Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Number 2456: Space cowboys to the rescue!

I love an oddball comic. Space Western took two popular genres, cowboys and science fiction, and blended them. The numbering of the series, which lasted 6 issues, came from Charlton’s Cowboy Western.

The series was created by Walter Gibson, who was also the writer of the long-running pulp magazine, The Shadow, writing as Maxwell Grant. And here I thought the stories of the Shadow were a stretch for credibility!

This story, from Space Western #41 (1952), by Walter Gibson and Stan Campbell, is full of the craziness for which Space Western is known. Intelligent cacti from Venus come to earth to get an atom bomb, which Spurs and his gang are supposed to guard. You have a notion of how such a story will go when it is based on such a premise.

More Spurs! Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Number 2455: Ibis calls on god

My headline is correct. Ibis and his girlfriend, Princess Taia, call on their god, whose name is Osiris, “The God of Egypt.” It is when things get tough; the bad guy sends a storm their way, and when Taia asks if Ibis’ magic wand, the Ibistick, can help, he says he has a better idea. He’ll call on their deity.

All I can say to that is Osiris must not have much else to do if he can answer a prayer that quickly.

Ibis was the magic man of Whiz Comics, and later, his own title. He came from thousands of years ago and if not wearing his turban, would fit right in with the modern world. Unlike the usual comic strip and comic book magicians, Ibis uses his Ibistick to do the magical stuff. Magic wands have been staples of magic stories for how long? Millenia, perhaps; anyway, a long, long time. You fans of Harry Potter will know all you need to know about a magic wand.

The Grand Comics Database lists the artist as Alex Blum with a question mark. I believe it is Blum. He was an old time artist who went to work in the comics. He did a lot of Classics Illustrated book adaptations. He was born in 1889, so he was in his early fifties when he took this assignment. Alex Blum died in 1969.

From Whiz Comics #16 (1941):

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Number 2454: Wallace Wood’s “Sanctuary”

Wallace Wood has been a favorite artist for this blog, because he is a favorite of a lot of comic book fans. Including this story today, I have posted 46 stories by him. The man died almost 40 years ago, and yet his artwork is still thrilling fans, including cynical old me. In 1970 Wood did some stories for Marvel Comics’ Tower of Shadows. He wrote and drew them, along with his assistants. I enjoy the imagination of his sword and sorcery stories. Wood, besides being an artist who could do dynamic work from scripts of other writers, was a natural storyteller on his own.

“Sanctuary” appeared in Tower of Shadows #8 (1970).

Monday, September 21, 2020

Number 2453: Prison: nasty or nice?

A story from a crime comic book got my attention with a bare-knuckled, nose-busting fistfight. In this corner, prison guard Frank Brandon, and in the other corner, Henry “Mad Dog” Kelt. Kelt is a prison bully, extorting money and food from other prisoners. Frank is a prison guard who cares.

The action artwork is by artist Robert Q. Sale. “Tension!” is from Atlas’s Crime Fighters #12 (1954), a few months before the Comics Code went into business, and would probably have given a first-round knockout to a story like this.

As a person whose weightlifting and muscle building regimen means lifting a pencil, or getting my butt out of bed in the morning, this is another good example (of many) of why I would not want to go to prison.

In 1945 the Department of Corrections for the State of California issued a 12 page pamphlet for new prison inmates. It shows prison to be a place where training for improvements in one's life can be made. Which depiction do I believe? That is a rhetorical question. Since my personal belief is I would not last a day in prison, I have to go with prison being an unpleasant and rough place, and not believe the relatively placid look at captivity in the latter.

The artist, who signed his name “Peek,” was described only as “a talented inmate.” Peek showed the skills of a commercial artist from that era. The display lettering, which was important to an artist in those days, is impeccable. The illustrations, probably done from photographs, are also good. I hope when Peek’s time was up he got out, got a job as an artist, and never went back to prison.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Undercover Girl underwater

Undercover girl is tough. She can do what is necessary to solve a problem, thereby protecting the good ol' USA.

What a gal. Undercover Girl can also hold her own when it comes to fighting with other women. We know that because from what I have seen, Undercover Girl gets into a fight with another woman in almost every adventure (see the link below). In this adventure, though, she becomes not Undercover Girl, but Underwater Girl. She puts on a two-piece bathing suit and finds a missing ring on the sea bottom. That is after watching a shark kill a guy. She does not let dangers of the deep keep her from doing her job.

Ogden Whitney did his job. He was a comic book artist who over a long career drew beautiful sexy women and handsome heroic men. Some of his last work in comic books had him drawing the inimitable Herbie Popnecker. As much as I like Starr Flagg’s pulchritude, for me Whitney's depictions of Herbie were the highlight of his long career.

From ME’s Undercover Girl #5 (1952):