Monday, May 20, 2013
If nothing else, Victor Fox’s Weird Comics lives up to it’s name, It’s pretty much equally divided between a couple of sensationally lame superheroes and some just plain weird features. Headlining, for some reason, this issue is The Dart and of course his partner Ace the Amazing Boy. When I saw Ace on the cover wielding a baseball bat I thought, “No way does he actually does that in the story inside”, but he totally does. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being unnecessarily squeamish but it sure seems like if you’re a Golden Age comic book publisher the very last thing you need is having kids reading stories where a kid goes Inglourious Bastards batshit berserk with a baseball bat. It just seems like it would be kind of bad for business. Bucky never stooped to using a bat, and he fought actual Nazi’s.
I’ve been chasing the mystery that is Kooba (apparently it’s supposed to be pronounced the way actual Cubans say the word “Cuba”; this would never have occurred to me) for a long time but all reports indicate this was just another in a series of get rich schemes of Victor Fox that crashed and burned. To me it doesn’t seem like a particularly good business model to publish a bunch of ads for a nonexistent product in an attempt to drum up interest in it, but apparently that’s exactly what Victor did. All known evidence suggests that Kooba never actually existed. And the world is a little sadder place because of it.
This issue says The Dart is a “reincarnation of the Roman racket buster Caius Martius” but according to the Public Domain Superhero Wikia he actually was Martius who got himself stuck in a stone block by an evil sorcerer and woke up in contemporary America. I’m not exactly sure why he was called “The Dart” seeing as how he didn’t use darts and his principal weapon was a sword; one assumes it had something to do with the fact the publishers Quality and Ace already had characters called “The Sword”. The Dart could also supposedly fly, but you sure couldn’t prove it by this story where he remains grounded.
I’ve read a lot of Golden Age comics, but I can count the times where a mystery man gets whacked in the head with a wrench by a henchman on the fingers of one hand.
Now, we get to the weird. Like The Sorceress of Zoom….
…and Dr. Mortal.
Also, pretty weird was Marga the Panther Woman, who was a pretty standard jungle girl, except for the fact that she had been”inoculated with the traits of a black panther” by her panther. You would think this would lead to all sorts of Cat People type sexual shenanigans but sadly it just seemed to have given her super strength.
On the other hand, we never Sheena or Rulah pulling stunts like this.
I said there were a “couple” of lame superheroes in this issue. After The Dart there was The Eagle, accompanied by his underage protegee Buddy the Daredevil Boy. The Eagle could, by various means, fly, not that you could tell from this story where like The Dart he remains securely on the ground. Believe it or not at one point he had a title of his own where he was seen wearing a completely different outfit, a snazzy blue and gold number with a huge eagle chest insignia and stripped cape. The Public Domain Superhero Wikia refers to his apparel here as his “alternate costume” where I’d call it “I forgot my shirt”. I tend to think the guys at Fox were just so damn busy grinding out page after page of material to meet demand that they just kind of forgot little details like what characters looked like or what they did. Either that of they were just freaking lazy.
And finally here’s Dynamo who isn’t quite as lame as his stablemates, primarily because he has an actual superpower and a pretty cool costume, which actually improved, going from an OK green outfit to a much better red with a lightning bolt insignia.
The creators actually thought to five Dynamo a weakness; he periodically had to recharge his electrical based powers. Any source would do but he seemed to prefer a handy electric chair. When it comes to sitting in an electric chair, Dynamo has got it covered.
— Steve Bennett
Monday, May 20, 2013
For Victoria Day, we have some peeks at the Punch in Canada, perhaps the first Canadian comic periodical, running 1849 to 1850. All the art in this posting is by that publication’s founder, John Henry Walker. A detailed write up on the introduction of Punch in Canada, can be found here, on Canadian cartoonist John Adcock‘s blog.
Click on the above & below cartoons, to view them in greater detail.
Above, the front cover art gracing most (perhaps all??) 1849 issues of Punch in Canada. Beneath, the cover art found on the 1850 issues.
Cartoons from the December 15th, 1849 issue (above) & December 22nd, 1849 (below). In the beneath cartoon, John Henry Boulton, M.P. for Niagra, had been favored for appointment to the Judicial Bench, but was blocked chiefly through the efforts of a Toronto newspaper, the Colonist. (Information from Volume 1 of J.W. Bengough‘s Caricature History of Canadian Politics.
Above, from the December 29th, 1849 issue, “The Trappers”, in reference to the decision to make Toronto Canada’s capitol. The trappers are two representatives from Toronto, Henry Sherwood & Robert Baldwin. (Again, this information comes from Bengough’s Canadian Caricature history.)
Beneath, a smaller cartoon, from the January 19th, 1850 issue, showing a Canadian view of Americans. The “in the style of H.B.”, refers to then-popular British political cartoonist John Doyle (father of cartoonist Richard Doyle), who signed his work “H.B.”. Having seen much of John Doyle’s work, I’d describe it as uniformly dull, flat, boring — sorry, but even this little sketch by John Walker has more life in it than most John Doyle cartoons.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Barry Pearl takes a fun and informative look at Iron Man III in context of the original Tales of Suspense stories in the comics.
Here’s a nice look at the late Joe Kubert’s wraparound covers for his final DC series.
From the Wayback Machine, here’s a detailed look at the history of horror comics other than EC, written by sci-fi writer Lawrence Watt-Evans!
Finally today, here’s a modern loo at one of my favorite early Teen Titans issues featurimg the first TT appearance of Speedy.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
With Summer officially arriving in another month, the time will soon be past for these Arrival of Spring cartoons, all from the May 1913 issue of Cartoons Magazine.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Above, Fred Morgan‘s cartoon, “Waking Him Up”, serves as the frontispiece to the May 1913 issue.
William Kemp Starrett, Drew, Harry K. Godwin, and Walker O’Loughlin, below, give us various signs of Spring.
Two more signs of Spring, above, both by Clare Briggs.
Beneath, the forced duty of Spring House Cleaning, by cartoonists Robert Satterfield, O’Loughlin, and Ole May.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It’s ‘Canada Week” here at Comic Book Compulsive, apparently, and while, as previously established, I know precious little about Canadian comics and have read precious few Canadian comics. Oh, I appreciate them like all heck, but I am no expert. So I don’t really know what to say, or think for that matter, about Better Comics #7. Except that it’s strange and wonderful and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. It’s not just different from the handful of Canadian comics I have read, it’s different from any Golden Age comic. Brok Windsor is a pretty standard “earth man in a strange fantasy world” strip, but the artwork by Jon Stables is absolutely original and ahead of it’s time; to me it looks more like something from a 60′s Underground Comix than a Golden Age Comic.
Ad while not nearly as good Circus Girl by Hal Herr and Ley Fortune is definitely visually interesting and certain like nothing you’d find in an American comic book of the time.
— Steve Bennett
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
They said that Iron Man 3 would be a blockbuster and it did not disappoint. Fortunately, I have plenty of Iron Man recordings to tie in with the movie. Notice I said the word “recordings” and not “songs”? That’s because our piece of vinyl goodness for this Tuesday is a spoken-word recording, The Story of Iron Man! If you have the comic book you can read along. If not, try to imagine the pictures by simply using your own brain.
And just in case you feel cheated because you were expecting a comics-tune today, I’m also giving you another cover version of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” as played by the UCLA Marching Band. March along!
Click the links below and enjoy!
The Story of Iron Man
Iron Man – UCLA Bruin Marching Band
— DJ David B.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I’ve already done a post featuring the Johnny Canuck story from Dime Comics, but here’s another story from that issue, “Rex Baxter and the Island of Doom”. It features, naturally, Rex Baxter, a two-fisted adventurer type who invariably was getting in fantastic situations who was another long-running feature of the comic. It was very nicely written and drawn by Edmond Good who who all know from his work on such American comics as Tomahawk and Sky Sheriff,
— Steve Bennett
Sunday, May 12, 2013
It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day, without an R.F. Outcault comic strip of Buster Brown tormenting his mom! Above, “Buster Brown Kidnapped”, scanned from the 1905 promotional giveaway magazine, “Mr. Melville B. Raymond’s Buster Brown”, used to advertise upcoming performances of the touring musical stage play.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the pages in detail, and be able to read the text.
Beneath, two pages of photos from the play.
Richard Felton Outcault
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
You don’t know how tempted I was to share another Road Runner song with you loyal I.T.C.H.-ers – but I think I’ve proved my point: There are a heckuva lot of Road Runner songs! Now it’s time to move on to new business. Iron Man! With Iron Man 3 in theaters now, it’s time to celebrate ol’ Shell Head himself. Will this be another month-long celebration? I’ll know better after I see the movie tonight. For now, here’s a hard rockin’ cover of the classic song.
Click the link below and rock out!
Iron Man – Electric Eel Shock
— DJ David B.
Monday, May 6, 2013
As you all know I have an over fondness for foreign reprints of US comics; there’s just something about seeing good art in stark black and white that just makes it better, in my eyes anyway. Which is why today I’m offering up Superboy #74 UK, from April, 1955 featuring “The Impossible Creatures”, a reprint from Adventure Comics from November 1954. If nothing else, it gives us a chance to admire the strong, dynamic work of John Sikela, a sadly forgotten DC artist who was also the artist on Siegel and Shuster’s Funnyman comic strip (which I’m going to continue to hope that someone will eventually collect and finally put it in print; it was a failure, but it was an interesting one). If his artwork here looks a little strange to you it’s because he preferred to drawn Superboy/Clark Kent as being younger with a more rounded head; it’s definitely not the Superboy I knew from the 1960′s Legion stories.
Written by Otto Binder “The Impossible Creatures” has Superboy temporarily putting his never ending battle against evil on hold so he can travel across the galaxy to help Lana Lang’s archeologist father. He’s been made a public laughing stock for uncovering fossils of unearthly creatures which are deemed fakes. And while this seems a little out of character for Superboy (not to mention beyond his power limits at the time), it’s exactly the sort of thing Otto Binder had Captain Marvel doing only a couple years earlier, And while there are some nice moments once Superboy gets to outer space it’s essentially a story completely lacking anything like drama. Plus there’s the fact the story of his adventure makes the papers and somehow the news that (a) alien life actually exists and (b) a “space ark visited earth a million years ago” doesn’t completely unhinge human civilization.
And here’s some nice one-pagers from the always wonderful Henry Boltinoff…
…and some pretty amateurish one-pagers from an unknown artist.
— Steve Bennett
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