Monday, June 30, 2014

Number 1598: Ted’s head!

We are slipping out of June with a couple of stories from one of the first horror comics I ever owned. I got it in a trade circa 1959, and it has been in my collection since.

I have shown the Dick Briefer-drawn “Somewhere Lurks a Thing!” before, in the early days of this blog. These are new scans. “Ted’s Head” has art credited by the GCD to Larry Woromay ? by way of the Atlas Tales site. I think Larry did a pretty good job showing headless people without the gore. But it wouldn't have satisfied the Senate committee and their hearing on comics. They didn’t buy Bill Gaines’ decapitated head cover of Crime Suspenstories #22 as “being in good taste for a horror comic.” For the record, I think “Ted’s Head” is in good taste for a horror comic.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Number 1597: When Flash got the "F" out

This is the final posting from our “Aces Up My Sleeve” theme week, featuring early stories from the Ace Comics line.

This is the issue where Flash Lightning became Lash Lightning. No just was.

It is also a story with inconsistencies which seem jarring. Lash drives a car to the Army base. But he can fly and uses that power when he is blocked from entering in his car. Why drive? To show that the road to the base is blocked appears to be the only reason. And the evil Mastermind, who can “project himself anywhere” can project himself on the base, but then climbs into the commanding officer’s window the old-fashioned way.

Despite those weaknesses in the writing, the art is by comics journeyman Jim Mooney, and it is excellent.

From Lightning Comics Vol 2 No.1 (1941):


The origin story of Flash Lightning from Sure-Fire Comics #1 is here. Just click on the thumbnail:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Number 1596: Congo Jack and the green and blue attack

This is the second offering from our theme week, Aces Up My Sleeve, featuring early characters from comics published by Ace.*

Congo Jack did not appear in more than a few issues of Lightning Comics in the early forties. This particular sequence, spread over two issues, has a science fiction setting in an underground kingdom. Congo Jack is kidnapped by green men because he is white. (The green men blow up the African tribesmen they first encounter, all part of the unconscionable racial attitudes of the day...natives were “expendable.”) There is a sinister green man who doesn’t want Jack getting the beautiful green queen’s favor. In the second part of the story some blue dwarfs enter the action. And action there is...Congo Jack is good with his fists and there is a lot of sock-bam-pow going on.

Mark Schneider, who signed both chapters in panels every couple of pages or so, is not credited with comics beyond about 1942. I assume he went into the Armed Services during World War II like so many men, but I have no verification. He was a decent artist, and his work fit in perfectly with the still young comics industry.

From Lightning Comics Vol. 2 No. 1 and Vol. 2 No. 2 (1941):

*This is the same Ace that published all of those cool science fiction paperbacks in the fifties and sixties, including the collectible and desirable Ace Double Novels. Publisher Aaron A. Wyn (born Aaron Weinstein 1898, died 1967) started in the pulp magazine business, was active with a comic book line in the forties until quitting that business in the mid-fifties, and is probably best known for the genre paperbacks, crime, romance, Western, and the aforementioned science fiction.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Number 1595: Aces up my sleeve

Today we begin a theme week, “Aces Up My Sleeve” week, featuring some very early (1940-41) stories from Ace Publications. Ace, a pulp publisher, entered the comics fray early on with the usual titles devoted to the usual superheroes. In the story today, Magno, the magnetic man.

What jumps out at me with this very early entry for Magno, from Super-Mystery #2 (1940), is not the Harry Lucey artwork, which is very good, but the eye-popping primary colors. Other publishers of the time also used bright colors (Quality and Fox come to mind), but I think this job rises above them, with its imaginative use of colors for an earth-boring machine (page 12). The colorist must have been having fun.