Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Number 2509: One-eyed zombies shock Shock Gibson!

The early issues of Speed Comics published some very campy tales of superhero Shock Gibson, who became super when some chemicals splashed him.  A typical origin for a comic book character. This particular story, featuring green, furry, one-eyed “zombies” uses few words to tell the story, which mostly gives it the look of something done for a young person with a kid’s reading level, or someone semi-literate. The panels are simple, and illustrated in a naïve drawing style. The Grand Comics Database “credits” Norman Fallon for the artwork. Fallon, as I found out with a bit of reading online, was in comics in the ’40s and ‘50s. and appears to have been one of the artists working on Batman. Everybody’s got to start somewhere.

You know one of the villains controlling the zombies is bad with a name like Comrade Ratski.

Shock also has the ability to jump over buildings, which is taken from the early version of Superman who could “leap tall buildings with a single bound.”

I considered holding this story until my annual Thanksgiving Turkey Award, but I won’t deny you a few laughs now, when reading that the zombies talk backward: “Zombies the are we.” This like stuff up dishes who, Pappy am I.

From Speed Comics #11 (1940):


Monday, March 29, 2021

Number 2508: “I suffered for love!”

Julie and Jeff are brother and sister; growing up together they are inseparable, going everywhere together. But then Julie gets to an age where she wants to go on dates with boys, not a brother. Jeff does not take well to Julie’s choices for dates. He acts like a jealous boyfriend. Right away we readers begin to think there is something wrong with this relationship.

The story ends in what I think, to say the least, is an unusual turn of the plot.

This story also brings out your old Pappy’s advice for young women: do not date a man with a pencil thin-mustache. They are always carousers and con men. Be warned!

Art by Bob Powell. From Harvey Comics’ First Love #4 (1949):

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Number 2507: Beowulf and the monster

Beowulf is a very early epic poem, 3000 lines in old English. In the story it tells, Beowulf comes to the aid of a group of Danes attacked by the monster, Grendel. Beowulf is a real tough guy. He rips Grendel’s arm off. There is a lot more, want me to ALL your work for you? Go online and look it up.

In this version of Beowulf, spelled “Beowolf,” Grendel is a small T-Rex, a dinosaur. When I went online in search of Beowulf,  I found new and old illustrations from the saga, which present Grendel as a monster, but not a dinosaur. Artistic license, no doubt.

Bill Ely, an artist I consider to be one of the most underrated artists from the early history of the comics, did the pictorial renderings for the story, published in Conquest, a one-shot comic book from Famous Funnies. Besides Beowolf the comic book featured stories about Richard the Lion-Hearted, the Swamp Fox, and Lochinvar. Conquest came out originally in 1953, but was reprinted with Comics Code approval in 1955.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Number 2506: Son of a gun! It's the Son of the Skull!


Kip Burland’s vocation is police officer. His avocation is dressing up in yellow tights and a black hood, which gives him the name Black Hood. I wondered why he would dress up to do much the same job in his off hours as he was when punching a time clock. I went to Toonopedia, which told me why: “Patrolman Kip Burland assumed the Black Hood role in MLJ's Top-Notch Comics #9 (October, 1940), when he was framed for burglary by a villain called The Skull, and needed a cover to use while proving himself innocent. After clearing his name (which took several issues), he continued to use it because it enabled him to avoid all those entangling legal restrictions imposed on policemen in the pursuit of justice.”

“Avoid all of those entangling legal restrictions” seems to be the reason for the costume in stories of costumed heroes, even if they also are seen (in costume) with their fellow policemen. In those days some police in movies and comics were portrayed as clownish, as in this story.

The Skull framing Kip was the reason for him becoming the Black Hood, then the son of the Skull showed up, and that is what I am posting today.

Art is by Warren King, a name I was not familiar with. He did an excellent job. I did a bit of research and found he went from comics to newspapers. He was the editorial cartoonist for the New York Daily News from 1955-1977.

From MLJ’s Jackpot Comics #6 (1942).