Monday, July 31, 2017
Number 2082: Poisoning as a career
There were several famous poisoners in 19th century Britain, and while Palmer was found guilty of one murder and subsequently hanged for it, his murder career went back years. It is detailed in this story from Crime and Punishment #5 (1948), drawn by the ever-so-precise Fred Guardineer.
Guardineer made a career choice, also. After years as a freelance comic book artist (he was from wayyy back, including Action Comics #1), in 1955 Guardineer decided he needed a job with a pension, so he went to the U.S. Postal Service where he worked until his retirement. He was able to continue drawing wildlife for a local newspaper, as opposed to crime comics and the wild life of crooks. It was his choice and it worked for him.
Friday, July 28, 2017
Number 2081: Plastic Man in transition
That in itself was not unusual in the artistic development of a character, but Plastic Man went further. His former identity as criminal Eel O’Brian was mostly never mentioned or shown, and he appeared to live 24/7 in his costume. In that way he avoided those sorts of clumsy plots found in most comics, where the hero was trying to keep his secret identity secret. Instead, Cole could get Plas right into the fun stuff.
In 2013 I showed a story which explained that Plastic Man’s face was deliberately changed from Eel’s. Just click on the thumbnail.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Number 2080: Brink of the jabbering panic
Our hero and heroine, like most ACG couples, overcome the evil by blundering through the situation, yet with intuition know what to do to combat the supernatural force threatening them.
What I can say positive about the story is that I like the artwork by Jon L. Blummer, another early comics journeyman who showed many times in these comics that the story may not make much sense, but his artwork is atmospheric and eerie. Blummer, who had drawn for pulp magazines, was another artist who had a history in illustration before going to work in comic books. He had also drawn a couple of syndicated comic strips in the thirties, including The Lone Ranger, and Hop Harrigan. Unfortunately, Blummer, born in 1904, died young at age 51.
From Skeleton Hand in Secrets of the Supernatural (whose title was almost longer than its lifespan of six issues) #3 (1953):
Monday, July 24, 2017
Number 2079: Skyman flies in
Skyman’s initial appearance in Big Shot Comics #1 (1940), shown today, did not explain his origin. Skyman was yet another rich guy who made it his mission to fight crime and bad guys. He even paid for his own advanced aircraft, Wing. As one source explained it, aviation comic strips were popular in the thirties, so not only did comic books feature many of them, like the Skyman they were sometimes costumed characters.
Ogden Whitney did the artwork. He was born in 1918, so he was about 21 or 22 when he first drew Skyman. I have featured many stories with Whitney’s artwork, and to my eyes there was very little change in his style or approach to drawing from this early time until the last artwork he did in comics. Whitney died in the early '70s, according to some accounts. For as long as Ogden Whitney was active in comics, and the wide range of publishers he worked for, there seems to be very little information about him.
What information I have on Skyman has him created and written by Gardner Fox.
Friday, July 21, 2017
Number 2078: Suzie, the Ditzy
Later in her comic book career Suzie got a bit more tame, falling in line with the standards of the Archie characters. In the earlier days, in her own innocent way, Suzie showed a lot of her charms.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Number 2077: Betty Blinker, the Bad
There is no explanation in the story for spelling liquor “licker.” Just another of the bad acts committed by the Blinker gang.
No artist or writer is credited by the Grand Comics Database. “Betty Blinker, the Red-Headed Rum-Runner” originally appeared in Fox’s Crimes by Women #9 (1949).
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