Friday, September 28, 2012


Master Comics #125 [December 1951] was heading towards the end of
the title’s 133-issue run [March 1940-April 1953].  The figure of
Captain Marvel Jr. on the cover is drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger and
the art on the four insert panels strikes me as pulled from the art
of the interior stories they promote.

The Grand Comics Database only lists some credits for these stories
and gives no information on what the stories are about.  I think we
all know what that means...

Captain Marvel Jr stars in “The Bed Mystery” (7 pages), which might
be penciled by Bill Ward.  Freddy Freeman wakes up to find his bed
damp and tries to find out how that happened.  His super-hero self
is baffled until he remembers that smutty magazine Freddy got from
his friend Billy.

Ozzie and Babs ask the question “Tennis, Anyone?” (7 pages).  This
is a teen humor feature.  I don’t know what happens in this story,
but I bet there are “love” puns and “serve” puns” and someone gets
tangled up in the net.

Nyoka, queen of some jungle or another, tries to find “The Missing
Pink Elephant” (7 pages) in an adventure possibly written by Rod
Reed and drawn by Al Jetter.  Nyoka gets drunk with Dumbo and meets
a horrible end when she tries to tickle the young pachyderm’s ass
with his magic feather.  This is why we needed the Comics Code, my
friends.  Because comic-book writers are perverts.

Movie cowboy Tom Mix tries to solve “The Two-Way Crime” (8 pages).
The story was possibly penciled by Carl Pfeufer and inked by John
Jordan.  Cowboys are lonely.  They need human contact.  Don’t judge
them too harshly.

More vintage comic-book covers will appear in future installments
of my bloggy thing.  I’ll try to clean up my act for them.


Scarlet Spider #7-9 [$2.99]. Reluctant hero Kaine reluctantly teams
up with the Rangers to stop another of Roxxon Industries’ schemes
gone horribly wrong.  It’s not a blindingly original story arc, but
it’s fun. 

The Rangers are the super-heroes of the Southwest: Texas Twister,
Red Wolf, Firebird, Living Lightning and an alien hero named Fifty-
One who I haven’t seen before.  It scares me to say this, but I’d
buy a well-written comic book featuring this team.  Heck, if anyone
asked me, I’d write a comic book featuring this team.  Especially
if I could keep them in the Southwest and not involved in whatever
event du jour is going on in the rest of the Marvel books.  I think
we could all use a few more fun super-hero comics.


Don’t let Marvel’s wacky numbering stop you from checking out The
Sensational Spider-Man
#33.1 and #33.2 [$2.99].  This Tom DeFalco
story involves Russian gangsters, human trafficking and the new and
really scary Vulture.  Drawn by Carlo Barberi with inks by Walden
Wong, it’s a grim adventure for our wall-crawling hero.  But, grim
or not, it still falls into the “street-level” stories that I feel
work best for Spider-Man.  I recommend it.


Grace Randolph’s Supurbia [Boom!; $3.99 per issue] comes across as
a super-hero soap opera.  Personal intrigues get more play than the
action, which is fine by me who has seen many thousands of battles
in many thousands of super-hero comics.

As much as I love the concept, I’m less thrilled with its execution
to date.  Randolph’s stories have a lot of the shock and raw sex of
actual soap operas, which is why I found them so tiresome.  But it
has some good characters, most notably among the lovers and spouses
of the super-heroes.  These supporting characters are the stars of
the comic and the decisions they make at the end of this four-issue
series not only make great sense but seem to promise a larger role
for them in the ongoing series.

Supurbia isn’t a great series, but it’s a darn good one.  I plan to
stick around for the ongoing title.

Hermes Press is doing an excellent job reprinting The Phantom comic
strip and comic books.  There have been three volumes of Lee Falk’s
strips and a volume each of the Gold Key, King and Charlton comic
books.  While my budget can’t stretch to get the newspaper strips,
most of which I have in one form or another, I’ve been buying the
comic-book collections.

The Phantom: The Complete Series: The King Years [$49.99] reprints
issues #18-28.  These were the Phantom comics after King Features
pulled the license from Gold Key and went into self-publishing.  It
proved to be a less-than-wise decision.

I enjoyed the Phantom comics published by Gold Key, but these King
issues are of markedly lower quality.  Even when their basic plots
have some merit, writer Bill Harris rarely brings any cleverness or
drama to his scripts.  The lettering on these stories is so large
that it cripples the Bill Lignante art, which, truth be told, isn’t
as good as what he’d been doing for Gold Key.  It was a struggle to
read this volume.

If you’re a Phantom completist and I seem to be one, you will want
to buy this volume.  Otherwise, I recommend you skip it in favor of
the newspaper strip reprints, the Gold Key reprints, and even the
Charlton reprints, which have an energy of their own and some great
artwork by Jim Aparo.

ISBN: 978-1-61345-009-3

I’m taking some days off to attend the Wizard World Ohio Comic Con,
today through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in
downtown Columbus.  For much of the event, I’ll be at my table in
Artist Alley signing Isabella-written comics on request, accepting
review items for this blog and talking to any artists or publishers
who would like to partner with me on projects.  I hope to see you
there.  It should be a terrific convention.  

I’ll be back on Wednesday with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

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