Friday, October 22, 2010

Uncharacteristically well-drawn but typically weird

Fantomah was an obscure Golden Age character remembered (if 'remembered' is the right word) for two things. The first is being a female superhero (defining the term broadly) who predated Wonder Woman. The second is her creator, Fletcher Hanks, a cult figure among comic book historians. Hanks was known for crudely drawn but sometimes memorable stories featuring strange images and dialogue and little suggestion of narrative logic.

Assuming Hanks is the artist (Barclay Flagg was a house name), this is one of his more professional looking efforts, but dropping lions on paratroopers is certainly the sort of thing he'd come up with.

Check out the size of the lion relative to the parachutes on page 36.

Extensive gunfire, multiple dead tough guys -- now that's Spillane

Another Mickey Spillane text story from Target Comics (vol. 3, num. 4)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little LuLu meets Frankenstein

John Stanley should be on any list of the best comic book writers, particularly when discussing the often (and often justly) maligned area of dialogue. Stanley was, along with Walt Kelly and Carl Barks, one of the Dell triumvirate, three legendary talents who managed to turn the sugary dreck of kids' comics into sharp, smart, funny, medium-pushing stories.

So it's with no disrespect that I point out that Dick Briefer came up with this story idea more than a decade before Stanley. I don't know if this is a case of great minds thinking alike or another example of the old but still useful rule: immature writers borrow; mature writers steal.

Either way, both stories stand up wonderfully one their own. Check them out for yourself and make sure to leave yourself some time leaf through some other delights at Stanley Stories.

Life's too short not to.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Too dirty for Mippyvile...

But too good to miss. McEldowney originally conceived Pibgorn as newspaper strip to follow his successful 9 Chickweed Lane. One can only assume this particular gag would not have been included in this version.