Friday, November 17, 2017
According to what short biographical information I am able to find on Bell/Belcastro from the Internet, he was born in 1924, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, got his art training the way many of the best comic book artists of the post-War era got theirs, in classes conducted by Burne Hogarth. When Fiction House shut down Belcastro worked on a couple of newspaper comics, then went into commercial art in his hometown of Albany, New York. Belcastro died in his mid-eighties, in 2010. Like some other artists of the era in which he did comic books, he borrowed some techniques from the EC Comics artists.
In the story itself the Gorgon appears to be nude on top (page 6). That’s something we usually didn’t see in comic books. The hapless guy who looks upon the Gorgon is turned to stone, but it’s the eyes of the monster that do it. I am sure that before transforming into a solid object, he took a peek at other parts of her.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
This Firebrand, from the aforementioned Yankee Comics #1 (1941). drawn by Charles Sultan, was a lineman who got zapped while working on a power line. He was taken into care by a professor who experimented and juiced him up good with electrics. All he had to do was clench and unclench his fists. And he could leave the ground by just jumping and the electricity made him airborne. Wow. He took care of the bad guys, and yet apparently no readers felt a tingle of electricity from the pages when they read about him. Or, perhaps since he appeared after the Quality Firebrand, Busy Arnold, Quality’s publisher, may have called Harry “A” and threatened to bring down some legal lightning bolts. At this late date nobody really knows, and this Firebrand is one of those one-and-done superheroes from early comic books.
Here is a tale of the Quality Firebrand from Police Comics #5, which I posted in 2013. It is included with a tale of a strange Batman, and a link to a Bad Batman. You have been warned!
Monday, November 13, 2017
Since this is just a five-page story, in short order Walter takes care of his career as “the Destroyer,” murdering four people he blames for his problems. At the end of the story Walter’s doctor says, “This could have been prevented if there were laws covering potential killers . . . to keep them from walking the streets . . . we never know when some madman like Graves will strike! We never know — who’s next?” Unfortunately, not so easy, as we in the real world are often reminded. So-called “madness” is not always a reason for multiple murders.
Who is Next? #5 (1952) is the name of the one-issue only crime comic book from Standard. The writer of the story is unknown, but the art is by Eisner Award winner Nick Cardy, a longtime comic book pro who did some brilliant work for DC Comics later in his career.
I showed another story of a killer from Who is Next? in 2013. Just click on the cover (which also features the Jeepers Girl, a particular obsession of this blog and Pappy.
Friday, November 10, 2017
The story itself is some hokum about a villain called Dr Ghoul who kidnaps people to turn them into his gang members. I am vague on the motives of Dr Ghoul’s gang. All I took from the story is Dr Ghoul aims to steal Uncle Richard’s ranch payroll. I wouldn’t think it would require such an elaborate setup to make a gang by placing kidnap victims in what looks like an iron lung and dosing them with electricity.
As the Terror Twins are about to be put into the machine Black Terror warns Dr Ghoul not to waste his time, because he and Tim are made of “good American muscle!” He failed to mention the reason for his own powers (super-strong, bullets bounce off) is he ingested some drug with “formic ethers.”
The Grand Comics Database lists Ed Moritz and Ed Hamilton as artists. Ed Hamilton is not Edmond Hamilton, science fiction writer and also scripter for Batman and Superman. The GCD doesn’t guess at a writer. From Black Terror #12 (1945):
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
“The Riddle of Hazard Isle” is a mystery story from House of Secrets #27 (1959). Stories in the mystery anthologies from DC could be screwy, but illustrated in such a style that even the silliest story had the full illustrative treatment. Bill Ely drew the story; the writer is unknown.
Ely is something of an elusive person; there is a shortage of online information. We know that Ely drew comics from the 1930s through the 1960s. His birth year is given as 1913 and his year of death is 1993. I like Ely’s solid style. Ely took enough pride in his work that he usually signed it, even in the days when being a comic book creator meant artists and writers were anonymous unless they chose to include a signature.
If any of Ely’s relatives, children, nephews and nieces, et al., are reading this, I would appreciate them contacting me to tell me what they know about Bill Ely.
Monday, November 06, 2017
There is also the element of danger kid sidekicks were subjected to in superhero comics. The idea was common in comic books. I was interested to read what the late Don Markstein had to say of TNT and Dan in his Toonopedia listing for the pair. He mentions that Star-Spangled Comics #23 was the last appearance, and: “TNT and Dan weren't seen again for decades, and even then, underwent only a slight revival. The fact that they got included in the '80s All-Star Squadron scarcely counts, since practically every DC-owned 1940s costumed character did that. Of slightly more significance is that Dan subsequently allied himself with Merry, the Girl of 1,000 Gimmicks, and several other former young superheroes, to form Old Justice — an activist group, devoted to keeping children from being endangered by superhero work, as Dan had allowed himself to be endangered during his own youth.”
This is a tale of Tex and Dan, exposed to danger, in the world of sandhogs, from Star-Spangled Comics #13 (1942), artwork credited to Louis Cazeneuve.