Monday, June 26, 2017

Number 2067: Plastic Man sans shirtsleeve

Plastic Man’s origin was published in Police Comics #1 (1941), and immediately stood out because of creator Jack Cole’s writing and artwork. Cole was a guy with a sometimes twisted sense of humor, a great cartoonist working in comic books, injecting his stories with his gift of comic exaggeration.

There were some minor changes after Police Comics #'s 1 and 2. As a design, Plastic Man’s costume just did not work; Plas wore a top with only one sleeve, and some odd-looking black boots. By Police Comics #3 the boots were gone and a sleeve added. I mention it because the story today is from Plastic Man #2 (1941), and features the original costume.

Of all the characters created for early comics, most never went on to the great popularity of Plastic Man. He was a great success, going from backup feature to headliner. He earned a couple of one-shot issues during the war, and got his own regular title to go along with his Police Comics appearances after the war ended.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Number 2066: Ramona Fradon puts us through the wringer

Ramona Fradon was a comic book artist off and on for decades, beginning her career  in 1950, and along the way drew Aquaman for Adventure Comics, Metamorpho, the Element Man, and Super Friends. She left comic books to draw the Brenda Starr comic strip until her retirement in 1995. As of this writing, Ms Fradon, at age 90, is still doing commission work.

Fradon had a looser, more cartoony style than many of her male contemporaries, which serves the funny “Through the Wringer,” written by David V. Reed and published in The Amazing World of DC Comics #10 (1976).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Number 2065: Daredevil aces the spinning chair

After his symbolic appearance in the splash page, Daredevil doesn’t show up in this story until page 10. The story is mostly about Daredevil’s secret identity, Bart Hill, joining the Air Corps and learning to fly. He survives the Air Corps physical, shown as a spin in an office chair (page two). On a training flight he even takes out a Japanese sub!

This story appeared in Daredevil Comics #10, cover dated May, 1942. It was written and drawn shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Patriotic fervor was high in those days.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Number 2064: The charming but alarming snake charmer

Jeff is a guy who hates snakes. But this is a horror comic book. So who does he end up with? Why, a snake charmer, that’s who. We also know the lovely snake charmer’s secret because some dumbbell gave it away in the SPLASH PANEL!

The “dumbbell” was probably the writer, not the artist, Hy Fleishman, who was a regular in this kind of second and third tier publishing endeavors, but had a professional flair not matched by other artists in Dark Mysteries #9 (1952), where “Medusa” appeared. Fleishman also did work for Atlas Comics, and after the Comics Code was implemented did 13 issues of the weekly comic book, Poppo of the Popcorn Theater for the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA).