Friday, September 29, 2017

Number 2108: Eye-yi-yi!

The Eye is an enigmatic character, its origin never explained. The character was created and drawn by Frank Thomas (the Owl, Billy and Bonny Bee), one of the very early comic book men. (This Frank Thomas is not Disney’s Frank Thomas.)

In a link below you can read another Eye story. In my commentary for that 2014 post I presume the Eye to be a version of God. I have noticed many comics use God, thinly disguised. It is only natural for writers and artists to mix history, folklore, the supernatural and Bible stories into adventures of four-color superheroes.

From Keen Detective Funnies #20 (1940):

The second Eye story is here. The posting from 2014 also includes a link to the first Eye story. Just click on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Number 2107: Phantom Lady is introduced

Phantom Lady, who went on to infamy, had a modest beginning at Quality Comics in 1941. Arthur Peddy signed the first Phantom Lady appearance in Police Comics #1, which I am presenting today.

Peddy co-created the character (writer unknown) for the Eisner-Iger studios, which supplied the contents of early Quality Comics. Her gimmick, besides being a United States senator’s daughter, was the “flashdark,” a portable black light, putting crooks literally in the dark.

Peddy went in the Army, and Phantom Lady was turned over to Frank Borth, before disappearing from Quality. She reappeared for Fox, when Jerry Iger revived the character. Along with Rulah, Phantom Lady was one of the mainstays of Fox’s late forties’ sexy comic book heroines.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Number 2106: Lady wrestler Babe

Boody Rogers’ Babe was a hillbilly character inspired by Al Capp’s Li'l Abner, and also had the additional element of Rogers’ assistant, Eric Stanton. Stanton went on in his career to a very specialized underground of fetish artists. For Boody he not only drew but allegedly helped with plot ideas, and “Mrs Gooseflesh,” from Babe #4 (1949), fits into the bizarre category. Stanton is caricatured in the story, a dapper little man with Stanton’s birth name, Ernest Stanzoni.

Mrs Gooseflesh is a woman who likes to break necks. And the story races at a — you’ll excuse me — breakneck pace to the last few panels, which show how far into the realm of physical “comedy” Boody Rogers was willing to go.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Number 2105: Uncle Otto takes it with him

Uncle Otto looked for his dead wife’s fortune for 15 years. He killed her for it. He died just a couple of hours before his niece, Fran, and her fiancé, Vic, showed up at his rotting old mansion. Not only did the ghost of Fran’s aunt Edna appear to the couple, but also the ghost of Uncle Otto. Otto was not deterred by being dead; he wanted to defy the old adage, “You can’t take it with you.” Or if he couldn’t take it with him, at least he could keep it from the interlopers to whom Aunt Edna bestowed her hidden wealth.

“Rendezvous with Death” is from Forbidden Worlds #34 (1954), the last issue before the Comics Code would turn thumbs-down on a story like this. It even defies the usual ACG plot, where the young couple is able to triumph over the evil supernatural forces and proclaim their love in the final panel. By the end there is no love left.

Lately, in our comments section, we have talked of the Jeepers Girl. Artist Kenneth Landau drew a version of her in the splash panel.

Here are two more stories from the final pre-Code issue of Forbidden Worlds. Just click on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Number 2104: Kid cartoonist draws Kid Colt

Russ Heath wasn’t exactly a kid when he drew this Kid Colt story for Marvel’s Two Gun Kid #10, in 1949, but at my age anyone in their early twenties is a kid. To my way of thinking, Heath, born in 1926, was still a youngster, developing as an artist in his early career drawing cowboys. (To read more about Heath’s fascination with cowboys go to the link below.)

Heath went on to become one of the top artists for Marvel/Atlas doing war, horror, science fiction, satire...and then he went to DC and did his amazing Silver Age work. Heath also branched out, doing excellent work for Harvey Kurtzman on “Little Annie Fanny” at Playboy, then worked for National Lampoon and Jim Warren’s magazine group. As I write this Russ Heath is still with us at age 90, and I hope he is doing well now that he’s no longer a “kid.”

In 2011 I presented another early Russ Heath Western featuring Kid Colt. Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Number 2103: Blackhawks on the moon

Blackhawk and his band of buddies volunteer to fly to the moon, and set up camp. They will be waiting for a group who will stay on the moon permanently. If that isn’t incredible enough, they appear to be helping a pair who look like V.I. Lenin and Albert Einstein. That is just the kickoff for one of the goofiest Blackhawk stories I have read, presented in Modern Comics #99 (1950). On the moon the Blackhawks meet two hostiles from a non-democratic nation (the word "communist" is not used), Zorak (has a beard) and Telga (beautiful female spy).

Among the plot elements of this goofball tale, the bad guys have a make-up kit with which they disguise themselves as Blackhawk and Chuck (Telga as Chuck).

I assume that this lunar lunacy was “inspired” by the George Pal movie, Destination Moon, which was heavily hyped in early 1950 before its release in August of that year. Life magazine had an article about it in its April 24 issue.

Grand Comics Database is not sure of the artists, but they guess the pencils are by John Forte and the inks are by Chuck Cuidera.