Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Number 2483: Tarzan bundolo!

Tarzan hops onto Argus, his giant eagle, for a flight to the city of Cathne. There he encounters some belligerent Bolgani, who are bent on making Tarzan bund. Yep, there are ape-words in this story. Bolgani is gorilla, bund is dead. The creatures, as well as Tarzan, are wont to holler out "Bundolo!" which means kill. Tarzan is a bloodthirsty type, having named his own son Korak,* which in the ape language means killer. (Note: after this appeared reader Dwight Harvey wrote to remind me that Korak's real name is John.)

That aside, this is yet another story where Tarzan helps with the fighting in a city hidden in the African jungle, injecting him into their wars. It was written by Gaylord Dubois and drawn by Jesse Marsh. It appeared as the lead story in Tarzan Jungle Annual #4 (1955).

It is the end of the year. I’ll wish you Happy New Year, because 2020 has been a terrible year. We’ll hope for better in 2021. 

*In the Dell version of Tarzan’s parenting, his son is called “Boy,” which is what they named him in the old Tarzan movies, and was carried over into the comic books. It was apparently because the movie Tarzan and Jane were not married, and after they found the baby, decided to set up treetop housekeeping. Don’t ask me the circumstances. It has been at least 50 years since I saw that particular movie in the Tarzan series. For a time in the early 1960s there was interest in the Tarzan of the screen, and they were shown on a local TV channel on Saturday afternoons. I remember having an attitude about the movies, since I was a member of the Burroughs Bibliophiles, and was actively reading the original novels. I thought that made me an expert. When I once tried to explain the differences of the movie Tarzan and novel Tarzan to some classmates they looked as if they would rather grab a vine and swing away through the trees, somewhere far from me. 

In retrospect, who could blame them?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Number 2482: “The five weapons that shook the world!”

I raised a smile on my face, even on a stay-at-home pandemic day. (I am writing this in September, 2020.)  Mrs Pappy and I watched the filmed Broadway musical Hamilton, and a few days later I found the above panel. That coincidence was enough reason to show the whole story. It is from a Boy Commandos tale, and beyond the Alexander Hamilton reference, the story seems a not uncommon gimmick story for DC Comics. A bad guy has collected weapons tied to famous people and events, and wants to use a machine gun to wipe out Rip Carter to give himself, and the weapon, notoriety.

The Boy Commandos were nearing the end of their run in 1940’s comic books. Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1942 as a group of boys fighting in World War II, it ended as a postwar boy gang having adventures with the sole adult in the group, Rip Carter, carrying on from the war years as their leader. Boy Commandos stories were published from 1942 until 1949. They appeared in their own comic book for 36 issues, as a backup feature for Detective Comics (86 issues) and World’s Finest Comics (33 issues) before they were bumped. It was a time of transition in comic books. The old costumed, super and urban heroes were giving way to other types of heroes, like cowboys and Wild West stories.

From Detective Comics #143 (1949). Illustrated by Curt Swan and Steve Brodie.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Number 2481: Merry Christmas from Pappy and Pogo

Christmas Day is a couple of days from now, but everyone has been wishing everyone else good will and happiness, and so will I. Merry Christmas, everybody. 

The Pogo story I have chosen for today is really different for the Dell series of Pogo comic books that came out in the early '50s. For the most part the comic books follow the lead of the daily and Sunday newspaper strip (without the politics), but they do not include human beings, just swamp critters. This story, a take-off on the Traveling Musicians fairy tale, includes human characters.  

Seeing people in a Pogo story strikes me as breaking through the fourth wall. Although jarring to see them, I guess if I can accept Santa Claus, then why not people in a Pogo story?

By Walt Kelly, from Pogo Possum #9 (1952):

Monday, December 21, 2020

Number 2480: The Flying Fool

In the postwar years Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were represented at Harvey Comics (Stuntman, Boy Explorers), but the Harvey titles by S and K were quickly gone because of a glut on the comic book market. Before going to Prize Comics and starting Young Romance, a big success, Kirby and Simon worked for a short while at Hillman, appearing in the well-established Airboy Comics with an aviation strip, “Link Thorne — The Flying Fool.” Seven episodes were printed in Airboy Comics before the pair left and other artists came in to take over.

Aviation strips had their heyday, especially after World War II. Some pilots trained to fly in the war continued flying as a civilian business. Among other strips I remember, Milton Caniff had a huge success with Steve Canyon, a popular aviation strip. There was also Johnny Hazard by Frank Robbins, which appeared in newspapers from 1944 until 1977.

You can tell that Kirby and Simon put some thought into the Flying Fool, including some action-packed fight panels. But they didn’t stick around for long. I hope it was not a bitter break-up, because love was in the air! GI’s were home from the war. Love conquers all, it is said. In the late ’40s if they weren’t drawing crime comics, Kirby and Simon put their hearts into  love.