Monday, December 30, 2013

Number 1499: Swinging out of 2013 with Tarzan

We’re celebrating the end of the year with yet another story of Tarzan in yet another lost city of the jungle.

Cathne is the City of Gold. When Tarzan says he hasn’t been there in 20 years he isn’t quite telling the truth*...the novel, Tarzan and the City of Gold, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was originally published in Argosy in 1932. Our comic book adventure was published in Dell’s Tarzan #21 in 1951.

Tarzan, who rescues a girl, “Princess” Elaine, in the jungle, ends up with her in Cathne. He goes to tell her dad she is okay and recovering from a broken arm, only to leave her to the evil intentions of lusty Lord Tomos. Tomos has her clapped in a cell with a slave who is ordered to teach her the language, and promises, “I shall see you, Princess...very often!” Whoops. What do you think Lord Tomos has in mind for Elaine? You can almost hear his evil cackle, and see him twirling his mustache. If he had a mustache, that is.

Everything works out fine, thanks to Tarzan, Tantor and some ape buddies. Story by Gaylord Dubois and art by Jesse Marsh.

Happy New Year, and thanks for making this year a good one for Pappy's Golden Age. I’ll see you again on January 1.

*Maybe Tarzan forgot he re-visited the City of Gold again in Tarzan the Magnificent, published in 1939. Tarzan’s jungle is wall-to-wall lost cities and civilizations, even dinosaurs. No wonder he has trouble remembering.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Number 1498: The back-ups

These three well-drawn short stories, all from Police Comics #11 (1942), struck me for different reasons. The first, “Chic Carter,” has a swamp monster (or at least what appears to be). Something shambling out of a swamp, fake or not, gets my attention.

“Firebrand” was the first cover feature of Police Comics. He lost the position to Jack Cole’s Plastic Man. “The Mouthpiece” appears to be one more Spirit lookalike from the company that owned the Spirit. In addition to Spirit, who dressed in a suit and wore a mask, Quality had Midnight and the Mouthpiece. Are there any more blue-suited crimefighters with Lone Ranger masks from Quality I have missed?

Fred Guardineer, who drew the Mouthpiece, is responsible for the above head-spinning electric chair panel. Fred drew many a similar panel when he went to work for Charles Biro at Crime Does Not Pay. Lee Ames, who drew this episode of Firebrand, went on to a career which included book illustration and how-to-draw books. Vern Henkel, artist on the Chic Carter story, began his career by sending a story he wrote and drew to publisher “Busy” Arnold in the days when comic books were in the so-called Platinum Age.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Number 1497: It’s up to yew! Ghost-hunter and the Roman curse.

This is one of those supernatural stories that resolves itself at the end by dragging in some power over ghosts of which we readers have not been apprised. In this case it’s the ghost-hunter, Christopher Fenn, who “just remembered” what will defeat the ghosts before they are about to kill him. Note to writers of supernatural stories: Introduce said spell or power early in the story, then use it later. It's storytelling 101.

Despite that glaring flaw in “The Case of the Roman Curse” I like the art. It's drawn by Jon L. Blummer and comes from Adventures Into the Unknown #7 (1949).