Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Number 2559: Phantom Lady and the Ace of Spades see through the disguises


I have commented (more than once) that Sandra, who is Senator Knight’s daughter, does not wear a disguise as Phantom Lady. She wears an abbreviated costume, but no mask on her face. In this tale Phantom Lady and the villainous Ace of Spades, wearing a sexy cowgirl outfit, meet up, and there is a showdown.

The enemy Ace of Spades is more observant than the friends and loved ones of those who hang out with Phantom Lady. In her first look at Phantom Lady the Ace of Spades thinks, “She looks enough like Senator Knight to be his daughter!” And Phantom Lady is no slouch, either...she sees through the Ace of Spade’s costume, and knows who she really is.

If only the myopic men and other characters in Phantom Lady had the power to see the obvious truth, that Sandra, sans costume, and Phantom Lady look exactly alike.

From Phantom Lady #20 (1948). Artwork attributed by the Grand Comics Database to Matt Baker.                                                                                

Monday, September 20, 2021

Number 2558: The giant shell game

I mentioned last week that artist Nick Viscardy began his comic book career as a young man. The Wikipedia entry on Nick Viscardy a/k/a Nick Cardy (name used for comic book art) and Nick Cardi (used for illustration art) says this:

“Cardy becme the primary DC cover artist from the early to mid-1970s.

“A popular but apocryphal anecdote, told by DC editor Julius Schwartz, concerned Cardy being fired by DC editorial director Carmine Infantino for not following a cover layout, only to be rehired moments later when Schwartz praised the errant cover art. Cardy said in 2005: ‘At one of the conventions ... I said, ‘You know, Carmine, Julie Schwartz wrote something in [his autobiography] that I don't remember at all and it doesn't sound like you at all.’ And I told him the incident ... and he said, ‘That's crazy. You know I always loved your work. Gee, you were one of the best artists in the business. The guy's crazy.’ So I said, ‘Okay, come on.’ We went over to Julie Schwartz's table and we told him what our problem was. And Carmine and I said, ‘We don't remember the incident.’ So Julie said, ‘Well, it's a good story, anyway.’ [Laughs] And that was it. He let it go at that. [Laughs] He just made it up.’”

Cardy did this story for DC. Nice artwork, and he did some excellent drawings of the monsters in the story. In those days at DC it seemed to me that every comic, super hero, mystery or even some of the kids' comics, had some sorts of monsters. This issue of House of Secrets #40 (1961) is one I found in my basement in a box of all coverless comics from that era which I bought (cheap) years ago. When I flipped through them I noticed a story drawn by Nick Cardy, so I read it. The story itself is loopy...the hero goes after a girl from a myth, which is not a good place to look for girls. But the artwork is representative of Cardy’s usual good job regardless of the quirky story, which is why I am showing it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Number 2557: No man is an island...not even Samar

Besides sharing his name with an island in the Philippines, Samar is another white jungle guy. He appeared in Feature Comics from 1940 to 1942, and shared something with the much more successful character, the Phantom. They were both headquartered in India, which often looks more like Africa. 

Nicholas Viscardi (who later went by Nick Cardy) and Ted Cain are credited with creating the character Samar. Viscardi/Cardy, born in 1920, was just a youngster when he began his comic book career. This story, which appeared in Feature Comics ##32 (1940), is not credited for a writer by the Grand Comics Database, but gives Maurice Gutwirth credit for the artwork. 


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Number 2556: “Feed me, Seymore!”

Artist Tom Sutton might have used Little Shop of Horrors as the springboard for “A Budding Evil,” which he wrote and drew. That is the original version of the movie, and not the remake, which would not be made for ten years from the time of the story’s publication. That aside, the comic book story is a six page horror story from Charlton, only without real horror, unless big scary plants give you the shivers. I would appreciate looking at a ghastly corpse or two. (I am effectively housebound except for trips for groceries, or a walk with Mrs Pappy, and it has turned me into...what? A grumpy old comic book reader who needs the sight of blood to satisfy his homicidal thoughts.)

The indicia says this is from Charlton’s Haunted #35, with additional title added to the cover, Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library. It appears that Charlton changed the title of the comic book, but not officially, so it wasn’t necessary to pay the U.S. Postal Service for a new mailing permit. The comic book has no Comics Code badge on the cover, so I was hoping it would have an EC Comics-like scene. The indicia told me this was a reprint of a 1964 original printing, and I guess that printing had the old familiar Code approval.

P.S. “Homicidal thoughts” is just a joke, you know. Ha. Ha. No need to call the police.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Number 2555: An all-wet drama

Navy Jones was a character inspired by Sub-Mariner. He was created as an undersea dweller through surgery, despite being a great-great-grandson of Davy Jones. The artwork, by Bert Whitman, who also created the character for Victor Fox’s line of comic books, is okay as an artist, but not exceptional. Jack Kirby appears in this particular issue, and there is a Joe Simon cover, so Navy Jones, done by Whitman, appears in the company of fair to excellent artists. Styles and drawing ability were all over the place in a typical Fox Features comic published over 80 years ago. Comic book fans eight decades ago could flip through the pages of a comic book like Science Comics and and not feel that anything was too far removed from that of other publishers.

I admit to being interested in the Navy Jones story because I like the villains of the tale, which include a huge one-eyed octopus. Its master, the evil and ugly prime minister, says to Navy Jones and his princess sweetheart, “The octopus will strangle you to death and drink the blood out of your crushed body.” A dire threat. But never fear, Navy Jones has a pepper shaker handy to fend off the octopus. That sounds somewhat original. Really. I kid you not.

From Science Comics #4 (1940):

Monday, September 06, 2021

Number 2554: Having the time of his life...or death

I like stories about time travel, aliens from other planets, dinosaurs, and Murphy Anderson’s artwork. So we have all of those elements in “The Cycle of Time.” A driver hits and kills a man with his car, some alien scientists land and claim they are from Alpha Centauri. The aliens and the hit-and-run driver then all go back in time.

Those alien “scientists” say that Alpha Centauri is “a solar system trillions of light years away from the Earth and the sun.” I looked it up: Alpha Centauri is a galaxy, not a solar system, and it is 4.367 light years away, not trillions. Some scientists, eh? At least they have a time machine. (Note: I neglected my homework. Go to the comments below and read the corrections for my errors about Alpha Centauri. Chagrined, but glad to be set straight. Pappy)

Artist Murphy Anderson was one of my favorite artists in DC Comics, and I liked his work on the series, Atomic Knights, in early '60s issues of DC’s Strange Adventures. During his career Anderson did a lot of science fiction, including a couple of stints as the “Buck Rogers” artist in newspapers.

There are no writing credits for “The Cycle of Time,” but Jerry Siegel was the editor, and a guess would be that he may have written some of the stories.

From Weird Thrillers #2 (1951):