Monday, March 02, 2015

Number 1703: Prince Valiant and the Holy Grail

There were seven issues of Prince Valiant in Dell’s Four Color series, this being #849 (1957), the second-to-last issue.

A religious theme runs through “Quest For the Grail.” The quest being to the Holy Land, looking for the Holy Grail. The chalice is held hostage by some “pagans” (a euphemism for Muslims). There is a sequence of Prince Valiant being crucified on a battlement. There is no cross, but the position Val is put into is the same. Usually comics, and especially Dell Comics, avoided religion, but here religion is the linchpin of the plot, right down to Val filling in symbolically for Jesus. In Val’s case, he gets to climb down.

Prince Valiant is a Viking, as is his pal Boltar, who is part of the search party. Boltar apparently still believes in the Viking gods and is not a Christian. It begs the question: with all of the many religious philosophies alive today, does anyone still pray to Odin or any Norse gods? Just wondering.

The Dell issues of Prince Valiant were drawn by Bob (“Bob Fuje”) Fujitani. The script for “Quest For the Grail” is credited by Grand Comics Database to Paul S. Newman. I do not know if there is anything on record of the feelings of Prince Valiant creator, Hal Foster, on the comic book handling of his character.

Two years ago I showed another Dell Prince Valiant. Just click on the thumbnail:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Number 1702: “Fish nibbling at my flesh...”

“The Thing From the Sea” looks a lot like an EC story of the same era. But it is from Avon Comics’ Eerie #2 (1951). The plot of a dead person coming back to wreak revenge on his murderer is a cliché, but the art treatment here is first class. Wallace Wood’s distinctive style distinguishes this story, beginning with the striking inside front cover, deftly illustrated on coquille board.

Jim Vadenboncoeur Jr gives credit for the inside cover to Wood and Sid Check, and for the story to Wood, Joe Orlando and Check.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Number 1701: Cave Girl glows

Even without looking at the date of Cave Girl #12, (which is 1953, by the way), you can tell it is of another era. The cliché of fooling the “ignorant” natives by making them think the supernatural is at work is used, and a radium dial watch figures into the plot.

I read about radium dials. For safety concerns and by law their manufacture was ended in the late 1950s. I have a box of my late father’s cigarette lighters, tie pins, rings and wristwatches, most from the 1940s and '50s. After dark on a recent evening I turned out the room lights to see if any of the dials glowed. Thankfully none did. In this story, written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Bob Powell and his assistants, a radium dial and a geiger counter make a crude GPS for tracking the bad guys.

UPDATE: I can’t keep up with all the great reprints of Golden Age material. After posting this, I found out Dark Horse has an archive edition of the complete Cave Girl adventures. Just click on the thumbnail to be taken to the Dark Horse site for information.