Friday, August 30, 2013

Number 1428: The UFO Spirit

Orson Welles, the enfant terrible of theater, radio and the movies of his day, gets the Will Eisner treatment as “Awsum Bells” in this tale from the September 28, 1947 Spirit Section. I have scanned it from the blackline-and-graytone reprint in Warren’s The Spirit #2 (1974).

The update paragraph on the last page was new for the reprint version. The scripter (credited as Eisner by the Grand Comics Database) had been paying attention to the news stories that began appearing in June, 1947 about mysterious “flying disks” buzzing around in U.S. airspace.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Number 1427: Zoro and the Devil’s Dagger

In the wake of the initial comic book boom of the late thirties-early forties, comics, at 68 pages, all in color for a dime, were in constant need of talent and characters to fill those pages. If ideas and concepts from more successful comics were borrowed, well, that’s the comic book biz. There were so many characters spread across the industry they were popping up like weeds in my lawn. I wouldn’t want to try to count them.

Anyway, as promised on Monday, here are two more stories from 1941, this time from Fawcett’s Master Comics #12. I was not familiar with these characters at all, and apparently they didn’t set the comic book world on fire. But, so what? I like them well enough to show them here. “Devil’s Dagger” is drawn by journeyman comic artist Ken Battefield (NOT “Battlefield,” which is the way I often see his name misspelled). I know next to nothing about Battefield, because there isn’t much information available online. The other story is “Zoro the Mystery Man” (not “Zorro”), drawn by the great Mac Raboy. Raboy was an excellent illustrator, who did early work on Captain Marvel Jr. He also did fine work on Green Lama. Raboy went from comic books to the Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip in 1946, which he drew until his death at the young age of 53 in 1967.

Master Comics was a pretty good anthology comic. At some point I’ll be mining this issue for more stories.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Number 1426: Firebrand and the Brick Batman

It appears that the Firebrand, who appeared on the covers of the first four issues of Quality’s Police Comics, was intended to be the star of the comic. The feature was drawn by Reed Crandall, in a style obviously inspired by Lou Fine. Crandall’s figures stiffened up in his later years, looking something like statuary rather than the fluid, action-packed poses of the Firebrand. The Firebrand’s costume looks like something between a circus performer and ballet dancer, and maybe it's the see-through tunic, or a panel on page nine of Firebrand running — which looks like Nureyev leaping — that make me think that way,

711, who is a prison trusty, apparently has his own in-and-out door, unbeknownst to the warden (who seems a little too palsy-walsy with him). It’s drawn by comics veteran George Brenner. The story features a character in a Batman cowl. I don’t know how else to describe it. It reminds me of the “bad Batman” story we showed a few months ago, which you can go to by clicking on the thumbnail:

This issue, Police Comics #5 (1941) is the first issue with Plastic Man on the cover, and he kept that spot for the rest of his time in Police.

Wednesday, two more stories from 1941, this time from Fawcett.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Number 1425: The further adventures of Terry and the Pirates

Harvey Comics’ Terry and the Pirates #4 (1947) continues the breathless adventure saga I showed last month from Terry #3:

You can read part 1 first by clicking the cover:

Prisoners of a warlord! Pat tortured, and about to be married off against his will! Connie and Terry in drag! All just part of the fun from the grandmaster of adventure strips, Milton Caniff.