Monday, December 11, 2017

Number 2140: Young-old-young Rex Dexter

Rex Dexter takes quite a trip in this tale from Fox’s Mystery Men #5 (1939): he becomes old, then regains his youth. The story is another from the vivid imaginings of writer-artist Dick Briefer. Briefer was later known for his series of Frankenstein tales, spread over the decades of the forties and early fifties.

Today’s story is educational. We learn how name of Rex Dexter’s girlfriend and interplanetary traveling companion, Cynde, is pronounced.

A few years ago I showed the origin of Rex Dexter. You can read it by going to the link below.

The origin(s) of Rex Dexter. Just click on the thumbnail.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Number 2139: Professor Memory forgets

Professor Memory has a special job, but unfortunately can’t remember what it is. Also unfortunate is how much Professor Memory’s memory problems remind me

What was a I saying? I remember: Professor Memory. He is helped by Green Lantern and GL’s little buddy, Doiby Dickles. Since we have featured some superheroes with boy sidekicks recently, along with my snarky comments, it is a relief to tell you that Doiby is an adult. Or, presumably so. He is a taxi driver and a good guy, except for mangling the English language. More snarky comments on dialect-writing are in order, but offhand I can’t remember any.

The story, from Comic Cavalcade #10 (1945) is from the period when publisher Maxwell Gaines decided to pull his comic book line, All American Comics, away from DC Comics. Later, as the story goes — if I remember it correctly, and I believe I do — Gaines sold his business, and his paper ration, to DC Comics. The war ended shortly thereafter and Gaines made enough to start another company, Educational Comics (EC), which eventually became the infamous Entertaining Comics (EC), with the late Mr Gaines’s son, William (Bill) Gaines) in the publisher’s chair.

The story is drawn by Jon Chester Kozlak, whose comic book career was mainly for DC in the forties. Also according to the Grand Comics Database, the script is by Alfred Bester. He later became a top-selling science fiction author who did classic novels like The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man.

Here is another tale of Green Lantern and Doiby, originally posted in 2012. Just click on the thumbnail.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Number 2138: Montana and Wolverton, comic book/comic strips

Bob Montana had a career drawing the Archie characters for a successful newspaper comic strip. I read it every day in my daily newspaper, and liked it more than the comic books, which were aimed at a younger audience. Before his comic strip work, Montana worked in comic books, both for MLJ (later Archie Comics) and Comic House, where this Dickie Dean, Boy Inventor feature appeared. Montana died young, at age 54, of a heart attack. It was a loss I still feel when I remember reading about his death in 1975.

On the other hand, despite having a national audience in 1948 when he won Al Capp’s Lena the Hyena contest for the Li'l Abner comic strip, Basil Wolverton just never achieved his dream of a daily newspaper feature. In the early days of comic books many of the early artists for that genre worked toward achieving the success of someone like Al Capp. These episodes of Wolverton’s character, Scoop Scuttle, are done in the daily strip format, and were likely prepared originally to sell to a newspaper syndicate. Many are called, but few are chosen, as the cliché goes. It was a tough field to enter, whereas early comic books allowed artists great latitude, and during the height of their early popularity, a lot easier to get a job with them than a newspaper.

Both the Dickie and Scoop episodes I am showing today were published in Silver Streak Comics #20 (1942).

Monday, December 04, 2017

Number 2137: Beyond the veil

From the Public Domain Superheroes website: “Ginny Spears was a district attorney's secretary who became fed up with crime. She decided to become the costumed crime fighter known as the Veiled Avenger. Armed only with her bullwhip, the Veiled Avenger had no superpowers. She was not above using deadly force against her enemies, going as far as using her whip to make her foes shoot each other and themselves.”

Ginny’s career was short-lived, only four appearances: three in Spotlight Comics (numbers 1-3) and one in Red Seal Comics #16. In her short career the Veiled Avenger caught Dr. Fredric Wertham’s eye. See the link below.

This story, from Spotlight Comics #2 (1945), drawn by an unknown artist, has a panel showing a closeup of a man getting a knife in his neck. That is a first for me. I’ve seen knives plunging into bodies in crime and horror comics, but this is the first knife in the neck panel I have seen. I am not sure what it says about me, calling attention to it, or if I would want to know.

The infamous "drain this dame dry" panel used as an example by Dr Wertham. Just click on the thumbnail for the full story.