Friday, October 20, 2017
Calamity Kate is the masked identity of Miss Patricia Layne, the daughter of a deceased sheriff. She fakes being a stage robber, but in conjunction with Wild Bill Pecos goes in pursuit of the real bad guys. Something I noticed: Wild Bill knows who Miss Layne is, behind her disguise. In that way he is different than the hundreds of other comic book characters who don’t recognize the face under a domino mask.
Another thing about Wild Bill: his clothing style is...well, wild. He is color coordinated in purple pants with a matching neckerchief (which looks more like a shorty necktie), green shirt, cowboy hat and boots. No one else would look to see who Calamity Kate is, because their eyeballs would be too busy bouncing off Bill’s colorful outfit.
The story is drawn by Mort Lawrence.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Stormy found a “supervitamin” which gave him the strength of 10 men for a limited period of time. Some kind of super steroid, perhaps? Stormy should have turned that “vitamin” over to the War Department for the sake of national defense, but he kept it to himself. Even patriotism has its limits, I suppose.
He was also a grown man with another minor child as a sidekick. In this case it was Ah Choo, a Chinese youngster. The Public Domain Superheroes website, from which I am taking this information on Stormy, calls Ah Choo “horribly stereotypical,” yet if compared to Blackhawk’s hideous teammate, Chop Chop, at least Ah Choo looks human. (A note for my readers in non-English speaking countries: “Ah choo” is a sound effect many comics used for a sneeze, so Ah Choo’s name is a lowbrow pun.) And speaking of lowbrow, Stormy’s costume looks incomplete. He forgot to put on his pants. Stormy wears white briefs along with his white socks and slip-on shoes.
Grand Comics Database gives Max Elkan credit for the sharp artwork. From Hit Comics #24 (1942):
Monday, October 16, 2017
I am used to seeing comic book stories by Rudy Palais having characters dripping sweat. I don’t see sweat, but I think it may be a comic book sweatshop job with various artists working on it.
I like that Grimm goes to work carrying a ghost disintegrator, which in his line of work would be a handy device to have. But the unknown writer* must not have consulted the Monster Manual. Grimm says the countess is a zombie, but she doesn’t cast a reflection in the mirror. I thought it was vampires who don’t have reflections. Well, neither do I, but that's because I close my eyes when I look into a mirror so I don’t have to see myself.
From Bomber Comics #1 (1944):
*I assume the name “Don Weaver” is a pseudonym.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Creator Gustavson was born in Finland, and at age five came with his family to the U.S. He did several successful comic book features over the years, but in later life did what a couple of other artists I have mentioned before did. He went to work for the government. In his case as a surveyor and civil engineer for New York State. Gustavson, born in 1916, died in 1977 at age 60.
*Quality publisher, Everett “Busy” Arnold, although color blind, insisted on a lot of color in his comics. Later on they toned down the vibrant hues, but those early Quality Comics had a scorched eyeball effect.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Jack died in 2004, but one of his sons has kept his spirit alive with a website devoted to his comic book work. Spunky, Junior Cowboy #3 (1949), the comic book from which today’s story was published, was created, written and drawn by Bradbury.
I showed this hilarious tall tale back in 2007. These are brand new, much superior scans, from my personal copy.
You can see more of Jack Bradbury’s funny animals in his Hepcats. Just click on the thumbnail:
Monday, October 09, 2017
Brenner died young, at age 43, of an apparent heart attack. Even his son, John, in an interview, has had trouble finding out more information about his father’s role in the history of comic books. You can read an interesting interview with John Brenner at the Quality Companion blog.
Early comics often played fast and loose with the United States Constitution, or acted like it didn’t exist. There are all sorts of problems with the plot device of having a law passed with a penalty of immediate death for spies and saboteurs. [SPOILER!] Not only that, the villain here, Emil Kurt, is taken into custody by Bozo, found guilty and executed the same night by firing squad.[END SPOILER] There is such a thing as due process, and it does not look like it was done in this case. A law like the one in this story would not get signed by any President of the U.S. Well...I sure hope not, anyway...
From Smash Comics #29 (1941):