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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Number 2072: Captain Flash and the monster from the mirror

Captain Flash had a short run for a small publisher, Sterling. His first issue was published in 1954, before the Comics Code was implemented, and the subsequent three issues have Code seals on them. I believe that some publishers were looking to find titles that would sell after they couldn’t publish horror comics. (Sterling published one with the title Tormented, a title dropped under the Code.) None of the superheroes, including Captain Flash, lasted very long. It took another year and yet another Flash (no relation to Captain Flash), the Silver Age revival of the Golden Age Flash, to finally start turning out successful superheroes.

Captain Flash, created by Martin Smith and artist Mike Sekowsky, had another of those superhero origins that we in the real world know would kill a person. In this case a massive dose of radiation. The Captain also had another of those familiar young boys following him; a kid had no superpowers at all.

In this story from issue #1 (1954), Captain Flash encounters a being from the mirror. It ends with a promise from Captain Flash to continue the fight. He does, in issue #2, but my source is damaged so I don’t want to show it. Suffice it to say Captain Flash is in the same predicament at the end of that chapter, also. And Mirror Man does not appear in #3 or #4. He must still be out there. Maybe in your mirror.

I also noticed the Captain Flash logo bears some similarity to the later logo for DC’s Flash. Just saying.







Monday, April 23, 2018

Number 2071: “There is only one rule in war...kill!”

Although fighting ended in 1953 between forces of China, siding with North Korea, and United Nations troops, including the United States, the war has never officially ended. And while the shooting was going on, American war comics gave their comic book version of the conflict. There were commies and good guys, and we were the good guys.

This is a good example of a bloody war tale from that era, written by Hank Chapman for Atlas Comics’ Battle #10 (1952). The “Butcher” makes his own rules for war, as he claims. The captured American troops wish to be treated in accord with the rules of war. “Rules of war” always seemed an oxymoron to me. When I was in the U.S. Army in the mid-sixties our drill sergeants told us what the rules were to them: kill the enemy and let him die for his country.* The past few years have seen saber-rattling coming from that part of the world. and more belligerent and bellicose talk from ours. In real life things just don’t wrap up in seven pages like “The Butcher of Yingkow!”

I like Paul Reinman’s artwork for this tale. Reinman, who died in 1988, was a journeyman who spent many years drawing comics. It looks like he put more into this job than I have usually seen from him.









*For the record, I served as an orderly room clerk in an artillery unit in Germany. I went where they sent me. The only shooting I did was on a rifle range.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Number 2070: Airboy vs the rats, part 2

I showed the first part a couple of days ago, so if you haven’t read it you can go back.

You know what this story reminds me of? Those dopey movies they make for the SyFy Network. Not that dopey stories can’t be entertaining in their own way, but they are hard on the suspension of disbelief during a movie...even comic books. So it is with Airboy and the rats.

They introduce and kill off a “Dr. Eisner,” a “big scientist,” on page 3. Is this an inside joke, referring to Will Eisner? My guess is yes.

The script writer really went into “Aw, come on, man!” territory, and from me a big loud raspberry for the decision to blow up a major dam to get rid of the rats. Despite there being nothing even remotely believable in this epic, they should have seriously thought about bombing a dam as a solution.

From Airboy Comics Vol. 5 Number 12 (whole number 59, 1949). Cover by Dan Zolnerowich (“Zolne”, and the interior artwork by Ernest Schroeder.

















Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Number 2069: Airboy vs the rats, part 1

I have held off showing the two part Airboy story from 1948 for a good reason. It more properly belongs as one of my Thanksgiving Turkey Award winners. But at 30 pages of story over two issues, I have decided it is too long for that award.

It’s a science fiction story about rats declaring war on humans. That would be silly enough, but throw in a little mouse named Cheesie(!) that owes allegiance to Airboy for setting its broken leg, and the jaw drops another few inches.

This cheesy story is from Airboy Comics Vol. 5 Number 11 (whole number 58, 1948). Cover by Dan Zolnerwich (“Zolne”), and artwork on the story by Ernest Schroeder. Grand Comics Database doesn’t know who is to blame for the script.

Come back on Friday for part 2.