Saturday, February 25, 2012
FURIOUS ASSAULT OF THE HELL DIVERS!
birth, December, 1951. That’s when issue #49 [February, 1952] hit
the newsstands with its Reed Crandall cover showing the Blackhawks
facing “super-sonic planes from the depths of the Earth.” But the
question I asked myself on reading the issue’s cover copy was “Can
something actually dive up?” Because that’s what these super-sonic
puppies are doing.
Inside the issue, Crandall drew the 10-page cover story. The other
two Blackhawk stories - “The Death Cloud” (8 pages) and “The Waters
of Terrible Peace (7 pages) - were drawn by Bill Ward. Filling out
the issue was a humorous Chop Chop story - “Are You Full of Zing?”
(5 pages) - which was likely written and drawn by Paul Gustavson.
There was a text story, but who reads those?
If you want to see the comics that were published in the month of
your birth, head over to Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, one of my
favorite places on the Internets.
I’ve been under the weather for several days now, which is one of
the reasons my bloggy things have been all over the place. I think
I have the attention span of...what was I saying?
Rather than fight this mental malady today, I’m going to allow my
rambling thoughts to take me where they will and just try to keep
up with them. Let’s roll.
Black History Month is almost over, so two out of the three daily
newspapers I read each day will drop their BHM features. The third
one - The Gazette - never had any BHM features on account of
its coverage of black history usually amounts to reporting on that
one courageous white resident whose Medina home was a safe haven on
the Underground Railroad. But The Gazette only mentions that every
few years. Don’t want to overdo it or anything.
The Akron Beacon Journal pieces are usually more interesting than
those in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland). The ABJ recently ran a story
about the Matthews Hotel Monument, a neat little structure honoring
George Washington Mathews who owned and operated a rooming house
converted into a hotel, barber, and beauty shop. The hotel was in
business from 1925 to 1978. While the owner spelled his last name
with one “t,” the name of the hotel was often spelled with two and
the discrepancy has carried over to the monument.
The monument consists of the hotel doorway and a pair of plaques.
One honors Mathews and the other honors the famous African-American
entertainers (Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab
Calloway and others) who performed in the area’s nightclubs back in
the day. I love the look of this monument, which is located in the heart of
what was the African-American business and entertainment district
on North Howard Street. To see what the monument looks like, check
out Jim Carney’s article.
Another of my favorite stops on the wild ride that is the Internets
is Jacque Nodell’s Sequential Crush. SC is “devoted to preserving
the memory of romance comics and the creative teams that published
them throughout the 1960s and 1970s.” Jacque knows those romance
comics better than anyone I can think of and her insights into them
delight and inform me on a regular basis.
In a recent blog, Nodell wrote of "Love, Love, Go Away...Come Again
Another Day!" [Falling in Love #120; January 1971], a story which
featured an African-American woman as the heroine’s longtime friend
and, in a sense, substitute mother. As she always does, Jacque was
able to give her readers a full sense of the story and plot in but
a handful of entertaining panels and paragraphs. Then, she took a
step further with the following brilliant analysis:
Last year I discovered a pattern surrounding the depiction of many
African-American women in romance comics which involved the curious
injection of the "mammy archetype." Though this story posits
Felicia as belonging to an upper middle class family and integrates
her into a typical enough romance story, she is still depicted as
being the caretaker and charge of motherless Jackie. Once again, I
don't think that this mammy characterization of Felicia was
necessarily purposeful on behalf of the authors, it does go to show
how ingrained the notions and stereotypes associated with slavery
and the Jim Crow era were, even into the 1970s.
Jacque has the keen eye and intellect of a museum curator with the
true heart of a comics fan. I’m constantly learning stuff from her
blog and having a great time doing it. In response to my comment
that she should write a book on romance comics, she replied, “Funny
you should say that...”
If she writes that book, I’ll buy it.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella