Monday, April 29, 2019

Number 2330: Red Bee, stay away from me

The Red Bee, a character created by Toni Blum and Charles Nicholas for Hit Comics, in a series that ran from issues number 1 through 24. The Red Bee had a power, that of controlling bees. I would like to have that power, at least to keep them away from me, since I am allergic to the sting of those little critters. I appreciate bees for their part in the overall ecosystem of Planet Earth. I just need to keep my distance while they are being busy bees.

The name sounds like it was influenced by the Green Hornet, or the Blue Beetle. And there is a tie-in. Charles Nicholas Wojtkowski,* who is credited with creating the Blue Beetle, also figured into the creation of the Red Bee with Iger Studio scripter, Toni Blum. I am showing it is because I love the cover, a beautiful illustration by Lou Fine of the Red Bee wrestling a swordfish. If you look at my teaser panel above you will see it actually shows a sequence from the story, something Quality Comics didn’t always do, preferring more symbolic and/or generic illustrations for their covers.

This is an early story, from Hit Comics #5 (1940), which is credited to Charles Nicholas Wojtkowski by the Grand Comics Database.

*According to the Wikipedia page, there were three artists who signed the name “Charles Nicholas” working for the Iger Studio. Jack Kirby, Charles Cuidera, and Charles Wojtkowski. The latter went on to Charlton Comics where he worked, still under the name Charles Nicholas, in tandem with inker Vince Alascia.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Number 2329: Comics McCormick underwater

I believe this is the last Comics McCormick story I have to offer. There might be a couple more in some issues of Ed Wheelan’s Fat and Slat (published by EC Comics for four issues in the late 1940s), which I don’t have. Wheelan, long a favorite old-time comic artist of mine, wrote and drew these imaginative and funny stories of a boy’s obsession with comic books.

You can see more by typing Comics McCormick into the search engine for this blog.

Comics McCormick and the Waterman is from Comics’ only appearance in Cat-Man Comics, issue #28 (1945).

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Number 2328: The Maid of Mars is so hot sssshe ssssizzles!

A few weeks ago I showed a story drawn by Al Williamson I believe was intended for Buster Crabbe (the comic book), and sold instead to another publisher, where Buster was re-named Captain Comet. (Go to Pappy’s Number 2314 for that post.) Today I am featuring a genuine Buster Crabbe story, “Maid of Mars,” with art by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel, as identified by the Grand Comics Database.

Martians apparently look just like human beings, but as the Maid tells Buster, they have no phonetic language. Instead, their vocals sound like sssssnakesss hissssssing. Despite the fact that the Maid speaks English to Buster and his old pal, Whiskers, which she learned from Earth’s radio, a sentence from her to one of her fellow Martians on page 8 is “SSS SS SS SS SSSSS!!

Because she is a woman, and Buster is a man of considerable charms, she falls for him. She helps Buster and Whiskers, and the whole human race, avoid the fate intended by the Martians. The story is from Buster Crabbe #5 (1952), published by Famous Funnies, and given some extra prominence with its ssssnazzy cover by Frank Frazssssetta.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Number 2327: Batman down under

I like reprints of American comics from other countries. I assume the Marvel and DC characters are well known around the world because of the movies, but I like seeing the foreign reprints because then I know the readers are sharing what Americans find (or in today’s example from several decades before CGI movies, found) fun and desirable about the comic book versions.

“The Death of Batman” is presented here in its blackline reprint from Australia, 1953. The story is originally from DC’s World’s Finest Comics #58 (1952). The cover (with some text modifications on the marquee) is from Batman #64 (1951). K.G. Murray is the name of the publisher “down under.” I’d tell more about American comics in Australia if it didn’t involve work on my part. Since I’m being lazy perhaps one of my readers will be so kind as to let us know how long Batman appeared in Australian reprints.

The story features figures drawn by Bob Kane, and the rest of the artwork is by Lew Sayre Schwartz, who was Bob Kane’s ghost artist at the time. Inking is by Charles Paris, and the story is by David Vern. The credits are gleaned from the Grand Comics Database’s information on the American  printing of World’s Finest Comics #58.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Number 2326: Surprise! It’s Sir Prize

Sir Prize was drawn by Charles Voight, another of the old-time artists who went to work in comic books when comic books were still young. Voight had begun his newspaper comics career in 1908 when newspaper comics were young. For much of his career he drew a successful pretty girl comic strip called “Betty,” which was canceled in 1942, and I assume prompted his move into the comic books. He was born in 1887, and based on the intricate pen work and top-notch layouts I see here, it is too bad he could not go on for many more years. He died in 1947 at age 59.

Voight did two features for Prize, a boxing strip called “Boom Boom Brannigan,” and the medieval feature, “Sir Prize,” which was designed as a humor strip. This episode, set in the past, is actually about a current event: the shortage of housing in America for those returning home after World War II.

I give credit to Booksteve, who first showed “The Spook’s Nook, or, the Ghost’s Ghost!” in 2017 in his Four Color Shadows blog. I had seen Voight’s work before, but this was the first story of his that very much impressed me. I need to look closer at this artist’s work.

I have included a Frankenstein episode from the same issue. Dick Briefer did not have the sophistication of Voight, but his Frankenstein was popular, and went through three incarnations at his hand, finally ending in 1954. Both stories are from Prize Comics #60 (1946).