Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Number 1560: The Miracle Zombies

Alex Blum, born in 1889, was nearly 50 when he began his comic book career in the late 1930s. Blum was a portrait painter during the Great Depression. That career “evaporated,” as described in his Wikipedia biography. To struggling artists of that time the comic book business must’ve looked pretty good.  Good even with low page rates and oftentimes sweatshop conditions: rooms full of artists and drawing boards cranking out reams of pages for a burgeoning industry. Blum was a true journeyman artist. He lasted in comics for several years. I most closely associate him with Classics Illustrated, where I first saw his name.

(Blum was also the father of Eisner-Iger writer Toni Blum, with whom Eisner had a relationship at one time as recounted in fictional form in The Dreamery.)

This story, drawn by Blum, is yet another magician character, Dr. Miracle. Every anthology comic had to have at least one imitation Mandrake, wand-waving or finger-wiggling, casting magic spells against evil. Dr. Miracle can even conjure up the “White Forces of Good,” which sounds racist, and in context of the teaser panel at the head of this post I believe it is.

The main reason I’m showing the story is because it has zombies. I like zombies, even in magic stories. From Champ Comics #23 (1942):

Monday, April 14, 2014

Number 1559: Funny Films funny comic book!

The artists who made up the line-ups for funny animal comics published by ACG were moonlighting animators. It shows in their comic book work, which makes the comics so much fun to read. These two stories are from Funny Films #1 (1949). Detective Whoo-Doodit is a braggart with claims of detecting skills he doesn’t have. That sets up the stories for much slapstick and funny sight gags. Artist Bob Wickersham (who sometimes signed his name “Wick”) was a mainstay of the funny comics at ACG, and does his usual brilliant job with this material.

Funny Films had a run of 29 issues, until 1954. Sadly, Wickersham had a short run of his own; born in 1911, he died in 1962 at age 51.

This photo is identified as Wickersham. Did smoking have something to do with his early demise?*

*My father, Big Pappy, died at age 47 from smoking. Don’t smoke, kids!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Number 1558: “What in ding-dong goes on here?” Wonder Woman’s costume ruse

I love the crazy, kinky and cool Wonder Woman tales by the original crazy-kinky-cool crew who created her. They would be William Moulton Marston, writing as Charles Moulton, and Harry G. Peter, signing his artwork as H. G. Peter.

Here is a story of switched identities, an exotic spy, and tying up girls. It would hardly be a Wonder Woman story worth reading if it didn’t include the latter.

From Sensation Comics #40 (1945).


Here are two more Wonder Woman stories, including the last issue H. G. Peter drew, and a Wonder Woman story unpublished until it appeared in The Amazing World of DC Comics #2 in 1974. Just click on the thumbnails.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Number 1557: A sheriff’s place is in the home

Sal is a strong and capable woman who is sheriff of Red Dog. She’s dealing with a gang of rustlers and the jasper she loves, Flash, who is trying to get her job as sheriff.

Published in 1949 in Ace’s Western Love Trails #7, “Sheriff Sal’s Last Stand” fits into what was happening in American society in the time after World War II. Men were taking back jobs that women had held during the war, and women were put in the homes to be supported by their husbands. That was the era in which I was raised. Obviously there has been a major change of attitude since, which makes the ending of the story not nineteenth century, the era in which it’s set, but very much mid-century twentieth.

The Grand Comics Database makes a guess the well-drawn artwork is by King Ward. I’m not familiar enough with his work to tell one way or another.