Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Number 2131: Brothers with wings

I skipped over the dinosaur/ World War II combat stories DC did in the sixties. DC made a regular series of the idea. “The War That Time Forgot” was the overall name of the individual stories, and they must’ve appealed to many readers, because they kept churning them out. Despite my opinion other comic buyers thought differently enough to keep buying them. Because I didn’t buy them I missed artists like Russ Heath, who wasn’t concerned with how screwy the plot, he just turned in his usual beautifully illustrated job. And a bonus is the cover by Kubert.

Still, there is the trait in the stories of using repetition in comics edited and/or written by Robert Kanigher. Here it is the human, Tommy, raised Tarzan-like among the dino “birds,” with panel after panel of him talking to them and calling them, "My brothers with wings.” It gets annoying after awhile, you know?

The Grand Comics Database credits Howard Liss with the script. From Star Spangled War Stories #129 (1966).

This is a warm-up for the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Awards series, in itself repetitive and annoying. I am guilty of that also. Come back tomorrow.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Number 2130: Raven Hood

The Raven is a modern day Robin Hood. Modern in 1941, that is. He robs the bad guys and gives to the needy. Far from being simple there are moral issues. The Raven is the disguise of Police Detective Sergeant Danny Dartin. In cahoots with Danny in his sub rosa activities as a masked robber are his assistant, Mike, and Lola Lash, the daughter of the Police Chief.  The Raven, as Danny, has sworn to uphold the law, yet he is breaking it. And robbing the rich to give to the poor is a bit complicated. For instance, to begin this episode, from Lightning Comics, Vol. 2 No. 2 (1941), the Raven drops in (literally, see above) on an upscale soiree and robs Mamma Ravel, “the biggest jewel thief in the country.” While his actions seem honorable, taking the jewels from Mamma and giving them to the poor, what about the people from whom Mamma stole the jewels? They were probably reimbursed for their losses by their insurance companies, another link in the dubious morality of the Raven’s actions.

Then the Raven goes up against another robber gang, the Green Hoods, who hijack the loot he so self-righteously stole, just perpetuating the cycle. It’s no wonder this stuff gives me a headache.

The Grand Comics Database does not guess who wrote or drew this tale.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Number 2129: Ghost of the Gorgon

John (or Johnny) Bell (né Belcastro) was a comic book artist with a short list of published work in the early 1950s. He worked mostly for Fiction House, and is probably best known for his moody artwork, like this example, “The Ghost of the Gorgon,” which appeared in issue #10 (1954) of Ghost Comics.

According to what short biographical information I am able to find on Bell/Belcastro from the Internet, he was born in 1924, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, got his art training the way many of the best comic book artists of the post-War era got theirs, in classes conducted by Burne Hogarth. When Fiction House shut down Belcastro worked on a couple of newspaper comics, then went into commercial art in his hometown of Albany, New York. Belcastro died in his mid-eighties, in 2010. Like some other artists of the era in which he did comic books, he borrowed some techniques from the EC Comics artists.

In the story itself the Gorgon appears to be nude on top (page 6). That’s something we usually didn’t see in comic books. The hapless guy who looks upon the Gorgon is turned to stone, but it’s the eyes of the monster that do it. I am sure that before transforming into a solid object, he took a peek at other parts of her.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Number 2128: Firebrand zaps right out of the comics

There were two Golden Age characters named Firebrand: one from Quality Comics (see the link below) and one from Harry “A” Chesler. The Quality Firebrand lasted 13 issues in Police Comics, and the Chesler Firebrand made it for one issue of Yankee Comics. (There were reportedly more stories of the character in Harvey Comics later, but I have never seen them. According to the Public Domain Superheroes website, there is a question as to whether it is the same Firebrand as the one from Yankee.)

This Firebrand, from the aforementioned Yankee Comics #1 (1941). drawn by Charles Sultan, was a lineman who got zapped while working on a power line. He was taken into care by a professor who experimented and juiced him up good with electrics. All he had to do was clench and unclench his fists. And he could leave the ground by just jumping and the electricity made him airborne. Wow. He took care of the bad guys, and yet apparently no readers felt a tingle of electricity from the pages when they read about him. Or, perhaps since he appeared after the Quality Firebrand, Busy Arnold, Quality’s publisher, may have called Harry “A” and threatened to bring down some legal lightning bolts. At this late date nobody really knows, and this Firebrand is one of those one-and-done superheroes from early comic books.

Here is a tale of the Quality Firebrand from Police Comics #5, which I posted in 2013. It is included with a tale of a strange Batman, and a link to a Bad Batman. You have been warned!