Monday, April 16, 2018

Number 2168: Just a harmful young lady

In March I posted a crime comics story featuring a female criminal. I have chosen another. (Look back through the history of this blog and I have showed several stories featuring bad girls. I will let you decide what that means about me. You are probably right).

I don’t know if there was a female criminal named Mara Hite, who earned a death sentence in 1937. In crime comics if they didn’t really exist they made it seem like they did. In this story, illustrated by Syd Shores for Gangsters and Gun Molls #4 (1952), Mara is a murderer, even using the desperado tactics of traveling gangsters like Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde, shooting at cops from the window of a speeding getaway car. It is a timeworn tale, but the drawings by Shore make it worth a look.

Shores was an early comic book artist who worked with Simon and Kirby early on, and worked freelance in comics for many years until his death from a heart attack at age 59 in 1973. Gene Colan described Shores as a “big smoker,” and we know that smoking will kill you more surely than any gangster, male or female.


Brian Barnes said...

I might have mentioned this before, but I'm always fascinated by how a evil female mastermind and her husband are drawn in these stories. She's a stacked hottie quick on the trigger and her husband is a big giant shaved ape.

This is the kind of thing meant to capture imagination of boys and in particularly Pappy :) You could take the big ape's place, you certainly aren't as bad looking as him, and you could have adventures with a hot piece by your side.

But at the same time -- she's bossy, even bitchy, and treats men with disdain. She's an obvious example of morality of the day, women who speak up, who might take control of their lives, are not to be trusted. They will do, and say, anything. Run away, or you might be a dumb, shaved ape catching a bullet.

Crime comics were the kings of having it both ways!

Daniel [] said...

What reward is out for Mrs Pappy? (Just curious.)

The Seditionist said...

I also seem to remember that Shores was a drinker. Some time after his return to comics, he shared a studio with Wallace Wood and maybe Jack Abel. I'd daresay that no studio of or with Wood was a healthy environment.
What I do recall is that Shores didn't seem to turn down a gig and unless he was super-fast was putting in a lot of hours at the drawing table.
The real mystery of Shores was this: His pencilling in the latter 40s and into the 50s was pretty damn good. Yet when he came back into the business in the late 60s, he did almost no pencilling and what little he did do was pretty dull. I don't think the smaller art boards was an issue. So, a mystery. Maybe substance abuse of some sort, maybe age, maybe his time out from the funnies. Dunno...

Pappy said...

Seditionist, I think all three of those reasons may have played a part. I read once he stopped getting jobs at Marvel, and took up driving a taxi, then died, so I get an image of a man whose talent was depleted by an issue or issues, perhaps being undependable getting jobs in on deadline.

I will have to remember your comment about Wood's working environment. An artist would at least be sucking in second hand smoke while working with him.