Remember - most of these images are merely thumbnails...don't forget to CLICK on 'em to see things the way they really are!


Saturday, January 30, 2010


When I first started collecting comics, I fell in love with the stories, and of course the art. John Buscema was one of Marvel comics artists that really came into prominence in the mid-late 60's, becoming one of their heaviest hitters, one of their most popular and dependable. What I didn't realize for several years was how long he (and many of my favorite comic artists) had been working in the comics field...long before I was born!
Ah, the ignorance of youth!

John Buscema had in fact been drawing comics (mostly for Marvel/Timely/Atlas) since 1948. Here he draws Mr. Risk, a pipe smoking crime sleuth who was first introduced in 1942 (and drawn by EC comics genius and MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman in a 1943 story here shown at Pappy's ). Even early on Buscema displays the same skill at creating well proportioned, recognizable characters in that easily accessable style (like a cross between Joe Kubert and Alex Raymond) that I would fall in love with almost 20 years later.

This particular story is from Mr. Risk's first self titled comic book, MR. RISK # 7, 1950.  For some reason, sadly, even though there was plenty of action, socks to the jaw, and solved cases, MR. RISK only lasted for 2 issues.

Remember, chum, when in dire peril, call
Dangerfield 7-7777.
No case too dangerous,
No risk too great.




Friday, January 29, 2010


Comics fans and lovers of great blogs will find both at a blog even newer than this one.
Comics blogger and artist Aaron Bias has just released the coolest blog ever on  --  THE PHANTOM!

click the link right now and add it to your daily surf  --  you don't want to miss it!

For a fascinating and revealing look at the Lee Falk comic book creation, the legendary Phantom!


Oh, and just in case you didn't know, Aaron has other cool blogs, too, like SILVER AGE GOLD!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

LOVELY LOVERS LOVE LOVING LOVINGLY - or Romance Comics Are For Guys, Too!

Okay, here's a word you don't hear much these days, unless it's in some flowery Jane Austen novel or film adaptation, or maybe a song. But you never hear this in the real world....the word?


I mean, who uses that kind of terminology anymore? We have many more hip (do people still say hip?), modern, and crude ways of expressing the same thing nowadays.

Significant Other.
F*ck Buddy.
One Night Stand.
Knick Knack Paddywhack.

and, if you are from the south,
Uncle Grandpa.

Okay, okay!! Just kidding about that last one!

What I and my fellow comic book enthusiast, well known authoritarian and psycho-analyzer Dr. Wertham P. Fredrics find mind boggling is what the word 'lover' really means to an adult, and the fact that these comics were marketed as perfectly safe entertainment fodder for young, underage girls!

Let Dr. Fredrics explain.
"Jah! Ze luffers is ven you und your little shveet potato climb into ze backseat und do ze nasty, jah? Makin' ze vhoopee! Dat's vhat luffers do! I know! I have done it before! It vas a long time ago, jah, but I can shtill remember ze look on Mrs. Fredrics face, jah! She didn't expect me to try zat , heehee...right inder middle of der library, jah! So hard to shtay quviet, too! Hoo hoo!You never forget your first luffer, jah!"

 Ew. Doc. Seriously, there's kids out there. Watch your damn mouth!

"Jah, hee hee! Zat's exactly vhat Mrs. Fredricks said in the library zat day! Hoo boy, I was ALL over her like a big, sexy schmorgasbord, jah!!! Hoo wah!"

Thank you so much for sharing, Doc. Here. Here's a bar of soap...shove it in your mouth and go stand in the corner, while I try to get those images out of my head!

"You won't get rid of them, heh heh...mmmmm, Irish Spring!"

You know, Doc, it's not all so dark and perverted, is it?
I mean, love is a really wonderful thing, isn't it?
Isn't it about a lot more than just nasty sex?


Well, we're not here to delve into the psychology behind human sexuality, nor the overwhelming hormonal drives of the male and female physiogomy. No, we here to enjoy some great comics. And what intrigues me the most about romance comics is the way the gender roles are portrayed, because there is undeniably a prevailing undertone of  pulsating sexual desire at play in every story, overt or not.
Plus, I think the word lover is 'funny'.

I kinda like that one. Wooer.
'Hey, Joe, did ya woo 'er?'
'Hey, Sally, how was your wooer last night?'
'Oh, he was a real wolf.'
'Too bad, there's nothing worse than a wooer wolf!'
ahem. sorry.
But perhaps all these archaic terms have lost their relevance in today's modern world.

What's my point?
I don't know!
Let's read some comics, shall we?

Here's two interesting stories from the repressed 50's about two different girls (young ladies, I mean) who finally find their Boy-Toys, er, Wooers, er, I mean Paramours, yeeesh!
Their LOVERS, okay? I said it!

In our first romantic tale 'The Man I'll Marry', beautiful Betty spends most of her time doing alot of two things:  drawing pictures and kissing men. Why? Because she is looking for the right man to marry, or in other words, her lover. But she is going about it in the most irregular way, cutting through a swath of men and leaving them to wither up and blow away as if they we're tall grass and she was a machete. She is shopping for men like she is trying on jeans at the Gap. She is basically doing what we all want to do...she wants someone with perfect dreamy looks who can also ring her bell as well (ding! ding!). Is that so wrong?

Comic databases list the art on this story as unknown, but I recognize the work of John Tartaglione for Atlas comics.  The style is so recognizable, now you too will know it the next time you see it.


The second story is listed as artist unkown as well, but has a very familiar look to it somehow to me. Whoever it is, I like it.

I am probably wrong, but when I look at the art, I see two familiar styles somehow...some of the women look like Bill Everett's work a bit, and some of them look like Gene Colan's! It probably is neither, for all I know, but both did work for Atlas at the time  -- perhaps they did team up on penciling, one inking? Overall, it doesn't look necessarily like eithers work, just here and there. Now I am asking all you classic comic freaks out there to strap your thinking caps on and tell me what you think. Do YOU recognize the artist for the second story? If you do, please tell me.

"Rah! I vad do doe, doo!"

What Doc? Take out the bar of soap..

"Phhp! Pleh! Ptooey! Yuk! Vhat I shaid vas, Jah, I vant to know, too, Jah!"

From LOVERS #73, 1955, Atlas comics, 'Too Loyal For Love' features the classic triangle (er, don't think dirty, I did. Be mature about this). Uh-oh! I'll bet somebody gets hurt!


As a bonus, let us analyze the cover to LOVERS # 50, with art by John Tartaglione.

What is significant here is  --  just what is going on here?!
It certainly looks fairly erotic for a teen comic. Doc?

"Fairly erotic? Zis is flat-out shmut! Are you blind! Shtart looking at zings mit der 'Wertham-colored glasses, und vake up already!"

Well it looks like Ricky Riccardo...he's trying to perform a Vulcan Mind-Meld on her, I admit, but...okay, she appears to be in some state of...ecstasy...and...where are their other hands?

"HA! I know what zose hands iss doin'! Remember vhat I told you ze last time ve talked about ze shmutty teen romance comics?(click here for pt1 & here for pt2) Iffen you can't see  ze persons hand, it's up to no good, jah! Look at zis guy here  --  he has complete control over zis submitting female, vhy, he practically has her in a headlock  --  if zat isn't a dominant position, I don't know vhat! Und she's in ze ecstasy, all right, 'cuz his udder hand is up her shkirt or somezing, Jah! Ve chust may be lookink at ze firsht comic book mit der orgasm right on ze front cover! 'MISS SMITH SAYS YES YES OH YEESSSSSSSS!' Jah!"

Doc! How do you know what his other hand is doing?

"I know because I used to do zis to Mrs. Fredrics every Wednesday after bingo! He's doing what ve call in ze trade ze 'Double-Digit-Ditty-Dang!' Jah! Heh heh! Mrs. Fredricks liked it so much she used to ashk me for it by name, by golly, jah! Heh heh!"

Doc, these images you keep putting into my head are not pretty! Oog!

"Jah, I vas going to say you look pretty sick. looks all pale und mit der dark bags under ze eye-flames...Tsk tsk, you shouldn't even be shtanding, probably!"

Really, Doc? You think so?  I..was feeling fine, but ...I guess I'm a litttle tired. I mean, I have been staring at comic books and computer screens for about the last four months without sleeping or eating.
 Is that bad?
"Jah! I'm telling you you look sick! Lissen to me, I am a doctor, you know! (Even if it was just as a horse doctor in the old country) Here, now just let me reach over und check your temperature vith ze back of my hand against your cheek..."

Hey now, Doc! You haven't...done that 'Ditty-Dang' thing lately, right?

"Not that you know...hmmm  -- oh no...tsk tsk..."

What's the matter , Doc?

"I need you to open your mout's, shtick out your tongue, und say'AHH'!"

Okay. AaaaaaaaahhhhmMMMOOOMMPHHKK!!!

"Zere's your bar of soap back, sucker! Hee hee hee ho!"

Uugh! Bleh! Shperk! Splaapblaah! Peh! Yuk!
Shee you nex shime, folkssh!
Ssppoopleyy speew! Ptui!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE LEGEND OF IRON-MAN McGEE - or, "I am Iron Man!" - "No, I am Iron Man!" - "No. I am!" - "No! I am, dang it!"

One of the many things artist John Severin can draw well is western comics. He shows us his stuff here, teaming up with a fella named Stan Lee.
Get ready to meet one of the ornery-est critters west of the Pecos!
Our tale comes from Atlas comics WYATT EARP #4, 1956, pard'ner!
Smile when ya say that, ya lilly-livered sod-buster!
Now slide up to the bar and have a drink with



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THE UGLY MAN - Joe Maneely and Stan Lee

Everybody knows Marvel Comics.
Back in the late 40's and 50's Timely/Marvel was also known by the name ATLAS.
These pre- Marvel-Age Atlas comics are some of the coolest comics of the 50's, because Stan Lee always had wonderful artists in his 'bullpen'. Before Jack Kirby emerged as Marvel's #1 artist in the 60's, Stan Lee's favorite go-to artist was the multi-talented Joe Maneely.

Joe Maneely had a unique artistic style where he developed a beautiful hatching technique for shading his characters. He drew the successful syndicated newspaper comic strip 'MRS. LYONS CUBS', written by Stan Lee. He is perhaps most famous for his wonderfully detailed and historically accurate rendition of THE BLACK KNIGHT. Known for his amazing speed as well as his beautiful detailing, Maneely's work was soon gracing covers for nearly every comic in Atlas' line. His talent allowed him to vary his style to fit several genres without missing a beat, and his art for romance comics was as good as his sports comics, and his westerns, and his science fiction/fantasy, and his humor, and his horror comics...ah yes, his horror comics!

Maneely's eye for details helped him to create some truly incredible horror imagery of the 50's, including one of the all-time greatest pre-code horror covers,
ASTONISHING #30 from 1954.


Sadly, the world of comic books lost one of it's greatest talents in 1958, when after a night of drinking with companions from the Atlas bullpen, including pal Bill Everett, Joe Maneely was killed in a tragic train accident. He was 32 years old.

From SUSPENSE # 23, 1952, comes our tale from the team of Lee and Maneely, with it's tongue firmly in it's cheek. It's horror with a patented Stan Lee humorous twist ending, drawn with glorious and revolting perfection by the inspiring Joe Maneely.


For a treat, you can click here and go to THE HORRORS OF IT ALL to see another classic Atlas horror story by another comic book legend, Bill Everett, the cover story from the same issue! Don't miss it!