Friday, June 22, 2018

Number 2197: Blackhawk’s asteroid war

In a column from the April 27, 2018 issue of the news magazine, The Week, we read this chilling paragraph: “. . . an asteroid nearly four times the size of one that leveled 500,000 acres of Siberian forest in 1908 missed Earth by only 119,500 miles last weekend. Startled astronomers had detected it less than a day earlier.”


I looked at the cover of Blackhawk #59 (1952) and it brought to mind fears of a huge object hitting our planet and making us like dinosaurs...extinct. I was able to shake it off. After all, a miss is a miss. In this tale it isn’t the fear that an asteroid is about to hit Earth that is the problem, it is that an “aggressor nation,” (and we all know who that is, don’t we?) has set up a base on said asteroid, ready to rain down death on America. America has only one rocket ship ready to fly to Asteroid X, and it can accommodate seven, just the number of Blackhawks! What luck!

Except for the out-of-this-world environment, it is a battle story. I don’t know who wrote “Beachhead on Asteroid X.” The Grand Comics Database gives Bill Ward ? (question mark means it is a guess) credit for the artwork.

I am torn by opposite opinions: even though I am for the exploration of space, I also tend to agree with Blackhawk’s opinion in the final panel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Number 2196: Daredevil “slapping you to H... and back”

Daredevil is after a murderer in “The Case of the Killer Who Hated Death.” The law arrests Tonia as the murderer. Tonia is Bart “Daredevil” Hill’s friend, so he goes all out to find the real murderer. Like most costumed vigilantes in comic books he has no qualms about illegally breaking into prison and punching a prison guard with his fists, or hitting someone with his deadly boomerang...if it will help Tonia.

The story and art are signed by Charles Biro, who was also the editor.

From Daredevil Comics #3 (1941):

Monday, June 18, 2018

Number 2195: Satan has no b*lls

EH! was another Mad imitation, published by Charlton, from the early '50s. The indicia reads “Designed by Al Fago Studios,” so we know to whom we can assign the blame. When I first read “Paradise Gained” I had some hope for it based on the Dick Ayers artwork, but after a couple of pages hope died. I wonder — rhetorically, since I don’t believe anyone is still alive to answer my question — if it was designed by someone who used other Mad imitators as a guide, rather than Mad itself?

In the story you see Satan in a department store. You see Satan is very popular with women. You see Satan appears to be nude under his cloak and cowl, yet without genitalia (page 5). Make of that what you will.

From EH! #2 (1954):

Friday, June 15, 2018

Number 2194: The Avenger and the sea monsters

The Avenger, published by Magazine Enterprises in 1955, lasted four issues. One of the more notable things about the four issues is that comic book journeyman Dick Ayers drew the first issue, and another top comic book professional, Bob Powell, did the next three.

Today we offer The Avenger fighting off some sea monsters. Not monsters in the sense of the Creature from the Black Lagoon monster, but regular denizens of the deep, a shark, an octopus, both of which could look monstrous if they are coming after you.

It is too bad the series only lasted four issues, but it was just a couple of years early for a superhero revival in comics.
For the origin of The Avenger, you can go to the link below.

The story is from The Avenger #2 (1955): Art by Bob Powell.

As promised, the origin story. Just click on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Number 2193: Albert the Alligator sings!

Bumbazine was the only human character to appear regularly in what eventually became the Pogo comic strip.* Pogo Possum, seen here in his second appearance, looked more like an opossum and less like the cuter and more marketable Pogo that came later. Like all good comic characters, Pogo and Albert the Alligator had a ways to go before their images matured under Kelly’s hand, and “Pogo” became a longtime hit in newspapers. That’s a whole other story.

In this early episode (the second) Bumbazine and Albert are the title characters. Albert tries to pull off lip-syncing in order to win a singing contest. (His own voice sounds like “Roo-oo-oof! Wuff! Yowp!” which sounds more like ol' Hound Dog, who had not yet become a character in the feature.) Bumbazine was later dropped from the strip. Including a human just did not fit into the swamp universe as Kelly later envisioned it. Also, it might have turned off some of the Southern newspapers in those segregation days. Another whole other story.

Written and drawn by Walt Kelly. From Animal Comics #2 (1943):

*However, Bumbazine was not the only human character to appear in an Albert the Alligator story. Here we have several. Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Number 2192: Good night, Dr Mid-Nite

Dr Mid-Nite, the secret identity of blind Dr Charles McNider, was a stable, if second tier superhero, for DC Comics from 1941 to 1948. His Wikipedia entry claims he was the first superhero to have a physical impairment. He pre-dated Marvel’s Daredevil by a couple of decades. His first appearance was in All-American Comics #25 (1941), his origin told by creators Chuck Rozenstein and Stan Aschmeier, who signed his work Stan Asch.

Once again, as we showed with Green Lantern a few weeks ago (Pappy’s Number 2080), the hero disappeared after a final appearance in All-American Comics #102 (1948). The only warnings to the reader were replacing Green Lantern on the cover with the Western star, Johnny Thunder, and an announcement on the bottom of the one of the pages to watch for all new adventures of Johnny Thunder in the new All-American Western.

The decision to replace the superhero contents of All-American with cowboys probably disappointed those superhero fans still left, but such is the nature of the business. The characters served their purpose, but when they no longer sold other genres were tried.

No scripter is listed by the Grand Comics Database for this final Dr Mid-Nite story, but the artwork is credited to Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs.