Monday, August 21, 2017

Number 2091: Plastic Man finalizes his look

In the past couple of months we have looked at early Plastic Man from the first few issues of Police Comics. Plas’s costume changed slightly each issue until he achieved his final look in Police #4. I am showing the two-parter from issues #4 and 5 (1941). Plas alone faces Madam Brawn and her Crime School for Delinquent Girls. (Woozy Winks has not yet made his appearance)

The first part has my favorite panel to snicker over. The line of Madam Brawn’s, “I’ve got the toughest molls on spike heels!! Any one of ‘em can lick two men at the same time!! makes me laugh every time I read it. It triggers my still close-to-the-surface adolescent mind. Did Cole sneak that past the editor and get away with something? I dunno. But I bet it got a few laughs from readers in 1941, also.

This was brought to my attention recently. Marty Murphy's Plastic Man cartoon appeared in the April 1999 issue of Playboy. Murphy drew Plas in his original costume. Copyright © 1999 by Playboy.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pappy's Sunday Supplement Number 12: The Spirit

We skipped our monthly Sunday Supplement feature last month. I was busy  hosting out-of-town guests (my grandchildren) all month. I barely got my regular postings done.

Today we have a very early Spirit Section from the Will Eisner studio. It is from June 30, 1940, which makes it the fifth Spirit story to appear. In it we look back at health care in America, 1940-style. It begins with a dose of pathos, a doctor’s pronouncement, “Your wife has a week to live,” and the prescription is to take her to Arizona. The husband is broke, so he gambles to get the money to take her. That turns out bad, so the Spirit steps in. In this early story we see the Spirit clean out the gambling joints with his gambling skills. He apparently has a skill-set we weren’t aware of. He also pulls a gun. We are used to a Spirit who uses his fists.

Chuck Mazoujian, using the name “Ford Davis,” drew the 4-page Lady Luck story. Mazoujian went into the Army, and I found a page of his drawings of soldiers in training in the February 9, 1942 issue of Life. When his time in the Army was done he went into advertising.

Another top artist, Bob Powell, who spent his whole career in comics, did the Mister Mystic story. I confess, I looked at it but didn’t read it.

Another early Spirit Section, #7, from 1940. Just click on the thumbnail.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Number 2090: Ghost Woman

According to the Grand Comics Database, “Ghost Woman” appeared in the 1945 giant one-shot comic, Star-Studded Comics (1945). The story is a one-off, not intended to be a series. Ghost Woman helps her husband get rid of some werewolves, then decides to go on to her final reward. There is a certain rough charm to the artwork, but it isn’t signed. I believe it is a shop job, probably using more than one artist.

Artist Bernard Baily, journeyman comic book man (the Spectre, Hourman, among others) worked in the field through much of the sixties, at least. He packaged one-shots during the war years and after in a comics shop business, Bernard Baily Studio, with Mac Raboy. They used different names for publishing companies. My belief is that they contracted with businesses that had paper rations, which during the war were needed for printing...even for stuff like comic books.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Number 2089: The robot with AI and ESP

Martin Chesterton has worked for years to build a robot with artificial intelligence. It works, but not in the way he intended. “The Robot” is a story where the robot not only has AI, but the ability to read Chesterton’s thoughts: a personal mechanical genie granting an unwitting master’s wishes.

Not withstanding the ESP elements, this is a fairly well thought out story. Sometimes when ACG had stories like these they were inspired by other sources, so if it is swiped from a science fiction story by someone else I’d like to know. To me it does not have typical Richard E. Hughes elements. The script may be by someone other than editor Hughes, who eventually he took over all the writing at ACG.

Art is credited to Mike Suchorsky, based on an interview with the artist. Quoting from the Grand Comics Database: “Art credits from Suchorsky in an interview with Hames Ware and Jim Vadeboncouer, Jr. in the pages of Alter Ego #27 (August, 2003), which reprinted a page of this story.” Cover is by Ogden Whitney.

The story appeared in Adventures Into the Unknown #67 (1955).