Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised. » ― The Worst Journey in the World (1922)
Here’s what happened: I was leafing through
Paul C. Tumey‘s splendid comics anthology (2019, The Library of American Comics/IDW) when I came across a wonderful sample of Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny Gene Ahern‘s (1936-58) wherein the strip’s central figure, Judge Homer Puffle, feeds another boarder a steady line of bull in that grand, booming Room and Board — Baron Munchausen — Captain Geoffrey Spicer-Simson — Colonel Heeza Liar tradition. Commander McBragg
Gene Ahern‘s Room and Board (March 17, 1937, King Features).
Of course, it’s all piffle and bunk, but it brought to mind a passage from a favourite article on weather peculiarities in Siberia,
‘s Marcel Theroux (published in The Very, Very, Very Big Chill in 2000): Travel & Leisure
Local people told me that at minus 60 and below, a » dense fog settles in the streets, and pedestrians leave recognizable outlines bored into the mist behind them. A drunkard’s tunnel will meander and then end abruptly over a prone body. At minus 72, the vapor in your breath freezes instantly and makes a tinkling sound called ‘the whisper of angels.’
Then I thought: «
all very nice, but that makes for a rather meagre post »… so I decided to toss in a few bonus images featuring that venerable recurring motif… and got carried away.
This is Astonishing no. 36 (Dec. 1954, Atlas), the title’s penultimate pre-Code issue… not that Atlas ever crossed the line into gruesome. The cover-featured yarn is , an amusing load of utter rubbish you can read The Man Who Melted! . Cover art by here Carl Burgos.
This is Chamber of Chills no. 10 (May, 1974, Marvel), and most everything’s the same, save for the colour palette and the now-hostile expression on the caveman’s mug.
And this is also Chamber of Chills no. 10 (July, 1952, Harvey)… the original, whose title Harvey Comics left curbside for Marvel to recycle when they went all kid-friendly in the Comics-code-ruled Silver Age. Cover designed and art-directed by Warren Kremer and illustrated by Lee Elias. For some insight into these collaborators’ working methods on the horror titles, here’s our post on that very topic. Incidentally, what’s up with the hifalutin Lord Byron quote, Harvey folks? This wacky fare is quite plainly fiction… what’s your point? [Read it .] here
This is Tales of The Unexpected no. 101 (June-July 1968, DC). Layout and pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by George Roussos. Infantino, promoted the previous year to editorial director (he would soon rise to the rank of publisher), brought in the versatile Nick Cardy to serve as his right-hand man on the artistic front; together, they designed all of DC’s covers until both men stepped down in 1975.
This is House of Mystery no. 199 (February, 1972, DC), illustrating a rare (possibly unique, really) collaboration between Sno’ Fun! Sergio Aragonés (script) and Wally Wood (pencils and inks). Cover designed by Infantino and Nick Cardy, pencilled and inked by Neal Adams and coloured by Jack Adler.
This is Unexpected no. 142 (Dec. 1972, DC); cover art by Nick Cardy.
This is Unexpected no. 147 (June, 1973, DC); cover art by Nick Cardy.
This is Unexpected no. 150 (Sept., 1973, DC); cover art by Nick Cardy.
« Hey, look! The critter is frozen » Tom Sutton vibrantly sells whole… it’s in pretty good shape! Joe Gill and Steve Ditko‘s cautionary tale of arctic drilling gone awry, . Also in this issue: Steve and The Ancient Mine Pete Morisi‘s , and Gill and Fred Himes’ touching Surprise! . This is Pipe Dream Haunted no. 37, (Jan., 1974, Charlton), presented by the publisher’s blue-skinned, green-haired answer to Nana Mouskouri, Winnie the Witch.
« … that face haunts me… was it a man or a beast? » Ah, the Seventies. Left dazed and frazzled by his whirlwind life of slow-mo violence, glamorous excess and substance abuse, not to mention radiation poisoning, the inevitable occurs: The Hulk wanders onto the wrong set, as well as the wrong publisher’s! Against all odds, he handles the rôle with aplomb and commendable gravitas. A page from Gill and Ditko’s . Read it The Ancient Mine ! here
This is Ghosts no. 37 (April, 1975, DC), featuring Luis Dominguez‘s first (or many) cover for the title, a passing of the torch from Nick Cardy, who’d handled every one of the preceding three dozen…. minus one: number 7’s cover was the work of Michael Kaluta.
Oh, and since I wouldn’t want any of you superhero aficionados to think I’m freezing you out, here’s another demonstration of
Mr. Infantino‘s “encased in ice” idée fixe.
… and I can just about hear the « Mr. Freeze, who first popped up in Batman no. 121 in 1959, initially known as, er… Mr. Zero ( Celsius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin?) before being revamped and renamed for the mid-60s Batman TV show, a makeover that carried over to the comics, but tragically didn’t include his outfit. This is Detective Comics no. 373 (March, 1968, DC); layout by Infantino, finishes by Irv Novick. [ read it !] here but what about » troops tromping down the hall, so… Cap?
My co-admin Namor goes all on some poor Inuits (surely they’ve seen frozen bodies before?), displaying an unseemly level of insecurity for someone of his standing. This recap hails from King Kirby’s sensational First Commandment feat of deadline rescue on the behalf of a tardy Jim Steranko (to be fair, it was worth the wait). George Tuska‘s inks are a surprisingly good fit! This is Captain America no. 112, (April 1969, Marvel). [ read it Lest We Forget! !] here was just telling me yesterday about a client who, upon remarking to a succession of winter- ds kvetchers that actually, we’d had a pretty mild January, was invariably met with goggling bafflement, as if he’d just then grown a second head. In related news, it was just announced that said month of January was, indeed, . There is, naturally, the planet’s warmest on record about this sort of circular denialism. an xkcd strip