Monday, December 31, 2012

Barry O'Neill and Fang Gow of China

No one speaks normal English
in this comic
Not too long before the publication of Superman and the rise of the capes, there was Barry O’Neill. Barry is lauded as the first modern action hero in comics. He has a strong jaw, quick punch, and blank personality.

Barry is a creation Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. A idea born to help his new business a line of comic books containing all original material. Barry started appearing in National Periodical Publications' (DC) very first comic, New Fun Comics, in 1935. He moved to More Fun Comics when the title changed, continuing in two pages installments until #25.

His arch villain, Fang Gow, was yet another Fu Manchu-styled stereotype. The plots and side characters could have easily been lifted from the pages of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu.
Fang Gow was never really as interesting as his fellow yellow peril villains. His only unique feature is his directed hatred for France rather than some vague white, western enemy.Given China history with France at the time, this effort makes some historical sense.

He did make a serum to turn men in to wax dummies one time. That was interesting.  Sadly, like most really cool serums of the 1930s and 40s, it was never heard from again.

Barry and his side kick Legrande returned to fight their genius adversary in 1946. Atomic Comics reprinted 12 of their adventures with new art by Leo O'Mealia. With World War II over negative Chinese stereotypes were deemed usable again. See his reprinted adventures from Atomic Comics #1 below.


32//33 //34 //35 //36//37//38 //39

Leo O'Mealia also did the art for the news strip adaption of Fu Manchu in 1931 to 1933.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nancy Likes Christmas

We break from comic books for Christmas eve. Enjoy this Nancy news strip from 1943.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Dandy: Barney Boko

Although often ignored in the discussion of Golden Age Things, British comics magazine The Dandy is the the world's third-longest running comic, after Detective Comics (beating it by several months in 1937) and Il Giornalino (started in 1924)

This month marks the final print issue of The Dandy. The publication will now be online only. 

In honor of this changing giant, I offer a golden age favorite on mine, Barney Boko. Barney is tramp whose long nose often caused him trouble and could be used for anything. It ran for seven years from the very first issue.
1938
1937
See www.dandy.com for the new online comics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Lynx and Blackie

Since I'm going back over all the Fox Comics posts, I figure this need reposting as much as anything.

Meet the Lynx and his kid sidekick Blackie in there first appearance in Mystery Men Comics #13 (Aug 1940).
Art by Jim Mooney.
 01 //02 //03 //04//05

The Lynx and Blackie ran in Mystery Men Comics 13 to 31. Unfortunately, Lynx didn't keep the costume. By Mystery Men Comics #21 he has a shirt with a logo. Blackie still has to save him from a deathly peril classically reserved for women.

The Lynx and Blackie seem familiar somehow? DC thought so too, This was one of the titles DC Comics sued Fox Comics over, winning $2,000.
You can also find this comic here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chen Chang, Villian of Many Faces

Angered by the Western world's exploitation of China, Warlord Chen Chang plotted to "to bring disaster upon the white race." His opposition in this nefarious effort is American Richard Kendall, who success in thwarting evil plans and surviving is only by sheer luck.
I first posted about Chang in '08. For a fuller introduction to this wonderful villain, check it out.

All the stories I've read with Chang are written inconsistently. Sometimes he is a brainy, pure evil mastermind, and in the next issue he acts like he was raised by parrots. If you need an example, look that the henchman here.
Mystery Mean Comics #13
30 //31 //32 //33 //34//35
I know that I am not suppose to come out of this liking Chen Chang more than Ken Doll Kendall, but I do.

I mean, come on! This guy has fairly elaborate death traps ready to go at moments notice with no repeats. In his many travels he has no trouble picking up spies and murderous curious performers. He is innovative, and has great networking skills. Also, the only reason he is not seven kinds of dead is because he is just that good. That is most of what you need to be a good bad guy.

Kendall tries to be witty and gets tied up a lot. A lot. And the man has no sense of style!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Billy Bounce, The Kid Detective


Billy Bounce wants to be a detective, but things aren't going so well. Although it would appear from the art above he can levitate, it seems to only be a power he possesses in front of billboards. No flying detective high-jinks here.

The first strip is signed Norman Lee. The rest vary, but normally have Lee in the name some where. The name Norman Lee looks like a pen name, only ever appearing in these first few issues of Mystery Men Comics.

Mystery Men #12

Mystery Men #14

Mystery Men #15

Billy Bounce appears in Mystery Men Comics #1-15. No relation to this Billy Bounce.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The Coffin Maker"

One more story from This Magazine is Haunted. I didn't have the scans clean for the last post, but they are all vividly horror-filled now.
26 // 27 // 28 //29 //30 //31 //32 // 33

No artist listed, but I'd hazard a guess it was Sheldon Moldoff. Thoughts are welcome.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let Doctor Death Tell You a Tale...

Cover of #1 by Sheldon Moldoff
This Magazine is Haunted was Fawcett’s first foray into horror comics. In Alter Ego #4 (Spring 2004), Roy Tomas revels the company’s reluctance to publish horror. Even after finding a sales market Fawcett often left off their logo and rarely went as dark or gruesome as other horror comics.

There was money to be had in the growing horror comics market that Fawcett Comics couldn’t ignore. It was very different brand move for the company, who was known for superheroes and teen humor.

Leading the charge to darker fare for the company was Sheldon Moldoff. According to Moldoff, he approached EC’s comics new owner William M. Gains with the pitches for This Magazine in Haunted and Tales of the Supernatural after Gains expressed a concern over closing the company and Fawcett had already said no to the ideas.


Gains offered a contract for the titles, and took the first issue already produced. Moldoff waited for word on when to started the second issue. In waiting he spotted Tales from the Crypt and other horrors coming from EC.
Gains reneged on the contract, and Moldoff was threaten to be blackballed from the industry if he tried to sue. Meanwhile Gains took the four stories he had from Moldoff and published in other works. Approaching Fawcett again, Moldoff stuck a deal of $100 for the title and all the work he wanted.

Here is a taste from This Magazine is Haunted #1
 15 // 16 // 17 //18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23

Fawcett turned out a string of several titles, staring in 1951 until they stopped publishing comics in 1953. Their titles were then sold to Charlton Comics, who started doing reprints and publishing unused stories (source). When the reprints started in 1954, scholars estimate the horror genre comics market was 1/6, but it quickly died off with the comics code.

The comics received another round of mixed reprints by Gredown in This Comic is Haunted in the 1970s. The comic baned together a lot of pre-code works. It offers especially high amount of Steve Ditko's work. (Find more out about that here.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Horror is Approaching...

In a month traditionally filled with spooky things, I find that this blog should be no different.

Horror comics from the Fawcett line posted soon.

Fawcett, because their horror comics are underrated.
Fawcett’s Surprise Suspense Stories (1953)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"The Duel"

From The World Round Us #30....
Art by Unknown
EDIT (10/02/2012): Oh dear, this is a mistake. This comics is from 1960. It isn't golden age at all. Bad filing on my part! Please take Mary Marvel's tears as an apology. 
Mary Marvel #4 (1946)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Knothead Nellie"

She shared the pages on Dizzy Dames #1 (Oct. 1952) with Moronica and Man-Huntin’ Minnie. Let those names might clue you in to the fact that this comic didn't think high of women.

Art by Dan Gordon (pencils) and Lyn Karp (Inks)
I guess she stayed with the Monkeys?

In Dizzy Dames #5 there was "Knothhead Nancy."
She didn't last long either.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coming soon to Tumblr!

This have been slow here, but I have a good excuse!

College.

I also have an excuse that might make a bit for my absence.


There is a lack on golden age comics on Tumblr, which suports a massive comic fandom. The few that did share golden age goodness Have not posted for months. In an effort to fill in this gap I have started a golden age based tumblr.

I will be linking to other blogs and reblogging whatever golden age comic posts of merit I pass. The content will not be as in depth as it is here, but I will put forth effort to make sure if it interesting and relavent.

This isn't a replacement for this blog, but an expansion in hope to bring more comic fans to the Golden Age.
Edit: In response to some questions I got on Tumblr, I would like to say this is a posting one daily kind of blog until I get a queue built up. Then they it will be three or so a day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Olympics, Crack Comics, and Golden History

July 27 the 2012 Summer Olympics will being!

I bolded it so you won't forget.

Did you know there was no 1940 Olympics? These games were orginaly to be held in Tokyo, Japan, but Japan dropped there support for the games in 1938, moving to war. 

The Olympic Games were to be held in Finland after this, but were then suspended indefinitely following the outbreak of World War II. There were no Summer Games until the London Games of 1948.

This page from Crack Comics #1 (1940) looking at famed american runner George J. Saling, winner of the gold medal for 110 m hurdles at the 1932 Summer Olympics.

An interesting side note, July 27 is George Sailing birthday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Super Snooper

What do you do when you just can't stay out of people business, but aren't really all that skilled about your snooping? Clearly you become a comedic detective. The pay is not so good, but you get top billing even if it isn't deserved!

This is Super Snooper, a regular from Police Comics.

Police Comics #1 
Super Snooper final appearance was Police Comics #23. From issue #1 to his end, Snooper stayed under the pen of Gil Fox.
Police Comics #9 (left) Police Comics #23 (right) 

Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Big Drag"

There is a time for back story, historical facts and in-depth analyses.

There is also a time to just embrace the oddness of the golden age.

This is Sargent Boyle in "The Big Drag" from Pep Comics #6.

 36 //37 //38 //39 //40 //41 //42

Written by Abner Sundell (Madam Satan creator)

Art by Charles Biro (Airboy creator, 16-year run on Daredevil Comics)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lt. Drake and The Skull

Last year for the 4th of July I shared with you patriotic heroine Miss Victory. Rather than post another star-spangled superhero, this year I bring you a often forgotten hero from Fox.
Lt. Drake's only real claim to fame is that Klaus Nordling did the strip's art. It is his earliest confirmed work. (Fun fact: Nordling did a lot of work for Fox, signing his name as Spark Stevens, F. Klaus, Ed Norris and Clyde North.)

Lt. Drake of the U.S. Naval Intelligence started running in Mystery Men Comics #1 (1939) when the magazine was still under the name Bruns Publications. Drake's last appearance is in #25. He fal away from the line up with no note or fan fare.

An interesting point for the strip is the early mark of a share universe between the superheroes in house. Villains in Lt. Drake were normally one shots. In a way The Skull is no different, but his appearance in Lt. Drake is not his first in Mystery Men Comics. In #14 The Skull, apparently the same man, is the villain for Blue Beetle. 

Meet The Skull as he face off with Lt. Drake below!
 01 //02 //03 //04 //05

Slap Happy Pappy in "The Lazy Hillbilly"

This blog is long over due for a Jack Cole gag comic. 

Meet Slap Happy Pappy, originally a Gil Fox creation. Pappy started in Crack Comics #1, staying under the pen on Fox until issue #8. This page is from Crack Comics #22, a few issues into Jack Cole's run.

Cole's early work often relies on Hillbilly humor. Here is a prime example. 
A big part of Cole's work in comics was the creation of one and two page gag pages, published across various Quality Comics. In just the 1940s Jack Cole wrote and drew well over 400 of these gag strips for Quality. His work with these is largely ignored as a half-effort for filler pages.

I really do believe this a shame, so I want to share with you wonderful study of his work.

Coles Comic on blogspot, run by Paul Tumey, is a long study of Cole's work. The blog also includes pages of other comic artist and writers, but Tumey's expertly done notes on Cole's work make this an invaluable research resource.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Gag Strip to Lighten Your Day

From More Fun Comics #10...


This comic is by the noted golden age DC editor Whitney Ellsworth

Friday, June 22, 2012

Johnny Doughboy, tips of making money

It is hard to make a buck these days. It could drive a man crazy.

From Military Comics #25...By Bernard Dibble

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For Father's Day

I'm doing some major clean up on older post, the most recent has been the first Madam Fatal post.

What does this have to do with Father's day? In reality Madam Fatal was really Richard Stanton. Stanton went into hiding after his only daughter was kidnapped and his wife died of a broken heart. The new face he chose, an old woman's. Madam Fatal is a heroic father and the first cross dressing superhero!

You can read his origin story and details of his life in the DCU here.

Madam Fatal evolves with time, eventually finding his daughter. Even after her rescue, Stanton continues to live a good bit of time as an old woman. In some of the last issues he is seen switching between Madam Fatal and Richard Stanton, but reasons for this are never given.

Given how common place super heroes had become, original ideas for them were short. Odd as Madam Fatal is, you can say it isn't original.

Below the Madam Fatal from Crack Comics #3 (July 1940).

 45 //46 //47 //48 //49

Since so many of the original sites hosting  Madam Fatal 's comics have gone down. I will be working to restore them to the net. In short, more Madam Fatal to come!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hemlock Shomes and Poston

Military May didn't end as I would have hope. It was missing one key post, the story of Chop-Chop. School is taking up more time than I thought it would, so please wait for this post until I can do it justice.

Until I hope you enjoy some regularly scheduled programming.

Have some Hemlock Shomes from Mystery Men #12.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Private Dogtag and the Radio Tooth

Have you heard the story about tooth filling picking up radio signals? It is a widely speard urban legend on the US, apparently dating back to a television interview with Lucille Ball. Snopes.com has an article quoting the interview.

If it is something you desire to happen you, you might think getting your tooth filled with an actual radio will guarantee it to work. If so, let this comic be a warning to you. Since science really works this way!

Also, seek help, because that is kind of crazy.

Private Dogtag From Military Comics #25 (1944)...by Bart Tumey.

31 //32 //33 //34 //35 //36 //37 //38 //39


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Brithdays

Today, I celebrate my birthday. As I sit here it write this post I find that I m too lazy, so have this.

From Don Fortune #2

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wang the Tiger: The Man Without Fear

This issue of Military Comics features a lot of interesting things. One of the best The Sniper stories, a Private Dogtag that could make an analytical essay on 1940s history or female objectification a few pages fatter,  and the key feature, a Blackhawk story taking place in China.

It isn't weird for the Balckhawks to have a story in China, they do their work all over the world. China was also struggling against Japan too, so an international, allies aligned force would want to help there. What is weird the turn the story takes.

China has it's own superhero, Wang the Tiger. This is an anomaly in a wartime comic. (Military Comics #25, dated Jan. 1944.) I don't want to spoil too much of what you are about to read, but be ready for a "classic" costume.

Also be ready for the "Ugh, why?" of Chop-chop's caricature. Now, I'm going to add a hopefully big post on Chop-Chop, but this deserves noting here. While all the Chinese people in this story are drawn like normal humans Chop-chop is still a bizarre looking little person.
Line art by John Cassone; Inks by Alex Kotzky
 03 //04 //05 //06 //07 //08 //09 //10 //11 //12 //13 //14 //15 //16 //17

It is possible that Wang the Tiger is a reference to The House of Earth trilogy, a early 1930s series by Pearl S. Buck. The lead character in the first book is Wang the Third/The Tiger.

Interesting too is the this new hero seem to share Military Comics disdain for superpowers, special gadgets, and flashy costumes. Well, I guess that last part is debatable.  

Wang the Tiger never shows up again in Quality Comics and to my knowledge DC has never used him either.