Monday, May 28, 2018

Number 2086: Black Condor, fake Condor

Black Condor had a Tarzan-like origin: Tarzan was a baby adopted by a mama ape...Black Condor was a baby adopted by a mama condor. He was raised by condors and he even learned to fly like them! If you can get by that then you can accept that when the boy grew up and came to the USA he was able to get elected to the United States Senate. I have an opinion of senators I would call bird brains, but apparently Senator Tom Wright, who really does have something of a bird brain, does okay in his day job. One wonders how he gets away from roll calls, votes, committee assignments and hearings in order to flap around Washington DC righting wrongs.

This story is of labor trouble, and an evil, greedy company owner whose workers are in peonage, paid in scrip good only at the company store, forcing them into debt they can never repay. It features a fake Black Condor, who runs when being pummeled by workers. I haven’t any idea how he can jump off the roof of a tall building and simulate flight, landing on the workers who pummel him. Ah, comic books...where anything that can be drawn can happen.

Art by Lou Fine. From Crack Comics #14 (1941).

Friday, May 25, 2018

Number 2085: Russ Heath, Kurtzman fan

Russ Heath was one of Timely/Marvel/Atlas’ top artists. He drew most everything, including stories for the Atlas Mad imitations.

In the splash panel of “Big Wheels” Heath gives a nod to Harvey Kurtzman, creator and editor of Mad, by using a little character Harvey used in his “Hey Look!” filler pages for Stan Lee.

(More “Hey Look!” at the Hairy Green Eyeball blog.)

As for the story itself, it could have used some help from Kurtzman. It appears that either Heath or whomever wrote it tried to jam as many jokes into each panel as space allowed. That stuff worked in Mad, but it seems a bit strained here. (Hey look! It’s just my opinion.) You might find it very funny. Heath did one story for Kurtzman at Mad: “Plastic Sam,” where he just basically inked in the figures Kurtzman drew in his script. Kurtzman liked it. Long after Harvey and Mad parted company, Heath worked at times with Harvey and Will Elder on “Little Annie Fanny” for Playboy.

From Wild #3 (1954):

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Number 2084: The star-faced supernatural superhero

Captain Courageous was a supernatural hero appearing in Banner Comics, then one issue of Captain Courageous (#6, 1942, from where this story today came). That issue was a one-shot, a continuation of Banner Comics, which ended with that issue. From there Captain Courageous went to Four Favorites and lasted the rest of the war years. After a time he made a bewildering and unexplained change to civilian clothes, and was without his supernatural powers. His career ended with issue #28.

What grabs me is that star-shaped mask, which looks silly. I guess if he is a guy who is called forth to help during a time of war and crisis he can wear what he wants. But every time I see it I wonder how it could be taken seriously. Maybe it’s just me.

“The Black Mayor” is drawn by Harry Sahle. Captain Courageous is an Ace Comic. Sahle worked mostly for MLJ/Archie Comics. Besides his other work, he drew some of the Suzie episodes I have shown in this blog.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Number 2083: The Dead and the Living and the Dead

As a reader of horror stories I have read many stories of dead people returning from their graves to be among the living. In EC Comics it was usually because the dead had been wronged and were back for revenge. In “The Dead,” from Atlas Comics’ Adventures Into Weird Worlds #26 (1954), deceased relatives come out of their graves for an unknown purpose. Maybe they simply want a family reunion, but since they didn’t bring the potato salad the still-living family members are none too happy to see them. Dick Ayers did the artwork, working around an unwieldy script.  Too many words. A good editor would have cut the verbiage down by at least 50% or even more.

“The Living and the Dead” is a supernatural story about a writer for the very comics carrying the same type of horror stories we are reading today. This story is from Mystic #26, 1954. Writer and artist unknown. I have heard that horror stories often articulate unspoken fears. I had a lot of fears when young: ghosts, monsters in the closet...all the usual scary stuff kids worry about. Little did I know that when we become adults there are a lot more fears to worry about: earning a living, mortgages, car payments, raising children...I was more terrified by them than by any dead people