Friday, September 30, 2016

Number 1952: The bad man who loved orchids

Gangster Johnny Orchid loves 'em...orchids, that is. He also loves the gangster life. I guess there is no reason a guy can’t love both. Oh, and of course there is a girl. He loves her, too. Despite all that love it ends bad. It’s a crime story, after all.

This melodrama comes from Men’s Adventures #4 (1950). We showed another story, “He Called Me a Coward!” from this same issue a couple of weeks ago. The earlier story has a moral of sorts (young man, disappointing to father, becomes a man in his eyes), but “Johnny Orchid” is a straightforward crime comics story, and ends with the main character dead.

The main reason I’m showing it is because under that sloppy coloring and cheap printing is art by Gene Colan, ably inked by Syd Shores.


Daniel [] said...

Yeah, I've not seen any other crime comic of that era that made so very little attempt to pass itself off as a morality tale. In fact, Johnny's death is simply a matter of his own choice; he just chooses to go out with a bang. (Indeed, there was a lot of collateral damage in that bang, and it is only reasonable to infer that some of that was inury to innocent persons.)

Colan, of course, had a very impressionistic style, which became style more-so over time. My own response to impressionism (in general) is to see it as a noble but typically unsuccessful experiment. In any case, impressionistic drawing suffers especially when the coloring and printing are of poor quality.

Pappy said...

Daniel, Colan's pencils were more mainstream comic book art in those days, and Shores' inks made any artist's work look better.

During the '70s I thought Colan's art should be adorning large murals. It had that kind of "sweep" that I think looked confined by the comics format, but would have looked great in wall-size paintings.