Archive for November, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Three stories of World War I from 1950′s Atlas Comics are up at TEN CENT DREAMS, each with downright amazing art from Bill Everett, John Severin and Joe Sinnott! The panel above is from Namor’s papa.
See. This is what I was saying yesterday about Pappy’s. Not only do we get a historically significant bit of Walt Kelly and Oscar Lebeck (Dell editor) war bond propaganda from OUR GANG COMICS but we also get Pappy’s personal reflections on war bonds and even Bugs Bunny and friends singing Irving Berlin’s “Any Bonds Today?” Interesting to note that the piece is copyrighted by Lebeck and Kelly and not Dell.
Here’s a nice sequential 1952 run of George Wunder’s TERRY AND THE PIRATES, a strip that was really pretty good but was cursed by having to follow Milton Caniff’s classic original run! Give it a try and you’ll see it doesn’t deserve to suffer by comparison.
Bully posts a nicely nostalgic piece on COMICS OUGHTA BE FUN about the good old days of 1975, particularly as the relate to marvel Comics both then and now.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
One site we link to frequently around here is PAPPY’S GOLDEN AGE BLOGZINE. There’s a reason for that. Pappy’s “issues” offer well chosen, genuinely entertaining, well written and/or well drawn Golden Age comic stories with informed commentary on an almost daily basis. If you have the time, however, you need to check back through his archives as he’s been doing the exact same thing since 2006! Just a few things we recommend you check out:?
MISS AMERICA, the popular Timely heroine of the 1940′s, is spotlighted in issue 414, complete with one of her trademark photo covers designed to lure little girl readers who might mistake it for a more typical teen mag.
Issue 164 features the unusual and beautiful team-up of EC sci-fi aces Al Williamson and Wally Wood on a non EC story from a 1950′s issue of SPACE ACE.
The origin of Simon and Kirby’s lesser-known hero for Harvey Comics, STUNTMAN from 1946 (as reprinted in 1954′s THRILLS OF TOMORROW), is presented in issue 588 from earlier this year.
Here’s a link to issue 236 which discusses Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s RAT FINK character (that was everywhere in the mid-sixties!) and even reprints a MAD/underground style parody of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS featuring Roth himself and drawn by Pete Millar.
There’s also lots of reprints from Walt Kelly, Dick Briefer, Mort Meskin and Yoe favorite Boody Rogers so dig deep into Pappy’s archives and treat yourself to some of the reasons there WAS a Golden Age of Comics!!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Even though the masthead reads “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” we all know them as the First Family. Of course I’m talking about The Fantastic Four, not the late Vaughn Meader and his crew (inside joke for record collectors who see this LP turn up at every garage sale and thrift store).
The FF is the superhero team that bickers like family members because they really are a family! Reed, the father figure is married to Sue. Her kid brother Johnny is Reed’s brother-in-law. And the Thing is the best friend, er… best thing, a guy could want. Together they make up one fantastic team of super-heroes. Which brings me to this week’s record. (That’s what they call a segue in the radio biz.)
Instead of a comics tune this week, I present to the loyal ITCHers a different kind of recorded entertainment that I know you’ll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy all 5 minutes and 47 seconds of Norm MacDonald’s take on The Fantastic Four. Click the album cover to buy the whole hilarious CD:
And click the link below to listen!
The Fantastic Four – Norm MacDonald
— DJ David B.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
THE PSYCHIC BLOOD HOUND is an enjoyable Jack Kirby “horror” tale from his early 1970′s stay at DC. It isn’t mentioned here but I’m pretty sure this was originally meant for the second issue of Kirby’s black and white SPIRIT WORLD but was instead tossed away with no fanfare in the badly titled FORBIDDEN TALES OF DARK MANSION.
Bernie Krigstein’s art is yet another taste I acquired only with the wisdom of time. Now I relish his work as a rare treat that comics fans were lucky to get from a guy too hip for the room. A couple of Bernie’s 1950′s short stories are up at TEN CENT DREAMS including a highly stylized pirate yarn.
Here’s a nice plea on behalf of another largely unsung artist, Warren Kremer, followed by a tale of his own creation (for Harvey Comics) STUMBO THE GIANT, shared from the original art pages!
Allan Harvey is up with a nicely illustrated and fairly in-depth look at Joe Simon’s creation, BROTHER POWER, THE GEEK, often (and correctly so) cited as one of the worst mainstream comic books ever published. Definitely in the “so bad it’s good” department, though.
Monday, November 16, 2009
A frequent source of good links around here is Dutch writer Ger Appeldorn’s blog, THE FABULEOUS FIFTIES (http://allthingsger.blogspot.com/) . While its owner is just now back to posting again after health issues, let’s take a look back at a few items you may have missed!
Fans of PLASTIC MAN artist Jack Cole will appreciate the two posts devoted to scans of Cole’s final work, the newspaper strip BETSY AND ME, one of which includes some Sunday strips not included in the Fantagraphics collection released awhile back.
From last March, here are some examples of BARKIS, a later comic panel by Crockett Johnson, creator of the cult-favorite strip (and one of MY personal faves) BARNABY as well as the beloved children’s classics featuring HAROLD AND HIS PURPLE CRAYON.
Here’s a link to a number of posts spotlighting Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo’s syndicated strip from the early sixties, WILLIE LUMPKIN, about a young mail carrier. It was cute, funny, well-drawn and ultimately unsuccessful but the name was later applied as an in-joke to the aging mailman in Lee and Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR. Many years later the aging Lee himself played the character in the FF films!
One hallmark of the blog is to run selections of advertising strips–newspaper ads done in comic strip format and often featuring continuing characters. Sometimes they were even by big name artists of the day! Here you’ll find AL CAPP’S CORNER in which L’IL ABNER’s real pappy (and/or his fabled assistants) shills for Nestle’s products.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Here’s a wacky Golden Age WONDER WOMAN story that was never published at all back in the forties as intended but instead was brought out of mothballs for a 1974 spotlight in DC’s self-centered fanzine, THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC. Presumably written by Robert Kanigher, the eccentric art, as usual with WW, is by Harry Peter.
If H.G. Peter’s art wasn’t eccentic enough for you, here’s some Frank Robbins! Robbins illustrates a David Michelinie story originally published by DC in 1975′s WEIRD MYSTERY TALES.
Oh, you like that? There’s a little more Robbins then over at COMICS IN CRISIS’ discussion of the debut and demise of the original UNION JACK from Marvel’s (Okay, Roy Thomas’) retro-title, THE INVADERS in 1976.
Much more traditional art comes from Hank Porter in Thom Buchanan’s coverage of the 1939-40 weekly Sunday strip adaptation of Walt Disney’s PINOCCHIO. Follow the link for part one but go to the full blog for follow-up sections.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
With no fan press to speak of, I felt blindsided when National cancelled DIAL H FOR HERO and began running mystery/horror short stories in HOUSE OF MYSTERY instead. I vowed never to buy the title again. It was MY loss. Not only did some of the best veterans and upcoming stars begin appearing there but the covers alone were often worth the meager price of the book. Here’s a spooky selection of nearly 50 by Adams, Wrightson, Kaluta and others!
The ever-entertaining Brian Cronin is in the middle of compiling the Top 75 Most Iconic DC Covers of All time. A lot to choose from and, like most of these exercises, one can argue more about what’s left out. Some truly great comic book design work on display here including Carmine Infantino’sclassic BATMAN cover above that broke several cover conventions of the day such as “Always make sure your title can be seen at the top.”
Sticking with our cool covers motif, NeilAlien presents a look at four trouble-making covers of Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE including the infamous paste-up cover and the notorious Amy Grant lawsuit cover! Read newer posts to discover the story behind that paste-up one.
Okay, enough with the covers. If you want something a tad more filling, here’s a quick and creepy 1958 Steve Ditko story from Charlton’s TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER. For what promises to be tons more Ditko, watch for Craig’s latest book, THE ART OF DITKO, hitting stores very soon! Or you can order your copy today here: http://theartofditko.com/
Friday, November 13, 2009
Talk about historical! The first issue of the venerable fanzine ALTER EGO to be edited by fan artist Ron Foss from 1962 (issue # 5) shows up online this morning with articles about starting a comic book collection and speculation as to whether the JLA was too crowded. Interesting to note the bits of Marvel creeping in around the edges although most coverage was still given to the popular National (now DC) line. Also features the fan hero, THE ECLIPSE.
Here’s 13 pages of creepy Gil Kane stories for your Friday the 13th including one inked by the great Ralph Reese (the ONLY time I’ve ever seen him do Kane I think!) in the manner of his mentor Wallace Wood!
Stan Lee’s various impressive (but sometimes controversial due to his intros) Marvel trade collections of the late 1970′s paved the way for the gazillion Marvel graphic novels and collections since. BRONZE AGE BABIES takes a look at all of them today along with contents and commentary.
Finally, in a regular Friday feature, SILVER AGE COMICS revisits FANTASTIC FOUR # 4, arguably one of the most important comics to Marvel continuity and history ever published–Johnny Storm brings back THE SUB-MARINER…who oddly enough becomes a recurring villian as well as a rival to Reed Richards for the Invisible Girl’s affections!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
In 1968, a banner year for comics all around, Jaunty Jim Steranko was as good as it ever got! Joe Bloke shares the now-classic “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SCORPIO?, an epic yet self-contained issue of Marvel’s NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. that features what may well be the most stylish and psychedelic cinematography ever seen on a four color page. Imagine discovering this at age nine! We had no freaking idea what to make of this but the S.H.I.E.L.D books became a major tradable commodity in my neck of the woods.
One of the most popular heroes South of the Border has long ben El Santo, the wrestling superstar who fought monsters, aliens and gangsters in a bizarre series of movies from the 1950′s to the 1970′s. Here’s a comic book outing of El Santo (although supposedly NOT the real one) in an unusual photo-illustrated, Spanish language vampire tale from 1977.
THE TIME BULLET has an interesting historical piece on Sheldon Mayer’s beloved SUGAR & SPIKE as well as on the late writer/artist/editor’s often overlooked importance to the comic book industry in general. Then, even better, we’re treated to a vintage SUGAR & SPIKE vignette.
There’s a nice selection of FRITZI RITZ covers on view at JON’S RANDOM ACTS OF GEEKERY today, FRITZI RITZ was, of course, the hot Aunt of Ernie Bushmiller’s NANCY who also cameos here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well it’s Veteran’s Day. In a symbolic nod to our troops Charles Schulz would traditionally have Snoopy heading over to Bill Mauldin’s house to “quaff a few root beers.” Well neither Schulz nor Mauldin are with us anymore but their spirits live on so let’s head over to HAIRY GREEN EYEBALL and quaff a few in their memory whilst reliving some of Mauldin’s great WW II cartoons.
After that we have Jolly Jack Kirby, another veteran of the Big One, with a 1975 WW II tale featuring THE LOSERS, arguably some of the King’s best work during his somewhat controversial DC stay of that decade.
Changing gears, THE BIG BLOG OF KIDS COMICS reprints a 1995 Don Rosa duck tale from the OTHER Good Duck Artist’s LIFE AND TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK epic, in my opinion one of the best comics sagas of all time! Don drew the pic above for me at a signing in the late eighties!
Finally, Pete Doree shares some nifty illustrations from the great Enrique Romero, known for his work on the British strip (in more ways than one) AXA and later as the replcement artist for Jim Holdaway on the classic MODESTY BLAISE strip.
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