Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vampires and Werewolves...From Pluto!








Yes, from Pluto. I sit here at a few minutes before midnight feeling like I'm on Bizarro-steroids, which is not a good thing. There were times at the printing plant where'd I be using my fingers--even on my right hand--to separate pages on a hot job, and after one long four-hour stint, the other night guy said I looked as jittery as a meth addict. He said it in a compassionate way, and thankfully I can think of only three times in those two years where I needed to do such a thing. Yep, I can lift sixty pounds chest-high, but I try and use my fingers independently and I am fucked. Today reminded me of one of those long-haul days where I broke through that invisible wall several times. Most days it is me dog-paddling and trying to keep my mouth above water, so it is a rare pleasure to be on level ground punch punch punching away. Just before I started typing this, now twenty minutes gone, I took my crazy pill and a diazapam, and Herb Alpert is helping me lose the chest pings. No need to talk of the events of the day, some things stay private when it comes to, well, anyways. Off and on, I feel like I'm in an oxygen bar with cyanide martinis at my side, if that makes sense. If anything, my little monologue is a perfect tell for why I still live in the comic geek world. I know my body is for shit, but then there are the guys who can fly.

But in the 40s, it was batshit crazy. Anything went. I found a copy of SUPERMEN, which has a lackluster cover of some guy in yellow and green beating on, I think, The Yellow Claw. Big card stock pages. I flipped through it with some interest, then I stopped at Fero. When I saw this dude was going after the aforementioned monsters from Pluto, I had to buy it. In fact, there are pages of early Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, and two pages from Siegel and Shuster three years before Superman. 1935. I think at one point, I am going to scan the entire Fero story, it is quite short.

I love the preciseness of the panels, considering some of these guys were working for Iger or Eisner in what amounted to sweat shops. Characters created on the fly. I have a few issues of PLANET and they are neat, the art is sleek and full of robots and girls with ice cream cone breasts. Fantomah is bisexual. Really. Well, you live in the jungle...

The Face is one cool cat. He pulls off the perfectly-molded mask and becomes Tom Trent, newspaper guy. I love how this chick screams upon seeing him. Comet was a guy like I was talking about, no one knew if they'd do another story with him or not. He could blind people or set them on fire with beams from his eyes--like Cyclops in X-MEN, but we wouldn't want to think Stan Lee ever stole from anyone, right?--and, to be honest, several stories were outright brutal. One hero needs to climb in a window, so he just tosses a bad guy to his doom.

And then there is Spacehawk. I am including him here for Capcom, more than anything else. Discussing a 1950s comic called Mystery Tales last summer, I tried to describe Basil Wolverton's artwork. Well, here it is. I'll be posting more from the book over the next week.

This Tijuana Brass is great. You'd think I was boozing it up again. April will be four years. Wish I could say I've saved money from not buying $4.00 Bud Lights as I sat hunched over my notebook at the Delta Lounge at 87th and Major. Curse you, recession. Damn you, unemployment. But then there are the guys and gals from the 40s, in their primary colors and square panels, keeping me happy, like a hemorrhage that gently bathes my brain...

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Planet stuff, I love. I should pick up some Planet stories. I've got several collections of books that include works from that zine.

David Niall Wilson said...

How did I miss Fero? Planet detective? Werewolves on Pluto? I would have loved that ... but somehow never even saw it....

Richard J. said...

What a bounty! I love those Planet Stories books.

That image from The Face is exquisite. All we have to do is add the letters B-O-O-K to the logo and this one panel will speak volumes.

HemlockMan said...

Ah, the Golden Age! Weird shit gone batshit gone bugfuck berserk!

Basil Wolverton was insane! That's all there is to it! I've heard stories of his adaptation of The Holy Bible, principally The Book of Revelations. They say it'll char your brain tissue. I've yet to see it. They say he was very religious, which fits, somehow.

FANTOMAH was also crazy. Written and illustrated by an alcoholic wife-beater named Fletcher Hanks. I have that first collection of his stuff...I SHALL DESTROY ALL THE CIVILIZED PLANETS! Basically, his two main characters, Fantomah and Stardust were the same (other than their sex): GOD. They would watch from afar and then come and kill the guilty in the most hideous, brutal fashion. Pretty twisted. Hanks apparently froze to death on a New York City park bench--alone, homeless, alcoholic.

Re: Stan Lee. Great dialogue editor, and taker of credit belonging rightfully to Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. Alas.

Capcom said...

Pretty neat stuff there. Spacehawk is kewl! The forest of Saturn reminds me of how C.S.Lewis described Perlandra, etc. Also might be where Krisfalusci got his inspiration for Ren and Stimpy's alt dimension thru the black hole. :-)

BTW, I've been meaning to email you that I'm sorry that you're not feeling well lately. I hope you feel better soon, somehow, someway.