Monday, November 24, 2014

Number 1661: Dagar, the Euro-Arab Desert Hawk

Dagar, Desert Hawk, the character of the 1940s, is not the same as Dagar the Invincible, the Gold Key barbarian hero of the '70s. We try not to confuse.

In Don Markstein’s Toonopedia this is what is said of the Dagar we are showing today:
“. . . Dagar, subtitled ‘Desert Hawk’, was a hero in an exotic land, who flourished for a couple of years at Fox Comics, starting in 1947. He was sort of a white sheik, a man of European extraction living as a wealthy and powerful (but, of course, adventurous) arab [sic]. He had his share of stereotyped characteristics, of course; but unlike stereotyped arabs in more recent fiction, was a good guy.”
That being said, there are a couple of Americans thrown in. Chuck Day and his sister, Wendi, are friends with an “Arab” girl, Ayesha,* whose scant costume would surely be banned by the Taliban. Ayesha gets mixed up with a phony pharaoh, Dagar is called in to rescue Ayesha from said pharaoh.

The story appeared in Dagar, Desert Hawk #15 (1948), the second issue. The artist is Edmond Good, whose work I have shown before. Later adventures of Dagar were taken over by none other than Jack Kamen, but Dagar had a short run, and by the end of the 1940s the Desert Hawk was covered over by the shifting sands of time.

*Friend and commenter, Daniel, would be the first to point out that Ayesha shares her name with the immortal character of H. Rider Haggard’s novel, She.

More Edmond Good goodies. Just click on the thumbnails.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Number 1660: Moody blues...reds...greens...yellows...

In the excellent blog, Ace Horror, Jim McLaughlin is given credit as the artist who had the most stories in the Ace horror comics. These two stories by McLaughlin, who had a fairly straightforward illustrative style, are from The Beyond #15 (1952) and Baffling Mysteries #10 (1952) respectively.

In scanning both stories something that struck me is the moody coloring. The story, “Diogenes’ Deadly Lamp” does not have any panels colored in traditional style, although “Don’t Wake the Dead” is a bit more traditional. In both stories the coloring adds an aura of eerie mystery and dread.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Number 1659: The ha-ha he-he laughing giggling sadist killer!

Herman Duker was one bad guy: a psychopath who committed cruel acts to animals and fellow humans. He eventually went to the electric chair. His story was told in Crime Does Not Pay #57 (1947), drawn by Fred Guardineer, reprinted in Blackjacked and Pistol Whipped: Crime Does Not Pay, a trade paperback still available from Dark Horse Comics.*

A few months after the Crime Does Not Pay story another version of the Duker story was published, the one I am showing you today. It is from Exposed #2 (1948). The character is given another name, John Hirsh, but it is based on Duker’s story. I’m giving an advance warning that it contains panels with graphic blood, cruelty to animals, and one helluva injury to the eye panel. If you are sensitive don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Comic art spotter Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr gives credit for the artwork to Joe Orlando. It would have been very early in Orlando’s career. As you may know, Joe worked for EC Comics in the fifties, and hung around the comic book field long enough to become an editor at DC Comics, then DC’s vice president, eventually even associate publisher of Mad magazine. He died in 1998 at age 71.

*You can also read the story presented in 2008 by Karswell at The Horrors Of It All. Just click on the thumbnail.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Number 1658: Trapped in time

In 1961 I was a snarky junior high kid and my friend Ronnie was even snarkier than me. One of our targets for snarkiness were the monster comics that came from Marvel Comics. You have seen those giant monsters that were drawn by Jack Kirby. There were dozens of them. Despite our snark attacks on those comics Ronnie and I bought them as they came out and we read them. We liked them but were just too snarkily cool to admit it.

“Trapped In the Twilight World!” is not one of the monster stories, per se, although monsters abound. It is a story of passing from one dimension of time to another and probably would have earned hoots of derision from Ronnie and me. Not only does “Trapped” give the “truth” about UFOs, but the Abominable Snowman, and even has an early version of Kirby’s big red Devil Dinosaur! Despite still having a vestige of snarkitude I am giving this story a pass due to nostalgia, not only for the memories of those comic books, but also for old friend Ronnie, who died not too long ago.

 From Amazing Adventures #3 (1961):