Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Number 1873: Captain Marvel takes time to find Benedict Arnold

Captain Marvel, to solve the “mystery” of what happened to General Benedict Arnold, travels to 1780. Can it be true that in late 1941 when this story was published, the fate of the famous turncoat Arnold was not known? CM could have traveled ahead to 2016 and read the entry on Arnold in Wikipedia.

Going back to the story, I like Captain Marvel’s can-do spirit in building a time machine. He tells Dr. Vanna, “. . . we’re going to work out a way to travel back in time, and find out what really happened in 1780.” That is followed by a panel with sound effects, BANG, POW, BANG. They must have used big hammers to build that time machine. When Captain Marvel travels to 1780 he arrives in France, meeting Ben Franklin, who looks just like his picture on the money.

Art credit goes to C.C. Beck. From Whiz Comics #26, January, 1942:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Plastic Man: No cats were harmed or killed

Looks like you readers get a bonus today...this was set to appear on May 11, but due to Pappy's fumbling fingers hitting the wrong key it popped up today. So, out of sequence or not, here it is.

Plastic Man punches a cat in this story, so before I get readers boycotting me for showing animal cruelty, let me make it clear that even though it is a comic book, I do not condone kitty-kicking in any form. A spoiler is the cat is not a cat. That's that!

(P.S. I love cats. We have a spoiled cat named Ramses, whose name sounds perfect for the theme of our story today. Here is a picture of Ramses, a stately-looking feline fellow.)

Mummy stories are always popular, stories taking place in Egypt, in pyramids...curses on tombs and ancient pharaohs* and such. And this is such a tale. It is from Police Comics #72 (1947). Although unsigned, the Grand Comics Database gives credit for art and inking to Jack Cole. Cole gets credit for the writing, too. I was wondering as I read it if it was common for Cole to use the exclamations "GRAWK!" and "YAWP!" from his characters.

*"Pharaoh” is spelled wrong throughout the story.

Number 1872: Unholy Three

The Black Phantom, with her form-fitting outfit and Jane Russell chest, reminds me the line, “If they’d had girls like this, the Wild West would’ve been a lot wilder!” (Harvey Kurtzman, “Cowboy!” Mad #20.)

Black Phantom normally appeared as a backup feature. She got a one-shot issue in 1954 from Magazine Enterprises, from which this story is taken. The so-called “Unholy Three” owlhoots had no chance against her smoking six-gun in this sharply illustrated tale drawn by Frank Bolle. It is written by Gardner Fox.

This story has been reprinted a couple of times in the past couple of years; these are scans from the original issue. Despite her anachronistic costume, or more likely because of it, she still holds an appeal to those of us with an eye for such beauty.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Number 1871: Carnie Callahan and his gang of special people

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! In 1944 for 10¢...a thin dime, the tenth part of a could see the origin story of the Barker, the one-and-only Carnie Callahan. Carnie is in charge of a wondrous group of very special and talented human beings, who make up the sideshow of Colonel Lane’s Mammoth Circus.

As a gift to readers encountering this carnival crew here at Pappy’s, we let you in free! You don’t even have to come up with a dime. Is that generous? Is that a gift? Well, sure it is! (We make our money on rigged games of chance and on overpriced concessions in the midway.)

The Barker, for the mid-forties, was a fairly long-running feature. This first story, drawn by the inimitable Jack Cole and written by Joe Millard, appeared in National Comics # 42 (1944), and moved the former cover feature, Uncle Sam, to the back of the book. Uncle Sam would soon be gone, but Carnie and his group would go until the last issue of National, #75 in 1949. Not only that, he would have 15 issues of his own comic book. The reason is probably because artist Jack Cole left the Barker after a couple of issues, to be replaced by another of Quality Comics’ fantastic art talents, Klaus Nordling. Readers had no reason to feel they had been led into the tent by Jack Cole, and then once they had paid, bamboozled by an inferior product.

No need to take my word for it, either. You can link to a story by Nordling posted here nearly six years ago, after you finish reading today’s offering.

Enter the tent here, for a story from The Barker #5. Just click on the thumbnail.