Sunday, July 03, 2016

Pappy's Tenth Anniversary Sunday Special Number 1: Cave Carson by Joe Kubert

This month marks the tenth anniversary of this blog, so I have decided to give you folks who have followed the blog for many years (and even you who have just discovered it) something special. On each of the five Sundays of July, 2016, I will give you some things I like. I hope you’ll like them, too! For starters, we have a comic I bought in late 1961, The Brave and the Bold #40, featuring a story of Cave Carson and one of the adventures inside Earth. It was an important time, because the cost of DC Comics went up to 12¢. The publisher felt so strongly about justifying the reason for the price hike the inside cover of DC’s comics of that time were devoted to explaining it to the readers.

Two cents doesn’t sound like much...and it really wasn’t in 1961, either, but it broke the long time tradition of regular issues of comic books costing 10¢. Kids would buy comics with less story pages, but they didn’t want to pay more than a dime. Dell had experimented with the 15¢ price in various markets, but comic book buyers were resistant to a price hike. I remember a comic with a letter from a reader that said, “If you raise your price to 15¢ I will never buy another comic book.” That sort of threat might have figured into DC’s decision to take a precious page of prime advertising space to explain their economic decision to raise the price two measly cents.

I didn’t mind the two penny price rise, but I was choosy about what I bought in those days, and I am sure I bought this issue of The Brave and the Bold because of Joe Kubert’s artwork. It was written by France Herron, and seemed the typical DC hero vs dinosaurs that were becoming ho-hum to me. What set it apart was the art. In looking at the history of Cave Carson I see he never got his own comic book, despite tryouts in a handful of issues of The Brave and the Bold and Showcase. It might have been that there was no regular artist. The first adventure was drawn by Bruno Premiani, next issue by Bernard Baily, then Kubert...and after that a few by Lee Elias.

Regardless of how Cave Carson and his Adventures Inside Earth fared in newsstand sales, I look at this issue now with a sense of nostalgia. (You can see how The Brave and the Bold sold from its Statement of Ownership in the back of the issue.)



wmeisel said...

Nice post, Pappy. I have one of the other Cave Carson issues, but I don't think I've ever read this Kubert one. I love how logically magic worked in the silver age.

Incidentally, if you are taking requests, I'd like to see some other stories from Danger Trail. I've read the King Faraday stories that were republished in those two Showcase issues, but I know the Danger Trail issues featured other characters. If there are any standout stories that you liked, I would love to see them.

Pappy said...

wmeisel, your view on magic in the silver age certainly covers a lot of literary sins in comic books. If a writer can't make a plot logical then he can just throw in some magic. As I have complained about before, magic has no rules; you cannot really have suspense because you can always introduce something magical to save the hero.

I don't think I have any more King Faraday stories than the ones you mention; sorry.

Thanks for your note.

wmeisel said...

I was unclear - I meant posting some of the non-King Faraday stories from Danger Trail, that is, ones featuring other characters.

Gene Phillips said...

Another good one, Pappy. I've read it but had forgotten this was Kubert. I guess that even though he had enjoyed some success with Sergeant Rock, he was still interested in tapping into the fantasy-hero market with Carson and Hawkman. Later on, he inclined to more realistic heroes for the most part.

Has anyone ever reprinted any of the original Suicide Squad adventures online? Now that DC's scaled back reprint projects, fan-reprints may be the only way a large audience will ever see 'em. Of course the movie's about to come out, but that barely relates to the contents of the 1960s series.

Daniel [] said...

D_ng! I was staring at bright, shiny objects, and your tenth anniversary entry slipt past me!

Christie blinded an earthworm one with a flare gun? Wow.

Allow me to note that one may be said to “discover” anything about which one did not previously know. For example, people are said to “discover” restaurants. Obviously, none of the Europeans were first discoverers of the Americas; there were already people here. But there were many discoverers to follow those earlier discoverers. There's not much point in getting excited or upset about discovery as such.

Some of the advertisements that you reproduced ran in virtually every DC comic book of the '60s and early '70s. I don't recall the Frontier Cabin, but there were other glorified cardboard boxes; I actually saw the alleged submarine one time.

It would be about a year (or maybe two) after that 2¢ price increase that I began consuming comic books. I have unhappy memories of the waves of increases that began about ten years later. They came so frequently that DC just started recycling the explanation that they gave after each. (The up-side of DC's attempts to handle the price inflation of that time was their increased reprinting of golden-age material.)

Brian Barnes said...

Oops, didn't expect something on Sunday! So I'll just say congratulations, Pappy, you're blog has given me many hours of entertainment and more often than that, a good "what? Hunh?" at some of this stuff! Here's to 10 more years!

Pappy said...

Brian, wheeze, I have ten years left in me for Pappy's? Will I even still be breathing ten years from now? I guess we'll know in July 2026!

Pappy said...

Aw, now Daniel, don't go dissing Christie. At least she got to contribute. Mostly the "girls" in DC Comics were just kind of eye-candy. (Lady Blackhawk excluded, of course.)

No less than Art Spiegleman had a comment I read about the Frontier Cabin. He talked his father into giving him a dollar to buy it, and it turned out to be a printed table cover that formed a simulacrum of a cabin when draped over a table. As I learned early on with comic book ads, caveat emptor, but how was one to know what one was getting until it arrived? And if it were me and the Hypno Coin, I was so embarrassed after buying it and being burned for 50¢ I just chucked it into the kitchen trash can.

Pappy said...

wmeisel, I have shown some other stories from Danger Trail. Just go to the blog's search engine and type in Danger Trail. Mostly I have shown King Faraday, but I have also shown a couple of others.

Wheez Von Klaw said...

Love Kubert's Lizards... Next to Wally Wood and Ross Andru, no one drew them better!

Pappy said...

Wheez, thanks!

Unknown said...

When I tell people how traumatic the 12 cents increase of comics was to me, I get a chuckle and a comment that 2 cents is nothing. They don't realize that aquiring money for comics in those days was akin to hunting and gathering. Extra chores, redeeming pop bottles, paper routes(bleah),filching coins when dad wasn't looking, etc.
I could get two comics and a candy bar with a quarter to spend a great afternoon.
I can still see the empathetic look the liquor store clerk gave me when he told me the bad news at the counter.(An unusual thing in that the clerks at the store usually greeted you with a "Buy something or get out".)
I did become a very different type of buyer. I'm sure you you can remember standing in front of a comic rack for twenty minutes, with a Tarzan in one hand and dazzling Batman 80 page giant in the other racked with emotion trying to come to a decision.
This Cave Carson is one of my favorites in my collection, great choice Pappy.

Pappy said...

Mario, what a sense of nostalgia settled over me when I read your line, "standing in front of a comic rack for twenty minutes, with a Tarzan in one hand and dazzling Batman 80 page giant in the other racked with emotion trying to come to a decision." I do remember that, and that my decision would usually be tipped to the giant comic, because I felt I was getting more value for my money.

I also remember when I became a Mad fan in the late fifties, and then my 50-cent allowance didn't go far enough. When an issue of Mad came out it cut into my comic book buying considerably. Before that I could get four 10¢ comics and one 5¢ candy bar and even cover the 2¢ sales tax.

By the time comics went to 15¢ I had more spending money, and the price held steady until the seventies when prices went crazy. I remember the first time I paid a buck for a new comic book (one of the DC Dollar Comics), and the sense of impending doom for my collecting new comics if they all went to a buck.

I have gotten away from the subject of the 1961 2¢ price hike with my ramble, but like you, I felt the pain of diminished buying power.

Mr. Cavin said...

" decision would usually be tipped to the giant comic, because I felt I was getting more value for my money."

Unless there was a giant raging ape story in the Tarzan comic, eh Pappy? Thanks for ten awesome years, man. I hope this blog blows out all the birthday candles, because I want all its fondest wishes to come true.