Monday, September 3, 2012


Leading Screen Comics #53 [February-March 1952] was published in my
birth month of December 1951.  It cover-featured Peter Porkchops,
who was created in 1947 by artist Otto Feuer and quite possibly
writer Sy Reit.  At a time far distant from the coming of Facebook,
Peter is attempting to poke his neighbor Wolfie.  There aren’t any
credits for this issue on the Grand Comics Database at present, so
that’s pretty much all I have for you on this issue.

Issues around this one featured Peter doing his usual thwarting of
Wolfie’s get-rich-quick schemes and also featured such characters
as the Tortoise and the Hare, Roly and Poly, Doodles Duck, Puss ‘n’
Pooch and Clint and the Chair.  Besides Reit and Feuer, the nearby
issues of this title had scripts by Jack Mendelson and art by Rube
Grossman and Howie Post.  The “Screen” part of the title is likely
a fiction intended to attract buyers easily fooled into believing
these characters had appeared in theatrical cartoons.

Peter Porkchops would be transformed into Pig-Iron for DC’s Captain
Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew
.  In the same series, Wolfie would
become a wuz-wolf, a wolf who turned into a monstrous human being.
It’s probably a coincidence, but there is a certain lupine look to
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

More vintage covers from the month of my birth?  I expect you will
be seeing more of them in future bloggy things.


Lovers’ Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery [NBM/ComicsLit; $15.99] is the
latest in the remarkable Rick Geary’s “A Treasury of XXth Century
Murder” series.  This new volume explores the 1922 murders of the
Reverend Edward W. Hall and Mrs. Eleanor R. Mills, illicit lovers
found in a New Brunswick, New Jersey park.  Both were shot and the
woman’s throat was slashed so cruelly her head was barely attached
to her body.  The slain lovers were posed next to each other with
Mills’ hand on the Reverend’s thigh and their love letters to one
another strewn around their bodies.  It was a scandalous business,
made the more so by the apparently common knowledge of their affair
and the jealousy of other churchwoman who also coveted the pastor.

Geary pulls you into the setting and time with clear storytelling,
an eye for detail and a enticing style that further evokes the era.
Every one of these volumes, as well as those set in earlier times,
has been a gem.  They are must-reading for me and I recommend them
to you without hesitation.

ISBN: 978-1-56163-628-0


Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. [DC; $2.99 per issue] is one of
the few interesting titles among the company’s “New 52" branding.
The guy I borrow comics from gave up on it after one issue, but I
recently acquired and read the first 11 issues of the series.  I’m
glad I did.

The Frankenstein Monster of these stories is a tragic figure.  He
knows he was made for violence, he speaks in a poetic manner, his
dedication to fighting evil contrasts with his resignation to his
violent life, and, in recent issues, he’s beginning to get flashes
of memory from the people whose body parts were used to create him.

S.H.A.D.E. is an ultra-secret organization whose microscopic HQ can
be anywhere it needs to be.  Its leader - Father - gets a new body
every decade.  Currently, he looks like a pre-teen girl.  Wearing
a mask.

Frankenstein works with a team that is basically the old Creature
Commandoes with a new member or two.  Ray Palmer is the government
liaison to S.H.A.D.E. and, in “The New 52,” he’s been elevated to
“Scientist Supreme Henry Pym” levels of scary smartness.  No sign
of the Atom yet, but Palmer has the shrinking stuff covered.

Jeff Lemire wrote the first ten issues of the title.  It’s his best
DC work, a nice mix of horror, spy fiction, and super-heroes that
kept his stories fresh.  There was a tie-in to whatever is going on
Animal-Man that didn’t require one having read Animal-Man.  That’s
good for me because I don’t find Animal-Man at all entertaining.
Matt Kindt wrote issue #11 and maintained the quality of previous
issues.  I don’t know if he’s the new writer of the title or if he
is simply filling in for a spell. 

I’m also liking Alberto Ponticelli’s art.  The man has a style of
its own and makes it work for this title.  The storytelling isn’t
100%, but it’s acceptable.  Thumbs up.

Joey Cavalieri is the title’s editor and, though I have no way of
knowing exactly what he contributes to the stories, I’m guessing he
is guiding the stories rather than dictating them.  Which would put
him way ahead of most DC editors.

I’m looking forward to reading future issues of Frankenstein, Agent
of S.H.A.D.E.
  Not something I say about many DC titles.


My original impression of IDW’s Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters was
that it was a bit too mean-spirited with its broad caricatures of
various celebrities and seemingly humorous deaths of civilians who
got caught in the monster rampages.  Having read issues #5-12 in a
single sitting, I found the caricatures weren’t as predominant and
the deaths were necessary to the overall story.  Even with a late-
issue switch in writers from Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh to Jason
Ciaramella, that story held up to the end and got more intriguing
with each issue.  My final call: I liked it a lot.

I also liked the art by Victor Santos.  Exciting layouts, enormous
monster scenes when required, clear storytelling, and a good grasp
of human facial expressions.


The conclusion of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters leaves mankind with
a devastated world it no longer rules.  I’m hoping future Godzilla
comics explore this scary new world in detail.


There’s probably a trade paperback collection of this series, which
I recommend.  Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters receives the blessing
of the First Church of Godzilla.  As pastor of that church, I ask
the Great Scaly One to spare IDW his fiery atomic love and protect
it from the perils of the comics marketplace, the better to allow
the company to make more Godzilla comics.

And, if you’re wondering what my dream Godzilla project would be,
wonder no more.  I’d love to do a 12-issue series that adapted and
combined the original Gojira and the American Godzilla: King of the
Monsters...and expanding the human stories found in both of those
versions. me maybe?


On Twitter, Gail Simone posed the question “Could you marry someone
who hated geek stuff and geek culture?”

My response: “Yes...but it would be drawn by Jack Kamen and would
end badly.”

That’s all I have for you today.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more

© 2012 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. My wife, Donna, has no interest in 'geek culture', but puts up with my fannish ways. It may have helped that my step-daughter, Kristina is a complete Star Wars geek, so Donna did know what she was getting in to when we started dating.