Friday, March 31, 2017

Number 2030: Pretty ugly!

Two stories from Atlas Comics’ Suspense: “Skin Deep” followed “The Ugly Man” in issue number 23 (1952).

Both stories use ugliness as a sign of villainy. In the first it builds to a jokey punch line based on a cliché, and in the second, the ugly people are proud of their ugliness. Stan Lee is credited with “The Ugly Man,” and there are no guesses at or the Grand Comics Database for the writer of “Skin Deep.” Typical of most horror comics, the stories are constructed to punish someone for their sins; in this case vanity. The artwork on both is superb. Artwise, this is a good issue of Suspense. “The Ugly Man“ is drawn by Joe Maneely, and “Skin Deep” is unsigned, but credited to Syd Shores with a guess for Mort Lawrence as the inker.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Number 2029: Blackhawk and the flying submarine

Didn’t we already have a story about a flying submarine? Why yes, Pappy says, answering his own question. We had a story from Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub)* in October, 2016. But “The Flying Submarines” from Blackhawk #64 is from 1953, and Commander Battle #3 is from late 1954, so if there was any copying of a concept, it was done by the folks at ACG.

The Grand Comics Database gives Reed Crandall credit for both pencils and inks in this story, and his familiar style pops out of every panel. Unlike the 5-page story from Alarming Adventures we showed a couple of days ago, Crandall’s style isn’t overwhelmed by someone else’s inking. 

Just as a warning, the awful caricature, Chop Chop, has a couple of cringe-worthy pidgin-English speeches in the story. This one is from page 6: “No Blackhawk! You keep lunning! No mind me! Chop Chop’s life not velly important!” And of course, Chop Chop is important to Blackhawk, so he quits “lunning” and surrenders to the villain holding Chop Chop at gunpoint.

*See it in Pappy’s #1961

Monday, March 27, 2017

Number 2028: Not so alarming adventures

“Trapped in the Human Aquarium” has some pretty pictures, credited to Reed Crandall and Al Williamson, but the story is a supernatural “mystery” story of the era. What a difference in Harvey Comics from just a few years earlier, when they published some of the liveliest horror comics in the biz. By 1962, when Alarming Adventures #2 was published, it was an example of the Comics Code during its most powerful period.

I bought the comic when it was new because of the John Severin cover, the Crandall/Williamson story I am showing today, and two short stories by Bob Powell.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Number 2027: The fighting Captain Fight

Fiction House, like most comic book publishers of the early forties, had some superheroes. Fight Comics, one of their main titles, featured Super-American, whom we have shown in this blog, and for a short time a second patriotic hero, Captain Fight. The patriotic Captain Fight lasted just four issues (Fight Comics #16-#19). I don’t see a lot of originality in the first story, but the art, credited to Rudy Palais, is action-packed. The artist poured a lot into his work.

Captain Fight was a high school athletic coach, Jeff Crockett, and what’s this? He was recognized by one of his students, Yank Adams, who became his sidekick. We have spoken before of comic book characters who don’t recognize their friends or relations in a flimsy mask (even no mask), and I have questioned if they have face blindness. Yank sees right through Jeff’s mask! Yank is a smart guy. Along with great powers of observation, he even has a ham radio license.

We learn in the story that "Murder is fashionable in Freeville," and not only murder, but torture. The Nazis string both Captain Fight and Yank up by their thumbs. Based on the benign expressions on their faces they must have really strong thumbs. I would be shrieking with pain before passing out, mostly from the knowledge I'd never be able to again hold a soup spoon. Jeff and Yank, though, are heroes, and apparently impervious to torture.

Despite this Captain Fight being short-lived, Fiction House introduced another Captain Fight in issue #44. He was a buccaneer who lasted though issue #69.

From Fight Comics #16 (1941).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Number 2026: King Frankenstein

In “Hail the King,” the plot by writer/artist Dick Briefer hangs on the gimmick — introduced for this story — of Frankenstein’s signature disappearing shortly after writing it. There is a slug in the last panel that says, “Thanks to Ed Goggin for help on these tales. Dick Briefer.” Maybe I can blame Ed. I am not a hardcore consistency freak, but such a gimmick appears thrown in.

I do like the two-headed girl. Dick Briefer could draw some mighty pretty girls when he wanted to.

From Frankenstein #8 (1947).