all in color for a dime

série: Etude Comics
dessinateur / scénariste: Lupoff+Thompson
éditeur: Ace Books
genre: Etude
classement: biblio516
date: 1970
format: broché
état: TBE
valeur: 5 €
critère: *
remarques: English book,

a little nostalgic book about comics devoted to the millions and millions
who devoured their adventures in the days when comics magazines
flooded the newsstands which were available for one dime
n.b. the dime, in US usage is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar,
labeled formally as "one dime" being 10 centes

a book of 250 pages, partly quite interesting with some black and white illustrations
+ p. 128 a gallery of comic book covers in color (15, partly unseen)

for at least a quarter century, the comic book was the dominant element
in the culture of American children, they read them, re-read them,
collected them and traded them,
during that same same period, espc. during world war II,
when servicemen with limited off-duty time hungered for cheap and readable material,
it achieved great (although less publicized) popularity as reading matter for adults

comic book characters have become part of the myth-structure of much of the world:
not only is Superman more widely knows than Paul Bunyan,
but even Clark Kent has achieved the same stature,
words, images, ideas, narrative and expressive techniques have all moved
from the four-color page and invaded every aspect of our language and society

prices have ranged from 5 cents to 50 cents with giveaways
at the lowest end of the scale and super-fancy editions at the top,
for many years, the standard price for comics was a dime
until inflation knocked that out,
now (1970) the 32-page comic costs 15 cents after hovering briefly at 12 cents,
and the 64-page comic that once sold for a dime now costs 25 cents

surprisingly, in the face of the comic book's tremendous popularity,
people who write about the arts and literature have for many years
paid little attention to comic books, not so the comic strip,
as early as 1942, Martin Sheridan's "comics and their creators"
provided a book-length treatment of the newspaper comics

in 1965, Jules Feiffer produced "the great comic book heroes",
the first book devoted to comic books and espc. to their chief mainstay,
the costumed adventure heroes that did not strive to condemn and destroy its topic

1/ the spawn of M.C. Gaines
as science-fiction fans, Siegel and Shuster had published
an early science fiction fan magazine, the title of which was,
not so surprisingly, "science fiction",
it was a mimeo-graphed publication and appeared in the early 1930s

according to the story, sample art and scripts for Superman were drawn
and prepared for submission as early as 1935

in the early thirties, while young Siegel and Shuster were daydreaming
in math or science class over their Superman or their fan magazine,
a man named M.C. Gaines created the comic book,
it was called "funnies and parade" and it was the prototype
for the successful "famous funnies"

Superman was first published as comic book in the first issues of Action Comics
>> p. 23 the "big six" comic magazines in 1941:
- Superman (Action comics), Sandman (Adventure comics),
- the Batman (Detective comics), the green Lantern (All-American comics),
- the Spectre (Fun comics) and the Flash (Flash comics)

> p. 36 the story of the boys comics, as Robin, the wonder boy,
and the posible homosexual relationship with their masters (Batman for Robin)
was the origin of dr. Wertham's book "seduction of the innocent"

there have been a number of girls, none of them lasting more than a few years,
despite the valiant attempts of each to become Batman's Lois Lane

2/ me to your leader take
starting with the antediluvian bedsheet Jumbo by 1940,
the publisher Fiction House had also Jungle, Fight and Planet on the stands,
later they added Wings and Rangers (of freedom) to the line,
with this sort of publication, the advent of Fiction House
as a major comics publisher in 1940 was quite welcome

3/ the big red cheese
captain Marvel and his crew, there were of course other characters
who appeared early in the saga of captain Marvel and who won
enduring roles in the series,
among the most vivid were the villains, two of them stand above all the rest:
Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind
once the popularity of captain Marvel had been established,
Fawcett Publications saw to it that the popular feature spun off
a number of variants of itself, designed to exploit a market of almous unbelievable size

for little children there was evena funny animal version of captain Marvel:
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny complete with the magical word Shazam,
lightning transformation, red suit and super powers,
Hoppy appeared in Fawcett's Funny Animals and in a periodical of his own

it is supposed that consent agreement between Fawcett and National
will keep the real Marvel Family in the deep freeze forever,
but a whole generation who grew up with those marvelous adventures
will never forget Billy Batson, Shazam, Freddy and Mary,
Sterling Morris, radio station, Whiz, the mad Sivana or the Big Red Cheese!

4/ the first superhero of them all,
Superman or Batman?
description of Bill Blackbeard who is a San Franciscan with a scholarly approach
to the most sadly-neglected branch of American popular art, the comic strip,
a freelancer writer and editor (his first story appeared in the November 1943 Weird Tales,
Bill is the organizer of the nation's first nonprofit enterprise
devoted to the preservation, collection and sequential filing
for research and study of newspaper comic art,
an undertaking which should have been done regularly over the past 70 years
by the libraries and universities but has not,
he is writing a critical history of the comic strip

this chapter includes also a study of Popeye and the Thimble Theater,
Olive and Castor Cyl continued to appear in the strip after Popeye's appearance,
other recurring characters who lent so much to the comic fantasy and rich humanity
of the strip were the long-whiskered king Blozo,
the melancholy-mad monarch of Nazilia whose one pleasure in a miserable life
was reading American comic strips and the terrible-toothed Oscar

5/ OK Axis, here we come
the USA was at war with the Germans and Japanese from 1941 to 1945,
considering that we had so many comic book heroes on our side,
one must grudgingly admire the Axis for their staying power

two of the three superstars of the Atlas-Timely-Marvel group
were born in the same issue "Marvel Mystery Comics" November 1939,
this issue is today one of the half-dozen rarest comic books
and commands fantastic prices in dealers' catalogs ($ 250.- and up)

those superheroes were mostly the human torch, Submariner and captain America
the human torch was the brainchild of Carl Burgos
who drew many of the early stories and signed even more;
prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner albo bowed in with the first issue
of Marvel Mystery Comics, he was the offspring of princess Fin of Atlantis
and an American naval officer, commander McKenzie who was exploring Antarctica
and discovered the undersea kingdom of Atlantis,
Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch did not get along well together,
usually, comic book heroes were disgustingly buddy-buddy;
Torch and Namor were welcome exeptions,
the first issue of Captain America introduced several long-term ingredients
of the good captain's career, captain America himself, his boy associate Bucky
and his favorite villain, the Red Skull,
all in one 64-page issue, 45 pages of which were devoted to Cap himself
>> p. 128 to 130 the cover illustrated in color of various comic books
showing Iris the invincible, Minute-Man, Spy Smasher, Superman,
Batman in Detective Comics, All Star Comics, Marvel Comics,
the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, All Winners, Daredevil,
Boy Commandos, Supersnipe, Young Allies, Boys' Ranch and Popeye,
all comic books at the price of one dime (10 cents),

6/ one on all and all on one
Detective Comics which had introduced the first kid hero, Robin the Boy Wonder
offered what an excitement-craving war-conscious public wanted:
the Boys Commandos, creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby,
evidently reader response was great,
the Boys' Commandos adventures continued in Detective Comics,
monthly through 150, they also had 36 issues of their own magazine from 1942 to 1949,
Star Spangled Comics for April 1942 introduced the Newsboy Legion-Big Words,
Tommy, Gabby and Scrapper, typical comic book kid-gang members,
they had the makings of first-class juvenile delinquents,
all four were orphans living in an unsavory section of Central City
(later called New York City) known as Suicide Slum

other gangs differing little from each other were:
the Four Comrades (Startling Comics), Young Robinhood and his band (Boy Comics),
Boy Heroes (All New Comics), Junior Rangers (Headline Comics),
Tough Kid Squad (Tough Kid Squad, one issue only),
Little Dynamite and his gang (Boy Comics), Boy Champions (Green Lama Comics), etc
but one gets the idea, the members of these gangs were tough kids,
fat kids, dumb kids, smart kids who used big words and negro stereotype kids,
an article listing them all would amount to a full catalogue!

7/ a swell bunch of guys
when comic books were new and still a dime a copy,
few happenings on the colored page could cause as much talk and commotion
as Lincoln Grade School in Mount Carmel as those occasions
on which the hero of one book met the hero of another in a single story

Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, Green Lantern and Hour Man were all
original members of the Justice Society of America,
these members first got together in the winter of 1940 issue of All Star Comics,
All Star started life as a comics anthology featuring the most popular
of the publishers' features from other titles

the safety of all the earth was at stake next as the Spectre and his illustrator,
Bernard Bailey, took over, the ghostly guardian is given the task
of ridding the planet of a gargoyle god, Oom, who is ever thirsting to kill
who gathered that day in 1940

8/ the four-panelled sock-bang-powie Saturday afternoon screen
although memory may make a poor judge, it was Radio Patrol
that best expressed the marriage between the radio serials and the comics,
Universal, most venerable of the serial-churners, was the studio
and "Tailspin Tommy" the strip of their choice,
Universal, which previously had not turned out a science fiction serial,
turned for its inspiration to a Sunday-pages comic strip,
which, since it started two years before in 1934,
had captured the public imagination with its different look
and first-rate drawing style, it was Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon

to the screen, Red Barry, another cop, again played by Buster Crabbe,
chased crime down to Chinatown where assorted sinister Chinese
and some Caucasian types were after two million dollars in Russian bonds

9/ captain Billy's Whiz gang
a long time ago, during what was sometimes called affectionately,
if not accurately, the Great War, a large publishing company was born,
the troops who witnessed this blessed event were doubtless unaware of it
at the time, all they saw was a mimeographed joke-and-cartoon paper
put out by their captain, Wilford Fawcett and entitled
somewhat flamboyantly, captain Billy's Whiz-Bang

one of the most fantastic and appealing things about the comic-book
Captain Midnight was the web-like projections between his arms and his sides
presumably, the arms and sides of his costume, called gliderchutes,
these enabled him to parachute at will from planes or buildings
without fear of injury

10/ the second banana superheroes
other comic books published 1940 were Blue Bolt Comics
and Heroic Comics drawn by Bill Everett

11/ Comic of the absurd
Jingle-Jangle Comics was never an outstanding success during the Golden Age
and is even more obscure in retrospect,
it was a little kids comic featuring fairy tales and similar stories
for the youngest members of the comics audience

>> a little study of comics but quite instructive
for sometimes unknown publications
Copyright 2008 - 2023 G. Rudolf