Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 21

« Listen, youse guys — we’ve had enough of dis horsin’ around! When do we grab the dough? » — a hood craves action, from Haunted Halloween! (Flash Comics no. 78)

Superheroes, back when they weren’t all wrapped up in their grimness and grittiness, took a bit of time to properly enjoy the holidays.

This is Flash Comics no. 78 (Dec. 1946, All-American Comics), featuring Haunted Halloween!, scripted by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Everett Edward Hibbard… plus four more stories for your dime. Edited by Sheldon Mayer, with a cover by Hibbard.
And here’s All-American Comics no. 61 (Oct. 1944, All-American Comics), featuring The Green Lantern (and Doiby Dickles!) squaring off against a gruesome new foe, Solomon Grundy, in a tale entitled Fighters Never Quit!, written by none other than Alfred Bester (later the author of The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination) and illustrated by Paul Reinman. Edited by Sheldon Mayer, with a Reinman cover.
And this is Comic Cavalcade no. 12 (Fall, 1945, All-American Comics), where we catch both The Flash and Wonder Woman about to indulge in some blackface. Edited, you guessed it, by Sheldon Mayer. Cover by E. E. Hibbard (The Flash), H.G. Peter (Wonder Woman) and Martin Naydel (Green Lantern).

-RG

Phew, That Was Close!

« Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back. » — Marcus Aurelius

The other day, I chanced upon a Rick Geary piece about tangos with the Angel of death, which returned my mind to a time, when I was but six years of age, and that my parents had gone holidaying, leaving me in the care of some old friends. At their home, I recall perusing some back issues of that evergreen Reader’s Digest (the French-Canadian edition, called Sélection du Reader’s Digest), wherein I encountered some memorable articles, including one about the miraculous survival of people who tumbled from great heights*, unencumbered with parachutes, and another that grimly recounted the calamitous landslide that one night engulfed a village, Saint-Jean-Vianney, just a few kilometres from my hometown.

Ah, but human memory is notoriously fallible and self-deceiving. So I deemed it prudent to inquire whether the events were truly as recollected. A quick call to my folks confirmed that yes, they did toddle off to Europe for three weeks in November of that year (I think my parents are delighted when I quiz them about such matters). The landslide took place in May, so that fits too.

As the close shave lends itself well to comics, I’ve gathered a potpourri of short pieces on the topic. Tighten your seatbelts, we’re in for a rough ride!

Salt01A

Salt02A
A presumably factual two-pager from New Heroic Comics no. 70 (Jan. 1952, Famous Funnies), featuring artwork by no less an eminence than the great Harry Peter (according to Ger Apeldoorn, which is good enough for me). The whole ‘salt of the earth’ thing rings pretty hokey, but one has to appreciate that this account of selfless heroism wasn’t whitewashed.

GearyNearDeath01AGearyNearDeath02AGearyNearDeath03A

GearyNearDeath04A
This post’s springboard, originally published in Dark Horse Presents no. 82 (Feb. 1994, Dark Horse). From Heavy Metal to National Lampoon, with High Times and The American Bystander in between,  I’ve yet to encounter a publication wherein Mr. Geary’s work failed to rise to the very top with its patented palette of fanciful perspective, sunny understatement and psychological verisimilitude. 

GirlFlewA
An airborne entry from Gordon Johnston‘s Ripley’s Believe It or Not-style syndicated strip ‘It Happened in Canada‘ (1967-81). However, the Wikipedia listing of historical tornadoes in Canada fails to turn up one such whirlwind in 1823. Perhaps it happened in Kansas instead.

Icebox01A

Icebox02A
Pesty baby brother saves the day! Another entry from New Heroic Comics no. 70 (Jan. 1952, Famous Funnies), artist unknown. Astoundingly, a little research (I wouldn’t want to pry further) indicates that a Donald P. Kiselyk, now 73, still resides in New Jersey. Doing the math, he would have been born in 1947, which fits perfectly). I wonder whether he recollects his hour of four-colour glory…

BuriedAliveA
Another It Happened in Canada entry. Looks legit, too, though it seems Johnston didn’t nail the spelling: the resilient gent’s moniker is Myllyla. According to Wikipedia, « At 9:57 in the morning, an avalanche of snow buried the Leduc Camp in British Columbia, killing 27 copper miners working for the Newmont Mining Corporation workers and destroying several buildings. Another 42 of the 68 people buried were rescued on the same day, while a carpenter, Einar Myllyla, was saved three days later from the ruins of a collapsed building. “To their everlasting credit”, author Jay Robert Nash would write later, “rescuers refused to abandon their search until every man in the camp had been accounted for. »

FarSideBrushA
Obviously, I couldn’t leave out this Gary Larson classic.

Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle, don’t tease the wild animals, wear your life jacket, look to both sides before crossing the road, and don’t forget to floss. Oh, and call your mother more often; she misses you.

-RG

*the fellow whose tale stayed with me was most likely Lt. I.M. Chisov, « … a Russian airman whose Ilyushin IL-4 bomber was attacked by German fighters in January of 1942. Falling nearly 22,000 feet, he hit the edge of a snow-covered ravine and rolled to the bottom. He was badly hurt but survived. »

Tentacle Tuesday: More Golden Age Wonder Woman Wonders!

I’m always happy to revisit Wonder Woman in her glorious young days of being depicted by H. G. Peter, whose expressive, dynamic art I just can’t get enough of. The stories are none too shabby, either! In my earlier post, Tentacle Tuesday: H.G. Peter and Wonder Woman lend a hand, I overlooked a few choice cuts. Well, having spent a few delightful hours going through WW stories originally published in Wonder Woman, Sensation Comics or Comic Cavalcade, it is my pleasure to remedy my previous oversight, and I can possibly even claim that these two posts are a pretty definitive list of Wonder Woman’s tentacular entanglements.

Do you have a few hours to waste – pardon – dedicate to research, too? Here you can read the entirety of DC’s Wonder Woman: Golden Age multiple-volume omnibus. Personally I think the graphic designers responsible overamped the contrast when they cleaned up the images, and much prefer reading these stories in their original colour… but nothing beats having all of this stuff on one website for convenience.

All stories are written by William Moulton Marston with art by Harry G. Peter.

Demon of the Depths, printed in Wonder Woman no. 7 (winter 1943):

WonderWoman7-1943-DemonoftheDepths

WonderWoman7-1943-DemonoftheDepths2

The Adventure of the Octopus Plant!, printed in Sensation Comics no.  41  (May 1945):

SenationComics41-The Adventure of the Octopus Plant!

SensationComics41-The Adventure of the Octopus Plant!-2

SensationComics41-The Adventure of the Octopus Plant!-3

SensationComics41-The-Adventure-of-the-Octopus-Plant!-5

This is not strictly tentacle-related, but I would also like to share a few choice panels that I’ve stumbled upon while looking for tentacles. Gorgeously weird, they remind us just how strange, inventive and subversive Wonder Woman was in her glory days of yore!

SenationComics5
Etta is my favourite character, and this is a great showcase for her sense of humour! Sensation Comics no. 5 (May 1942)

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This is apparently a standard Amazonian ceremony – the girls dress as deer, are hunted and captured, and then cooked and consumed. Wonder Woman no. 3 (February-March 1943)

WonderWoman6
I had to use at least one scene of bondage, right? I was mostly amused by the quip about French girls. Wonder Woman no. 6 (Fall 1943).

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Sensation Comics no.  41  (May 1945)

And voilà! But don’t fret, we will see Wonder Woman in the tender embrace of an octopus again… this time in the 60s, Robert Kanigher and all.

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Wonder Woman versus the Saboteurs, printed in Sensation Comics no. 5 (May 1942)

~ ds

How do you like *your* Christmas?

« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas makes me happy
I love Christmas cold and grey, I love it sweet and sappy
Says crazy kissin’ Cousin Flo:
‘Let’s break out the mistletoe’ »

FourColor201, 1948
The heart-warming cover of that Four Color no. 201, 1948. Art by Walt Kelly. Check out the adorable moon-jumpin’ cow in the top left corner!

Dell's Four Color #302
This is the back cover of Dell’s Four Color no. 302 (Santa Claus Funnies), 1950. Such warm colours. Art by Canadian Mel Crawford, who worked on various Dell publications in the 1950s (such as Howdy Doody, Mr. Magoo, and Four Color Comics) to later become an accomplished watercolours/acrylics painter.

« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas out the waz
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas up the schnozz
Come all ye faithful, don’t be slow
It’s Christmas time, you can’t say no »

Creepy68-Christmas
Creepy no. 68 (January 1975), cover by Ken Kelly. “House’ and “about” don’t rhyme, but it’s the season to forgive. I like how Santa appears to be bawling in frustration.

VaultofHorror35
Vault of Horror no. 35 (EC, 1954), cover by Johnny Craig. Maybe open the lid of the coffin first, dumbass?

« Momma wants a kitchen sink
And daddy wants a stiffer drink
Grandma wants us to cut the crap
Grandpa wants a nice long nap »

Richard-Thompson-Christmas
Illustration by Richard Thompson. Who else wants some Festive Dietetic Crackers? I’d definitely sit with the mouse.

« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas everywhere
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas pullin’ out my hair
Shoppers lined up out the door
Traffic backed up miles and more
It’s Christmas time, so what the heck
Let’s go spend the whole paycheck »

MargeBuell-LittleLulu-Christmas
A Little Lulu cartoon by Marge Buell (Saturday Evening Post, 1944).

HilaryBarta-FelizNavidada
From the pleasantly warped mind of Hilary Barta with a fond tip of the Santa hat to old Uncle Salvador, obviamente. Да да да!

« Deck the halls, it is the season
We don’t need no rhyme or reason
It’s Christmas time, go spread the cheer
Pretty soon gonna be next year »

SensationComics38
Sensation Comics no. 38 (1945), cover by H.G. Peter.

LittleOrphanAnnie-Christmas
Original art for a Christmas card of Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray. Just some 70 years ago, right?

Merry Christmas!

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: H.G. Peter and Wonder Woman lend a hand

« Give men an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to and they’ll be proud to become her willing slaves. » (William Moulton Marston, co-creator of Wonder Woman)

We might all happily to submit to Princess Diana of Themyscira, but *she* occasionally has to submit to tentacles, although of course she always manages to fend them off. Might this be a metaphor for unnecessarily grabby male hands? I’m not here to psychoanalyze (that was Marston’s job!), just to celebrate Tentacle Tuesday. Lots of versions of Wonder Woman have grappled with tentacles… but no adventures are more entertaining than the ones depicted by the formidable Harry Peter!

Without further ado, today’s roster of tentacles – whether they’re attached to a Neptunian fish or sprout out of a mad doctor’s ectoplasm.

WonderWoman15
Page from “The Tigeapes of Neptunia“, scripted by Joye Murchison (the first female writer of superhero comics) and drawn by Harry Peter, published in Wonder Woman no. 15 (Winter 1945). Read the issue here.

WonderWoman18-Ectoplasm
Page from “The Drugged WAC”, scripted by Joye Murchison and drawn by Harry Peter, published in Wonder Woman no. 18 (July-August 1946). Read the issue here.

The following panels are from from “Three Secret Wishes!“, written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Harry Peter. The story was published in Wonder Woman #81 (April 1956). The whole issue is fun, actually, largely thanks to the gorgeous art – read it here.

WonderWoman81

WonderWoman81-2

WonderWoman81-3

In the varied arsenal of Wonder Woman’s bondage instruments, tentacles are definitely to be reckoned with.

SensationComics22-WonderWoman-Octopus
Sensation Comics no. 22 (October 1943). Cover by Harry Peter.

~ ds

Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 10

« Ever been to a maniac party held in a haunted house? Well, if you don’t frighten easily, you’re welcome to attend Etta Candy’s — but be careful or you’ll lose your scalp! »

Here’s a real hallowe’en corker from the Golden Age of comics, featuring the ageless Wonder Woman, presented here by her original creative team… with a twist. While the story is credited to Charles Moulton (the nom de plume of William Moulton Marston), it was ghost-written by his former student and collaborator Joye Hummel (1924-), the first woman to write Wonder Woman’s adventures. She is frequently credited for being the first woman to script superhero comics, but nope, that’s at least three years after Tarpe Mills gave the world her Miss Fury.

Sensation57A
This is Sensation Comics no. 57 (DC, September, 1946). Art by the sensational Harry G. Peter.

ManiacParty
Now you know what a Maniac Party is. The haunted house and the creepy cemetary (sic) are optional, but they sure do help set the properly demented mood.

Unfortunately, Joye appears to have been left out of the recently-released biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Too complicated? I guess a ménage à trois is plenty to handle already.

Check out the film’s trailer (well, one of them, at any rate.)

– RG