Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Number 2499: My torch still burns for Torchy

Modern Comics #102 (1950) was the last issue of the comic that began as Military Comics. One of its features, Torchy, had been created by artist Bill Ward during World War II. After the war she became a character in Modern Comics, which cover featured Blackhawk. Later Ward got busy doing Quality Comics’ love comics, and Torchy was turned over to Gill Fox, who, like Ward, could draw a pretty girl.

The blue-nosed censors wanted to get rid of all comic books featuring such “unsavory fare.” Torchy had her own comic book for six issues, but Quality Comics dropped that, and after the last issue of  Modern Torchy was then featured in Doll Man, the place where she started her career. Gradually other artists took over and that is when my torch for Torchy gets extinguished. The story here is, as usual, silly, but I am sure the drawings were why most readers looked at it. Did anyone read it? I did, which is why I know it’s silly, but who cares, now or in 1950? Torchy’s sex appeal affected without apology. 

The Grand Comics Database credits Gill Fox for both the story and art.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Number 2498: The Target team teams up

Says a crook, holding a gun on beautiful Sonya, “Y’know, sister, every time I hear a girl scream, I get itchy fingers!” to which The Target, Sonya’s date, Niles Reed, now fully costumed in his hero regalia, says, “— and every time I see a face like yours, I get ITCHY FISTS!” Then he smashes the crook unconscious with that itchy fist. Sonya thanks him, expresses her gratitude, then adds, “I only wish the gentleman who brought me here was half as gallant as you!” She does not know that her date, Niles, is also the itchy fist guy. He is now in costume, after all.

The story, from Target Comics, Volume 1 Number 11 (1940), is the second Target story, and introduces two friends of Niles, who become the Targeteers. One wonders where the cops are in this story. According to the plot, the crooks working for Hammerfist, have been taking over the city’s night clubs, one by one, using violence. The cops don’t think to plant some undercover police in the clubs to catch the take-over criminals in the act. It is left to The Target. [SPOILER]Still, when the time comes for justice, Target captures the boss criminal, and ties him to a pole to await the police.[END SPOILER] 

I haven’t even mentioned that Niles, not wanting to hold a funeral he thinks is dangerous, buries his own brother in a field so the corpse won’t be found by the police. For sure that will keep funeral costs down.

The story is drawn by Bob Wood, using the pseudonym, Dick Hamilton. Wood had close ties to Charles Biro (Crimebuster, Daredevil, et al). The story reads like something Biro would write, especially burying the brother in a field. Biro had a morbid imagination. Without having evidence, I would give Biro some credit, even if it could be just inspiration to his future partner, Bob Wood, who later killed a girlfriend while on an alcoholic bender.


Another early Target story...featuring Hitler! Just click on the thumbnail: 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Number 2497: The Ghost Beast

Marvel Comics had a title called Tower of Shadows which began  in 1969. It published some reprints and some original stories, and lasted 9 issues before becoming Creatures on the Loose. I remember buying the comic with its original title, because some of them had stories by Wallace Wood. I’ve still got them.

The story, “The Ghost Beast,” appeared in Tower of Shadows #6, from 1970. Something I noticed about Wood’s storytelling is that in this period his stories were economical (i.e., short), all fantasies. Wood, along with most all of the artists working for Marvel in the early '70s, is deceased. It’s not Tower of Shadows I collected, but Wood.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Number 2496: That was no lady, that was my phantom

I am muttering in my beard today, because I am showing you another Phantom Lady story. I am muttering because I know I have beat the subject to death, but I’ll get it out of my system anyway: how come when Phantom Lady is in costume, not even wearing a mask, no one, including family members, knows her?

[Shrugs shoulders.] All part of the magic of the comics, I suppose.

This is an early entry in the Phantom Lady canon, which went on when the character ended up in Fox comic books, drawn much more sexy than this early episode. On second thought, I do like the way Arthur Peddy draws Phantom Lady in her skimpy costume. Until now Peddy is an artist who has escaped my notice. I have seen his name for years when associated with other features in comics, but have not paid attention. I am paying attention now, and will find the time to go back and take another look at his work. Peddy is obviously an artist who fit into the Eisner-Iger shop, making Quality Comics stand out for!

From Police Comics #5  (1941). 

Phantom Lady is introduced. Just click on the thumbnail. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Number 2495: The killers are dead shots with head shots

Quoting Heritage Auctions, when they sold a near mint copy of the comic book, Underworld #1 in 2006: “Mile High pedigree (D.S. Publishing, 1948) Condition: NM-. This issue's body count is high even for a crime comic, there's someone getting rubbed out on almost every page, with death by a point-blank shot to the head more often than not! Hence Overstreet's "excessive violence" tag. No less a talent than Sheldon Moldoff rendered the issue's cover.”

Those head shots, and other graphic shootings, are there in this tale of a pair of brothers, “The ‘Mad Dog’ Murderers.” It may have been noticed by the vigilantes who had declared war against the comics, and always eager to throw a comic book on a bonfire. We slavering crime comic junkies are fortunate that some comic book readers kept their copies of Underworld #1 away from the book burners.

No writer named, but along with the cover, Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff did the skull-shootin' story art. From Underworld #1 (1948):