Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I once complained while Fiction House had a character named Captain Fight in Fight Comics and a Captain Wings in Wings Comics no character named Captain Jumbo ever appeared in Jumbo Comics. But once there was a General Jumbo in British comics, a twelve year old named Alfie Johnson who via remote control commanded model army, navy and air force vehicles that had very real weapons. Happily he used them for rescue missions and to fight crime.
He made his first appearance in The Beano #583 in 1953 and he made his last appearance in 1975 (though he still showed up in the annual The Beano Book until 1979). In the 80′s he also appeared in the weeklies Nutty and Buddy.
It’s an incredibly high concept premise just chockablock with wish fulfillment combining boys interest in toys and the military, the kind of thing that (you’d think) would be natural for toys and cartoons. But sadly except for the occasional rare appearance General Jumbo has been all but forgotten. And what’s worse (for me anyway) so far I haven’t been able to read many of his adventures.
But I did come across The Beano Book 1956. One of the interesting things about the British comics is they were known as story papers because until the very early 1960′s they weren’t all comics. Rather, they were a combination of text stories, comics and a hybrid of the two, stories told through comic type illustrations and blocks of text (a.k.a. Prince Valiant style). Here’s an example of one.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Loved me some of Mike Friedrich’s ground-level comic Star*Reach back in the seventies and especially this pair of deeper than deep Jim Starlin pieces from the very first issue.
Here’s an enlightening look at the progression of a commissioned Batman cover re-creation by artist Trevor Von Eeden.
A favorite around here, we have a nice long selection of The Dropouts by comic book artist turned newspaper cartoonist, Howard Post.
Finally today, a favorite but extremely unlikely two page Superman appearance from DC’s dark-humored Plop! of the 1970′s.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Unless you’ve been living in a cave (and a cave with high-speed internet access is rare these days) you’ve noticed there’s a green light in the air. It’s probably coming from a green light source of some kind. What could it be?
Okay, I’m going to flip over all the cards. It’s the Green Lantern’s light, of course. Shining like a fearless beacon of justice whether in brightest day, blackest night, or during a bad spell of whether. The multiplex has “gone green” with the new high-tech Green Lantern film playing every hour. So get your power ring charged (and your credit card, a 3D film isn’t cheap) and enjoy Hal Jordan’s big-screen debut.
This is an ideal time to look back at the earliest Green Lantern and wonder. For example, I wonder why he wears a red shirt? Would a character called Red Shirt have been as popular? Or, Purple Cape, for that matter?
To celebrate the new Green Lantern film, and to commemorate the poor fashion sense of the original Green Lantern, we present this stirring G.L. theme music, sure to inspire you as you speak your secret oath and avoid all things yellow.
Click the link below and enjoy!
Green Lantern First Flight
— DJ David B.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Here’s the Golden Age Blue Beetle….err…that is…the Eagle…who seems to be wearing the Blue Beetle’s costume with an added cape.
Here we have John Severin and Jerry Grandenetti with some scenes from a 1971 Cracked. Don’t forget to check out Mark Arnold’s brand spanking new history of Cracked at Amazon!
The now late Gene Colan continues to get well-deserved tributes including this Marvel adaptation of Jaws 2 with art by the wonderful Colan/Palmer team and some amazing color.
Finally today, here’s a nice little tribute to another Batman artist who just passed away, Lew Sayre Schwartz.
Friday, June 24, 2011
I was just writing about Captain Miracle, Mick Anglo’s final attempt to pass off slightly revised Marvelman stories under an assumed name, someone posted an issue of it online. Which should be great because this yet another comic I never thought I’d get a chance to read, but unfortunately it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.
For one thing there’s the cover; not only is it absolutely generic and have nothing to do with the contents but Captain Miracle doesn’t even appear on it (which you have to admit is a pretty bold editorial choice).
And when it comes to those contents, well, I can honestly say I really like the Captain Miracle logo. Other than that…
Apparently like a lot of other Silver Age superheroes Captain Marvel regularly traveled to the far future, not on missions so much as to spend the occasional quiet weekend. And unlike his predecessors Marvelman and Miracle Man Captain Miracle actually seems to be interested in girls, hence his (slightly reluctant) sort of future weekend girlfriend Lola Karbel.
I believe it was Mike Nelson of MST3K and Rifftrax fame who once said that “one of the ways you know it’s a bad movie is when the hero does nothing”. That goes doubly for comic book stories and in this one Captain Miracle does absolutely nothing. In the end the earth is saved by Lola Karbel, and all she does is flick her futuristic cigarette lighter.
The rest of the 28 page comic if filled with, appropriately enough, fillers. Some theoretically humorous one pagers…
…and a couple of anemic westerns which like Captain Miracle feature some fairly nice logo’s.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Clifford Meth reports the passing of one of the truly unique greats of comic book art–Gene Colan, known for his definitive portrayals of Daredevil, Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner and Marvel’s Dracula…amongst hundreds of other great characters and stories.
Here’s a little seen DC comics war story from the period Gene was also working at Marvel under his “Adam Austin” pseudonym.
Here, from a few months back, is the fascinating declaration Gene himself gave regarding his career as a part of the Jack Kirby Estate’s legal matters with Marvel.
Seen above is one of my personal all-time favorite comics pages by Gene Colan–from a 1969 issue of DR STRANGE. R.I.P. Gene Colan.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I generally do not post just one story from a Golden Age comic; plenty of other people do that sort of thing but I came across a story just so odd that I’ve had to break my own unwritten rule. The rest of the stories in Air Fighter Comics #5 are just…OK. Its a title from a publisher I definitely plan on dealing with in detail in the future, but this issue just isn’t the best possible representative of the series.
Iron Ace was one of the oddball fliers from Air Fighters Comics, all of whom had a gimmick of some kind to differentiate them from the regiment of two-fisted flying adventurers that congregated towards the rear of most Golden Age comics. The Iron Ice was really British pilot Captain Robert Britain who fought in an ancient suit of armor which would be gimmick enough. But he also flew a plane of his own invention that upon the push of a button could be covered in “sheaths of fabrikoid-micron iron” rendering it bulletproof as well.
Of course what makes this story so odd is it gives every indication that the Iron Ace is fighting the real mythological Thor!
Image via Wikipedia
There were touches of the fantastic in Air Fighter Comics (especially in stories featuring the title’s break out star Airboy) but they generally didn’t go this far. Usually when a Golden Age comic went down this road the supposed supernatural figure would be revealed to be a Scooby Dooesque villain, i.e. just some crook or Nazi using gimmicks. That’s what Jack Kirby and Joe Simon did when they had Sandman fight “Thor” in Adventure Comics #75′s “The Villain From Valhalla,” .
And then there’s the comics depiction of Thor; wearing what appears to be Greco-Roman armor, sporting a perpetual five o’clock shadow instead of a beard and of course it’s more than a little disturbing seeing mighty Mjölnir adorned with a swastika. It’s also a mostly informed depiction; the author knew enough about Norse mythology to give the character a belt of strength. But there’s absolutely no explanation for the freaky chicken/lizard things pulling Thor’s chariot (he refers to them as his “pets from Potsdam”; maybe that’s a WWII reference I just don’t get but I can’t see the connection between them and the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg). They sure aren’t Thor’s mighty goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Yoe Books sometime contributor Mark Arnold has a new double volume history of Cracked just out! Here’s a groovy Cracked feature from the great John Severin.
Jayson “Monkeyman” Disbrow drew some of the most disgusting horror comics ever…with the last page of this one being one of the worst offenders!
Over at Atomic Surgery, there’s a fun feature on Krypto the superdog’s family tree…at least back in the days of Silver Age continuity.
Finally today, here’s a little bit of vintage Johnny Alpha–Strontium Dog, as drawn by Judge Dredd’s first artist, Carlos Ezquerra.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Well, well, well. If it isn’t time for another Popeye song!
As been our practice these last several weeks, we’re celebrating the publication of “Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales of Bud Sagendorf” by our gracious hosts at Yoe Books. This time out we have a vintage record by none other than Billy Murray & Al Dollar and His Ten Cent Band. This song gives a little insight into just how popular Popeye was back then.
Click the link and enjoy!
Billy Murray & Al Dollar and His Ten Cent Band – Popeye, the Sailor Man
— DJ David B.