Friday, March 24, 2017

Number 2027: The fighting Captain Fight

Fiction House, like most comic book publishers of the early forties, had some superheroes. Fight Comics, one of their main titles, featured Super-American, whom we have shown in this blog, and for a short time a second patriotic hero, Captain Fight. The patriotic Captain Fight lasted just four issues (Fight Comics #16-#19). I don’t see a lot of originality in the first story, but the art, credited to Rudy Palais, is action-packed. The artist poured a lot into his work.

Captain Fight was a high school athletic coach, Jeff Crockett, and what’s this? He was recognized by one of his students, Yank Adams, who became his sidekick. We have spoken before of comic book characters who don’t recognize their friends or relations in a flimsy mask (even no mask), and I have questioned if they have face blindness. Yank sees right through Jeff’s mask! Yank is a smart guy. Along with great powers of observation, he even has a ham radio license.

We learn in the story that "Murder is fashionable in Freeville," and not only murder, but torture. The Nazis string both Captain Fight and Yank up by their thumbs. Based on the benign expressions on their faces they must have really strong thumbs. I would be shrieking with pain before passing out, mostly from the knowledge I'd never be able to again hold a soup spoon. Jeff and Yank, though, are heroes, and apparently impervious to torture.

Despite this Captain Fight being short-lived, Fiction House introduced another Captain Fight in issue #44. He was a buccaneer who lasted though issue #69.

From Fight Comics #16 (1941).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Number 2026: King Frankenstein

In “Hail the King,” the plot by writer/artist Dick Briefer hangs on the gimmick — introduced for this story — of Frankenstein’s signature disappearing shortly after writing it. There is a slug in the last panel that says, “Thanks to Ed Goggin for help on these tales. Dick Briefer.” Maybe I can blame Ed. I am not a hardcore consistency freak, but such a gimmick appears thrown in.

I do like the two-headed girl. Dick Briefer could draw some mighty pretty girls when he wanted to.

From Frankenstein #8 (1947).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Number 2025: “ pop a copper”: Bulletman, Bulletgirl battle Black Spider

Here we go again: another story of a face-blind parent, who doesn’t recognize his own daughter while she is in her super heroine identity. And she doesn’t wear a mask, just a metal bullet-head helmet. Truly, it is easier to believe someone has super powers than they are unrecognizable to a parent or loved one.

Enough about that. At least the stories in Bulletman #1 (1941) were well drawn by Charles Sultan, a former pulp magazine artist, who went into comics in the late thirties. He continued in comics for years after the war, but eventually became a publisher of men's magazines. As David Saunders notes in his biography of Sultan, he may have been a front man for an organization needing someone with a clean record to go on record as being the publisher of magazines with sexual content.

Whatever. He had art talent. Sultan had excellent training from some top illustrators of the era, and for its time his comic art captures the sophisticated styling of artists such as Lou Fine and Reed Crandall.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Number 2024: Nuggets ain’t chicken

This is an example of early work by comics journeyman and Marvel star artist, John Buscema. Wild Bill Pecos and his scruffy, bearded sidekick, Nuggets Nugent, were characters appearing in The Westerner Comics. This story not only showcases Buscema's ability to draw cowboys and horses, but also beautiful girls. Dang, that Lulu Belle certainly turned Nuggets’ head; mine too!

From The Westerner Comics #33 (1951):