Friday, April 24, 2015

Number 1726: Pyramid scheme

We have our final posting for this theme week, Deceased Comics, presenting stories from comic books DC cancelled many years ago. Our story today is from Danger Trail #5 (1951), the final issue of that title.

Alex Toth and Bernard Sachs did the effective work on this Egyptian adventure amongst the pyramids, when our hero (not named until the last panel, when his new girlfriend tells him her name), falls in with some crooks involved with stolen antiquities. The writer is listed by the Grand Comics Database as David Vern.

As to why Danger Trail was cancelled I don’t know. I have speculated before that editor Julius Schwartz might have been too busy. (See the link below the story.) What throws my spec off is that with issue #5 the title of the comic appeared ready to change, dropping Trail. This half page house ad from the issue, with all of DC’s titles listed, shows just Danger. Also, the title between the DC colophons at the tops of each page is blank.

Maybe for a time someone at DC thought the book was worth saving, and that could be done by changing the title. Maybe, as I have also speculated in the past, sales were just bad for a book of stories featuring exotic locales and adventurous characters. It is a bit late for us to know for sure.

As promised, the link to another Danger Trail adventure. Just click on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Number 1725: A happy trail for sexy Dale

This is the second of our three-part theme week, Deceased Comics, featuring material from comics no longer published by DC Comics. Today we have a story from Dale Evans Comics. DC published 24 issues from 1948 to 1952. (It was taken up again in 1954-1959 by Dell Comics as Queen Of the West, Dale Evans, for another 24 issues.)

Dale, born in Texas, with a pretty face and body and able to sing, seemed perfect for Hollywood, especially in singing cowboy movies. It is where she met Roy Rogers, whom she eventually married. As her biographical information states, she was his third wife, he was her fourth husband. This seventh-time-is-the-charm marriage worked for both of them.They remained married until Roy died in 1998. Dale died in 2001.

As you can see by this photo, Dale held her own in the glamor department in the thirties and forties.

That fits into our story today, originally published in Dale Evans Comics #2 (1948). Dale notices two of her ranch hands going bug-nutty over a señorita, so she gets into the act of distracting them in her slinkiest red gown. Yowza!  Roy must have been out of town that week!

The Grand Comics Database identifies the writer as likely being Ryerson Johnson, who wrote most of the early issues, and the art is attributed to Jim McArdle.

Here is another Dale Evans story, where she once again charms some local yokels. Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Number 1724: Star Spangled robots

Today we begin a theme week I’m calling Deceased Comics Week. Postings will come from DC titles no longer being published. Like the other comic book publishers, DC (aka National Comics or Superman DC), published what sold, and if it didn’t they axed it and published something else. The public is fickle, fads come and go, including what comic books sold the most.

First up are two stories, both featuring robots, from Star Spangled Comics #36 (1944, published in an anthology format for 130 issues, from 1941 to 1952 ). The character, Robotman, masqueraded as a human. The feature was drawn by veteran cartoonist Jimmy Thompson. Thompson was a good artist, but in this case it appears he didn’t read the script. Creatures are thawed out of the ice, and the script says they are “mammoths” and ancestors of elephants, but Thompson drew dinosaurs.

The second story features one of the female patriotic heroes of the World War II era, Liberty Belle, created, written and drawn by Chuck Winter and Don Cameron. In the story an inventor creates robot soldiers. Liberty Belle makes a rah-rah speech about Nazi soldiers acting like robots, and that American men, superior because they fight for democracy, should fight. Not robots. Say what...? Modern robots, as we know, are useful in many industries as utility devices, designed to do critical but repetitive work. I would say that if robots could stand in for humans when bullets and bombs are flying, then we need robots, not humans, to take the brunt of the attack.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Number 1723: Frankenstein, “Oh, Lordy!! What a man!”

For a monster, finding girlfriends is always a problem. Not so with our familiar and funny Frankenstein, especially when the “girlfriends” are escaped prisoners, mutated by radiation.

Hey, he’s had worse.

I have been posting stories from Frankenstein #3 (1946) for a while. “Frankenstein and the Monsters” is another from that issue, drawn by Dick Briefer.