Friday, September 30, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Fire Fiend"

Things get hot for the Voluptuous Vixen of Vengeance... a pyromaniac tries to end the career of the Pulchritudinous Personage!
For God's sake, she doesn't even wear a pair of glasses or a mask, and the guy standing two feet in front of her (in both guises) can't figure out who The Phantom Lady really is?
The somewhat-silly story from All Top Comics #13 is probably by Ruth Roche, while there's no doubt the art is by Matt Baker.
Phantom Lady will be taking a month-long vacation as this (and all the other RetroBlogs™) celebrate October and the Halloween season with horror and monster-oriented tales.
Phantom Lady will return in November...

featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reading Room: JET POWERS "Man in the Moon"

It's been several months since we looked in on Jet Powers and Su Shan...

Some guys really carry a grudge (but provide great expositional dialogue)!
Yeah, Sinn died.
Nothing to worry about.
Won't be seeing him again!
No, siree...
You don't really believe that, do you?
Good, 'cause if you did, you wouldn't be able to read the rest of this series, featuring superb Bob Powell art like this, the second Jet tale from Jet Power #1 (1950).
Watch for more Jet Powers coming soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Case of the Murderous Model"

When Tyra Banks tells models to be "fierce" on America's Top Model, this is not what she means!
At least our voluptuous vixen should hope so!
When you want to see the best examples of "good girl" art, look no further than tales like this from 1948's Phantom Lady #19 by the legendary Matt Baker!
Unfortunately, the script, probably by Ruth Roche, is no more than adequate.

featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reading Room: NOT WHO YOU THINK: "Black Panther"

Prince T'Challa, Marvel's first Black superhero, ruler of Wakanda, husband of Storm, Avenger...
1) Who is he?
2) Where did he come from??
3) What are his powers???
4) Why does he have a tail????
Of all those questions, we can only answer #3: Agile as a cat (obviously), expert in hand-to-hand combat, and probably good with the knife he carries.
Since he only made one appearance, in Stars & Stripes #3 (1941) from Centaur Comics, we will never know what his creator, writer/artist Paul Gustavson, had in mind for him.
Gustavson, though not a "big" name, did contribute several long-running characters to Golden Age comics history at Timely (Marvel), Quality, and Centaur, including The Fantom of the Fair (FantoMan), The Human Bomb, The Angel, two archer-heroes; The Arrow and Alias the Spider, and Man of War.
He also worked on Blackhawk, Uncle Sam, and other Quality Comics characters.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Wine, Women and Sudden Death"

Here's a never-reprinted-in-color tale from Phantom Lady #19...
...about a villain named "Dolls" and a kidnapping-for-ransom ring our buxom bombshell literally stumbles into!
Let's thank (probable) writer Ruth Roche and (definite) illustrator Matt Baker for this titillating tale.

BTW, we were considering what to do for Christmas this year, and we decided to do the Quality Comics multi-part crossover series teaming up Phantom Lady (the green/yellow costumed version) in Police Comics with Spider Widow in Feature Comics! (and there's also appearances by another hero...The Raven!)
Keep an eye out for it in December!
featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reading Room: NOT WHO YOU THINK: "Penguin"

You thought The Penguin was a fat guy with umbrellas who fought The Batman?
His first cover appearance, but his second story!
Hoo Boy! Are you WRONG!!!
He was an athletic masked mystery man/detective who fought evil!
Want proof?
Read on...
Hate to tell you this, but I don't have the next issue!
(Even the Grand Comics DataBase doesn't have it!)
But, since The Penguin continued as the cover feature for several issues after that (until #26), we're pretty sure he got out of this situation.
Note: The Penguin is miscolored on the cover above.
His mask is actually dark blue/black to match the tuxedo he wears, as shown on this later cover appearance...
Created by Adrian Dingle, probably the most prolific Canadian comics writer/artist of the 1940s.

This story was from the Canadian-produced "WOW" Comics (note the quotes), not to be confused with Wow Comics from Fawcett which featured Mary Marvel, Mr Scarlet, and others.
(and, yes, he first appeared a year after The Batman's waddling foe made his debut in 1941's Detective Comics #58)
Originally, Canada imported American comic books and pulp magazines, filling their newstands with Superman, The Shadow, and loads of other American characters.
But, when World War II broke out, Canada banned all "non-essential" imports, including comics and pulps!
This opened up a whole new industry for Canadian writers and artists to finally do their own characters!
One major difference between the American and Canadian comic books was that the World War II Canadian books were black and white inside, not four-color like American comics!
(British comics were also b/w inside until the 1950s, when they started using a second color on some books.)
Some American companies licensed Canadian publishers to reprint US comics, but the interiors for those were b/w as well.
In addition, there was a limit to how much "non-Canadian content" could be included in Canadian magazine print runs, so there were relatively-few American reprints during the war.
After the war ended American comics were again imported, so most Canadian publishers began doing color insides to compete with the imports.

BTW, this is the debut of a new feature, NOT WHO YOU THINK, featuring Golden and Silver Age heroes and heroines with the same name as better-known characters, but different costumes, powers, even secret identities.
You'll be surprised how many of today's characters had totally-different predecessors!
Some, like the Golden Age Daredevil and Ghost Rider, are pretty well-known to modern audiences.
Some made only one appearance, never to be seen again.
Some, like this Penguin, had healthy runs, but are unknown today.
Next week...the previous holder of the name of a Marvel hero who currently has his own comic!