Friday, November 29, 2019

Number 2421: Babe and the li’l adopted boy

When I read Boody Rogers’ comic, Babe, I think of the influence of his assistant, Eric Stanton. Stanton made his reputation as a fetish artist, drawing things like men riding women. (You can find that in another Babe story, which I have a link to on after today’s story.) Boody was bizarre enough, but how much did his assistant influence him?

In this robust comedy Babe and her parents, Mammy and Pappy Boone, adopt a transient who has no name, but takes the name Firetruck. That reminds me of an old joke I heard from a friend when I was an adolescent: "What is a word that begins with the letter "F" and ends with "K"? I said the well known four-letter word. “No,” my friend said, “it’s firetruck!” Is that corny old joke what Boody and Stanton were thinking about...or do I just have a dirty mind and ascribe things to them they did not intend?

There are also the frequent kissing scenes between Babe and her new “brother.” They are not related but the constant reiteration during smooching of “my sister” and “my brother” sounds know.

The whole dirty story...or clean, depending on the purity of your mind as opposed to mine, is from Babe #2 (1948).

More kinkiness with Boody, Babe and the Eric Stanton influence. Just click on the thumbnail.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Number 2420: Thanksgiving Turkey Award: Dan Hastings and the baby killer

It is the American Thanksgiving Day, where the traditional bird of choice to eat is a turkey. A turkey is not very intelligent, so I have named my annual award the Thanksgiving Turkey Award. It gives me a chance to show what I consider the worst/most unusual/weird or whatever-it-is comic book story chosen for the year.

This one is definitely one or all of those. It has a mad scientist who sends huge bugs to kill children, and a couple of killings are shown in graphic detail.

Dan Hastings, according to Public Domain Super Heroes, is a copy of Flash Gordon, which was not unusual at all in early comic books. It explains why he wears a gaudy costume yet uses his real name. Dan has a Dr Zarkov-like friend, Dr Carter. Dan and Dr Carter’s daughter, Gloria, are a couple. After the gruesome beginning of the story, it turns into another mad scientist story, with the girlfriend of the hero, in a bondage scene, being threatened with death. The anonymous comic book writer in 1942 had a disturbing imagination.

The story is from Scoop Comics #2, and skeletons of bug-stabbed infants earn this story three and a half turkeys.

No writer or artist is credited by the Grand Comics Database.

More Thanksgiving Turkey Awards! Just clink on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Number 2418: The dark side of Captain Video

Captain Video and his ranger pal known only as Ranger take their rocketship to the moon, tracking a flying saucer which has left radiation on Earth. On the moon the intrepid earthmen meet little green men from the flying saucers.

Back here in the real world, on January 3, 2019 the Chinese landed a Chang’e spacecraft on the far side (commonly called the "dark side") of the moon. You can read about it in an article from Cosmos magazine online. There are no little green men, or none the Chinese have revealed yet to the rest of the world.

Art by George Evans and Martin Thall. From Captain Video #5 (1951).

Monday, November 25, 2019

Number 2417: Black X and the suicide bombers

Black X, master of espionage, decides to resign after falling in love with Madam Doom. Apparently he is so besotted he ignores the fact that Madam Doom’s name describes her. Madam Doom has developed a suicide bomb which works by drinking a liquid, causing the drinker to go out in a big explosion. It is less bulky dynamite vests for Madam Doom.

Black X is a spy whose job is known to his enemies. When he meets Madam Doom in a nightclub she asks, “ it true that you have resigned from the espionage?” Instead of asking where she got her information Black X dances with her.

Will Eisner created Black X, and according to the Grand Comics Database he scripted the story. It looks like one of his Spirit stories, but GCD credits artist Dan Zolnerowich with pencils and inks.

“The Legion of Living Bombs” is from Smash Comics #14 (1940).

Friday, November 22, 2019

Number 2416: Dennis the Menace: Crime does not play

The story goes that cartoonists Hank Ketcham and Al Wiseman were talking about trying to sell their syndicated newspaper comic features. In the 20th century the successful newspaper comic strip was the ne plus ultra of success as a cartoonist. They vowed that the one would become the assistant to the one who got to the promised land first. Is that story true? I don’t know for sure, but I like it. Regardless, Ketcham made it first with “Dennis the Menace,” and Wiseman became his assistant.

Wiseman may have drawn in Ketcham’s style, but he was a talented cartoonist in his own right. For years I have admired his work, especially his years of drawing the comic book version of Dennis in collaboration with writer Fred Toole. This is an early example, from Dennis the Menace #3 (1954).

Pappy’s owes a debt to Tom Spurgeon

It was a sad day when I read that Tom Spurgeon had died. Douglas Wolk begins his obituary of Spurgeon with “Tom Spurgeon, the writer and editor of The Comics Reporter, died November 13, [2019] at the age of 50. For the second half of his life, Tom was an extraordinary presence in American comics, as a chronicler of the medium and the industry around it, a critic, a convention organizer, and a nexus point for the comics community.”

I never knew Tom and never corresponded with him, but he was aware of Pappy’s Golden Age. At least once a week I go through the statistics of how many visitors the blog has had. When I saw a huge jump in the viewers for one of my postings, I knew to look at The Comics Reporter, knowing I would find a link from Tom. I am sure many people were first made aware of this blog by clicking on those links from Tom Spurgeon. I was very grateful to him for his unsung contribution to this blog.

Fifty is too young to die. But, Spurgeon was doing what he wanted to do. To spend one’s lifetime working at a job that is also one’s pleasure is a great gift. My regret for Tom is that he did not have decades more to write about he medium he loved.