Hallowe’en Countdown III, Day 30

« If it wasn’t for baseball, I’d be in either the penitentiary or the cemetery. » — Babe Ruth

Since the (so-called) World Series is still going on, this seems all the more appropriate.

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It was with this piece that I first began to grasp just how gifted and versatile Filipino giant Alfredo P. Alcala (1925-2000) was. He’s inarguably a grandmaster of eerie moods, but hardly bereft of a fun side. This brief piece, a dream collaboration between Sheldon Mayer and Alcala, was published in Plop! no. 1 (Sept-Oct 1973, DC). And what an issue that was, gathering such talents as Basil Wolverton, Sergio Aragonés, Mayer and Alcala, Frank Robbins, George Evans, John Albano, Stephen Skeates and Berni Wrightson… yikes! (read it here!)

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As a bonus, here’s the *back* cover of Plop! no. 1, featuring Wolverton’s cover boy “Arms” Armstrong. Which provides me with the opportunity to inform you that this very week has seen the long-delayed publication of Greg Sadowsky’s Brain Bats of Venus: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton Vol. 2 (1942–1952), his definitive biography of that singular and fascinating man. Read all about it here!

– RG

Tentacle Tuesday: Cute Critters

Sometimes I stumble upon a comic with a fight-to-the-death scene in which something-or-other- with-tentacles plays the role of a lethal enemy for our hero – but upon closer inspection, in turns out that the ferocious creature is… gosh-darned cute. I mean, how can you kill anything that has adorable whiskers, or tufted eyebrows like Oscar the Grouch?

When your attackers are carrots with tentacles, and they really get on your nerves (although I think Ann is safer with them than with Dr. Maylor), I’d suggest throwing them into a nice big pot of soup, maybe… but if you please, do consider abstaining from flinging acid at them.

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I do believe that prehensile vegetables fit into the category of “cute” – just look at their precious little root-legs! Page from Heroes Out of Time!, scripted by Manly Wade Wellman (hey, cool!), with some very stylish art by Bob Oksner on pencils and Bernard Sachs on inks, printed in Mystery in Space no. 3 (August-September 1951).

While we’re on that topic: things get delightfully wacky and madcap (not much) later in the story. Namely, Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin are summoned for help against the tentacled carrot-horde.

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The Flaming Carrot would not be pleased by this massacre. If only to admire the art, you can read Heroes Out of Time! here.

Thank you kindly for suppressing your urge to sock the creature sporting a unibrow and bloodshot eyes worthy of Christopher Lee; it’s also not his fault he got lumbered with such a shaggy wig.

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Detail from the cover of The Marvel Family no. 80 (February 1953), pencils by C. C. Beck and inks by Pete Costanza.

Have the goodness to think twice before pitching lethal ice cubes at an owl, even if it somehow grows metal tentacles and threatens to make mince-meat of humanity, because owls are the very cutest.

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Panels from The Man-Ape Skin Diver!, scripted by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Howard Sherman, published in Action Comics no. 257 (October 1959).
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“Wiggle-thing”? Excuse me?

Pray, don’t kill anything that looks like it’s wearing a dragon wearing a really bad disguise, including a moustache that looks like a pile of hay.

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A panel from Fate is the Killer (a preview of a Masters of the Universe story), scripted by Paul Kupperberg, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Dave Hunt, published as a promotional bonus in several DC titles cover-dated November, 1982.

If you would be so good as to spare the creature that looks like a mashup of a seal and a mole, especially if it gazes at you mournfully with world-weary sadness.

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Masters of the Universe: The Vengeance of Skeletor! (1982), cover by Alfredo Alcala.

~ ds

Treasured Stories: “The Price” (1974)

« Apparently he had never learned that a white man’s foot, though it wabble ever so, is given him wherewith to kick natives out of the road. » — John Russell

Welcome to another installment of Treasured Stories! This one’s a bit of a sequel, or rather a companion piece to an earlier entry, August Heat (from just about a year ago) as we’re featuring two of the same creators, namely scripter E. Nelson Bridwell (1931-1987) and penciller-inker Alfredo Alcala (1925-2000).

In this instance, we can surely witness judicious editorial sense at work, in terms of matching material to talent. While Bridwell likely selected the story, and though they’d worked together before, Alcala was a flawless choice to bring it to full visual bloom. A tale of the Pacific Islands illustrated by a Pacific Islander, and a masterful one at that… on both counts. Alcala’s expertly-paced, limpid, deliberate storytelling is a natural fit.

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It’s easy to underestimate how daunting a challenge, in most cases, is the effective transition of material from medium to medium. In this instance, the source is a much-anthologized short story by John Russell, originally published in Collier’s, May 20, 1916. You can judge for yourself after reading the original text here.

Russell’s stories sharply veer from the usual civilisation vs savages colonialist tripe of the era in that the natives are depicted as oft-complex but subtle beings and the whites, as often as not, as pompously delusional savages; one sees the pattern emerge upon reading a few of Russell’s South Pacific tales (collected in Where the Pavement Ends, 1921); in my own case, I found a trio of these in Dennis Wheatley‘s excellent anthology Shafts of Fear (1964), an update and expansion of his earlier A Century of Horror (1935).

Still, I strongly suspect that Bridwell’s exposure to The Price of the Head came not from books, but rather from a radio play, as all three of his DC short story adaptations (TPOTH, August Heat and The Man and the Snake had received that particular treatment. To his credit, Bridwell went back to the source for his version.

The Price of the Head was adapted several times for radio:
Listen to The Man in Black version (February 2, 1952)
Listen to Escape (version 2) from August 7, 1954

You’ll note that the racism so refreshingly absent from Russell’s story has been painstakingly restored for the radio programmes. Now that’s dedication!

Quite recently, I was delighted to hear that Mr. Bridwell has not entirely been forgotten; indeed, he is to be bestowed, though posthumously of course, the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing on Friday, July 19 2019, during the Eisner Awards ceremony at this summer’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA. Bravo!

Read all about it on Mark Evanier’s fine blog. And thank you, Mark!

-RG

Treasured Stories: “August Heat” (1973)

« Neither of us had seen a ghost, but I knew what he meant. »

I had planned to feature quite another tale this week, but seeing as we are in the torrid grip of quite the heat wave, I opted in the end for something more topical I’d been saving on the back burner.

Edward Nelson Bridwell (1931–1987) is one of those scarcely-noticed but greatly accomplished figures of American comics. At DC from the mid-1960s to the end of his life, he edited, wrote, packaged and compiled his heart out. Most impressive, in my view, were his erudition and discerning eye for a fine short story.

There’s always a blessed but mostly-powerless minority of comics creators that endeavours to improve the unwashed readership’s minds… nearly never at Marvel, most often at DC. In the mid-1970s, while working as Joe Orlando‘s editorial assistant, Bridwell adapted three excellent, but highly unconventional vintage spooky tales, as far afield as imaginable from the usual EC-by-homeopathy fare his boss favoured. These were William Fryer Harvey‘s August Heat (Secrets of Sinister House no. 12, July 1973), Ambrose Bierce‘s The Man and the Snake (Secrets of Sinister House 14, October 1973) and John Russell’s The Price of the Head (Weird Mystery Tales no. 14, Oct.-Nov. 1974); all three were splendidly brought to visual glory by WOT favourite Alfredo Alcala (1925-2000). All three are moody slow burners, with much introspection and little action.

On this scorching day (currently a sticky 35°F /95°F in Montréal, Canada) you’ll forgive me for not waiting until August to share this dark beauty with you.

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August Heat was the issue’s cover feature. Illustration by Luis Dominquez.

As evidence of Mr. Bridwell’s skill as an adapter, feel free to read the full (yet quite brief) text of August Heat. Or listen to one its several fine radio adaptations, the choice is yours:

The 1945 version on Suspense, starring Ronald Colman (presented by the Roma Wine Company of Fresno, California). Suspense’s 1948 remake or the 1956 Sleep No More adaptation, recited by Nelson Olmsted.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, here’s a peek at the picturesque English resort of Clacton-on-Sea:

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– RG

Tentacle Tuesday: plants sometimes have tentacles, too

The topic of today’s Tentacle Tuesday is based on a plant-based mishap. I was walking along an alley, minding my own business, when some sort of climbing plant with especially long and vicious tentacle-vines, swinging from from a nearby fence,  grabbed my arm. The result were scratches that felt like burns.*

So today’s gruesome offerings are mostly cousins of the Venus Flytrap, if the latter had tentacles to assist its quest for prey. (Let’s breathe a sigh of relief that it doesn’t.)

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Midnight Tales no. 6 (November 1973), cover by Wayne Howard. I am a big fan of Midnight Tales and its blend of humour and adventure. Note the “created by Wayne Howard” announcement on the cover, which wasn’t exactly typical for its time – comic book companies didn’t use to acknowledge the creators of their “content” so openly and insistently.

Midnight Tales often offer moments of “wait, how did that get through the Comics Code?” Arachne (Professor Coffin’s undeniably attractive niece) is frequently more sexually provocative than one would expect from a kid-appropriate comic, crimes committed are nastier than surmised, and the plots go from morbid to surreal… with some comedy thrown in. Oh, sure, there’s some terrible clunkers, as every issue has three or four stories linked by a common theme and illustrated by different artists, but overall the quality remains high throughout its 18-issue run.

I’ve seen people online saying that Howard shamelessly plagiarized Wally Wood’s style – perhaps people more erudite than I see that, but I don’t. “Influenced” is one thing – but one can build on those beginnings to create a recognizable style of one’s own, right? Those who like Wayne Howard frequently classify him as a “guilty pleasure”, and proceed to insult his art while they’re explaining why they like it. To quote, for instance, from Atomic Avenue, who follow the unspoken rule – just mentioning Charlton Comics warrants a condescending tone, and any acknowledgement of their quality has to be tempered by mockery. 

Creator Wayne Howard blatantly imitated the style of comic art great Wally Wood right down to his gothic signature, but at least he aimed high in his plagiarism. Consequently, Midnight Tales had the look of a seedy, off-register knock-off of an EC horror comic—putting it at the top of Charlton’s quality spectrum.

Another opinion from Cap’n’s Comics:

In my world of geek’n out over all this great art, Wayne Howard is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. He loves to draw like Wally Wood, but he’s no Wally Wood. His females usually look like Wally’s women after a really bad day, and his males are just plain fugly. His Wood machinery is close to the background machinery behind the awesome machinery, and everything shouts fan art VS pro art, but… Luvittopieces

Ah, well. I won’t be apologetic about liking Howard’s art, and Midnight Tales will be proudly presented as a favourite series on a need-to-know basis. Fortunately, there’s some nice articles about him, too – a sort of obituary for a great African-American artist who died at only 58.

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Another Flytrap for your enjoyment, in this tale of brotherly rivalry:

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“Harvest of Hate” was scripted by Jack Oleck and drawn by Alfredo Alcala (speaking of whom, I still can’t get over how beautiful his signature is.) Page scanned from House of Mystery no. 251 (March-April 1977).
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Don’t worry, the “gardener” who fed his brother to this man-devouring monstrosity gets his comeuppance, all right.

The cover of this issue of House of Mystery is also a good exhibit of plant tentacles, even if the children are a superfluous addition:

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House of Mystery no. 251 (March-April 1977), cover by Neal Adams.

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Here’s something more recent – published on some almost-thirty years ago, instead of forty – the tentacular adventures of Doctor Gorpon! I hope these guys count as plants (even if they’re slightly more mobile) – they’re the right shade of green!

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Doctor Gorpon no. 2 (July 1991) by Marc Hansen. The little guy in the right bottom corner is extra-cute – if only all children looked at their parents with the same sense of admiration and awe! It’s “Ooze Me, Baby!”

I only finished reading this three-issue series today, and I must say, it was an exciting ride. Highly recommended (if you can find it, that is).

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A panel from the aptly-titled “Big Eyeballs!”, published in Doctor Gorpon no. 3 (August 1991).
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A page from “Big Eyeballs!”, published in Doctor Gorpon #3 (August 1991).

~ ds

*
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Tentacle Tuesday: the Filipino cavalry

Today’s Tentacle Tuesday honours Filipino artists who laboured in the comics industry in the 70s. To quote from Power of Comics: Filipino Artists (read the essay here),

« The Filipino talent began to arrive in 1970, when immigrant Tony DeZuñiga began to work for National Comics. DeZuñiga began with assignments on various romance, horror, western, and war anthologies—a combination that many Filipino artists coming after him would also follow—but he made a lasting mark when he co-created Western anti-hero Jonah Hex in All-Star Western #10 (1972). By then, DeZuñiga had convinced then National Comics publisher Carmine Infantino that other talented artists were awaiting discovery back in his nation of origin. With a stable of graying veterans working for him, Infantino was faced with a paucity of new talent in the early 1970s and had trouble finding gifted artists who could work for what the going page rate in American comics would pay at the time. DeZuñiga accompanied Infantino on a recruiting trip to the Philippines in 1971.

As noted, first among the Filipino artists to make a move were Redondo and Alcala. Among his works, Redondo turned in a memorable run on Swamp Thing, and the prolific Alcala picked up a considerable fan following for his work on series like Batman and Arak. Other Filipinos followed. Alex Niño brought a distinct style to Warren Publishing’s 1984 and 1994 series. Ernie Chan’s talent for composition led to his becoming National’s principal cover artist between 1975 and 1977. Gerry Talaoc enjoyed an extended run on The Unknown Soldier. »

Without further ado, let’s have a look at some of the tentacles the artists mentioned above have dreamed up. In no particular order…

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I like the styles of all the artists mentioned in this post, but a couple of these names will make me do a little dance of joy when I encounter their art. Alfredo Alcala (b. 1925, d. 2000) is a definite favourite. He could draw anything he wanted, convincingly… at an amazing speed, and with the sort of detail that other artists would kill for.

Alcala drew for all genres in the early portion of his career, and developed the speed and work ethic for which he later become known amongst his fellow professionals. His fastest page rate was 12 pages in a nine-hour sitting, while in one 96-hour marathon he produced 18 pages, three wrap-around covers and several color guides. During the portion of his career where he worked solely for Filipino publishers, Alcala worked without assistants and did his own inking and lettering. “I somehow always felt that the minute you let someone else have a hand in your work, no matter what, it’s not you anymore. It’s like riding a bicycle built for two…” (source)

Here’s a gorgeous sequence from « The Night of the Nebish! », scripted by Arnold Drake and illustrated by Alfredo Alcala, published in House of Secrets #107 (April 1973).

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Ruben Yandoc (also known as Rubeny, 1927-1992) isn’t nearly as well-known as Alcala, yet he has a beautiful, half-decorative, half-sketchy style. He excelled at horror stories (published in DC’s Witching Hour, House of Mystery, Ghosts, House of Secrets..), and was a master at creating mood. His perfect grasp of architecture and anatomy enabled him to draw believable characters in incredible settings – none of this “figures floating about aimlessly” shit that you sometimes get from artists who can’t imbue their objects and subjects with mass. When Stefan gets grabbed by tentacles, you can feel their weight on his torso and feel the heat and painful brightness of the torch he’s holding, dammit!

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« The Monster of Death Island », plotted by Maxene Fabe and illustrated by Ruben Yandoc. Published in Secrets of Sinister House no. 11 (April 1973).

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Alex Niño’s art doesn’t give me butterflies. His stuff is quite weird, sometimes far too detailed, but his talent is nevertheless undeniable. For a good appreciation of his style (and more examples of it), go to this entry from Wizard’s Keep. As for me, I’ll limit myself to this humble, one-panel mass of tentacles, eyes, teeth, spikes, and god knows what else.

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“Something on me”, indeed! A panel from « Evil Power », plotted by Jack Oleck and illustrated by Alex Niño from Weird Mystery Tales no. 9 (December 1973-January 1974). Niño was born in 1940, which makes him 78. He’s officially retired, but still holds art classes and takes commissions, as well as making the occasional appearance at conventions.

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Redondo’s “memorable run on Swamp Thing” was mentioned at the beginning of this post. Well, we’ve already featured the tentacled robot who tries to finish Alec Holland off here, but rest assured – there’s more tentacles than just that in the career of Nestor Purugganan Redondo (1928-1995)! For example, this:

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Original art for “Monsters From a Thousand Fathoms”, published in The Unexpected no. 185 (May-June 1978). You’ll note the art is attributed to the “Redondo Studio”; Nestor and his brother, Frank, often collaborated under that name.

By the way, he’s most assuredly another favourite in this household. His women are believably sexy, his monsters inventive and scary, his animals pitch-perfect… His style is realistic but lush, his nature almost prettier than in real life. And I like him much, much better than Bernie Wrightson, as far as Swamp Thing is concerned 😉

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A perfect fit for any Tentacle Tuesday, here’s the requisite damsel-in-distress-with-tentacles:

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Wench & Co. Book 1, a collection of drawings – of mostly naked women, what else? – by Ernesto Chan (1940-2012), born and sometimes credited as Ernie Chua. Published by Big Wow, 2005. Sadly, we will never get a Book 2.

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We shouldn’t forget Tony DeZuñiga (1932-2012), who after all started all this. Among other accomplishments, he co-created Jonah Hex and Black Orchid, two pretty damn cool characters.

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Page from “Home is the Sailor”, plotted by Len Wein and illustrated by Tony DeZuñiga, published in The Phantom Stranger no. 18 (March-April 1972).

I hope you enjoyed this (non-exhaustive) romp through Filipino-American tentacles! As historian Chris Knowles (1999) has noted about Filipino artists, « Here was a group of immensely talented and hard-working draftsmen who could draw absolutely anything and draw it well. They set a standard that the younger artists would have to live up to and that the older ones would have to compete with. » Amen to that!

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday, from goofily scary to scarily goofy

It’s that time of the week again!

Let’s start with something hair-raising. Well, not really – we’re a blasé audience, and it takes something special to truly scare us. Yet can you deny the foul-smelling, palpable sense of foreboding, the billowing and swirling nightmare that beckons from the elegant inks of this page?

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« She boiled up out of the sea that hellish night — a monstrous hideous creature, she was, with the craggy face of an evil eyed witch! » Giant-Size Chillers no. 1 (February 1975). The cover promises a « frightful, fearful first issue! » Does it deliver? Eh, not really. Here’s a page of the best story in it, The Gravesend Gorgon, scripted by Carl Wessler and pencilled + inked by Alfredo Alcala.

Gravesend is an ancient town in northwest Kent, England; as for the gorgon part, it’s not entirely accurate, but it’s clear that comic writers cannot resist an alliteration.

On a slightly more humorous front (unless one is directly involved with this green monstrosity, in which case the situation would quickly lose its humour), here’s a page that hails from Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such no. 4, (June 1995). The story features the half-worm, half-human albino Autumn Brothers, whom you can see here greeting the big worm-momma. Texas blues rockers Johnny and Edgar Winter attempted to sue, but the suit was dismissed after a judge begrudgingly ruled that « the First Amendment dictates that the right to parody, lampoon and make other expressive uses of the celebrity image must be given broad scope. » Thank you, Los Angeles court. Frankly, it seems that the brothers are more remembered for the lawsuit than their music.

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« Sure like to make big worm happy, whatever she want. Not care much for tentacle down throat. » Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such no. 4, June 1995. Scripted by Joe R. Lansdale,  pencils by Timothy Truman, inks by Sam Glanzman.

Jonah Woodson Hex, created by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga in 1971, curmudgeonly and disfigured but bound by a personal code of honour, is a favourite character of mine, although I only like the way he is written for DC’s Weird Western Tales. Well, with one exception, this one! I most tentacularily recommend Jonah Hex: Shadows West, a collection of the three Vertigo-published mini-series scripted by Lansdale and illustrated by Tim Truman and Sam Glanzman, containing the stories Two-Gun Mojo, Shadows West and Riders of The Worm and Such.

And to wrap this up, on an even goofier note, here’s Jughead getting into yet another weird situation, which is pretty standard for him.

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This page from The Eyes Have It comes from Jughead no. 77 (October 1961). Script by George Gladir, pencils by Samm Schwartz, inks by Marty Epp. Schwartz is absolutely the best Archie artist to draw tentacles; most everybody else would have made a mess of it.

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~ dsTentacleTuesdayIcon

 

Where everybody knows your name, like it or not.

« I’m usedta dealin’ with stiffs! I spotted the maggots crawlin’ outta yer mouth the minute you opened it! »

Just another Friday night happy hour at Ginger’s Joint, watering hole of Duke “Destroyer” Duck and his put-upon pal, the Little Guy.

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Written by Steve Gerber, pencilled by Jack Kirby, inked by Alfredo Alcala, coloured by Steve Leialoha, lettered by Tom Orzechowski. An eye-popping feast!

The local fauna is gathered in this splash from Destroyer Duck #1 (Eclipse, 1982). In case you didn’t know, “the book was published as a way to help [Steve] Gerber raise funds for a lawsuit he was embroiled in at the time, in which he was battling industry giant Marvel Comics over the ownership of the character Howard the Duckwhich Gerber created for the company in 1973.” It was an alarming account of the (not-fictional-enough) Godcorp conglomerate’s incalculable greed, its unchecked power, and how « It’s Got the Whole World… in Its Hand! », which, as true as it was then, is discouragingly even truer now.

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« You all right in there, Walt? … say, what happened to all my beer? »

– RG

Remembering Don Newton (1934-1984)

« Herbal tea. My own recipe.
It’s added years to my life.
May I offer you a cup? »

After producing some exceptionally solid fan art (chiefly for the long-lived Rocket’s Blast Comicollector (153 issues, 1961-1985), Arizona art teacher Don Newton made his jump into the pro leagues in 1974 with Charlton, where he got his chance to show off his considerable painting skills. After a handful of mystery stories, he took over Charlton’s version of Lee Falk and Ray Moore‘s The Phantom, which he drew for six issues (and one cover) before the title was cancelled… along with the rest of Charlton’s original comics line, really.

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Newton’s original cover painting for issue 68 (December, 1975, Charlton) of The Phantom, illustrating the tale of The Beasts of Madame Kahn by Nicola Cuti and Newton.
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Newton’s cover painting (in acrylics, if you must know) for the penultimate issue of The Phantom’s Charlton run, #73 (October, 1976), “The Torch”, written by Ben S. Parillo (alias Bill Pearson), pencilled and inked by Don Newton. The wizened mastermind is a fella who simply goes by the name of ‘Raven’.
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« How could a snake be alive here, buried deep in the earth for thousands of years? » Don Newton’s painting (Ghostly Tales no. 115, May, 1975) depicts a scene from Joe Gill and Steve Ditko’s “Wings of Death!”
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« Turn her loose, Pike… I want to road-test the new talent! » Mr. Newton illustrates the Unknown Scribe and Demetrio Sánchez Gómez‘s biker operetta “Running Wild!”, from Teen Confessions no. 89 (June, 1975, Charlton.)

Newton would go on to DC (and a couple of brief dalliances with Marvel), illustrating Batman, Captain Marvel (er, “Shazam!”), Aquaman, Star Hunters, and The New Gods for DC, before being, all too soon, felled by a heart attack at the age of 49. Most of the time, though, he provided great art to ho-hum stories.

Against all odds, around 1982, scripter Gerry Conway, a name synonymous with half-assed, content-free hackwork since the early ’70s, actually blossomed into a decent writer. Fortuitously, while assigned to pencil Batman’s adventures in Detective Comics, Newton was paired with prolific* Filipino legend Alfredo Alcala, and the stars were in proper alignment. You won’t have to take my word for it, however. Feast your eyes on the palpable ambiance from the Conway-Newton-Alcala trio.

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Picking up strands from Steve Englehart‘s  run on the book (nos. 469–476, in 1977-78), creepy-but-buff scientist Hugo Strange returns to pester his murderer, crooked politician Rupert Thorne. Colourist Adrienne Roy’s hand is betrayed by the 100% magenta/30% black mix.
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Well, I have to show Newton’s actual Batman, don’t I? His was one of the few characterizations that were physically believable. You could buy this guy as an acrobat, as a fighter *and* as detective. Alcala often overwhelms whomever he’s inking, but since Newton’s pencils were probably tight as a camel’s ass in a sand storm, both men’s contributions mesh splendidly with no loss of identity. Pages 2 and 7 from Detective no. 520 (Nov. 1982).

– RG

*How prolific was Alcala? « It is said that his fastest page rate was twelve pages in a nine-hour sitting. » And the scary thing is that it hardly ever looked rushed or less than committed, unlike the work of some other inkers we could name. What a guy.

Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 5

« Do not come to Transylvania unless
you are prepared for the gravest of terror! »

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Always one of DC’s underdog mystery titles, Weird Mystery Tales was actually more consistent than its sister titles. Its relative lack of success was perhaps due to its original host, Destiny, being a bit of a flat tire. He was replaced with Eve (you know, Cain, Abel…) with this issue.

Still, the entire run is worth seeking out, thanks to contributions from Jack Kirby (okay, leftovers, but delicious leftovers from the unpublished second issue of his Spirit World magazine), Sheldon Mayer, Robert Kanigher, Steve Skeates, Alfredo Alcala (his and E. Nelson Bridwell’s adaptation of John Russell’s The Price of the Head is my pick for the title’s finest moment; it appears in this issue), Frank Robbins, Ruben Nunag Yandoc, Michael Wm. Kaluta… hey, it’s an anthology: you *know* the list goes on and on.

This is Weird Mystery Tales no. 14 (October-November, 1974). Cover by Luis Dominguez. Mute terror… isn’t it more effective?

– RG