Sunday, April 29, 2012

Reading Room: BLUE BEETLE "Debut"

Last time, we presented his final tale...
...now, from Mystery Men Comics #1 (1939), is the very first appearance of the decidedly-different Blue Beetle!
As you can see, it's not an origin story, since it's apparent that the Beetle's been operating for some time as of this tale.
(His origin won't be covered until the first issue of his own title, a year from now.
Even then, the full story won't be told.)
Also note the Green Hornet-inspired suit, fedora, and mask along with liberal use of a symbol to scare criminals and gas to knock them out.
It's the only time in his career he wears that particular ensemble.
With the next issue of Mystery Men Comics, you'll see the Blue Beetle begin the transition to the hero he was known as throughout the Golden Age as he dons the blue chain-mail costume.
(Oddly, when his origin is told in Blue Beetle #1, Garret is shown using the chain mail armor from the beginning of his career.)
Credited to the the pen-name "Charles Nicholas", this story was written by Will Eisner, illustrated by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski, who later used the name for all his comic work until he retired.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Yankee Doodle Luck"

Though Phantom Lady may have been forced to lose her cleavage...
...politically-incorrect racial stereotypes still abounded even after the Comics Code took hold.
Note: may be NSFW!
Formosa is now known as Taiwan, or the Republic of China.
When the Communist Party took control of mainland China after World War II, the deposed government and it's supporters moved to the island of Formosa off the China coast.
These days, when most people refer to "China", they're talking about the People's Republic of China which controls the vast area traditionally-known as "China".
At the time of this story in Phantom Lady #3 (1955), Formosa was officially-considered to be "China" by the United Nations.
Since 1971, though, mainland China has become the "China" recognized by the UN and Formosa/Taiwan is no longer an official member of the international organization, though most countries maintain diplomatic relations and the US still has military bases there.
The artist (or artists) of this tale are unknown, but the writer is probably editor Ruth Roche, as usual.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Spin-Off Blog from this one...HEROINES!

The femme entries here at Hero (& Heroine) Histories™ have proven so popular, we've decided to spin-off the women into their own weekly blog.
The first entry, posted now, features the relatively-unknown character Aurora of Jupiter...
...who only appeared once, in the HTF Captain Rocket #1 (1951)!
Note: We're continuing the ongoing Phantom Lady and Jet Dream strips here, but any other femme-oriented material is now slated for Heroines™!
And, when we finish Phantom Lady & Jet Dream, this blog's name will change to Hero Histories™.
Check Heroines™ every Friday from now on!
This Friday: comics' first Desi (Indian subcontinent) heroine...from 1944!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reading Room: JET DREAM "Set-Up Sultan"

When your bodyguards are Jet Dream and her team...
...you would want bodies like those as close to you as possible! (Wink, wink, nudge nudge)
Script for this tale from Man from U.N.C.L.E. #15 (1967) by Dick Wood, art by Joe Certa.
Unfortunately, Certa has problems differentiating women, and uses hairstyles to tell them apart.
(I didn't know one of them was Pacific Islander Ting-A-Ling until Jet mentioned it on page 4!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Television Spies" 2.0

We've seen a story originally published with a different heroine...
...now here's a totally-redrawn version of a previous Phantom Lady tale!
In the original 1948 version of this tale, the tv images were in full glorious color, and television was just beginning to enter American households, so few people had actually seen a tv screen!
But, by the time of this story in Phantom Lady #3 (1955), almost half the households in America had tvs, but they were almost all b/w sets.
As a result, the tv screens shown in this version of the story were b/w, the way most Americans experienced video.
The artist (or artists) of this tale are unknown, but the writer is probably editor Ruth Roche, as usual.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Eye for an Eye-Witness"

It's about time someone figured out that Sandra Knight is Phantom Lady...
...it's not like the costume really disguises her!
(and this version doesn't even have the distracting cleavage of the Fox Comics costume!)
The villain tells Sandra Knight (whom he believes to be Phantom Lady) to come to an address, where he tries to kill her.
She escapes, changes into Phantom Lady, returns to the same address and the villain freaks out with a "how did you ever find me?" reaction!
And this was the only guy who was smart enough to figure Sandra was, in fact, Phantom Lady?
Geez...

The artist (or artists) of this tale from Phantom Lady #2 (1955) are unknown, but the writer is probably editor Ruth Roche, as usual.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reading Room: THE SHADOW "Shiwan Khan's House of Horrors" Conclusion

...why do I even need to show up?
The comic itself does the work for me!
See you at the end of the story...
This story from The Shadow #3 (1964) was Robert Bernstein's final comic book assignment.
Paul Reinman replaced John Rosenberger as the artist on The Shadow for the remainder of the run, as well as taking over the art chores for most of Radio Comics (renamed Mighty Comics' shortly after) line of books including The Mighty Crusaders, and Fly-Man.
for goodies featuring other Silver Age heroes, besides The Shadow!