Roy Thomas’ Reflective Comics Fanzine
In the USA
No.91 January 2010
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
“WHAT HATH KURTZMAN WROUGHT?” THOSE MID-’50s COLOR MAD WANNABES - Part II starring TM
ROSS ANDRU & MIKE ESPOSITO OTTO BINDER L.B. COLE JACK DAVIS JAY DISBROW HY FLEISCHMAN HARVEY KURTZMAN HOWARD NOSTRAND BOB POWELL WALLY WOOD
Golden Age artist JACK KATZ talks to JIM AMASH MICHAEL T. GILBERT on 1940s-50s comics defender LAURETTA BENDER CENTAUR Gallops Again! BONUS!
The Teenage Creations of STEVE GERBER Godfather of Howard the Duck Shazam! hero TM & ©2009 DC Comics; MAD is a trademark of E.C. Publications, Inc
Vol. 3, No. 91 / January 2010 Editor Roy Thomas
Associate Editors Bill Schelly Jim Amash
Design & Layout Christopher Day
Consulting Editor John Morrow
FCA Editor P.C. Hamerlinck
Comic Crypt Editor Michael T. Gilbert
Editorial Honor Roll Jerry G. Bails (founder) Ronn Foss, Biljo White Mike Friedrich
Cover Artists Jerry Ordway & Emilio Squeglio
Cover Colorist Tom Ziuko
With Special Thanks to: Heidi Amash Henry Andrews Ger Apeldoorn Bob Bailey Matt D. Baker John Benson Jon Berk Bill Black Lee Boyette Chris Brown Aaron Caplan R. Dewey Cassell Michaël Dewally Jay Disbrow Michael Dunne Jerry Edwards Mike Esposito Jon R. Evans Michael Finn Shane Foley Janet Gilbert Mike Gold “Golden Age Comic Book Stories” Michael Grabois Walt Grogan Jennifer Hamerlinck Heritage Comics Archives Roger Holda Jonathan Jensen Jack Katz Denis Kitchen Mark Lewis Jim Ludwig
Bruce Mason Harry Mendryk Peter Meskin Philip Meskin Frank Motler Mark Muller Will Murray Peter Normanton Dorothy Ohlinger Jerry Ordway Nigel Parkinson Vern Patrick Barry Pearl John Pennisi John G. Pierce Ken Quattro Charlie Roberts Fred Robinson Steven Rowe Adrienne Roy Peter Schilder Ed Schumacher Scott Shaw! Joe Simon David Siegel Emilio Squeglio Ken Stringer Marc Swayze Jeff Taylor Dann Thomas Dr. Michael J. Vassallo Hames Ware Robert Wiener “Yesterday’s Papers”
This issue is dedicated to the memory of
Frank Coghlan, Jr.
Contents Writer/Editorial: “Life Is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 “We Considered [Comics] An Art Form” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 First Kingdom writer/artist Jack Katz talks to Jim Amash about his own work—and many others’.
“What Hath Kurtzman Wrought?” – Part II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Ger Apeldoorn’s look at the mid-1950s Mad wannabes—with a Harvey sidebar by John Benson.
Centaur Spread – Part III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Lee Boyette on that early company’s comics and the people who created them.
Comic Fandom Archive: Headline—The Forgotten Fanzine 58 Bill Schelly & John G. Pierce continue coverage of the early-1960s fanzines of Steve Gerber.
Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt: Dr. Lauretta Bender – Part III . 63 More on comics’ 1940s-50s “anti-Wertham,” by Michael T. Gilbert.
re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections] . . . . . . . . . 69 FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America] #150 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 P.C. Hamerlinck proudly presents a sesquicentennial celebration of FCA, featuring Jerry Ordway, Emilio Squeglio, Marc Swayze, & the Fawcett’s “dark” heroes. On Our Cover: Captain Marvel artists of two different eras—but both drawing the original Big Red Cheese of their day—are Jerry Ordway, writer and cover artist of DC’s 1990s Power of Shazam! series, and Emilio Squeglio, who drew as a production artist for Fawcett during the late Golden Age. Jerry penciled most of this cover and positioned the mirror-image of Cap, and Emilio took over from there, for a Hands-across-the-Decades delight. For more on their happy connections with the World’s Mightiest Mortal, see this issue’s double-size FCA section. [Shazam! hero TM & ©2010 DC Comics.] Above: To augment our continuing coverage of the colorful early Centaur Comics Group, we present this dynamic splash panel by Human Torch creator Carl Burgos from Amazing-Man Comics #8 (Dec. 1939), featuring his “post-1950” hero “The Iron Skull.” Thanks to Lee Boyette & Jon R. Evans. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.] Alter EgoTM is published 8 times a year by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Single issues: $9 US ($11.00 Canada, $16 elsewhere). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $88 US, $140 Canada, $210 elsewhere. All characters are © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter © Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada. ISSN: 1932-6890 FIRST PRINTING.
“We Considered [Comics] An Art Form” Part I Of A Far-Ranging Interview With JACK KATZ, Creator of The First Kingdom Conducted by Jim Amash
Transcribed by Brian K. Morris
ack Katz‘s comics career has been a long and winding journey down various and occasionally bumpy roads. At the High School of Industrial Arts, he became buddies with future comic artists Alex Toth, Pete Morisi, and Alfonso Greene, and all four became friends with the legendary newspaper and comic book artist Frank Robbins. Jack got his feet wet in the comic book business working on “Bulletman” and “Jughead,” had very brief stops at the Harry “A” Chesler and the Ben Sangor shops, and worked for a short time in the Jerry Iger shop, before
spending five years in the production department at King Features Syndicate. After stops at Standard Publications, the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby shop, Hillman, Fiction House, Timely, and ghost jobs on Terry and the Pirates and Kerry Drake, Jack left comics for the teaching world. Returning to comic books in the late 1960s, Jack freelanced for Marvel, DC, Warren Publications, and Skywald before leaving the commercial comics world behind him. In 1974, Jack began his seminal work, The First Kingdom, while returning to teaching art. His newest book, Legacy, is now on sale, and Jack’s working on his next two books, which will complete the First Kingdom trilogy. In both halves of this interview, Jack not only discusses the twists and turns of his career, but his relationships and observations of the many people he’s known in the industry. In this part, you’ll meet Alex Toth, Pete Morisi, Alfonso Greene, Frank Robbins, Hal Foster, Alex Raymond, and Mort Meskin through the reflections of a comics rebel who strove to find his artistic voice despite internal struggles and the vicissitudes of the comics medium. —Jim.
“I Can Give You $4 A Page” JIM AMASH: Jack, I’m assuming you were born, so tell me when and where. JACK KATZ: I was born, in Brooklyn, 9-27-27. Then the next day—two days, actually—I went to Canada, and lived there until I was 7½. I might as well tell you my real name, but it’s not “Katz.” What had happened is, my grandfather’s name was Spevack, believe it or not. At Ellis Island, there was this German policeman. My grandfather says, “My name is Katz. It’s short for ‘Polychromekatzenheimer,’” or something like that. [laughter] “From now on, in America, your name is ‘Katz.’” “But the Spevack family is a very big family in Europe.” The policeman said, “It doesn’t matter. You’re a Katz,” and so Grandpa abided by that, said his name was Katz, and they put it on his certificate. JA: What got you interested in being an artist? KATZ: Believe it or not, my other Grandma sent us a package. I
A Kingdom By The Sea (Above:) Jack Katz in 1982, holding the Inkpot Award presented to him by the San Diego Comic-Con—and, at left, a page (p. 421, to be precise) from his 24-book, 800-page The First Kingdom, produced between 1978 and 1986. More images from and discussion of Katz’s magnum opus will be seen next issue, along with more specimens of his Golden and Silver Age work. Thanks to Jack for the photo, and to Mark Muller for the art scan. [TFK ©2010 Jack Katz.]
Part I Of A Far-Ranging Interview With Jack Katz
Jungle Lords Vs. Ancient Civilizations (Left:) Ape-men and Vikings—the two major artistic themes in the career of Harold R. Foster, the future creator of Prince Valiant—were already intertwined in this 1935 panel from his Tarzan Sunday newspaper comic strip. That feature, written and drawn by Foster (seen in photo), made an indelible impression upon young Jack Katz. [©2010 Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc..] (Below:) A white-skinned jungle king encountering time-lost peoples, of course, was a recurrent subject in ERB’s Tarzan novels, and Katz would draw his own hero “Zangar” (apparently co-created by writer Gardner Fox) years later, in Skywald’s Jungle Adventures, which will be covered next issue. Seen here is JK’s cover for JA #3 (June 1971); thanks to Jerry Edwards, who carried on a lively correspondence with Jack from 1979-82. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
was six years old and, well, I was always drawing, even then. But this package was wrapped in these Sunday newspaper supplements. I think it was a Hearst paper, and it had Tarzan by Harold Foster. Everything I tried to do, he did perfectly, so he became my hero. He was like a stimulus. He was like music. You interpret the piece subliminally, and it just either enlivens you, or you get turned off by it. None of the other artists did that for me. As a matter of fact, Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon—I wasn’t too excited about it because it was on another page, and it didn’t mean anything to me. I was also heavily influenced by classical music, of which I have a tremendous collection from the 1890s to about 1960; modern American composers and English composers and French composers. I was drawn to music, there was no question about it. I used to watch all Leonard Bernstein rehearsals for Carnegie Hall. JA: When you started seeing the comic books— KATZ: I really detested them, because to me, the art was extraordinarily important. My father would take me to the art museums. I saw Rubens and Rembrandt, extraordinary efforts in art. I never really found comic books to have anything that was going to have anything to do with that. It was going to be a lower form of art. However, when I was about 13, my mother knew somebody who was working with Quality Comics, before they were Quality, and took me up there. I wasn’t trying to get work. I just wanted to see what was happening there. There was Lou Fine, and I saw the way he was working over his pencils. He had about five billion lines before he accepted one line on the page. And there were a couple other artists there. I saw Fred Guardineer, among others. He’d been finishing some inking, and I saw his stuff was very exacting. They were across the street from the Chrysler Building. They called it “the rooftop paradise.” JA: Editor George Brenner used to boot people out of the Quality offices. KATZ: He took a look at my sketches. He said they looked good, but I needed a lot of work and anatomy study. He treated me pretty good, I must admit. JA: How did you meet up with C.C. Beck? KATZ: Because the word was out that he was looking for help. I met this guy who worked for the Beck [and Pete Costanza] shop who said, “Look, I can give you $4 a page.” I don’t remember who he was. JA: The date I have for that is 1943. How did you hear that they had a studio? Did you hear about it in school [The School of Industrial Arts]? KATZ: Yes, and the scuttlebutt was always about how to get into the business. A lot of people were only interested in getting into the
magazines. There was a guy by the name of Ralph Gross, and another by the name of Vito Colavito. Do you know who Vito was? JA: Alex Toth used to talk about him. His brother was Rocky Colavito, who played for the Cleveland Indians. KATZ: Right, and Vito was Dean Cornwell’s assistant. He didn’t do any drawing or anything, but he just was kind of a gofer. Both of those guys were talking, and they had access to addresses and potential stuff. They asked me, “Hey, would you like to do comics?” I said, “Well, that doesn’t
“We Considered [Comics] An Art Form”
sound like a good idea.” But Vito gave me the address of the guy who was working for Beck, so I went over there. Beck just looked at me—I was just sort-of a tall, skinny fool—“$4 a page,” ’nuff said. [mutual laughter] I did this for at least eight to ten months. I was very slow because I had to have perfect anatomy in my drawings. I only saw Beck a couple of times. JA: You did “Bulletman” for this artist. What else? KATZ: He handled some “Archie“ stuff, and I did a little “Jughead.” I think I helped on one “Archie,” but I only did about half the story. They loved my drawings, but they hated the time I’d spend on them. [Beck and Costanza, and everybody who worked for them] were packaging for everybody. This is how they saved the day, because a lot of artists were late on jobs. If one part of the package didn’t come through, the other would. Sometimes I was asked to redraw things. Nothing important, but to tell the story better. So if I had a shot from one angle and he wanted it from another, I had to erase, sometimes, a quarter of a page. I did it, cursing under my breath. I did such good drawings, but drawings don’t pay you. You’ve got to be able to tell a story, it’s that simple. I think I was paid in cash. JA: So it was under-the-table payment. Apparently, you were working for someone who was working for the Beck and Costanza studios rather than the studio itself. Do you remember who this man was? [Jim mentions the names of a few possibilities.] KATZ: All I remember is that he was a tall guy with a big, big belly.
“I Worked for Jerry Iger… For About $30 A Week In Cash” JA: So you did that for eight months, which leads you into 1944. KATZ: In 1944, I worked for Jerry Iger, on salary, for about $30 a week in cash. There was a number of stories he was turning out. He took old stories, and some of them were by Reed Crandall, believe it or not, and they needed some details on the uniforms. I would put in the details. I did quite a bit of work there. I did some pencils. That’s when I met Matt Baker, and I really affiliated with him. Matt, I thought, was one of the most wonderful gentlemen—he reminded me of Nat “King“ Cole. His voice was very beautiful, he was a very good-looking man. He had a bad, bad heart. In fact, when we used to walk down the stairs to go to a place to eat, he had a difficult time breathing, and his eyes looked like they were
Giants In The Earth Jack with his oh-so-brief boss C.C. Beck and others at a San Diego Comic-Con, late 1970s or early ’80s. From left to right are: legendary “S.H.I.E.L.D.“ writer/artist Jim Steranko, Jack “King” Kirby (’nuff said), “Captain Marvel“ co-creator/artist C.C. Beck, “Superman“ co-creator/artist Joe Shuster, Jack Katz. Photo courtesy of the latter; sorry the quality isn't better, but Jack tells us this version was already enhanced from a blurry original.
popping out. He’d get tired from walking too much, though it wasn’t that obvious. The reason I got fired from Jerry Iger’s is that I looked at Baker’s stuff and said, “Your stuff is so beautiful. If you can just show your stuff to places like The Saturday Evening Post, and some of these other places, you really should. You’re better than the rest of us.” I figured Matt was afraid that if he were to jump into that, he might not make it, and he knew the tension that was going on with the illustration market. They were bringing more and more photography into the set. Unfortunately, a guy whom we were walking behind overheard me. He told Jerry Iger about it, and Iger asked me, “Did you tell Matt to quit this job?” I said, “No, I said he didn’t have to quit to do illustration.” He said, “Well, you’re fired.” Frankly, I was about to go anyway. I was there six or seven months. JA: How did Iger treat you and the others? KATZ: You know how they used to make up these imitation countries in the movies? Iger was like a sergeant in one of those imitation countries; he was kind of a buffoon, and at the same time you had to take him seriously. He would strut around like he was somebody special. JA: Do you think Matt Baker was accepted there, considering the prejudice of the times?
Iger And—Well, That’s Definitely Not Eisner! Jerry Iger dines out in New York in 1942 with his writer and later studio partner Ruth Roche. This photo first appeared in Jay Disbrow’s important study The Iger Comic Kingdom, which was reprinted in full, with many illustrations, in A/E #21… still available from TwoMorrows. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
KATZ: Matt was accepted, at least to his face. I don’t know what all went on there, but really, Matt and I got along beautifully. I used to just praise his stuff to the ceiling. I used to say, “I wish I could draw women like you.” He thanked me and, in fact, Jerry caught me twice just taking a look while Matt was drawing women in the stories, and told me to get back to my desk. Matt was older than me, of course. He won by way of his art, and he won in spades. Really, none of the others could draw half as well as he could. He was treated with respect. He was a very quiet man. He didn’t like to talk about his heart problems. Later on, he said, “Look, Jack, I have a bad heart, and there’s no way I’m going to turn that around.” He was very, very straightforward, didn’t complain. He did his work. He was, in my opinion, one of the top illustrators, and a good storyteller. I admired him as a person, and his skin color was meaningless to me. With me around, no one in the shop ever, in any way, disparaged him. Besides, Jerry Iger would walk around, strutting with his belly out, and he would look at you. Man, he would freeze everyone.
“What Hath Kurtzman Wrought?” Part II Of Our Issue-By-Issue Look At The Mid-1950s Mad Comics Imitations by Ger Apeldoorn
EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: Alter Ego #86 cover-featured the first half of Ger’s guided tour of the dozen or so Mad wannabes of 1953-55. Those were the years when Harvey Kurtzman’s inspired brainchild was still a four-color comic, before that alreadybestselling EC title was transmuted into a black-&white 25¢ magazine and swiftly grew under Kurtzman, then particularly under second editor Al Feldstein (and publisher Bill Gaines), into a national phenomenon. Along with delving into the historical background of parodies done in comics style, Part I of this article surveyed St. John Publications’ Whack (plus a left-over tale or two printed in The Three Stooges), Timely/Marvel’s Crazy, Wild, and Riot (including the three 1956 issues of the latter, which was briefly revived after Mad had moved on to its b&w format), and Charlton’s Eh! (whose four final issues were retitled From Here to Insanity). In this segment, with art provided by Ger himself except where otherwise noted, the author covers the remaining color comics whose logos were featured in the classic “Julius Caesar” how-to-parody story in Mad #17 (Nov. 1954)—plus the one or two that weren’t. Once again, because it, like Mad #1-23, has been fully and beautifully reprinted in still-available hardcover volumes by Russ Cochran, EC’s own official Mad imitation, Panic, which was edited by future Kurtzman successor Feldstein, receives no separate detailed listing—but samples from its (and Mad’s) pages will be seen in what follows, for contrast with work in the “unauthorized” Mad competitors, beginning on the facing page with…
When Kurtzman Went Mad An EC house ad for Mad #3 that appeared in Weird Science #18 (March-April 1953)—and, at top of page, a far later self-caricature of Mad creator Harvey Kurtzman, featuring his trademark signature. The Mad cover art is by Kurtzman, who probably also laid out the ad’s framing art, which was finished by Wally Wood. Thanks to John Benson for the portrait by HK. [Kurtzman art ©2010 Harvey Kurtzman Estate, courtesy of Kitchen, Lind & Assoc., LLC; EC house ad ©2010 William M. Gaines, Agent, Inc.]
“What Hath Kurtzman Wrought?”—Part II
FLIP The Harvey Girls And Guys In the year in which one Mad imitation swiftly followed another, Harvey Publications was not quick to join the parade and was one of the first to drop out of it. The premier issue of Flip didn’t appear until April 1954, the second and final one two months later. Both issues were almost completely illustrated by Bob Powell and Howard Nostrand, under editor Sid Jacobson. Nostrand had started in the business as Powell’s assistant and in 1952 had left that artist’s studio to work on his own. Both did a lot of work for the Harvey war, horror, and romance titles. In an interview with Bhob Stewart for Graphic Story Magazine #16 (June 1974), Nostrand said this about the title: “Bob Powell was not a particularly humorous fellow. He didn’t know how to write humor. He didn’t know the whole premise of humor. The whole thing just eluded him. When we were doing this humor magazine for Harvey, I ended up writing the whole damn thing and drawing half of it, and Powell was doing the other half.” [A/E EDITOR’S NOTE: See an interview with Howard Nostrand, and coverage of Harvey’s 1950s horror mags, in A/E #89. Photos of both Nostrand and Powell can be found there.] Apparently a third issue of Flip was planned, because sketches (with script) by Nostrand for three pages of a satire of “Sheena, Queen of the
He Said, Sheena Said… (Left:) Howard Nostrand’s circa-1954 layouts for the splash page of “Shaända the Jungle Gal,” which, he said in Bill Spicer’s Graphic Story Magazine #16 (Summer ’74), was done for the never-published third issue of Harvey Comics’ Flip. The writer/artist added that such layouts were the form in which he submitted stories he was also going to draw. Thanks to Aaron Caplan for gifting Ye Editor with a copy of GSM #16! (Above:) Still, obviously, some script and art changes were made… for when the tale finally saw print in Harvey Hits #1 (Sept. 1957), it was as “Shirl the Jungle Girl,” with much of the dialogue altered. Even the sequence in which Shaända swings into a tree had become Shirl (with reduced cleavage) carelessly letting a tree branch knock her off an elephant’s back. While the “Shirl” title is clearly cleverer than “Shaända,” the earlier gag sequence was almost undeniably superior. Of course, Nostrand may have decided to do these changes on his own, without prompting by editor Sid Jacobson. John Benson, who sent this scan, tells us: “The faces of the [story’s] villains, which Nostrand had intended to resemble Tim Tyler and Spud [according to GSM #16], have been changed by another artist, though this may have been dictated by the Harveys, not the Code.” Benson reports that Nostrand had also worked on other material for Flip #3 before the title was canceled. Incidentally, the rest of Harvey Hits #1 was composed of reprints of the newspaper comic strip The Phantom. [Art & story ©2010 Harvey Publications or successors in interest.] John informs us that the next issue of his magazine Squa Tront, which is due out sometime this year, will feature more details about “Shirl/Shaända,” including an interview with Howard Nostrand in which he discussed the story.
An Issue-By-Issue Look At The Mid-1950s Mad Comics Imitations
Jungle”—titled “Shaända the Jungle Gal”—are likewise printed in GSM #16, with these comments by the artist: “‘Shaända’ was one of the last things I did for the Harveys. This was for their magazine Flip. This was the way I submitted a script to them; any corrections would be done on these before I went to finished art.” Notes on the art say: “The hero will look like Jungle Jim… the villains will slightly resemble Tim Tyler and Spud [characters in Lyman Young’s comic strip Tim Tyler’s Luck].” But there was no Flip #3. Powell and Nostrand did do a lot of “funny” stories for Harvey’s horror books, though, some even predating Flip. [A/E EDITOR’S NOTE: See Interlude on pp. 28-33.]
noodle-needers, you are about to lose your heads (all two of them), blow your tops (out should come sawdust) and FLIP your lids! You are about to enter a world that goes from here to insanity.”
Flip Topline: “Humor Brewed in a Cracked Pot” Publisher: Illustrated Humor [Harvey], 1860 Broadway, New York, NY
#1 (April 1954) Cover: Howard Nostrand “Puncho Villa.” Art by Howard Nostrand. 5 pp.
This doesn’t seem to be an actual parody of All in all, one can say that Flip belonged to any movie or TV or radio series. In 1934 there crème de la crème of Mad imitations, mainly had been a Hollywood movie biography of because of Nostrand and Powell’s contributions. Pancho Villa (Viva Villa!) featuring Wallace The stories aren’t bad, and both issues contain at Beery—and in 1952 Marlon Brando had least one “classic.” The contents pages are the same [©2010 Harvey Publications or successors starred in Viva Zapata!, about a compadre of as in all Harvey titles, sporting snippets of the in interest.] Villa’s who fought in southern Mexico while splash pages on the right-hand side and short Villa was running wild in the north, and that may have been the descriptions of the stories on the left. The latter area in the first issue is inspiration for this spoof. used for a short editorial introduction: “Brothers, sisters and fellow
Foo On You! The odd magazine called Foo—not quite a comic book—was published in 1951-52, beginning just prior to Mad. Researchers Frank Motler and Steven Rowe sent the art spots seen in this montage. Part of the cover of Foo #1 (Sept. ’51) and #2 (Feb.-March ’52)… a back-cover ad parody from #2… and the cover of #3 (May ’52). John Adcock, on his website Yesterday’s Papers, reproduces a fake ad for “O’Peefes Beer” from Foo and wonders if, since “O’Keefes” was a well-known Canadian brand of beer, Monarch Publishing was perhaps a Canadian company. The mag, he says, “targets adults with such tales as ‘Love Life of the South American Male Flea.’” He notes that the cover of “the first issue had a byline ‘by the editors of Mud.’” But that can’t have been a reference to Mad. Adcock adds: “Foo was not that funny; the humor is very heavy-handed lowbrow stuff.” Still, he feels it might’ve been an influence on Kurtzman & Bill Gaines’ Mad: “It’s almost certain that [Foo] would have been for sale on New York newsstands.” [©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
An Issue-By-Issue Look At The Mid-1950s Mad Comics Imitations
“Fight against Scares.” Text page by Leopold Mxtplk (a pseudonym for a world-famous manufacturer of laxatives). Tale about Sex-Lox (a pseudonym for the laxative Ex-Lax, which got a lot of laughs on radio and TV in those days, especially because of its chocolate-flavored version!) “Boston Tea Party.” Art by Powell. 5 pp.
[artifacts of the 1920s, when the Sheik film was made with star Rudolph Valentino]…. Since this was a black-&-white movie… they did it in two colors, sepia and yellow ochre, I think. Instead of having the white borders around, we had black borders with round corners so it would look like a movie frame.” Nostrand was justifiably proud of his work on this story. Even Harvey Kurtzman commended him on it. At least it’s a satire of something concrete. “Ulysses.” Art by Kremer. One-page gag.
An historical satire, which is a fancy way of saying it is a funny story set in a historical setting. Turns out the instigator of the Boston tea party secretly was a coffee manufacturer.
“How to Write a Ghost Novel.” Text page. [“Get a ghost writer.”} “Good Old Mother Meddler.” Art by Powell. 5 pp. Love problems parody.
“The Shriek of Araby.” Art by Nostrand channeling Jack Davis. 5 pp. Silent movie parody.
As was the case in the early issues of Mad, Powell and Nostrand were mainly just doing silly versions of the stuff they usually drew. Although this must have been a great outlet for them and leads to some powerful art, story-wise it’s a dead end. It is a pity we didn’t get to see what they’d have done if they had gone beyond the obvious targets.
This justly celebrated parody of the silent movie The Sheik was discussed at length in the Nostrand interview in Graphic Story Magazine #16: “We are wafted back in time to the strains of [the song] ‘Japanese Sandman’… [there’s] bathtub gin and all that jazz
[Continued on p. 33.] through her magic mirror. When Feldstein decided to run a “Grim Fairy Tale” in the first issue of his own Mad imitation Panic (Feb.-March 1954), the story was indistinguishable in style from the later horror-title entries.
Harvey’s Humorous Horror by John Benson That Flip was one of the last Mad imitations to reach the newsstands comes as no surprise. Harvey Comics was a conservative outfit that did not tend to rush into new trends. But while this was true of Alfred Harvey and his brothers, it wasn’t necessarily true of Sid Jacobson, who in late 1952 became editor of most of their comics. The company’s horror comics already had enough of an EC look to them that EC, in the letters page of The Haunt of Fear #15 (Sept.-Oct. 1952), warned readers the Harvey titles were imitations and mentioned the titles by name—the only horror comics they ever so honored. But Jacobson really tried to get beyond a mere visual resemblance. He very actively attempted to improve quality by following EC’s lead. As he said in an interview printed in Alter Ego #89: “I came in, new to the whole business, and I looked at EC and I said, Oh, my God... why don’t we strive to do this?.... No one else was doing anything worthwhile.” Jacobson quickly made several important changes. He made Howard Nostrand (who had previously been working in Bob Powell’s shop) a regular artist for the company in his own right, and he urged Nostrand to work in the style of Jack Davis and Wallace Wood. The stories began to have twist endings, presented ironically in the somewhat gleeful style of the EC tales. It’s important to remember that there was always a certain tongue-in-cheek attitude to EC’s horror comics, which only became more pronounced as time went on. As early as May 1952 EC was printing parody horror titles of popular songs from readers in their letter pages—“It Takes Two to Strangle,” “As Slime Goes By,” and so forth—which became a continuing feature there. And at the very same time that Harvey Kurtzman was producing the first issue of Mad, Al Feldstein was working up his first “Grim Fairy Tale” in the office next door. Although their shock endings were grim enough, the stories in the series (which eventually ran to 15 entries) were written in a somewhat humorous, tongue-in-cheek style from the beginning. Under the influence of Mad, that humor element became ever more pronounced, eventually featuring corny dialogue, puns, asides to the reader, and silly signs. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (Haunt of Fear #22, Nov.-Dec. 1953, art by Jack Kamen) even had Howdy Doody talking to the Wicked Witch
So it wasn’t much of a stretch for Jacobson, over at Harvey, to introduce humor and parody into their horror comics. The Harveys may have been conservative about starting new titles, but Jacobson had a fair amount of freedom as to what went into the existing ones. In Witches Tales #19 (June 1953), he began “Mother Mongoose’s Nursery Crimes,” a one-page feature that ran in every issue until #26 (the final issue to contain original material). Drawn by Nostrand in his most humorous style, each segment features a brief, nursery-rhyme-like ditty, usually featuring snippets of actual nursery rhymes. A few months later, a similar one-page feature was inaugurated in Chamber of Chills #19 (Sept. 1953)—“Chilly Chamber Music,” with popular songs reworked into horror themes not unlike what readers did in the EC letter pages. Nostrand illustrated most of these, with Powell also doing a few. The feature ran through #24, and also appeared in Tomb of Terror #13.
What’s Good For The Mongoose… There were several episodes of “Mother Mongoose’s Nursery Rhymes” in Witches Tales. In this one from WT #22 (Dec. 1953), a Dick Tracy type wears that comic strip’s famous and prophetic “two-way wrist radio” with a CBS microphone on it. Thanks to John Benson. [©2010 Harvey Publications or successors in interest.]
Centaur Spread – Part III Continuing Our Look At The Colorful CENTAUR COMICS GROUP & Related Companies by Lee Boyette NOTE FROM LEE BOYETTE: I wish to acknowledge my good friend Hames Ware, without whom this article would have been impossible to write. His information, input, encouragement, and guidance have been a source of inspiration for many years.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In issues #85 & 87, Lee related the saga of the early but little-known Centaur Comics Group and its even more obscure predecessors and descendants. This time, we continue with his catalog of the various comic book titles, arranged
In the Centaur Ring These two house ads call attention to some of Centaur’s most famous heroes—if that’s not a contradiction in terms for such a little-known line. The ad above is from Amazing Mystery Funnies, Vol. 3, #10 (Oct. 1939)… the Amazing Man Comics ad from AMF #20 (May 1940). Lots of great Jacquet shop/Funnies, Inc. artists show up here. The “Amazing Man” splash is by Bill Everett, “The Shark” by Lew Glanzman, “The Iron Skull” by Carl Burgos, and “Minimidget” by John Kolb (the latter of whom is not on the list of Centaur personnel)… while “Speed Centaur” and “Fantom of the Fair” are probably by Gustavson, and “Masked Marvel” by Ben Thompson. Pics of Everett, Glanzman, Burgos, and Gustavson were seen in A/E #85. And in case you’re wondering—the name “Amazing-Man” was often hyphenated in the various stories, but not always in its cover logo. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.] Incidentally, as a sort of shorthand, the term “Centaur” will generally be used in these captions to refer to the entire group of companies often referred to by that term… but, as the list on the next page or so details, there were actually at least four corporations or partnerships (and some of these had more than one name!).
by company, and a listing of the known personnel of those companies. All art in this chapter was provided by Lee and his colleague Jon R. Evans, unless otherwise noted. And now, let’s saddle up the ol’ Centaur—and cantor along…!
The Colorful Centaur Comics Group & Related Companies
One From Column “A,” And… Here’s a sample page from each of the four company listings (clockwise from top left): The contents page of Comic Magazine Company’s Detective Picture Stories, Vol. 1, #1 (Dec. 1936). The figure seems to be a fuller version of the cover art by William Allison, which was depicted in A/E #85. The W.C. Brigham cover for Chesler’s Star Comics #1 (Feb. 1937). Dick Ryan’s cover for Ultem’s Funny Pages #16 (a.k.a. Vol. 2, #5, Jan. 1938)—whose New Year-themed cover must’ve come as a surprise if there was any lead time built into its publication. The cover of Centaur’s Amazing Mystery Funnies, Vol. 2, #4 (real #8, April 1939). Artist uncertain, but it resembles Bill Everett’s work, and Wild Bill is credited with drawing the covers just before and after this one. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
Comic Fandom Archive
Headline– The Forgotten Fanzine! The Teenage Creations Of STEVE GERBER - Part II by John G. Pierce Introduction: Last issue, John began his coverage of Steve Gerber’s early days in comic fandom with a discussion of Steve’s amateur characters, who appeared in the pages of Gerber’s early fanzine Headline. This time, John goes into more depth about one of the first of the fabulous fanzines of the 1960s. —Bill Schelly.
This approach, too, would become the basis for many a fanzine devoted to new comics about original, fan-developed characters. Perhaps the most notable of these would be the Texas Trio’s Star-Studded Comics… but the first such was Steve Gerber’s Headline.
“Headline’s Got Everything!”
The eventual appearance of Headline #1 probably owes a great deal to Dr. Jerry Bails, the man generally regarded as “the Father of Comics Fandom,” for it was via Jerry that Steve met his earliest contributors. These were fans who had been receiving Alter-Ego and had written to Jerry with some of their own ideas for original characters.
he first fanzine devoted exclusively to comic books—most especially, to comic book super-heroes—was Alter-Ego (the name was originally hyphenated), published and edited for March 1961 by Jerry G. Bails, with Roy Thomas listed as co-editor. Following in the wake of its first issue came other fanzines devoted to comics heroes.
Alter-Ego #1 had featured news (in a section called “On the Drawing Board,” which Jerry Bails soon launched as a separate publication of that name; later its title was changed to The Comic Reader), parodies (Roy Thomas’ “Bestest League of America,” showing some of the skills and punniness he would years later apply to Not Brand Echh and Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!), articles, and original fiction. The fiction in Alter-Ego #1 & 2 was by Roy Thomas, as well. Technically, what he wrote therein was labelled a “revival,” since it was a new version of the old DC hero, The Spectre. (Before long, DC decided to put the clamps on allowing fanzines to use their copyrighted characters in this fashion.) However, except for visual aspects, this incarnation retained few of the attributes of the comic book Spectre of the More Fun and AllStar Comics in the early ’40s, and was, in more ways than not, an original character created by a fan.
When Headline #1 appeared around the spring of 1962 (only a year after Alter-Ego #1), the cover—which was depicted last issue—showed three as-yet-unidentified super-heroes stating consecutively, in Huey, Dewey, and Louie fashion: “At last...” “...the long-awaited...” “....first issue of....” as they displayed a banner reading “Headline No. 1.” “Long-awaited” was an understatement of fantastic magnitude, for it had been in the planning and preparation stages for over a year. Following the cover, rendered in dittoed color by Headline’s co-editor and main artist, Paul Seydor, a page called “Policies of the House” welcomed readers to “the first issue of the most unusual fanzine ever. Many of the current fanzines are devoted to movies—they’re good. Some are TV fanzines—also good. Comic fanzines are good, too. Well, Headline is all of these in one. If your special like is comics, we’ve got spectacular stories about all-new original comic heroes and articles about comics— old and new. Is your dish TV? We’ll have articles on current TV programs. From time to time, we’ll run articles on movies and their stars. Headline’s got everything!” With this enthusiastic, if not totally accurate, description, a new fan-editor launched his first publication. (Headline #1’s indicia art and several other fan-drawings by Gerber were seen in A/E’s previous issue.) Strangely, the fanzine’s first feature was not a super-hero, but a tale scripted by Steve and called “When Knighthood was in Flour”—a short comedy story which he had written originally as a
Deadlines And Headline (Above:) Steve Gerber (circa the 1980s?), when he’d become a successful producer and writer of TV animation—and (at left) the initial two Howard the Duck daily newspaper strips, from 1977. Script by SG; art by Gene Colan. [Howard strips ©2009 Marvel Characters, Inc.]
Headline: The Forgotten Fanzine
creations, so he would enlighten them. “As you may have guessed by now, I’m the humble, modest type. Seriously, this column is not an outlet for my bragging. (I use the whole magazine for that!) It’s a one-page series to introduce you to my various super-hero creations, so that they may be used in later issues without having to explain their origins,” Steve explained. This first installment featured Saturn-Boy, already discussed in Part I of this series. And, having decided that readers might be curious to see his other heroic creations, Steve did a whole page consisting of his Heroes’ Club. (See A/E #90.) The following feature was Headline #1’s only departure from the original fan-fiction format—an article by Doug Marden on the original Flash. Though hardly a comprehensive article by today’s standards, it was fine for younger fans who hungered and thirsted after any bit of information on 1940s stories, in those days before reprints were readily available. Included was a crude tracing of the cover of Flash Comics #1— but remember, Headline’s medium was ditto, so this was probably the best that could have been done. As I said, for the time, it was fine.
Cats! Writer/editor Steve Gerber traced panels from a few of Roy Thomas’ own amateur comics (done at age 11 or so) for the “Original Heroes of Yesteryear” feature in Headline #1. Seen at left are a page that features panels from tales of the masked jungle hero “Cat-Man.” The “Phantom Man” page referred to was repro’d in A/E #50. [Text ©2009 Estate of Steve Gerber; art ©2009 Roy Thomas.]
school assignment. It had nothing to do with super-heroes or comics, though it did contain a masked villain, The Green Knight, who was eventually unmasked by the three bakers, Harry, Nathan, and Stupington. Steve’s teacher had given him the very high grade of A- on the work; Headline’s readers were to rate it considerably lower. Somewhat wearily, perhaps—or maybe warily—the reader must have turned to “Beware the Supernatural,” a series designed to showcase supernatural heroes, its first entry being my own creation, The Black Hand. That first story, a rather undistinguished origin called “The Haunted House of Black Hand,” did at least have the boost of a full-page illustration by Paul Seydor. Now, finally, readers were able to identify one of the figures on the front cover—a purple-garbed, faceless creature, cast rather in the mold of The Spectre, named Black Hand. (I might as well point out here that this is not exactly the way I had originally envisioned the character, who was inspired by Roy Thomas’ Spectre revival in A/E #1-2, and by comments about the original version which had appeared in A/E’s letter column. At first I had made The Black Hand a white-skinned figure in typical ghostly fashion, with only his hands, the source of his great power, being black. But Steve suggested a better idea, from another source of inspiration—a villain called The Invisible Destroyer, an early foe of the Silver Age Green Lantern, from Showcase #23. The idea of a costumed figure, with a mask and cowl but an invisible face, appealed to me, so I restructured the character in accordance with Steve’s suggestion. In a later story, that face would play an important role.) The last page of the “Black Hand” story also contained a list of “Coming Attractions in Headline.” It is significant to note that, of the five listed, only two actually appeared, both in the second issue; the other three never “came.” Next, fans were treated to two pages of pure Steve Gerber—writing and artwork. The latter term is used rather advisedly, for Steve never claimed to be an artist, yet he insisted on decorating Headline with his cartoony drawings. This section was called “What a Bunch of Characters!” and was based on the premise that readers were dying to know about Steve’s
It was back to original fiction for the next piece, “The Good Samaritan,” by Larry Montgomery. Though not badly written, it featured the least-original hero, as Earthman Jim Benson was given, by a spaceman, a ring capable of emitting powerful blue lightning bolts. Along with this, Kalnor (the spaceman) gave Jim a costume not unlike that of the Silver Age Flash, and told him to guard Earth from peril. (So a second figure on the cover was now identified.) As might be expected, readers noticed a resemblance between this character and a certain popular DC hero of the day, so Jim Benson never turned up again, though “more thrilling exploits of The Guard” were promised. (To be fair, it should be noted that The Guard’s ring was not quite as extensive in the scope of its powers as Green Lantern’s was and is. It could restore wounded and damaged people and objects, as well as enable the wearer to see great distances, make his body hard as steel, and become invisible. Nonetheless, what future could there be for a character who was still little more than Green Lantern wearing Flash’s costume?) A half-page ad (done by an eight-year-old boy, readers were informed) for Headline #2 was followed by a couple of pages of advertisements by independent advertisers—and then readers came to the first installment of “Original Heroes of Yesteryear,” a feature devoted to the characters created by prominent fans during their youths. The fan whose work was spotlighted in issue #1’s presentation was none other than the ubiquitous Roy Thomas. The article itself was written by Steve, and augmented by several drawings done by Roy nearly a decade earlier: Cat-Man, Phantom Man, and the cartoony Super-Kat (who changed from Klarence Kat by saying “WOEM”—“Meow” spelled backwards). And finally came what most readers had probably been hoping and waiting for: an original strip, “Little Giant.” The credits read “Story by S.G. Ross – Art by Ronn Foss.” This bears some explaining. Ronn Foss was no stranger to fandom, having already drawn various strips including Parley Holman’s “Dimension Man” in the latter’s fanzine Spotlite. Subsequently he would draw a strip called “The Eclipse” (sort-of an unofficial Dr. Mid-Nite revival) for Alter Ego. Ronn’s artwork was very much a blend of his two greatest influences, Joe Kubert and the Simon & Kirby team of the ’40s. Ronn’s work on “Little Giant” was adequate, though far from the quality he would achieve in photo-offset printing in later fanzines. But what about S.G. Ross? How many people knew his real identity cannot be determined now, but any sharp-eyed reader should have remembered that Little Giant had been listed among the membership of the Heroes’ Club in the “What a Bunch of Characters” column earlier in the fanzine. Insofar as Steve Gerber frequently signed himself “S.R.G.,” it shouldn’t have been difficult to determine that “S.G. Ross” was merely a pseudonym for “Steven Ross Gerber,” if indeed it ever really was a secret, though Steve clearly believed it to be so.
Senate Subcommittee, June 4, 1954. [©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
Lauretta Bender studying in Holland. [Photo ©2010 Peter Schilder.]
Los Angeles Councilman Ernest Debs in 1954. [Photo ©2010 the respective copyright holders.]
Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt!
Dr. Lauretta Bender: Comics’ Anti-Wertham —Part 3 Introduction by Michael T. Gilbert
ver wonder what went on behind the scenes at DC Comics during the Golden Age? For instance, how much did DC pay the psychiatrists and psychologists on their Editorial Advisory Board to make sure their comics were kid-friendly? Did the experts use kids to field-test every single issue of Superman and The Fox and the Crow, or did they just wing it? Well, if you have wondered—do we have a treat for you!
1954 Senate Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender, Part One The Chairman: Dr. Bender, will you be sworn, please? Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you will give to this sub-committee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Dr. Bender: I do. TESTIMONY OF DR. LAURETTA BENDER, SENIOR PSYCHIATRIST, BELLEVUE HOSPITAL, NEW YORK, N. Y.
The Chairman: Doctor, will you state your full Lauretta Bender, Feb 1935. [Photo name, address, and association for the record, ©2009 Peter Schilder.] In Alter Ego #87 & #88, we reprinted “The Effect of please? Comic Books on the Ideology of Children” from The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, XI. That 1941 article by Dr. Dr. Bender: My full name is Dr. Lauretta Bender. I am an M.D. My Lauretta Bender and Reginald S. Lourie, M.D., was one of the earliest New York City residential address is 140 West 16th Street. I have quite articles discussing the therapeutic effects of comics on children. It’s a a number of associations. The major ones are that I am a senior fascinating piece, referencing spanking-new DC heroes like Superman, psychiatrist on the psychiatric division of Bellevue Hospital, a civilBatman, Hour-Man, and Hawkman, as well as more obscure features like service position in New York City, a position I have had since 1930, Columbia’s The Face and Fiction House’s Red Comet. and since 1934 I have been in charge of the children’s ward. I am also a professor of clinical psychiatry in New York University Medical At the time, Dr. Bender was working at Bellevue Hospital in New York. School. I am also on the training program of the Veterans’ Ironically, the director of Bellevue’s mental hygiene clinic was Dr. Fredric Administration, which is associated with the New York University Wertham, the very man who in 1954 would demonize comics in his Medical School. I am on the editorial board of the National Comic bestseller Seduction of the Innocent. It’s unknown whether the two ever Companies as an adviser, on the advisory editorial board. This spring I discussed their opposing views on comics, though it’s quite likely. Dr. accepted an Bender’s son, Peter Schilder, doesn’t recall his mother ever specifically appointment as mentioning Dr. Wertham. In fact, when I asked him about it, he wasn’t consultant in child familiar with the name at all. psychiatry in the In any case, shortly after her article appeared, DC comics hired Dr. New Jersey Bender to head their Editorial Advisory Board. Bender’s credentials, Neuropsychiatric described in her testimony, were impressive and gave DC added crediInstitute. I think that bility. From July 1944 until 1954 (when the Comics Code Authority took covers the major over), her name could be seen in virtually every DC comic. But in her ones. testimony she states that she began working for DC as early as 1942, a The Chairman: year after her psychiatric journal article was published. In fact, that article Thank you. Counsel, directly led to her job at DC. you may proceed to Comic books had always been an easy target for critics. Almost from examine the doctor. the start, articles warned anxious parents about their dangers. It all came Mr. Beaser: Doctor, to a head in 1954 when Senate hearings were held to decide whether to we are inquiring ban all crime and horror comics, which Wertham singled out as particuhere into the larly damaging. Though the atmosphere was decidedly anti-comics, child possible effects of experts and comics industry veterans were invited to give testimony. crime and horror Some, including Mad publisher Bill Gaines, testified that comics were a comics on children, harmless outlet for kids. But many others declined to speak up. Dr. both normal and Bender, however, gave a well-reasoned defense of comics. We’re printing some who are her testimony in its entirety. emotionally Comics fans will find her nuts-and-bolts descriptions of DC’s inner disturbed. Could workings fascinating. One juicy tidbit includes the fact that she received you give us your three copies of each comic published during her tenure in the ’40s and ’50s. Talk about a comic fan’s dream come true! Her son Peter recalls that, New York’s Governor even though his mom never prevented them from reading comics, her Nelson Rockefeller and three children had little interest in the leftovers. Dr. Bender at
And now, here’s part one of Dr. Bender’s testimony from April 22, 1954.
Creedmoor Hospital, Christmas 1965. [Photo ©2009 Peter Schilder.]
Dr. Lauretta Bender: Comics’ Anti-Wertham—Part 3
opinion of the possible effects of this kind of reading material, crime and horror comics books, on, say, emotionally disturbed children, or a normal child?
Charles Biro drew the cover to Crime Does Not Pay #22 (July 1942), which was actually the first issue of the comic. Pretty strong stuff! [©2009 the respective copyright holders.]
Dr. Bender: In the field of the emotionally disturbed child, I have long been considered a professional expert. I consider myself such. My experience you have to realize is with children under the age of 12. However, it is true that I have been working 20 years with these children. Many of them have now reached adolescence and adulthood.
In my early years in working at Bellevue Hospital when we were hard put to find techniques for exploring the child’s emotional life, his mind, his ways of reacting, when the child was separated from the home and brought to us in the wards at Bellevue, I found the comics early on were one of the most valuable means of carrying on such examinations, and that was the beginning of my interest in the comic books. So that my first scientific paper on the comics appeared—I believe I gave it in 1940 before the National American Neuropsychiatric Association and it was published in 1941, before I had any connection whatever with the comic people. Now, when you ask me as broad a question as to what is the possible effect of such horror comic books—and the gesture makes it also broader—upon the emotionally disturbed and the normal child, it is almost overwhelmingly a broad statement. However, I have spent a great deal of time; I have written many articles. I, too, have a book in press which has at least a chapter on this subject, otherwise deals with it, and in general it is my opinion that the comics, [EDITOR’S NOTE: “Comics” is probably a transcribing error; Dr. Bender probably actually said “children.”] as I have known them and worked with them through these years and the kind of emotionally disturbed children that I have known and worked with, and my own three normal children show a remarkable capacity to select from the comics material they need and can use, a capacity which should not be underrated, and it is one of the specific characteristics of the comics that this kind of a selection can be used on the comics where it cannot be used, for example, in a movie. It can be used in television and it can be used in radio, by the television so they can turn it off.
They say, “Mom, don’t you know it is only television, it is not real.” In my opinion it is the same thing about these comics.
Mr. Beaser: What do you mean by “selection”? Selections of comics themselves, or selections out of the comics?
Mr. Beaser: In the final shot they showed the child getting away with the three murders. Do you think that a child would identify himself or herself with the little girl?
Dr. Bender: Both. Children love to collect comics. I will also say that the less intelligent children and those who have the least reading capacity collect the most comics. It is the story that we used to tell in school that if we could sleep on that enormous tome conceivably we could get something out of it and pass our exams the next day.
Dr. Bender: No. The child would only identify itself with such a child who had committed these 3 murders if there had been 3 murders in the child’s family, for which people were looking suspiciously at this child. In that case the child with horror would throw the comics out of the window.
In fact, I have frequently said I can make a diagnosis on a nonreading child who is brought into my presence for the first time with comic books stored away in his blouse—boys don’t like the word “blouse,” excuse me, shirt—like the squirrel has nuts stored away in their cheeks—now, as to these, Mr. Clendenen brought them in to me the other day. I told him I hadn’t seen any of these. The children don’t bring them on the ward at Bellevue. My children don’t bring them at home. And when I tried to look through some of them I thought they were unspeakably silly. The more an artist tries to show horror and the more details he puts into the picture, which most poor artists do, the sillier the thing becomes, and the children laugh at it.
Mr. Beaser: Would the child identify its mother—or its father, with the mother and father in the story comic?
The children also will frequently tell me—for instance, on television, I have to listen to it with my own children occasionally and I am aghast, “My God, how can you stand such things, children?”
Mr. Beaser: A child would not identify himself or herself with any one of the figures in there? For example, we had a picture yesterday and a story about a child who murdered her foster mother. Dr. Bender: Mr. Clendenen told me that story.
Dr. Bender: Not unless their mother and father were like that mother and father. Mr. Beaser: Since delinquency does appear in broken homes as well as others, assuming this is a broken home and they depicted a broken home, would the child identify his own mother and father with the pictures in the comic book? Dr. Bender: If he would so identify himself, then it would be his tendency again to discard the comic book or go into a panic. I have seen children in panics, as I say, not over comics usually because they are easily rejected, but over movies. I have seen children brought to
[Art by Emilio Squeglio; colors by Walt Grogan; Shazam! heroes TM & ÂŠ2010 DC Comics.]
By [Art & logo ©2010 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel © & TM 2010 DC Comics]
[FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-53, Marcus D. Swayze was a top artist for Fawcett Publications. The very first Mary Marvel character sketches came from Marc’s drawing table, and he illustrated her earliest adventures, including the classic origin story, “Captain Marvel Introduces Mary Marvel (Captain Marvel Adventures #18, Dec. ’42); but he was primarily hired by Fawcett Publications to illustrate Captain Marvel stories and covers for Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures. He also wrote many Captain Marvel scripts, and continued to do so while in the military. After leaving the service in 1944, he made an arrangement with Fawcett to produce art and stories for them on a freelance basis out of his Louisiana home. There he created both art and stories for The Phantom Eagle in Wow Comics, in addition to drawing the Flyin’ Jenny newspaper strip for Bell Syndicate (created by his friend and mentor Russell Keaton). After the cancellation of Wow, Swayze produced artwork for Fawcett’s top-selling line of romance comics, including Sweethearts and Life Story. After the company ceased publishing comics, Marc moved over to Charlton Publications, where he ended his comics career in the mid-’50s. Marc’s ongoing professional memoirs have been a vital part of FCA since his first column appeared in FCA #54, 1996. Last issue, Marc examined the art of “drawing sound.” In this installment, he explains the importance of “doodles.” —P.C. Hamerlinck.]
here’s a thick, heavy folder here containing sketches ... some rough, some finished ... of characters and features dating as far back as our country’s entry into World War II. It bears the title, in bold freehand: “Doodles.”
qualities Phantom Arms about Mary The “doodle” at work … as a means to determine we felt it satisfactory action for the Phantom Eagle in a 1940s issue important to of Wow Comics. [Phantom Eagle TM & ©2010 respective maintain, but trademark & copyright holders.] difficult to cover in the text. They included that air of ladylike courtesy, and her surprise and awe at the super powers she possessed. You’d hardly be expected to recognize Clem, the little cowpoke who waddled around the grounds of the Circle M Ranch with his pal, Silo. Nor Le Noir, the bumbling Cajun ... or others, like Marty Guy ... and Christopher Chance. You see, they and others, like Jango the shepherd dog and Rod Reed’s banjo player, “Plink Plunk,” were intended for newspaper syndication. They were there, though, among the comic book doodle subjects. Doodles. I was about to throw them away... ...but I think I’ll keep ’em a while! Marc Swayze’s reminiscences of his years in the comics field will continue in the next FCA issue in Alter Ego.
The standard definition of that word, doodle, is a drawing scribbled aimlessly while occupied with something else. But let’s give it a little more credit than that. For one thing, the doodle had purpose ... like working out graphic problems that are so apt to arise in this business of ours ... the comics. The doodles in the folder had not been created to assure that Captain Marvel consistently “looked like” Captain Marvel. That was never a problem here. The obvious intention was to maintain and stress the ease and confidence that distinguished the World’s Mightiest Mortal from other super-heroes. Facial expressions was frequently a challenge when doing comic books art. An occasion is recalled where a full page of Captain Marvel heads were necessary to adequately acknowledge his reaction to a confrontation with Mr. Morris’s mean sister-in-law. Fear? You didn’t want your super-guy to look like a sniveling coward! Maybe consternation ... or disbelief ... but not fear! That one took some doodling! Most of the doodles of Mary Marvel show her in combat ... with her opponents being busted up pretty good, but never seriously injured. The objective, of course, was to illustrate
Captain Marvel … Bewildered? No, but perhaps a bit disturbed at the antics of the little trolls in a Whiz Comics #37 story. “Doodle” by Marc Swayze. [Shazam hero TM & ©2010 DC Comics.]
The Return Of Emilio Squeglio Further (Never-Minced) Words Of The Fawcett Artist by Emilio Squeglio Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck
milio Squeglio was a staff production artist in the comics department at Fawcett Publications before moving on to magazine layout and book design. Former “Captain Marvel” artist Chic Stone helped Emilio land a job with Fawcett in 1947—a highly creative but unfortunately tumultuous period for the company subjugated by litigation with National (DC), which in part led to Fawcett’s decision to terminate their entire comics line in 1953. Following the demise of the comics department, Emilio moved over to art-direct such Fawcett magazines as Startling Detective and True. He left Fawcett in 1955 to become art director of American Artist magazine, and went on to become a prolific, high-in-demand book designer for various publishers. Jim Amash conducted an informative interview with Emilio back in Alter Ego #41 (Oct. ’04); FCA followed up by just giving Emilio the microphone for two engaging encores in Alter Ego #64 and 65 (Jan. & Feb. ’07). We ask Superman and Captain Marvel to quit fighting and listen up, because it’s time again for Emilio to hold court. —PCH.
Knock Knock Knocking On Fawcett’s Door When I began my career at Fawcett Publications, I was already aware of Captain Marvel’s popularity. I used to see the comics around all the time. Before starting at Fawcett, my friend (and Fawcett comics artist) Chic Stone used to bring me stats of Captain Marvel pages. I started doing little freelance jobs for Fawcett while I was still in high school. I used to get $5 per drawing for doing spot illustrations for Mechanix Giant-size color illo drawn by Emilio Squeglio a few years ago as a surprise gift for Roy Thomas. Special thanks to John Morrow and Chris Day for their mammoth efforts in scanning this ginormous gem, which is framed in Roy & Dann’s gym/guest house. [Shazam! Heroes TM & ©2010 DC Comics.]
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Illustrated magazine. Chic would deliver them for me and I would get paid for them. Also while still in high school, I did some coloring of Captain Marvel Adventures pages. I used Doc Martin dyes to color them. I was getting $2 a page and sometimes would color the entire comic. At the time Fawcett also had a magazine called Cars, and I drew silhouettes from pictures for it; Frank Taggart paid me $10 a picture. So I was making a little bit of money before I got hired on staff by them. After I graduated from high school, I asked Chic to help me get in at a company. He was freelancing at the time, and one Saturday he called me up and told me to give Frank Taggart over at Fawcett a call, which led to an interview. I met art director Al Allard that day and I was hired. Chic had kept his word by helping me find a job. He didn’t say specifically that he would get me in at Fawcett; it just happened that way. DC’s lawsuit against Fawcett and Captain Marvel was already well under way when I was hired, and it had affected the comics department so badly that they needed all the help they could get. When Allard hired me, he said it may be a “limited job” and he didn’t know if they would be able to keep me on—but I grabbed the opportunity and everything still worked out.
The Office That Captain Marvel Built When I joined Fawcett Publications they had just relocated from the Paramount Building to 67 West 34th Street in NYC. They bought the entire building; Fawcett occupied half of it, and they kept what they called “the 13th Floor” free for parties. I commuted to their offices from Brooklyn just before I got married in 1952. I was with Fawcett for a total of nine years. A lot of the illustrators I met later while working on the magazines said how much they liked Captain Marvel. They thought he was a nice character. This is how most people viewed Captain Marvel back then. He never killed anybody or really hurt anybody; he only beat the hell out of guys who were bad. They cut the war stories fast once World War II was over, and then he went back to slamming crooks around again, but he never killed anybody.
Real Comic Books Vs. Wasted Illustration Fawcett was the comic book publisher as far as I was concerned. They did comic books … real comic books. You read them with a smile on your face. But there’s no laughter anymore in today’s so-called comic books. I see them in the stores and I wouldn’t buy any of them for any amount of money. I don’t think they’re worthwhile reading because they’re filled with nothing but destruction—quite different from what Fawcett used to put out. Fawcett’s comics were funny and enjoyable. A dime was a lot of money in those days, but you got your money’s worth. But for the amount of money that is paid for a comic book today, it just seems like wasted illustration to me. And the way they hammer away at everything and preach politics and all the … well, as far as sex goes, I’m a big believer in it, [laughs] but its content within comics can go just so far. I feel Archie is the only company today that still makes good comics. I believe all the other good comics disappeared when Fawcett quit publishing
them. Fawcett knew how to do comics … even with our strange and funny little fillers we use to have—strips like “Tightwad Tad,” “Captain Kid,” and “Dopey Danny Dee,” which were all done by freelance artists and then placed wherever they were needed. Today, all you have are all the different X-Men and fire-breathing demons and all this kind of stuff, and I just don’t go along with it. I think its degrading to put this stuff in the hands of kids, and for what they charge now they’re not even worth the dime that we used to pay way back in the ’40s. Fawcett went by a code of decency, and they were in tune to what a kid should read and what they shouldn’t read. I remember some of staff coming out of the meetings and having big arguments about what was good and what was bad for the comics. It was because of those meetings that I would always end up doing a lot of corrections to the pages, like removing certain types of poses that some artists would try to slip in—things like women bending over, etc., which were big no-nos at Fawcett. So I’d have to redraw certain things in a different way which wasn’t suggestive. The Fawcetts were very good people with better morals than most of the other comic publishers going at that time—outfits which had no morals whatsoever. I’m glad, in a way, that I didn’t finish my career working on comics, because I think I might’ve gotten out of it anyway, seeing what was going on in the ’50s when even we started to get into different things. Even though they began with Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, the Fawcetts always held a high standard of morals which could never be deviated from; it was the only way their publications could be produced. Fawcett was dead set against a lot of stuff. The Fawcetts were gentle people who were pleasant to deal with. They came from Minnesota and were very different type of people from New Yorkers. They were smart business-wise, but not hard business types at all. I can remember one time when I was sitting in one of the meetings with Roger Fawcett, and the guy treated every one of us in the room so graciously that it seemed like we weren’t even in a meeting. All of the Fawcett brothers were nice people. They always spoke in a friendly, monotone voice. They never yelled at anyone and would speak to you like they were talking to a friend. It put all of us at ease. No one ever feared their bosses. We were always very respectful to them because they treated us right. I didn’t really want to leave Fawcett, but eventually moving over to American Artist magazine gave me an opportunity to do something different.
“The Worm” And Merry Marvels
Employee of the Month This photograph of 18-year-old Emilio Squeglio was taken by the human resources people during his first day on the job at Fawcett Publications, located at 67 West 44th St. in New York City.
The old stories show the simplified style of drawing we had in those days. But, while simplified, Captain Marvel continually evolved. I remember that C.C. Beck was very particular about how Captain Marvel looked, and when he’d go around the office he’d tell us whenever we needed to draw Marvel better. Comparing the early stories to the stories of the late ’40s/early ’50s, you can see how much Captain Marvel evolved through the years. He became a little more muscular and a little less simplified, and it was for the best because they did it in a way that improved the strip. A few of my favorite old Fawcett stories include “Captain Marvel and the Freedom
Researching The Red Cheese I
by Jerry Ordway, Writer & Artist of The Power Of Shazam! Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck
admit to knowing little about Fawcett Publications’ Captain Marvel during my childhood. I grew up reading mostly Marvel Comics in the late 1960s, but I think my comic book horizons expanded in the early ’70s with Jim Steranko’s first History of Comics volume, as well as Jules Feiffer’s book, The Great Comic Book Heroes.
In Milwaukee, where I grew up, I got to know a guy named Kevin, who frequented the same used book store I did, and he absolutely loved Captain Marvel. He used to lecture me on how many bands Captain Marvel had on his wrists. That came in handy, years later, whenever I drew the character. In 1973, I purchased DC’s first issue of Shazam! and liked the initial story arc, written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by C.C. Beck, where the friends and inhabitants of Captain Marvel’s world had been frozen in a sort of suspended animation, via a substance developed by Dr. Sivana called Suspendium. The initial Shazam! series by DC was looked down upon by many fans, including by Beck himself, but I believe that first story was terrific. I also was very impressed by DC’s large-sized reprints of important first issues (Famous First Editions), including the first appearance of Captain Marvel. That book, as well as a couple of other large-format Limited Collectors’ Editions containing Fawcett reprints, became my bibles when I was doing my Power of Shazam! series for DC in the ’90s. Access to older Fawcett comics was limited at that time, but I owned
Old Villains Never Die From the early Captain Marvel canon came the Arson Fiend (Captain Marvel Adventures #2, Summer ’41, top left) and Muscles McGinnis (CMA #3, Fall ’41, directly above), as drawn by George Tuska. Seen at top right are Jerry Ordway's notebook sketches of the villains, done while he was gazing at a microfiche screen during his Big Red Cheese research. The Arson Fiend looked as menacing as ever when he appeared on the cover of Ordway’s Power of Shazam! #2 (April ’95)—and a troubled Muscles made it onto the cover of Power of Shazam! #3 (May ’95). [Shazam! hero TM & ©2010 DC Comics.]
Researching The Red Cheese
“Stinky” Printwhistle Lives! (Above:) Ibac’s second Golden Age appearance (Captain Marvel Adventures #9, April ’42), with art by the Binder Shop. (Right:) Jerry Ordway’s notebook sketches of Ibac, and his other version of “Stinky” Printwhistle drawn during his research. (Below:) The Ordster’s cover for Power of Shazam! #25 (April ’97), co-starring Ibac. [Shazam! characters TM & ©2010 DC Comics.]
some bootleg Golden Age [Flashback] reprints, published by Alan Light/Dynapubs, of comics starring Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. During the ’80s, when I was working with Roy Thomas on All-Star Squadron, we were frustrated that we couldn’t use Captain Marvel in the book because, at that time, DC Comics had to pay a flat fee to Fawcett Publications—whether The Marvel Family appeared in one panel or an entire story. Roy had to wait to do a story that DC determined worthwhile to justify the fee, and I returned to ink Rich Buckler’s covers for that storyline (All-Star Squadron #36 & 37, Aug. & Sept. 1984). DC had purchased the characters outright by the time I started work on my standalone graphic novel retelling Captain Marvel’s origin—which my editor, Jonathan Peterson, and I had conceived as an homage to The Adventures of Captain Marvel Republic movie serial—with high-flying adventure! When I was about halfway finished with the graphic novel’s full color artwork, I sought out Don and Maggie Thompson, longtime Cap fans, for advice and ultimately their approval. It meant an awful lot to me, and I wanted them to know I was treating the property with respect. Don and Maggie also represented comics fandom, through their editing and writing work on the Comics Buyer’s Guide. Given their blessings, I felt an obligation to hunt down whatever back issues of the old comics I could find.
Black, Blacker, Blackest Fawcett’s Dark Dopplegängers by P.C. Hamerlinck
hey are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. —Jude 1:13 (NIV)
The ancient conflict between good and evil, ubiquitous in worlds both tangible and spiritual, and acknowledged as a universal truth of the human condition, has long been a thematic device within literature. Prevalent to these themes is inner evil—a combative struggle of one’s own morals often stemming from “dark” characteristics or forces where blackhearted individuals conduct their dark or “black” deeds. Hence, some of our more colorful fictionalized rogues from the past have felt the need to proudly attach the “black” moniker to their chosen pseudonyms. Golden Age comic book publisher Fawcett had their fair bunch of the blackest of black-named blackhearts:
Black Adam [Marvel Family Comics #1, Dec. 1945] The blemished predecessor of Captain Marvel was not only the blackest but has been ultimately the best-remembered of all the Fawcett scoundrels. Not a bad accomplishment at all for Black Adam, who was only a one-shot adversary of The Marvel Family during the team’s initial run.
[Black Adam TM & ©2010 DC Comics]
In ancient Egypt, Prince Teth-Adam is chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his successor. When Adam says the wizard’s name, he changes into a superpowered being, endowed with the same powers (and a similar costume) that would one day be bestowed upon Captain Marvel. The enormity of his new powers quickly goes to his head. With a newfound thirst to rule the world, he overthrows the Pharaoh and assumes his throne. Infuriated with the behavior of his wayward champion, Shazam gives Teth a new name—Black Adam—and banishes him to the furthest star in the cosmos. The piqued, black-costumed figure spends a mere 5000 years racking up frequent-flyer miles as he gradually makes his way back to Earth. He finally arrives in the world of 1945, where Shazam has chosen three successors in America to take his place. It doesn’t take long for Black Adam to clash with The Marvel Family—but since everyone shares equal powers, the battle stands deadlocked. It takes the non-powered, tag-along member of The Marvel Family, Uncle Marvel, to bring Black Adam down by tricking him into saying “Shazam,” resulting in Teth-Adam reverting back to his 5000-year-old form… and instantly dying of natural causes.
Black Beauty [Captain Marvel Adventures #142, March 1953]
[Black Beauty TM & ©2010 the respective copyright holders]
All of Captain Marvel’s immeasurable powers are pretty darn useless when he faces the seductive Black Beauty. The domineering and scheming bad girl takes full advantage of our hero’s natural bashfulness around the ladies—and for a while the Big Red Cheese is more like Big
Red Silly Putty in her hands. Additionally, the Black Beauty doesn’t take too kindly to any lip from her male flunkies. Pretending to be in love with the Black Beauty (oh, the humility), Cap gets close enough to the vixen to spray her with a can of tear gas, concluding her brief reign of crime and other transgressions. Over the airwaves, Billy informs his radio listeners that crime doesn’t pay, “not even for a woman,” and that “the only thing Captain Marvel really loves is smashing crime.”
Black Clown [Wow Comics #3, Fall 1941; America’s Greatest Comics #1, Fall 1941] Circus performer-gone-bad, the Black Clown (dressed in full clown attire, naturally) utilizes his playful pet pythons to squeeze the life out of his victims as he pulls off bank robberies and blackmail jobs. When the costumed hero Mr. Scarlet intervenes, he, too, [Black Clown TM & ©2010 the respective copyright holders] gets a big hug from one of the Clown’s pets— but you can’t keep a good man like Mr. Scarlet down, and he later exposes the Black Clown as Harry Parrish, a circus company owner. (In this early, pre-Pinky adventure, the writer must have passed on reading the series’ bible, because the super-powerless Mr. Scarlet is flying all over town!) In a subsequent story, the Black Clown is a member of one of the first super-villain groups. “The Death Battalion” is a Nazi-allied assemblage comprised of six prison-escaped criminals (Horned Hood, Ghost, Laughing Skull, Dr. Death, Black Thorn, and the Black Clown) under the leadership of The Brain, the administrator behind their plots against America. Mr. Scarlet trounces the entire squad, only to learn that The Brain is actually the prison’s warden, who engineered the jailbreak of the six villains. Mr. Scarlet only has to tangle with the Black Clown briefly in the saga, when he flattens Garganta, the jaded jester’s pet gorilla.
Black Dragon/ Black Dragon Society [Master Comics #21, Dec. 1941] A “menace to the democracies of the world” as well as an “ancient Oriental cult of torture and murder,” the [Japanese] Black Dragon Society’s campaign of terror is felt throughout America in this World War II-era tale. Unsurprisingly, the group is fronted by a [Black Dragon TM & ©2010 the respective copyright holders] fellow calling himself … the Black Dragon. The sadistic madman and his minions kidnap a US general and three other officers and escort them back to their digs for a little Asiatic Water Torture: “Water…dripping constantly until the mind snaps and the victim becomes a raving maniac.” A pre-masked Jack Weston, a.k.a. Minute-Man, puts an end to the Black Dragon’s fun and games, and afterwards the general gratefully tells the red, white, and blue hero that “America is very fortunate to have a boy like you.” Yes, especially since the cover date was the month of Pearl Harbor.
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Black Flamingo [Wow Comics #63, Feb. 1948] As a terrorist-extortionist-aviator (what a résumé!), the Black Flamingo operates a black, peculiar-looking plane with a loudspeaker built into its top which enables him to loudly announce his threats to everyone, including the local airlines, demanding payment for “protection” of any [Black Flamingo TM & aircraft flying over the South American ©2010 the respective country of San Danito. The black-masked, copyright holders] mustached maniac also has a thing for dropping “silent bombs” (sandbags) on top of other planes and critically damaging them (while proclaiming his aspiration to become “Master of the Skies”). But the Phantom Eagle kicks sand in the Flamingo’s face by dropping several of the “silent bombs” on him, damaging his enemy’s aircraft so severely that he slams down into the mountains below. The Phantom Eagle later learns that the Black Flamingo was Morel, a greedy airlines associate.
Black Hood [Master Comics #18, Sept. 1941] Master magician El Carim (“miracle” spelled backwards, in case you didn’t notice) uses those miraculous abilities of his to immobilize the Black Hood and his motley crew. While El Carim is “making one of his famous speeches” at a banquet, the Black Hood (dressed in…you got it, a black hood) [Black Hood TM & ©2010 the hurls a knife with attached note through the respective copyright holders] window. It reads: “Your Time Has Come.” El Carim departs the event to follow up on the mysterious note, warning his girlfriend Gladys not to follow him… but she ignores his warning (surprise) and is kidnapped by the Hood’s gang. The Black Hood can’t possibly compete with El Carim’s amazing abilities and, after saving Gladys, our ever-sensitive magician tells his lovely girlfriend: “Next time you do not obey me, I’ll leave you to your abductor’s mercy!” Their relationship, like El Carim’s career, didn’t last long.
Black Magician - I [Whiz Comics #19, July 11, 1941] Billy Batson assures his radio-listening audience that stories of witchcraft and black magic are “mostly pure imagination.” But a couple of listeners—the Black Magician and his son—agree they have to teach Billy “to respect our black art.” After a failed attempt to apprehend Billy, the eccentric, magician [Black Magician TM & ©2010 the respective (with his pet cat Lucifer) creates a small doll copyright holders] of Billy Batson. Elsewhere, Captain Marvel is dealing with the Black Magician’s pesky son. The kid calls Cap a big bully, so the World’s Mightiest Mortal agrees to a fight on a “more even basis.” Meanwhile, back at his lair, the Black Magician begins to apply black magic upon the Billy doll. “First to silence his blabbing mouth—this bit of cheese makes a fine gag!” After inserting pins into the doll, the real Billy becomes completely debilitated and unable to speak. The Black Magician is about to pierce the heart of the Billy doll, but the magician’s hungry cat eats away at the cheese from the doll’s mouth. Billy is now able to yell “Shazam!,” changing him like always into Captain Marvel—but a second bolt of lightning also comes down that changes the Billy doll into a Captain Marvel doll! Cap and his miniature doppelgänger put an end to
the Black Magicians’ follies. When Captain Marvel throws the magicians’ book of spells into the fireplace, the tiny figure of himself reverts back to an ordinary, lifeless doll (Cap calls it “a nice souvenir”); then our hero delivers the two black magic devotees to the local asylum.
Black Magician - II [The Marvel Family #2, June 1946] Mary Batson is out in the country enjoying a picnic with some friends, but a thug’s reckless hunting brings forth Mary Marvel, who puts him out of commission. Seeking revenge, the poacher stumbles across the Black Magician (dressed in your basic magician getup), who’s been perfecting his craft out in the [Black Magician TM & ©2010 the respective woods… with a special penchant for turning copyright holders] animal heads into heads of different animals. The two new acquaintances “head” over to the teen’s picnic area, where the Black Magician turns the head of one of Mary’s girlfriends into that of a deer. Before Mary can cry “Shazam!” he changes her head into an owl’s, and she, like her friend, loses her memory—remembering only that she “should say some word.” The six goddesses from whom Mary derives her powers appear in spirit form and, in order to stir her memory, hold up signs with their names on them (you know, like they do at airport baggage claims). When Mary reads the names of Selena, Hippolyta, Ariadne, Zephyrus, Aurora, and Minerva, she says “Shazam!” and Mary Marvel busts the Black Magician’s wand for good.
Black Marco [Whiz Comics #25-28, Dec. 12 1941 to March 20, 1942] The finale to the opus of Dr. Voodoo’s long quest to obtain the coveted Golden Flask eventually leads him to Black Marco, who has reigned in the Castle of Doom for years, while practicing the art of (what else?) black magic. With a humble abode named like that, it’s just [Black Marco TM & ©2010 one of those places you stay away from. But the respective copyright holders] the castle’s myths don’t intimidate Dr. Voodoo, who plans to invade Black Marco’s home and retrieve the Golden Flask that is in his possession. Approaching the castle, Dr. Voodoo notes Black Marco’s wry sense of humor from the sign posted outside: “Welcome! You now approach the Castle of Doom—and death!” But it’s ultimately Voodoo’s ally, Don Marco (the “good” Marco), who ends up doing all the dirty work by obtaining the Golden Flask and slaying Black Marco—apparently killing the guy so gruesomely that he tells Dr. Voodoo not to even look at Black Marco’s dead body, because he might “see something on the floor that would haunt your dreams for many nights.”
Captain Black Bunny [Fawcett’s Funny Animals # 32, Oct.-Nov. 1945] Yes, you heard me right: Captain Black Bunny. An earthquake causes a crack in the ground, and before the startled eyes of Hoppy and Millie flies out a black-costumed bunny: “Greetings, friends. Let me introduce you to the great and wonderful Captain Black [Captain Black Bunny TM Bunny—Me!” Residing within the Earth’s & ©2010 the respective copyright holders] core, he cheerfully informs them that he’s their new ruler. Hoppy reminds the stranger that there’s a certain Captain Marvel Bunny who is not going to take this news lying down, but Captain Black Bunny has never heard of him and
ALTER EGO #91 (100 pages, $6.95) features a Fantastic Fawcett Festival! Behind a brand new Captain Marvel cover by JERRY ORDWAY & EMILIO SQU...