Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Number 1621: “Face of an angel, soul of a devil”

In one of the many crime comics versions of the life and criminal career of Charles Arthur Floyd, aka “Pretty Boy,” much is made of the fact that such a good-looking boy shouldn’t be out committing crimes. Good looking? How good looking was Pretty Boy, and what do looks have to do with being a criminal? Artist Fred Guardineer used this mug shot of Floyd, and prettied him up.
From Public Enemies, America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough. Pretty Boy’s picture is right below Machine Gun Kelly and his wife Katherine. Kelly looks more like a young Rodney Dangerfield to me, but even so, at least in this picture out-pretties Pretty Boy.

According to Burrough’s book, no one but the newspapers called Charley Floyd “Pretty Boy.” If any of his associates called him Pretty Boy they didn’t say it to his face, but it struck the public imagination, and that is how we know him now.

From Crime Does Not Pay #51 (1947).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Number 1619: Tooteley-toot on Lulu’s magic flute

As I’ve said before when showing stories by John Stanley, I prefer when he goes off into fantasy. I think the Little Lulu stories which involve the activities of children are wonderful, but the stories Lulu tells her little neighbor, Alvin, are just that much more wonderfull-er.

In this particular bit of Stanley comic genius, Lulu gets a flute for 11¢, and finds that it has magical properties. Panels showing the effects are hilarious, including those of a cat and dog dancing. The story also shows Stanley’s opinion of the moneyed and powerful.

See Frank Young’s excellent blog, Stanley Stories, for more Stanley.

From Little Lulu #27 (1950):

Friday, August 15, 2014

Number 1618: The Marvel Family become “Ancient Aliens”

This is the third and final of our Spacey Stories theme week, today featuring the Marvel Family crew: Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, and Mary Marvel.

Have you ever seen the television program, Ancient Aliens? It’s the contention of the show that in order to get where we are as humans today we had to depend on help from aliens from space. Personally, I think the show stretches a lot to fit events into their theories. But, like the hosts of the program, I wasn’t there.

Which leads us to the Marvel Family, who become the Earth version of Ancient Aliens, flying to Jupiter, bringing some civilization to a race that is about where we were 40-50,000 years ago. No timetable is given, but it seems pretty quick to teach anybody anything, even how to use fire or spell “cat.”

From The Marvel Family #5 (1946).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Number 1617: Me love hate Bizarro!

“Tales of the Bizarro World” — featuring stories of the defective Superman clones and characters of the Superman universe — was a big favorite of mine when it appeared in Adventure Comics in 1961-62. The idea of an inverted world has passed from Superman comic books into pop culture, even showing up on an episode of Seinfeld.

This story, which originally appeared in Adventure #291, was reprinted with several others in Superman #202 (1968), an 80-Page Giant issue, which used as its theme the topsy-turvy Bizarro World stories. (It is also the only silver age comic book I bought in 2013, when I searched my collection and could not find it. Me hate it when that happens!) The Bizarro stories were also collected in a trade paperback a few years ago.

“The Bizarro Perfect Crimes” was written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by John Forte. At the time the series ended its 15 issue run I was extremely disappointed and stopped buying Adventure Comics, which means I missed out on the popular “Legion of Super Heroes” feature that took Bizarro’s spot. It went on to be a very collectible series. In that way it was a Bizarro thing for me to do.

This is the second of our three-part Spacey Stories theme week.