Monday, May 31, 2021

Number 2526: Black Rider and the desert palace

Just last week I showed a story about four deposed kings, and this is another story of royalty forced to set up again — in the Wild West of America, no less — after escaping the mobs of disgruntled common folk in France.

The royal was a hot-shot until those scalawag revolutionaries kicked him out during the Terror, when heads rolled. I am not sure how this exiled marquise managed to build such a luxurious palace in the middle of the desert without getting someone’s attention, but then this is a comic book. Anything goes. Oh, and there is torture, too. Just thought I’d warn you.

What I like about the story is the artwork of Joe Maneely. Black Rider is a character usually best known as done by artist Syd Shores, but Maneely was more than able to match Shores as an artist.

From Black Rider #14 (1951).

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Number 2525: The depraved, deposed, de-throned

“Circle of the Doomed” tells of four deposed kings, who have been banished to an old castle. To amuse themselves they hunt down people and kill them. Jolly good fun, that! They are certainly showing that getting kicked out of their own kingdoms by unhappy peasants was justified.

I believe this is yet another story about hunting humans that is inspired by the 1924 classic tale, “The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell. That story has been very popular and influential for almost a century. In this comic book version the tables are turned by an uninvited guest, who wishes to join the clique in their murderous ways.

Artwork is by Kenneth Landau. From Forbidden Worlds #31 (1954).

Monday, May 24, 2021

Number 2524: He’s in the Army now

The Eagle first appeared in Science Comics #1, a Fox Features publication. The Eagle went through some costume changes over time, even the name of his sidekick, who was originally known as Daredevil Boy. 

The Eagle looked like this in his first appearance in Science Comics. The Public Domain Super Heroes site informs us that Eagle could not fly, but he had an “anti-gravity solution he soaked his cape in.”

This is how he looked for Science Comics #2. Perhaps his shirt and pants were still at the laundry.

His own title, The Eagle #1, came out in 1941, on the heels of the success of Timely Comics’ super-hit, Captain America #1. That first issue sold so well that Timely Comics publisher Martin Goodman went back to press for more copies to keep up with the demand. That would probably be enough to get Victor Fox, publisher, to turn The Eagle into a soldier, and even include that young friend. Captain America had Bucky, The Eagle had Buddy. The Eagle’s costume was changed (again), this time with a red-striped cape for both Eagle and Buddy, reminding one of an American flag.

No writer or artist attributions by the Grand Comics Database. From The Eagle #1:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Number 2523: The travail of Gale

I would like to say that Gale Allen and Girl Squadron were inspirational to girl comic book readers of the World War II era, but... shown on the cover (drawn by Joe Doolin), Gale is on a table in the much overused bondage pose that comic books loved. In the story the scene is repeated. As always, Gale and her crew are dressed in skimpy costumes. [Spoiler alert] she is also rescued by a male criminal who puts some moves on her when they are in his spaceship. Does rescuing her give him the right to sexually harass her? We talk about sexual harassment a lot nowadays. I can’t help thinking about how this older stuff looks to modern eyes.[End spoiler]

The artwork on the 6-page story is credited to Richard Case, who we are not to confuse with an artist who has the same name. There doesn't seem to be much information published about the Golden Age Richard Case. The current Richard Case did artwork for DC and Vertigo.

This story appeared in Planet Comics #26 (1943):


Monday, May 17, 2021

Number 2522: This Dennis...this Menace

K-O Comics #1 was a one-shot from 1945, crediting Gerona Publishing in the indicia. I am guessing that K-O was probably put together and published by partnering up with a non-comics company with a wartime paper ration. The Menace is a two fisted hero, a movie star (of horror movies, no less). The Menace’s name is Dennis Temple, predating the popular Dennis the Menace comic panel by Hank Ketcham by a few years at least. (The name is a natural...there is also a completely different Dennis the Menace in comics published in the UK.)

The Public Domain Super Heroes website says of this Menace, Dennis, that “The Menace has no super powers but is a skilled fighter and he uses a variety of gadgets in his war against crime.” He only appeared a couple of times. His other appearance was in another 1945 one-shot, Top Spot Comics #1.

It is telling of the perception of Mexico in 1945 that the Mexico-U.S.A. border is shown as a rustic wooden sign on a single-lane dirt road, with a couple of Border Patrol members to check out a lone car going south into Mexico.

The Grand Comics Database has all question marks for story and art. They don't know, nor do I.