Tentacle Tuesday: Spunky Skirmishes

Tentacle Tuesday! The name of the game this time: epic battles (It’s the end of January, and I’m in a belligerent mood.)

First, I’d like to share these wonderfully weird and colourful Hindi comic covers that I’ve been reserving for a while.

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Chitra Bharti Kathamala was a popular Indian comic book publication during the early 1980s. This is Chitra Bharti Kathamala #8, although I wasn’t able to find out more information about it – Hindi presents a formidable language barrier. It’s rather charming that the artist seems to have never seen an octopus in his life.

Apparently India’s love (hate? senseless violence?) affair with octopuses has been going on for a while, because here’s another tentacled cover:

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The cover was painted by Vijay Kadam… and will haunt my nightmares. As far as I could suss out, this is published by Raj Comics. Kadam’s son, Harshvardhan Kadam, is a mural artist (see some of his murals here.)

My (somewhat) educated guess is that these covers are from the late 80s, early 90s. If you’d like to see more, hoist your sails over to the Monster Brains blog over here.

Incidentally, while attempting to glean more information about this, I stumbled upon some hilarious, more modern Indian comic covers, namely these three:

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Nagraj no. 44, Jan 1995. What the fucking fuck is going on here, and how does it make any sense anatomically?
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More tentacles – unless the spiky guy’s legs are actually alligator’s tails… Nagraj no. 50, Jan 1996.
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Nagraj no. 75, Jan 2003. No tentacles but I couldn’t resist the adorable gore. Once one’s gaze pulls away from the spaghetti entrails, one notices that the woman hacking Nagraj to pieces seems to be having the time of her life… and that the female creature in the background has a completely improbable lower torso.

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For our next heroic skirmish, a scene with dramatic waves, a half-naked damsel, a hot guy, and an an intense octopus with a Rasputin-esque furrowing of the brow. Basically, the glorious pen of Enrique Nieto was guaranteeing eye candy for everyone, whatever their pervy proclivities.

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Monster Hunters no. 10, October 1977. The cover is by the glamorous Enrique Nieto!
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The original art for an inside page from « Night of the Kraken! » Script by Nicola Cuti, art by Enrique Nieto.

Speaking of octopuses laying eggs (and they do), do you know how these creatures reproduce? Once the male octopus places a sac of sperm into the female’s body cavity with his « mating arm» (yes, he has a dedicated arm just for that purpose), the female lays her eggs, and spends the rest of her time protecting them and keeping them clean. Both the male and female octopuses stop eating after mating, the male drifting around aimlessly, the females dedicating all their energy to safeguarding their offspring. Both die soon after of either starvation or predation. Given these conditions, anybody seeking to destroy the last living female octopus is a fucking asshole – don’t the poor things have it hard enough already?!

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I’ll wrap up with a little cozy scene in which male friendship prevails over the evil tentacles of a sinister, swirly-eyed creature. Aw, you guys…

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Aventuras del FBI no. 32: El Triunfo del Bien, 1970, published by Rollán. Drawn by Luis Bermejo and Manuel López Blanco.

« Aventuras del FBI» was a Spanish comic published Rollán Editorials, published in little stapled black-and-white books with colour covers. Auto-translating an article about Aventuras gave me this little gem: « Adventure series of an FBI agent named Jack Hope, who is accompanied on his missions by a young man named Bill Boy and a man steeped in meat and joke, Sam. » I don’t know what a man “steeped in meat and joke” is, but it sounds promising!

~ ds

Steve Skeates’ “… and the Dog Howls Through the Night!” (1974)

« Who’d ever believe a story like that? »

On this fine day, we pay tribute to shifty scribe Chester P. Hazel (who sometimes goes by the unlikely nom de plume of Steve Skeates). It is whispered that Stephen, along with his nefarious twin Warren Savin, first invaded this plane of existence on January 29, 1943. That would make him/them/it seventy-five earthly rotations old, should these windblown tattles hold any credence.

Happily, in this case, picking out a Skeates favourite to share was no ordeal: I’d been meaning for some time to shine a light on one of his neglected gems, one that salt-rubbingly ran without proper attribution in The Phantom Stranger no. 34 (Dec. 1974-Jan. 1975, DC Comics.)

The cases of Dr. Terrance Thirteen, ghost breaker, must have been easier to write back in the 1950’s, when DC Comics’ default setting in its mystery titles was to explain away the supernatural element before the curtain call. DC’s resident skeptic first shared his insights in Star Spangled Comics, his feature lasting from issue 122 (November, 1951) to issue 130 (July, 1952). He then moved to The House of Mystery for a handful of appearances, then faded away. He returned to action, along with his also long-dormant colleague  and foil The Phantom Stranger, in 1969’s Showcase no. 80. In the Supernatural Seventies, all poor Dr. Thirteen could do is vainly and stubbornly play the cards of reason and logic against a house deck stacked to inevitably favour the uncanny and the unreal. He was doomed to be a comic book version of The X-Files’ Dana Scully, Fritz Leiber‘s Norman Saylor (Conjure Wife, 1943) or Night of the Demon‘s Dr. John Holden, all skeptics coming off as hopelessly obdurate and clueless in light of the “facts”.

Sounds like today’s so-called post-fact world… in which we need true skeptics (as opposed to deniers) and cool, rational minds more than ever.

Anyway, it wasn’t the first time wily Skeates had faced such a storytelling impasse: he’d had to ring the changes on pacifist character Dove (of Steve Ditko’s eternally-squabbling Hawk & Dove) within a universe of hard-slugging super vigilantes.

Dr. Thirteen bounced around various DC titles in the early-to-mid 70s. This is the series’ last bow in the back pages of The Phantom Stranger, and ironically its finest hour, alongside the penultimate entry, The Ghosts on the Glasses, which ran in Adventure Comics no. 428 (August, 1973.) In both cases, the inspired artwork is that of Filipino master Tony DeZuñiga (1932 – 2012), who was clearly in his element.

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A character likens the dead scientist’s ill-fated velocity experiments to comic book character The Flash… but it’s a cinch that what the impish* Mr. Skeates really had in mind was Virgil “Guy” Gilbert, aka Lightning, whose début, The Deadly Dust! he had scripted back in 1965 (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents no. 4, April 1966). Here’s a relevant excerpt, featuring art by Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia.

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In closing, a biographical blurb from DC’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, circa 2002: « A native and longtime resident of the Empire State, Steve Skeates began his work in comics as an assistant editor at Marvel Comics in 1965 – a job which he quickly abandoned in favor of writing comics as a full-time freelancer. Over the next twenty years he did work for nearly every major comics publisher, including DC, Marvel, Charlton, Tower, Warren, and Gold Key. Since leaving mainstream comics in the mid-1980s, he has worked as a reporter, bartender, and Zamboni operator, as well as publishing his own comics titles, which he continues to do from his home base in Fairport, New York. »

Happy birthday, Mr. Skeates, and thanks for everything!

-RG

*I mean to refer to Mr. Skeates’ undisputed status as King of the unofficial inter-company crossover. Naughty!

Jules Feiffer’s triumph

It’s Jules Feiffer’s birthday! Break out the bubbly (not the cheap stuff)!*

Born on January 26th, 1929, today he turns a respectable 89. He’s still releasing new books, so let’s wish him many more happy and productive years.

If a book with no pictures has no use (according to Lewis Carroll’s Alice), I figure a blog post with no pictures is equally devoid of purpose, so here’s a few fun Feiffer bagatelles.

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Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips” was supposed to collect everything in four handy volumes, but unfortunately so far there’s only been one (published in 2008) and no mention of others to come. Still, it’s well worth seeking out. Check out an excellent review of it here, tempting you to it with this pithy quote:

« Explainers is a ‘dipping book’. It’s not something to storm your way through but something to return to over and again. Feiffer’s thoughts and language, his observations and questions are fearsomely eternal. Best of all, Feiffer’s expressive drawing is a masterclass in style and economy all by itself. »

In his earlier years, Feiffer’s excitable, skittish pen was a little more subdued. Case in point: Clifford, Feiffer’s first published strip.

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Kewpies #1, spring 1949.

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Clifford first appeared in Kewpies #1 (spring 1949), published by Will Eisner, when Feiffer was but 20. In « Out of Line : the Art of Jules Feiffer » (2015), Martha Fay explains that Feiffer had the style of Walt Kelly’s Pogo in mind when he created Clifford.

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Robert Boyd writes: « From 1949 to 1951, Jules Feiffer drew Clifford, which appeared in Will Eisner’s The Spirit Section, an eight-page comic book insert syndicated to newspapers. » This particular strip first saw print in the January 14, 1951 section.
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Feiffer’s lively cover to his 1961 strip collection Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl (Random House)

Nowadays, Feiffer is writing and illustrating children’s books. In an interview with Gary Groth, he explained that « They represent the gentler, sweeter world that, as we grow older, we go about corrupting first chance we get. No, that’s too cynical. Second and third chance we get. » They may be intended for children, but they are, for the most part, every bit as clever and multi-layered as the Feiffer-for-adults.

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1995, Harper Collins.

What kind of plot would a Feiffer-book-for-children have, you ask?

« Prince Roger sets out eagerly on a quest and finds a few adventures, a lot of friends, a damsel or two in distress (not!) and himself, in the end. A ‘carrier of joy’ whose mere presence causes everyone to laugh uncontrollably, Roger finds cruelty and kindness equally amusing, and expects his quest to be a lark. It’s anything but: As Roger passes through the Forever Forest, nearly starves at the Dastardly Divide, sees people at their worst in the Valley of Vengeance, and temporarily despairs in the Mountains of Malice, he sobers up, learns to care for others, becomes an expert peacemaker, does Good Deeds, and falls in love with Lady Sadie, who says what she thinks as she repeatedly saves his bacon. »

Read an excellent (though 10 year-old) article from New York Times about Feiffer here.

~ ds / RG

*A triumphant return to the home town
Treated with love and respect
A special school assembly
Before they would have broken my neck
My favourite colour
An E-type Jag
Roll out the red carpet
A glass of champagne – Not the cheap stuff!

(Black Box Recorder, « Being Number One »)

Buon compleanno, Gianni De Luca!

« Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. »

On the ninety-first anniversary of his birth, we take the opportunity to salute fumetti gran maestro Gianni De Luca (b. January 25, 1927; d. June 6, 1991)… and to share some of the striking images he crafted. In comics, the term « innovative » has been applied far too liberally, all too often in ignorance. In the case of of Mr. De Luca, no hyperbole is involved, I assure you.

I first came upon his work in the mid-70s, through my parent-sponsored subscription to the québécois catholic youth magazine Vidéo-Presse (1971-1995), which was kind of didactic, I suppose, but still quite fun. The publisher had licensed much of its comics content from Italy, and it was definitely high-toned stuff, such as adaptations of Jules Verne novels. I recall « L’Île mystérieuse » being among them. Accustomed as I was to the madcap and hyperkinetic tone of the dominant Franco-Belgian and American schools, the Verne stuff, while clearly well-executed, seemed a bit languid and wan.

However, this feature was followed by, as fate would have it, the bane of any schoolboy*, Shakespeare adaptations. But wait… these were MIND-BLOWING. Decades later, I became fast friends with another cartoonist roughly my age, and he’d had the very same epiphany with De Luca’s Hamlet. Other than that, I’ve never really met anyone familiar with the work. Even locating a copy was a bit of an ordeal, but I managed to snag, a few years ago, a handsome volume gathering Hamlet and La tempête (The Tempest), published by Les Humanoïdes Associés in 1980.

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Hamlet, page eighteen. Adaptation by Barbara Graille and lettering by Roberto Roquemartine. Colours presumably by De Luca himself, as the credits are mute on that point.
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Hamlet, page twenty-three.
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La tempête, page five.
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La tempête, page twelve.

I don’t believe there’s any De Luca out there in the English language… save for one happy exception: UK publisher Running PressThe Mammoth Book of Crime Comics, discerningly edited by critic Paul Gravett**, contains « Strada », a superior entry in writer Gian Luigi Gonano and De Luca’s ‘Il Commissario Spada‘ series (1970-1982). « The series was groundbreaking in many ways, since it introduced subjects like violence, organized crime, satanic sects, terrorists and murderers to the pages of a Catholic magazine for young readers, that was at the time mainly distributed in parishes. »

*To be fair, we never studied Shakespeare in school.

**Speaking of Mr. Gravett, he happened to write an illuminating essay on De Luca’s Hamlet: http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/article/gianni_de_luca_hamlet

-RG

Tentacle Tuesday: your basic contemporary tentacle

Today’s Tentacle Tuesday veers away from more traditional tentacles and such, straying into more current territory where normal octopuses fear to tread. In a battle between a member of the Octopoda and a Lovecraftian horror, the latter would indubitably win…

Exhibit no. 1: a painting by Julián Totino Tedesco that uses the classic combination of sexy and frightening. It was used as the cover of Creepy no. 21 (Dark Horse Comics, August, 2015)…

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And here’s the actual cover:

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I think adding « NEXT STOP: TERROR » was a tad unnecessary, not to mention cheesy. Isn’t a girl with a tentacle coming out of her face terrifying enough? Dark Horse pompously describes this issue as « featuring spooky sequential storytelling from graphic greats », promising we’ll be « sweating with sickening satisfaction », proving that there *is* such a thing as too much alliteration.

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Next up is a charming bibliophile, who looks mournful rather than scary.

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« Stop interrupting while I’m trying to write! » Providence no. 11 (December 2016). Century Variant art by Raulo Caceres, a Spanish comic artist.

No-one will be surprised to find out that Providence (12 issues published from 2015 to 2017), written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Jacen Burrows, is meant to be considered as belonging to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. In his 2013 interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Moore had pointed out that Providence required a staggering amount of research on his part, and that he had been « living and breathing » Lovecraft while writing it. The following exchange illustrates this research-focused approach:

AM: I’m even trying to check out what the weather was like, which is difficult to establish other than in broad generalities, but I can at least sort out what the sky looked like, and what the phases of the moon were – which is something that Lovecraft used to take pains to do, so I feel that I should as well.

PÓM: Find out if the moon was gibbous, or something like that?

AM: Yes, that was it, he used to – yeah, gibbous, the gibbous moon, which is nearly, what, three-quarters full, waxing or waning?

PÓM: Yeah, three-quarters full. It’s a wonderfully Lovecraftian word.

AM: In one of his stories he changed all the dates in it because he found out that a gibbous moon hadn’t happened on the day that he said it had. He said, ‘this is a lesson for all aspiring writers of fiction.’ And I’ve taken that to heart.

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Finally, we have another Dark Horse entry:

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Hellboy: Seed of Destruction no. 2 (1994).

The sketch for the cover (1993):

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Now we know what’s behind the hand-and-sword symbol!

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy mini-series (4 issues, March-June 1994), was plotted/illustrated by Mike Mignola and scripted by John Byrne. (It was also the basis for 2004’s Hellboy movie, which you can safely ignore, IMHO.) You can read the whole thing here. The individual issues were collected in a paperback in 1994, which also contains a couple of bonus stories from various sources.

The insides have sufficient tentacles to please even the pickiest, most tentacle-crazed reader:

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~ ds

 

Happy Birthday, by Crom!

« Whatever got Juan is coming for me, too! »

It’s birthday number one hundred and twelve for pulp wordsmith Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) who, in his tragically short lifespan, yet found time to unleash upon the world Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, Kull of Atlantis and, more significantly for this reader, the chilling classic Pigeons From Hell, a short story posthumously published in Weird Tales’ May, 1938 issue.

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Howard’s The Horror From the Mound, originally published in the May, 1932 issue of Weird Tales Magazine, presumably had its title sanitized here because the H-word was still verboten in the early 1970s. Hailing from the second issue of Marvel’s Chamber of Chills (January, 1973), it was reprinted in glorious black and white in 1975’s Masters of Terror no. 1 (original title restored, hurrah!)

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And here it be. Seems a bit inaccurate to refer to a group of mostly pulp writers (some long dead) from the 30s to 50s as “Modern-Day Masters of Terror”, but I suppose it depends on one’s definition of “Modern-Day”. Cover illustration by Gray Morrow from a drawing by noted fabulist, fervent Trump supporter and fellow Hair Club for Men habitué Jim Steranko.

Gardner Fox and Brunner give it their all, but the story could have used more pages to truly do justice to Howard’s moody proto-weird western.

Read the full adaptation here:
http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.ca/2009/02/monster-from-mound.html

Better yet, read Howard’s tale:
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601761h.html

And Pigeons From Hell, while you’re at it:
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600721h.html

-RG

Treasured stories: “Abide With Me” (1975)

« She stared at Douglas… at this man she had judged to be an ideal mate… yet he had this very fatal flaw. »

Even to the occasional reader of mystery or ghost comic books from the late 60s to early 80s, the absurdly narrow range of plot variations must have been glaringly obvious. Same goes for any genre, of course…

For instance, at DC, mainstays Jack Oleck and Carl Wessler drove the same hoary scenarios into the old sod with numbing insistence (editor Joe Orlando‘s insistence, presumably): the greedy nephew murdering his rich, elderly uncle, the avaricious white explorer / big game hunter / mercenary purloining the sacred idol and incurring its terrible vengeance, the bank robber on the lam getting his ironic comeuppance, satanists vs werewolves vs vampires vs witches and so on… Still, the occasional inspired yarn did crop up, often to the outraged bafflement of readers.

On the other hand, Charlton was the field’s top producer of ghost stories, wisely keeping away from Marvel and DC’s spandex preserve. While one hears (correctly) about artistic laisser-faire attracting maverick stylists, Charlton’s ace in the hole, and the backbone of its comics line, was the remarkably prolific and versatile writer Joe Gill (1919-2006). Unlike his counterparts at DC, Warren, and most famously EC Comics before them, Gill rarely resorted to the O. Henry “twist” ending. An overplayed strength becomes a weakness, and so the “sting in the tail” soon was anything but. Having to write most of Charlton’s line, Gill could afford to experiment and improvise. Fact is, he pretty much had to. In my view, Gill’s work stands out from most of his peers’ in that it seems nourished by high and extensive erudition. When a Gill character discusses business deals or the combustion engine, it’s not just hot air and a family-size tub of Fluff.

Here’s a favourite of mine, a tale scripted by Gill and illustrated by Sururi Gümen (1920-2000). It appeared in Ghost Manor #23 (May, 1975). The nearest it skirts a ghost story is when Regina says « I… I’ve heard that people who die unhappily haunt the place where they die! »

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I love how Abide With Me carves out its own niche between romance and horror without calling upon any of these genres’ habitual devices. It’s like a well-played game of chess, a philosophic two-character play, a gravesite deliberation. Hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

– RG

Tentacle Tuesday: Swashbuckler vs Octopus

For as long as there have been tentacles, there have also existed brave men to combat them (preferably whilst garbed in tight costumes).

Heroes have battled poor, innocent octopuses in water…

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« The mantled crime-battler makes a desperate lunge… a razor-keen blade knifes into rubbery flesh! » Prize Comics no. 43, July 1944. The cover is by Dan Zolnerowich, illustrating a scene from « Wanted – Dead Or Alive ». Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein also puts up an appearance in this issue, this time fighting – pardon, smashing – the Nazis.

The aforementioned scene doesn’t look anything like it does on the cover, involving a much bigger tank, an orange octopus, and a quite underwhelming fight scene (my main emotion was sympathy towards the octopus for getting stabbed by some idiot in a mask with ears).

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Nobody was asking you to get into the tank, bubba. Observe the octopus knitting its tentacles together in distress (we knit our brows; octopuses knit their tentacles).

Octopuses have also been defeated by valiant warriors in space…

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« Earth to Starlab – why don’t you answer? » «Well, sir, we were grabbed by this giant space-octopus and he just won’t let go…» Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery no. 56, 1974 (This one is a Whitman variant.) This painted cover is most likely the work of the prolific George Wilson.

And intrepid daredevils have also gone tentacle a’manglin’ in… say, what is that gooey stuff, anyway?

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Is that green thing attacking our hapless hero a malevolent butterfly, a hostile starfish, a vindictive serpent? Only one thing is certain: it has tentacles! (Also, here’s the form-revealing, tight clothing I was pining for earlier.) House of Mystery no. 301 (February, 1982); cover by Joe Kubert illustrating The Scoop.

The Scoop (script by Bruce Jones, art by Tom Yeates) has an intriguing premise (I won’t spoil it – read it for yourself). Here’s the original art of its first page:

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Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got some pretty cute tentacled creatures saved up for next week’s installment. À bientôt!

~ ds

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Don’t Slide on Your Hide!

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This is Pep no. 168 (Jan. 1964, Archie.)

This splendid Bob White cover brings to mind science-fiction satirist Douglas Adams‘ prescription for achieving flight: « … all one must do is simply miss the ground. »

Judging from the distribution of stars, it would appear that Archie’s left cheek took more of a hit.

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Betty gets her turn: This pin-up theme was sugge(s)ted to Dan DeCarlo by his son, Dan Jr., who grew up assisting his father on Betty and Veronica stories and later (early 80s) became one of the feature’s main artists. Originally published in Archie Giant Series no. 10 (Archie’s Christmas Stocking, 1961.)

-RG

Steig Swoops In: The ‘Epic in Jazz’ Cat Sextet

« The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats » – Albert Schweitzer

In the mid-50s, New Yorker cartoonist (and children’s book author, sculptor and Orgone Box owner) William Steig (1907-2003) was called upon to throw together some illustrations for Epic Records’ “Epic in Jazz” LP series, which featured classic 30s recordings from the likes of Johnny Hodges, Chu Berry, Count Basie, Barney Bigard and Cootie Williams. One might safely opine that the good Mr. Steig outdid himself. You be the judge.

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John Cornelius “Johnny” Hodges (1906 – 1970) was a saxophone giant of the big band era, and closely associated to Duke Ellington’s band. This 1955 compilation gathers some key recordings from the mid-to-late 30s, including Rent Party Blues, Skunk Hollow Blues and Dooji Wooji.
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Bobby Hackett (1915-1976) was a trumpet, cornet and guitar player who performed with Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller’s bands. Among my very favourite of his recordings are some he made in the 1950s with trombonist supreme Jack Teagarden. There was tremendous musical and personal camaraderie between these two.
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Trumpeter Roland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan (November 2, 1908 – June 2, 1942) had, according to Al Rose, the custom of carrying « several packages of chewing gum in his pocket, not because he was addicted to the vigorous mastication of chicle. He had an even more practical use for the stuff. He’d put three or four sticks of gum in his mouth as we approached a boîte with liquor in mind. Once inside, we’d sit at the bar and order our drinks. Then he’d excuse himself, promising to come back in a moment. He would walk purposefully off, to the men’s room I assumed incorrectly. Early on I discovered that what he was doing was finding the jukebox, putting a wad of Wrigley’s Doublemint through the coin slot, then pushing the slide in to assure the device’s inoperability for at least as long as we’d be there enjoying our drinks. He’d return to the bar secure and relaxed in the knowledge that our ears wouldn’t be assaulted by bad music. »
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The great Rex Stewart recalls Chu: « Chu Berry was a big bear of a man and, as a matter of fact, he resembled a great big teddy bear. He was always in good humor and never had an unkind word to say about anyone. His given name was Leon Berry, his home town was Wheeling, West Virginia, and he hove onto the Harlem scene with his tenor saxophone. While he lived, he loved the life of a musician, late to bed and even later to rise. His favorite hangouts were Tillie’s Chicken Shack on Lenox Avenue and the Victoria Cafe on Seventh Avenue, where they used to serve good barbecue. Later he’d frequent the Woodside Hotel along with the fellows with Count Basie’s band when they lived there. Chu loved to talk, drink and eat, and if he could do all three while playing he was in his particular seventh heaven. »
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« Probably no other band has brought such fame to sidemen as the Duke Ellington band », sagely states Shirley Hoskins Collins in the liner notes of this peerless LP showcasing four of the Duke’s finest acolytes: Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges.
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If I need to tell you who Count Basie and Lester Young are, you need to treat your ears to some fine vintage jazz, pronto.

These sets were reissued over the years, often with bland photo covers (oh, the infamy!), but Sony Japan has done right by the series a few years ago, reissuing it on cd while retaining the essence of its visual allure and, in most cases, adding four tracks of the same calibre and vintage to each disc.

Did I mention that Cab Calloway and Dizzy Gillespie are also in attendance? Sorry, it must have slipped my mind, what with all the excitement and bathtub gin.

« My neighbours listen to good music whether they like it or not. » – Unknown

– RG