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Friday, March 02, 2018

Number 2149: Pappy gets back to business, and Captain Marvel gets swamped

Pappy is back. No confetti and no "welcome home" banner, but yes, I have returned to this blog.

Now that I am resuming a regular schedule, first up is a Captain Marvel tale which has some features I thought newsworthy. Billy Batson does not get conked on the head, or tied up and gagged so he can’t yell out the magic word. He does his reporting job, and lets his alter ego, Captain Marvel, do the muscle work.

It is an early story, published in Captain Marvel Adventures #5 (1941). The Grand Comics Database credits “Fawcett staff” for the writing and drawing.

Captain Marvel went on to become one of the great successes of the Golden Age, which was probably his eventual undoing. The GCD has circulation numbers for issues from 1944, and they are over one million per issue. The broad appeal and large numbers surely got DC Comics in a suing mood. That suit and a glut of comic books on newsstands in 1953 caused Fawcett to call it quits, shutting down not only the Marvel Family, but their whole comic book division.

















12 comments:

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Ehm... I could use a sniff of that mist.

Here we are Pappy, no confetti and banners, just a quick, but warm "Welcome back Pappy" from all your sweathogs.

A lovely story this one, it reminds me of a 1942 Mickey story, "The Crow mistery". Also love the idea of graduated goggles for short-sighted villains, never thought about it (and I read Marvel comics since I was six).
As I said once, I love the occasional "Tintin look" on Billy's face.

I'll stay on these roads.

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

So one obvious question is of how Hoppy would feel about Captain Marvel eating fried rabbit.

Anyway, it's quite striking that Captain Marvel infers that none of the regular denizens of the area could be the villain because the perpetrator had to be a smart man. I don't know whether the writer were simply amusing himself, or seeking to inculcate disparaging presuppositions about rural folk. The inference from the lenses of the costume was far more clever story-telling.

While I'm not actually put-off by the crude art here, I'm used to seeing Captain Marvel depicted by art that is primitive yet elegant. Oddly, to my eye, Captain Marvel is in this story portrayed with a stronger resemblance to Fred McMurray, whom Beck named as his model. Also, some of the character design reminded me of Chester Gould, though again the rendering is much cruder than his.

In any case, let me be the nth to welcome your return! (I won't know the value of n until comments come out of moderation.) I hope that your time away was far more fruitful than frustrating. I assume that the bodies will never be found.

Pappy said...

J.D., thanks for the note. Your sweathogs comment took me back over 40 years to an old situation comedy, which I haven't seen in...errrr...over 40 years!

I don't know if you have swamps in Italy that compare to the swamps in the U.S., but they have been used as the backdrop for mysteries and horror movies forever. When I look at documentaries about swamps I see people in airboats cruising through them enjoying themselves. When I see them in horror movies I see them as dark, dank places full of old voodoo crones and demented killers. Murder is around every tree, because hiding bodies is easy in the swamp where there are alligators to dispose of the evidence. Of course, that's just in the movies, isn't it?

I like your comparison to Captain Marvel and Tintin. It's the dots for eyes. I see the resemblance.

Pappy said...

Daniel, now I know I am back in business, because Daniel is back with a comment. Thank you!

I visualize the early days of Captain Marvel, both in Whiz Comics and his own title, as a time when a lot had to be done to cash in on the success. C.C. Beck had artists working with him, but it is obvious he didn't work on this story. You may also remember that Simon and Kirby drew the first issue of Captain Marvel Adventures. While not as crude as this story, it is still jarring to see their familiar style on Captain Marvel.

I mentioned that in some things I am superstitious. As soon as I announced a hiatus I began having all sorts of computer problems. I won't go into detail of the problems, but when I started preparing for upcoming postings the problems were solved, and so it has been fairly smooth. For now at least, the operation of preparing this blog is up and running the same as it was before my announcement.

As for the bodies, I don't have a swamp to dispose of evidence(see the note to J.D.), so for now I have them stacked up in my basement.

Stephen John Smoogen said...

Glad to see you back Pappy, I hope you are fit and well.

What I found amazing was that the villian was able to take multiple punches from Captain Marvel and come back for more. Then the peculiar glasses.. oh yes there is only one other person who could do that. It was that ignoble Clarkus Kentus from a different comic who was sneaking in to steal Captain Marvel's thunder.

I guess this is why CK ended up going with lawyers to do so.

Darci said...

Re: "Pappy gets back to business"
The best news I've had this year!

Re: "for now I have them stacked up in my basement"
Teddy Roosevelt would approve.

Welcome back!

Mr. Cavin said...

I also stuck on the point where the Capt. is able to dismiss th' hole populashun of the Great Dismal Swamp as too stupid to be the villain here. This North Carolinian feels a little zinged. I didn't see that green goblin saboteur doing anything particularly brilliant his own self, frankly.

I also feel like the writers might not generally know the difference between cliche caricatures from the east (the swamps) and the west (the hillbillies) of the state. Elements seemed rather mixed here. I come from the middle, mind you.

Happy to have you back, Pappy! We're all right where you left us!

darkmark said...

Good to see you back!

Pappy said...

Cavin, you know those haughty New York types stereotype the rest of the country.* You in the South are from Dogpatch, my fellow citizens in the Rocky Mountain West are cowboys riding our horses among the sagebrush and saguaro cacti. Come to think of it, I do know some cowboys, so fuhgeddaboudit!

Thanks for the welcome back.

*Itself a stereotype of New Yorkers.

Pappy said...

Stephen, aha. Clarkus Kentus. He sounds like a Roman senator from about 2000 years ago. Thanks for your note and for the insight.

Pappy said...

Darci, Darkmark. Both of you have been here since the beginning. Thanks to both of you for your notes and your longtime support.

Brian Barnes said...

YEEEEESSSSSSS. Sorry I'm late to the no-party (sort of like a no-prize, I assume) but I'm so happy to have you back, Pappy!

You could smell the scooby-doo nature of this story coming a mile away, but it raising an interesting question. CM hit the guy, or got grabbed by the guy (while underwater, stopping him from plowing through the dam for a moment.) How did all this work? It seems crazy ghost costumes impart super powers!

I stereotypical hillbilly stuff is laid on thick on this one!