Monday, November 12, 2018

Number 2258: Beneath the sea with Chuck Hardy and his gal

Years ago I read about comic artist Frank Thomas, that his comic book career was only four years, from 1939 to 1943. It was likely he was drafted or joined up for duty during World War II. He was born in 1914, so would have been 29 in '43, within the age group of men accepted for military service. Thomas’s style was perfect for the era. After his comic book days were done he was working on his own newspaper comic strips, and ghosting others.

Along with the Eye, the Owl, and Billy and Bonny Bee, Thomas created and drew the feature “Chuck Hardy in the Land Beneath the Sea,” which appeared in Amazing-Man Comics for Centaur. The two episodes I have today are from Amazing-Man #5, but actually #1, and Amazing Man #6, actually #2, both from 1939. Thanks to those folks who collected the Frank Thomas Archives now on Digital Comics Museum and Comic Book Plus, making Thomas’s work available online for free.


Gene Phillips said...

This was a fun little strip, more creative than most of the contemporaneous space-opera features.

Thomas's THE OWL is probably his best known credit with Golden Age fans. However, when I read the stories via online sites, I thought the authors seemed a little embarrassed about doing superheroes, and tended to do straight mystery stories in which the superhero had some minimal role. Or so I recall.

Daniel [] said...

Lack of air pressure would of course correspond to thin air, so that Chuck and Jerry would suffocate in greatly thinner air, as do some mountain climbers. But, hey! Comic-book science proceeds according to its own ad hoc impulses, which also prevent air above the crust from having been driven by pressure into underground cavities.

But it's interesting to note the gravitational issues in Hollow Earth stories. If we image the Earth as a shell of uniform thickness, then in its center the gravitational pull from any part of the shell is exactly cancelled by that from the opposite side. If we move away from the center, then we're closer to some parts of the shell than to others, but more parts are opposing, and (under the inverse-square law g = G⋅m₁⋅m₂/r²), the gravitation forces still cancel. So, basically, everything floats. Of course, if the shell isn't perfectly uniform, then the gravitational pull isn't necessarily perfectly cancelled, but still net gravitation should be very weak.

In my opinion, the art here exemplifies the pervasive influence that Milton Caniff had, especially upon adventure comics.

Pappy said...

Oh, Daniel...simply everyone knows that inner earth is where flying saucers are from, also the Land of Pellucidar, and home to dinosaurs and other beasts thought by surface people to be extinct. While in the Antarctic Admiral Byrd flew over the entrance to the inner world. How dare you impugn those truth-tellers with your talk of floating!

Pappy said...

Gene, you hit on something interesting. When comics were very young, and trying to cash in on the Superman and Batman popularity by doing their own costumed and super heroes, I believe many artists and writers were somewhat stumped on how to create such things. Except by looking at what was selling, of course. The Owl was a good character in the costumed hero mode, and Chuck Hardy probably has his foundation in Flash Gordon, substituting inner earth for Planet Mongo.

In reading the works of Frank Thomas, I find the most interesting to be Billy and Bonny Bee, designed for kids and featuring anthropomorphic characters. Perhaps that was where his interest was.

Darci said...

When I saw the giant crayfish and the steam at the end of the first chapter, I thought I knew where Jerry was going to get her next meal.

I wonder if Elon Musk has seen this feature? For comparison, his Boring Company electric sleds are supposed to travel at 120mph (200kph).