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


Brian Barnes said...

More beautiful, action packed art from Crandall. He never lost that spark, either, some of his last works for Warren's mags are still incredible (and sometimes even a bit more lush as I remember.)

It's also a fun story. Very serial-like and entertaining -- but the less said about Chop Chop the better. Well, less said about the physics of a flying sub, the better, too!

Neil Hansen said...

On seeing panel 4 of the last page where Blackhawk throws a grenade, it reminds me of how many times Wood swiped Crandall in the Silver Age T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents material. I've seen examples of Wood swiping Reed Crandall superhero poses from the Ray for instance. Doesn't make Wood any less respectable, but it is interesting to note how much Golden Age material serves as inspiration to the Silver Age guys, and hopefully beyond. (I also recall Jackson Guice swiping Lou Fine Ray poses in Flash 1, 1986 -- check out the first few pages of Flash running. I believe he was told to avoid Infantino as a resource so he went back to the Golden Age days.)

Daniel [] said...

“No, let's not go after the body! I'm quite sure that he's dead and will not kill or otherwise injure anyone else! Let's just attend to other things, including our sing-along!”

Pappy said...

Brian, I'm on record as saying that later works by Crandall looked more like dioramas, posed figures looking frozen, Beyond that I still like his techniques in his Warren work, particularly when he was able to do his pen-and-ink magic in classic illustrative style, or in ink wash, where his panels look like paintings in grayscale.

Pappy said...

Daniel, Blackhawks were no Navy Seals, were they? I am thinking of the Seal team not only killing bin Laden but dragging his body back to HQ for a positive ID. The Blackhawks were just too busy saving small countries for Democracy to worry about details like that.

Pappy said...

Neil, the story I heard from a Wood studio insider was that in the sixties Wood had one of his assistants spend a year just swiping old Crandall poses. It is not a bad idea. Crandall had a fluidity to his action and anatomy that didn't come natural to Wood. You sometimes see one of Wood's heroes running toward you and a knee may look like it is made of cement (as Harvey Kurtzman put it).

I don't look down on swiping as long as it fits into the rest of the artwork. Wood's inking could overwhelm the pencils; a pose may have been Crandall's originally, but Wood turned it into his own with his inking style.

Neil Hansen said...

Thanks for that story about the Wood studio insider, Pappy. :) Makes a lot of sense. I love education!