Sunday, March 24, 2013
THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED
horror comics launched in the early 1950s. Edited by Roy Ald, the
comic ran 14 issues from October 1951 to December 1953. Charlton
continued the title after Fawcett stopped publishing comic books.
The Grand Comics Database tentatively identifies the cover artist
as Sheldon Moldoff. The GCD has not yet identified the writers of
the issue’s stories. It’s possible editor Ald wrote some of them.
Here are the issue’s contents with credits and story synopsis from
the wonderful GCD:
“The Green Hands of Terror” (13 pages), drawn by George Evans. Jenk
and Slezak, two killers on the run, hide in a house where a chemist
is experimenting with “synthetic protoplasm” – thus creating
aggressive body parts which attack any intruder.
“The Devil’s Due” (9 pages), artists unknown. Sadistic Nazi colonel
kills his prisoners of war single-handedly. The dead return to take
“The Weirdest Corpse of All Time!” (8 pages), possibly penciled by
Moldoff and inked by Ed Moline. Exterminator George Harris is
troubled with his profession. All the killing gets to him. Things
turn for the worse when mice start stalking him and he mysteriously
begins to shrink.
As my fascination with comic books that arrived on the newsstands
in my December 1951 birth month continues, keep reading this bloggy
thing of mine for more vintage covers from that month.
Let’s talk about some more recent comics...
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212 [DC; January 2007] is one
of the little gems I’ve come across as I’ve been reading some old
(but not real old) Batman comics. Written by Adam Beechen with art
by Steve Scott (pencils) and Nathan Massengill (inks), “A Legend of
the Dark Knight” is a terrific done-in-one story in which Batman is
more supporting cast member than protagonist. This is a Batman who
inspires a young citizen of Gotham City and is neither a dick or a
psycho. It’s a Batman who makes me remember why I once considered
him my favorite comics hero. Unfortunately, this story hasn’t been
reprinted in any Batman collection. It should be.
I have another Batman revelation to share with you. I skipped over
a lot of Batman comics because of the ever-darkening nature of the
character. I have recently been reading Batman collections mostly
written by Ed Brubaker and enjoying them quite a bit. His Batman
is compassionate, intelligent, occasionally fallible and someone I
think I could meet without soiling myself. I’m calling it here and
now: Brubaker is the finest Batman writer of the past two decades.
Jim Starlin wrote and drew two Breed series, which were published
by Malibu Comics in 1994. I don’t think I read either. But I did
recently read the seven-issue Breed III [Image; $2.99 per issue),
which came out in 2011.
Ray Stoner, the protagonist of Breed III, is a half-human and half
something else. The something else is from his other-dimensional
father. Daddy and kin basically take over planets, eat everyone,
then move on to the next planet. Stoner may be the only chance our
world has of not being on the buffet table. That’s as much plot as
you’re getting out of me.
Right from the start of this third series, Starlin makes it pretty
easy for a new reader to get with the program. Though there are a
lot of flashback sequence, they serve to propel and not slow this
story. The writing and art are excellent and Starlin fans will get
a kick out of seeing several characters from earlier Starlin works.
I know I did.
Breed III presents a solid story with a satisfying ending. None of
the Breed series have been collected in trade paperback and that’s
a shame. Somebody ought to correct that sad situation.
I’m not entirely lost in the past. This week, I caught up on three
of DC Comics’ “New 52" titles. I’m warming up to Dial H, cooling
on Earth 2 and finding Green Arrow unreadable.
China Mieville’s Dial H is clever and imaginative stuff. I’m also
liking the two main characters. Yes, I still think this concept is
more suitable for an all-ages animated series, but I suppose I can
be okay with this version in the meantime.
Earth 2 has become tiresome. Outside of the eager young hero that
is the Flash, I find the other characters unpleasant. I can and do
enjoy some titles whose leads are just as and even more unpleasant.
This isn’t one of them.
Green Arrow? The Ann Nocenti issues were unreadable. The one issue
I’ve seen from her successor on the title was readable but not very
interesting. Reading DC “New 52" titles doesn’t cost me any money
because a friend loans them to me, but my time is valuable as well.
Month after month, the DC titles are proving themselves to be not
worth the time to read them. Even for free.
Kudos to IDW for not one, but two very cool Popeye comics series.
While I confess my preference for the Bud Sagendorf adventures in
Classic Popeye, I also get plenty of laughs from Roger Langridge’s
stories in Popeye. What with Popeye being one of the most important
beings in the known universe, two comic books seems quite fitting.
DC Comics may be “flies in mine zupe,” but IDW’s Popeye comics are
almost as good for me as spinach!
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella