Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Number 2521: Heil Stinkle!

At first glance Goobert Ghost appears to be an early version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Unlike Casper, Goobert wants to scare people, a skill at which he flops. The ghost of a sea captain gives him an idea: quit hanging around the graveyard, instead go to Wormany and haunt the leader, Adolph Stinkle.

The story is written and drawn by animator Kay Wright, one of several animators moonlighting in comic books. This story is from Giggle Comics #1 (1943). I don’t know if Goobert, or Wright, showed up again in Giggle, or Ha Ha Comics, or any number of comic books of the war era aimed at young children. What I know about Kay Wright is he was born Karran Wright, and he worked for Disney. Years later Wright was working in animation, and also for Dell and Gold Key comics, drawing characters from Hanna-Barbera, and Disney.


Monday, May 10, 2021

Number 2520: “As evil a wench as ever carried a gun!”


Lady Serpent is the evil wench who kills. She not only strikes fear in the hearts of her gang, but also the police. Sergeant MacGooligan has a “fierce headache” caused by the Lady Serpent busting out of jail. He tells the story of her escape to Black Terror and his young companion, Kid Terror, in their civilian identities as a pharmacist and a soda jerk. The prison break ends tragically because Lady Serpent guns down the prison warden and a police detective, which gets the Terror Twins, as they are called, into action.

Black Terror had a long run in the 1940s. I counted 127 issues of comic books where Black Terror appeared between 1941, in America’s Best Comics, Black Terror, and Exciting Comics, when Black Terror's run ended in 1949.

This story is drawn by the team of Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin, and is from Black Terror #23 (1948):

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Number 2519: Haunted by TV

The characters in “The Ghost on Television” fit the usual horror comics profile. Wife has murdered husband; she and a crooked lawyer have not only taken over the husband’s television network, they have cheated the husband’s daughter out of her share of the fortune. A pair of murderous rotters, who will have revenge “channeled” to them.

Having incalculable hours of the idiot box in my lifetime I recall there were ghosts a’plenty on my family television. In the early days the ghosts I remember came from poor reception, and required adjusting the rabbit ears antenna until the ghosts on the screen went away. That isn’t good enough for horror comics, which often used the dead as returning to life, in this case in a ghostly form, to get back at those who put him in his grave.

Art attributed by the Grand Comics Database to Frank Giusto. From The Beyond #16 (1952):

Monday, May 03, 2021

Number 2518: Introducing the Target

Target Comics was around for nine issues before the costumed hero, the Target, was introduced in Target Comics Volume 1, Number 10, from 1940. Target Comics are probably mostly collected for the Spacehawk series by Basil Wolverton, although for a 1940 super hero the Target seems right in with the better costumed heroes. He lasted long past the end of the Spacehawk stories. In 1949 the Target was dropped after superheroes lost their mojo.

Target Comics was published by Novelty Press, part of the Curtis Publishing Company, which also published the popular weekly Saturday Evening Post magazine. I'm relying on memory, but I recall reading in Dr Fredric Wertham’s infamous Seduction of the Innocent that a retailer complained to him about having to carry the comic books published by a “slick” magazine publisher, or they would not get that popular magazine to sell. I assume it was, without naming, the Saturday Evening Post to which Wertham was referring.

I may have said before I think that Target is a bad name for a hero, especially with that target on his chest. Could a murderous crook with a gun pass up on the opportunity to make the Target a real target?

The Target story is credited to Dick Wood (as Dick Hamilton), writer, and artist Bob Wood. I have also read that Dick (Frankenstein) Briefer created the feature.