Archive for January, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I’ve always had extremely mixed feelings about the MLJ characters and titles; they got off to a fairly strange, strong start with distinctive heroes and nice pulpy stories full of wild ideas and energy. But after a couple of years a combination of lethargy and lesser hands started dragging the entire line down. I place into evidence this one-shot featuring reprints of MLJ material titled for absolutely no reason Miss Liberty Comic Book. I stress this because other than her head shot which appears ahead of the ‘L’, Miss Liberty appears nowhere in this comic. As far as I can tell there is no “Miss Liberty” which raises the question, what the hell?
Then there’s the incredibly amateurish cover featuring a butt shot of MLJ hero Steel Sterling, who also does not appear anywhere in this issue.
Featured inside are stories featuring some of the least interesting of the MLJ characters. First up, a solo adventure of Roy the Super Boy, sidekick to The Wizard. He had at least some claim to his title since he had somehow been trained to be as strong as ten men, but wore the cheapest, cheesiest, tightest outfit of all of the amazing daredevil boy detectives. I mean, seriously, those shorts are short. Here, we have the character facing an all too common human Delima for kids working in the superhero field; what does an unemployed bootblack get his superhero adult millionaire mentor for Christmas? If nothing else it’s an excuse to allow the character to run amuck in a department store, a prospect that no doubt must have appealed to the pre-teen readership.
And,finally, here’s an adventure of The Wizard, MLJ’s least interesting major character. He was initially very much a pulp type hero, one of those mental and physical supermen types that was also a genius inventor on the side who’s “costume” consisted of a cape, a domino mask and top hat. At this point he had made the jump to a thoroughly generic blue body stocking and red shorts, and none of his amazing abilities or inventions was much in evidence. Here, he encounters a sentient if crazy/stupid robot named Jonathon who mops up the floor with him.
— Steve Bennett
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
From Cartoons Magazine‘s February 1913 issue (above), and January 1913 (below), with the Taft Administration and out of the White House, Trusts/Monopolies of the Day worried that their days of brazen market manipulation would soon be at an end. (Of course, they weren’t — they perhaps just had to get a little more smarter & subtler about it…)
Art by F.T. Richards (above); Gaar Williams, J.W.Biggens and James E. Murphy.
Click on the above & below pages, to view their cartoons in detail, and better read their captions.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
To me, the best thing about Mr. Mxyzptlk isn’t that he’s a colorful, magical imp who can do anything until he is tricked by Superman into saying his name backwards and returned to the fifth dimension. The best thing is that his name used to be Mr. Mxyztplk before he changed it. (Too Jewish?) You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
This makes my head hurt.
Believe it or not, there is a song about Mr. Mxyzptlk. And it’s a swinging little tune! I understand if you spin it backwards it makes your record sound like “Up, Up And Away” by the Fifth Dimension. What a wacky world.
Click the link to listen:
— DJ David B.
Monday, January 28, 2013
By this time, most of us have gotten socked this January, with the bills we rang up in November/December, for Christmas. It was no different 100 years ago, as these cartoons from the February 1913 issue of Cartoons Magazine attest. Above, cartoonist Billy Ireland on that precise situation.
Click on the above & below pictures, to enlarge them.
Below, artist Doc Hirer Finch, using Ted Powers’ Joys & Glooms characters, to express the joy of Christmas Present, changed to the gloom of paying for them…
Christmas Comics W.A. Ireland
Friday, January 25, 2013
Hey, it turns out that Yoe’s ZOMBIES anthology compiled with Steve Banes has been nominated for a Ghastly Award! If you’re a fan or a pro, you can vote here: http://ghastlys.blogspot.com/p/2012-voting.html
We’re nominated for Best Horror Archival Collection. There’s some “stiff” competition this year but we’d appreciate your vote!
Friday, January 25, 2013
From the January 1913 edition of Cartoons Magazine, we have a few cartoons which we can recognize now as events that led towards World War I, though in their day, they were just more examples of European countries’ centuries of being unable to get along with each other.
Above, on that issue’s cover, cartoonist W.A. Ireland reflects the attitude of Americans — many of whom either came from Europe themselves, or were descended from European immigrants — that they had left Europe at least partially to get away from the continual bloodlust of Europe’s monarchs, and wanted nothing to do with Europe’s wars.
Below, two German cartoons of the day.
Click on the below pictures to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Billy Ireland WWIcartoons
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Amongst the many positions which newly elected President Woodrow Wilson had to pick, was Secretary of State. Wilson, elected in November 1912, would not assume the Presidency until March 1913, and so had plenty of time to make his decisions — and took his time in announcing them. William Jennings Bryan, who had been the Democrats’ Presidential nominee (and loser) multiple times, arguably could have been the nominee again in 1912, but instead threw his support to Wilson, including going out on the campaign trail on Wilson’s behalf.
Now that the time for Wilson to dole out jobs was coming, Bryan made it very clear that he would like to become Wilson’s Secretary of State (which he did). The long interval between Wilson’s election and inauguration, however, gave the cartoonists plenty of time to poke fun at Bryan’s (second choice) dream job.
Above, from the December 1912 edition of Cartoons Magazine, we have William Kemp Starrett‘s cartoon on the subject. Below, from January 1913, cartoonist Billy Ireland depicts Wilson, remembering what Bryan had done for him, at the Baltimore Democratic Convention.
Click on the below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Above, John T. McCutcheon shows Bryan and William Randolph Hearst fighting to get in the front door of the White House first, while Oscar Cesare and Matthew Caine depict Bryan as still having an eye on being President.
Beneath, Ernest E. Burtt, Charles Lewis Bartholomew (“Bart”), and Hager depict pro and anti Bryan factions in Congress, and Bryan making sure he’s first in line for a Cabinet position.
The pages immediately above & below, are both from Cartoons Magazine‘s January 1913 issue.
More from January 1913, above & below. Above, cartoonists Ole May and John Scott Clubb, imagining that if Bryan became Secretary of State, then Wall Street Monopolists would no longer get to dictate U.S. foreign policy (as they had — it is implied — under Taft).
Below, more cartoons on Bryan, waiting for & fighting for, that Secretary of State position, by O’Loughlin, Craiger, and Herbert H. Perry.
Above, from December 1912, Harry J. Westerman urging Wilson to not forget about Bryan when choosing his Cabinet.
And finally, from April 1913 below, cartoons by James North, Hager (again), and Boardman Robinson.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The Flame is one of those public domain Golden Age superheroes who have repeatedly deemed worthy of revival for reasons that remain obscure to me. His civilian identity was Gary Preston, one of those Americans who picked up their powers in a Tibetan lamasery as well as that rarest of things, a “fire type” (to use Pokemon nomenclature) superhero who was substantively different from The Human Torch. Like, in spite of the fact he was insanely powerful he still felt the need to pack, um, heat, in the form of a sidearm, a miniature flamethrower. Maybe it’s the fact he was an early entry in the superhero derby, or the snazzy outfit, or the fact he was created by Will Eisner and Lou Fine; I honestly don’t know.
But the people at Ajax Farell clearly thought they had money in the bank when they revived him in 1954 (along with such other Fox stalwarts as Samson and Phantom Lady). This Flame was one Kip Adams, a chemist who possessed superhuman strength and having no flame powers he had absolutely no reason to call himself ”The Flame”. Plus while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his original outfit Ajax Farell gave him a completely generic suit that looks like it was cobbled together from three or four different superhero costumes. The only thing that says “The Flame” about it is the inexplicable torch chest Sigil/insignia. The story and art are in this incarnation are perfectly prosaic, but generally they look and read better than his Golden Age adventures.
— Steve Bennett
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Above, from the August 14th, 1867 issue of British comic weekly magazine, Judy, we have the debut sequential comics appearance of writer/artist Charles H. Ross’ continuing comics character, Ally Sloper. Being the scheming swindler type (albeit, never any good at it), it’s appropriate that Ally’s first misadventure would involve an investment/banking swindle, of the type fairly common at the time — the phrase “Capital One Million” instantly recognizable as a parody of the claims of financial backing that various schemes would claim to have, to draw in the suckers.
Click on the above picture to enlarge & read it.
BritJudy AllySloper CHRoss C.H. Ross
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