Friday, March 23, 2018

Number 2158: Wife of the werewolf

Mad was a successful comic and that brought out a bunch of imitators in the early fifties. No one had the touch of Mad creator, editor, writer and all around control freak Harvey Kurtzman. But there are some better than average stories in that pile of humor/satire comics that vied for some of the Mad money. John Benson thought enough of “Oh, for the Life — of a Wife — of a Werewolf” to include it in his superb 2012 collection of Mad imitations, The Sincerest Form of Parody.

It was produced by the Iger Studio, and appeared in Bughouse #2 (1954), an Ajax-Farrell comic. I laughed at the menu the werewolf is holding on page 3: “Roast artist....$2.75. Roast writer....30¢. Hashed politician....10¢." I am glad it has its values straight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Number 2157: The Fox goes to a nightclub

The Fox is another costumed hero who has no super powers. He is Paul Patton, a newspaper photographer with a hidden camera hidden in his chest emblem. The first body cam?

MLJ, who published Blue Ribbon Comics #8 (1940), where this story appeared, cut back its roster of costumed and super heroes over time, and became Archie Comics. While this episode of the Fox seems relatively tame, early MLJ had a reputation for rowdiness.

The Fox was gone after the last issue of Blue Ribbon (#22, 1942), not to be seen until the mid-sixties, when Archie Comics resurrected their MLJ heroes.

Artist Irwin Hasen, who went on to draw Green Lantern for DC and in the fifties drew “Dondi,” a popular newspaper strip, was another of those early comic book journeymen. He died in 2015 at age 96.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Number 2156: Congo Bill in the jungle of dinosaurs

Congo Bill was a longtime second banana character for DC. I remember him from the fifties when he palled around with Janu, the Jungle Boy. (Here we go again, with grown men and young boys going on adventures together.) Quoting Wikipedia: “Congo Bill was a long-running DC Comics adventure comic strip, running in various DC Comics titles from 1940 until Action Comics #248 (January 1959), when Congo Bill was transformed into Congorilla (the title of the strip was likewise changed). The Congo Bill strip was a standard adventure strip, often reminiscent of Alex Raymond's Jungle Jim newspaper strip.”

I like gorillas, but I drew the line at Congo Bill becoming a gorilla. Even at the tender age I was in 1959, I knew this was a non-starter of an idea, so I dropped Congo(rilla) Bill from my reading list.

This earlier story, from before Janu the Jungle Boy showed up, is from Action Comics #40. This 1941story has a science fiction slant. No gorillas, but dinosaurs. Fred Ray, who drew it, was one of DC’s top artists, working on Superman covers and later doing a long stretch on Tomahawk. I am not vouching for any dinosaur details being correct in this story, but it is a breezy six-pager. For being a guy who survived for years in the back pages of DC Comics, Congo Bill lasted quite a long time, even if he did end up a gorilla. Someone must have had a sentimental attachment for him.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Number 2155: Dr Hypno inks with cat fur

Dr Hypno is back. I showed Dr Hypno’s origin story in 2016. At that time he had the honor of being selected as the 2016 Thanksgiving Turkey Award recipient. If you want to see more, just go to the link below today’s story.

In today’s story, Dr H is being tortured by enemy agents. Yikes! He is strung up, hung from a ceiling. That has just got to hurt. As you who have read the origin story know, Dr Hypno can put his mind into an animal. It is what he does with a cat, in order to get someone to rescue him. I hope I won’t spoil this story by saying that Dr Hypno’s human brain gets the cat to dip its tail in ink. Beyond what he is able to accomplish with Dr Hypno’s brain controlling him, I don’t think a cat’s fur would be useful for other tasks, say inking comic books. Especially not for Frank Thomas, who created, wrote and drew Dr Hypno. Thomas had a nice brush ink line, which comes from the flexibility of sable hair. There’s no need to worry that some crazed artist will steal your cat and turn him into a feline Winsor and Newton Series 7 comic book inking brush.

This purr-ty good Dr Hypno entry is from Amazing Man Comics #18 (1940):

To see the Dr Hypno origin story, just click on the thumbnail.