Hallowe’en Countdown III, Day 24

« Somehow, this thing had caught the spark of life! And, anything that lives will fight to stay alive… even if it’s just a Rag-a Bone and a Hank of Hair! »

Ah, Brother Power, the Geek. A notorious flop for DC in 1968… or was it? At the time, it took several months for a book’s initial sales reports to make their way back to the publisher. Axing a title after two measly issues is quite a preemptive and premature strike against it. I suspect a case of toxic in-house politics. From the onset, editorial cold feet had the suits meddling with the project: the character of the animated rag doll was to be called The Freak, which was nixed in favour of the less druggy but more chicken-head-bite-y The Geek.

BrotherPowerGeek02A
This is Brother Power The Geek no. 2 (Nov.-Dec. 1968, DC); cover by Joe Simon, colours by DC’s peerless production manager Jack Adler, and logo presumably by Gaspar Saladino.
Superman211_p17A
I recall that this particular house ad seared itself into my brain at a very young age, but I had to wonder where exactly I’d first encountered it. As it turns out, it was in a random comic book that happened to land my way in childhood, namely Superman no. 211 (Nov. 1968), featuring You, Too, Can Be a Super-Artist!, written by Frank Robbins (I just found out!) and illustrated by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Ahem. Anyway, BPTG was the brainchild of Joe Simon, presumably expanding on his and partner Jack Kirby‘s far darker A Rag-A Bone and a Hank of Hair (Black Magic no. 13, i.e. vol. 2 No.7, June 1952), illustrated by Mort Meskin (likely inked by George Roussos).

BlackMagicRagsA
This is Black Magic no. 13, aka vol. 2 No.7 (June 1952, Prize); cover, of course, by Jack Kirby, with likely inks by Joe Simon. Read it here!

BrotherPowerA

This lovely panorama is from Brother Power The Geek no. 1 (Sept.-Oct. 1968, DC). Written, laid out and inked by Joe Simon, finished pencils by Al Bare.

Say, have I seen Brother Power’s fellow detainees somewhere? Why, yes, of course! It’s Tentacle Master Wally Wood‘s Dorothy, Stanley and Doris, introduced to the world by ToppsUgly Stickers back in 1965! Designed by Wood, they were painted by the masterful Norman Saunders.

WoodUgly44DorothyA

Ugly43A

Ugly36A

Brother Power the Geek, despite its commercial failure and infamy, offered a good-natured, unpretentious romp, even if didn’t quite show us « The Real-Life Scene of the Dangers of Hippie-Land! » You can’t always get what you want.

Brother Power was brought back under DC’s Vertigo imprint in 1993, but as with the revival of its fellow Joe Simon creation, Prez, it received a « groovy » and « ironic » hipster treatment. Bah.

– RG

Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 12

« Within the hour, Roger Parris’ eyes had been removed from his still warm corpse! »

Some specimens of walking corpse are kind enough to just snap your neck or rip out your throat, but not old Roger Parris… he was, and remains, a spiteful coot.

BlackMagic28A
This is Black Magic vol. 4 no. 4 (#28, Jan.-Feb. 1954, Prize), illustrating “An Eye for an Eye”. Pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon and/or Kirby.

 

EyeforEyeKirby
The story’s opening panel. For my money’s S&K’s Black Magic offered the scariest ride in 50s horror… often with unlikely, seemingly innocuous topics, and without showing much in the way of gore or gratuitous imagery. They took the Val Lewton high road, if you will.
DropOfWater
I’m reminded of another old dear who was inordinately attached to her earthly possessions (in her case, a ring) even after kicking the bucket. Well… not quite, it turned out. From Mario Bava‘s 1963 omnibus film, “I tre volti della paura” (aka “Les trois visages de la peur”, or “Black Sabbath”)’s most spine-tingling segment, “La goccia d’acqua” (“The drop of water”).

– RG