio listening to news, comedy, mystery, quiz shows, musical variety...when television first came in it was adapted visually from what had been done for decades by people standing around microphones in a radio studio. Despite his image as a suave, well-dressed detective, the Saint could also use his fists. What would a comic book be without punches being thrown?

Additionally, “hussy” isn’t a word you hear much nowadays, much less see in a comic book, so I was amused to see “Why you jealous hussies!" spoken in anger by the Saint’s girlfriend. Hussy means a girl of loose morals, and has been replaced by cruder words. Hussy is now a quaint term. I have been known to use it, but only on very rare occasions. I live a boring life. I don’t run across many hussies.

Click on the thumbnail for a historical crime story by Warren Kremer.