Friday, December 29, 2017

Number 2148: Ray Bradbury, Albert Feldstein and Wallace Wood...Comics is Heaven!

“Mars is Heaven” by Ray Bradbury was originally published in the Fall, 1948 issue of Planet Stories. It was adapted by Al Feldstein for the EC version, published in Weird Science #18 (1953). Wallace Wood did the artwork.

These are scans of the original artwork, and once again, a big thank you to Heritage Auctions for posting this on their website. While his drawing is top notch, I think Wood got a bit fancy with technique. It is a minor complaint, though. He was going for visual interest in his panels. You will see where there are pasteovers; some of them were drawn on coquille board, which is pebbled, and useful for making shading effects with dots by using a pencil or Conté Crayon. Another technique, used in a couple of panels (including the last panel on page 8), is done on scratchboard, which the artist does in black ink, then uses a knife or similar tool to scratch away ink.

The story is more fantasy than science fiction, but the trip to Mars gave Wood the opportunity to draw his incredible spaceship interiors. Once on Mars the astronauts find their own nostalgic pasts. One reviewer said the original story was too much a nostalgia piece from Bradbury’s upbringing in the 1920s, but that is his opinion. In the Weird Science adaptation Wood did a fine job setting the time and place.

In those days no one expected anyone to be putting comic art on their walls or in galleries, Wood could paste-up all he wanted. Later in his career Wood was more careful about keeping a clean page.


This will be the last Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine posting for an indefinite period. I will be taking at least a couple of months, and maybe more, away from this blog. I will be working on some other projects unrelated to Pappy’s.

I have stuck to a regular schedule for this blog for over a decade, and that makes me proud. But there comes a time when fatigue takes over mind and body. It’s time to do something else. While preparing the blog posts has been work, it was always a labor of love. It had to be love because I never asked for money. Even during times of frustration and struggles with recalcitrant computer equipment, if I had not enjoyed it I would not have been able to do it that long.

Naturally, I will leave my archives available for anyone to access.

I very much appreciate the support I have received over the past 11 1/2 years. Best wishes to you all. Until we meet again, I remain your friend, Pappy

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Number 2147: A Flash of purple lightning

We find out a couple of things in this tale of the original Flash from 1942: the Flash can travel at almost the speed of light (that’s fast!), and he can sew a parachute and save a transcontinental flight full of people before it crashes (that's fast and talented!)

Fast and talented Flash (secretly Jay Garrick) goes up against yet another comic book “scientist,” who uses his genius for bad. In this case, tossing around purple lightning bolts that look just like cartoon lightning bolts (a la Captain Marvel). It is written by Gardner Fox and drawn by E. (for Everett) E. Hibbard, with inks provided by Hal Sharp (per the Grand Comics Database).

The Flash was another of DC’s characters who was popular enough to appear in more than one comic book, and whose career was cut short by the end of the 1940s from sagging sales. He was revived in 1956, and the rest is history.

From Flash Comics #29 (1942).

The Flash had imitators. Here are three tales of speedsters, including Johnny Quick, Quicksilver, and the Flash himself in a 1940s story unpublished until 1972. Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Number 2146: Walt Kelly’s Christmas Critters

 Happy Christmas to you to you and yours. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

For our Christmas posting we have two of Walt Kelly’s beautifully illustrated stories for children, featuring woodland creatures. From Christmas with Mother Goose, Dell Four Color Comic #201 (1948).


Friday, December 22, 2017

Number 2145: Stars and Stripes and Siegel and Sherman

The Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy were a sort of twist on Batman and Robin. Sylvester Pemberton was a rich kid, and Pat Dugan was a large adult who teamed up with him and went after the bad guys. Pat started out as an auto mechanic, then became a chauffeur. The team was featured in Star Spangled Comics after an introduction in Action Comics #40 (1941):

Despite being created by Superman’s co-creator, Jerry Siegel, the feature wasn’t a real big hit. It was cover featured for the first six issues of Star Spangled, then was replaced on the cover by Simon and Kirby’s Newsboy Legion.

Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy artist, Hal Sherman, normally drew humor features, so his work has a cartoonish flair. That wasn’t different than almost all of the DC superheroes, where realism in the art wasn’t required. Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy also appeared as members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Leading Comics, a second-tier super group modeled after the Justice Society of America. When the strip ended in 1948, Jerry Siegel was gone from DC in a dispute over Superman, and other hero characters were giving way to funny animals, crime and love, as the tastes of the readers changed.

I am not sure how many adventures of the duo Siegel wrote. He is not credited for this story from Star Spangled Comics #13 (1942), where Hal Sherman got the sole byline.