Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pappy’s Sunday Supplement #14: Harvey Hits #1, featuring The Phantom

I did a run of Sunday Supplements last year, until I got cramped for time. It is still my intention — time permitting — to show complete issues of comic books I find interesting. That includes today’s entry, Harvey Hits #1 (1957), which starred The Phantom.

I read The Phantom in the newspaper from an early age, and when I spotted Harvey Hits on the comic book spinner I grabbed it. I have a clear recollection of this particular comic book, because it could have killed my father!

I bought it while in company with my brother and my parents. While we drove home it was next to me on the back seat of the family car. The windows were rolled down and a gust of wind suddenly caught it, then carried it out the window and onto the roadway. I put up such a loud fuss that my father parked the car, then ran out into the road to retrieve it for me. Luckily he only had to hang back on the side of the road for a short bit, maybe 20 seconds or so, before traffic cleared. He dashed out, grabbed the comic, and shoved it through the window at me. He was angry, shouting, “How would you feel if I’d been run over and killed?”

I whimpered, "Thanks, Dad.” Obviously I would have felt terrible if Dad had been killed. But by golly, it did not happen and I got my comic book back!

I was smitten by the back-up feature, “Shirl the Jungle Girl,” by Howard Nostrand. At the time I was buying the Mad paperback reprints of the original comic book issues, and that is what “Shirl” looked like to me. Years later I surmised it was an inventory story, done for an unpublished Harvey comic. The Grand Comics Database confirmed it with this note: “Originally prepared for the unpublished Flip #3. History of story appears in Squa Tront #13 (2012). Unknown artist did last panel and other corrections.”

For the Phantom story we get this information from the GCD: Written by Lee Falk; drawn by Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy, lettered by Dorothy McCoy. The story originally appeared in the newspaper continuity from February 18, 1946 to July 13, 1946, under its original title, “Princess Valerie.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

Number 2082: The one, the only, Solarman!

Literally, the one and only Solarman...this is his only appearance in comic books, published in Centaur’s Wham Comics #2 (1940).

He is sent to Earth from Saturn to help Earth people. He beats up some gangsters, then takes off for home again. It doesn’t seem like it would be worth the trip. Maybe that is why he never came back for an encore.

Solarman’s creator, Frank Thomas, had more luck with other features he created and drew. He did The Eye, Dr Hypno, and Chuck Hardy for Centaur, but he also worked for Dell Comics, where he created and drew two of his best, The Owl and Billy and Bonny Bee. Thomas worked in newspaper comics later in his career, including ghosting the Ferd’nand feature until his death in 1968.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Number 2081: Jungle Boy comes up to bat

Jungle Boy appeared only in Atlas Comics’ Jungle Action, which lasted just six issues. Jungle Action featured two white male jungle guys, an ape called Man-oo, and one female, Leopard Girl, drawn by one of the top girl artists of the comics, Al Hartley. Jungle Boy lived in the jungle with his dad, who is Jack Spears, a white hunter. I haven’t read all the Jungle Boy stories, so I don’t know what his actual name is. His dad just calls him “son” in the example I am showing today. The jungle folk call Jungle Boy “son of the hunter.”

Jungle Boy, like all Atlas heroes of the era, butts heads with a communist. The wild-eyed commie spouts his goofy plans to Jungle Boy. For one thing, he is going to kill all the natives, “one by one!” He is going to inject all of the animals with a “certain serum,” that will make them turn on the American soldiers “when the call comes for the communist revolution!” This Red is full of silly notions and screwball schemes.

Oh , and there is a giant bat, and a caveman, also. All in six pages.

Writer unknown, but the art is by John Romita. From Jungle Action #2 (1954):