Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Reading Room EVERY DAY IS A HOLLY DAY "Thanksgiving Day" & HUMBUG "Like How to Carve Turkey"

A look at Thanksgiving...including before it was Thanksgiving!
Note there is a historically-inaccurate aspect below...
Interestingly, this page from Brevity Inc's one-shot giveaway Every Day is a Holly Day (1956) plays up the fallacy that turkeys were served at the first Thanksgiving, when, in fact, the primary dish was eel!
In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be America's official bird and you don't eat your official bird!
Why is this comic entitled "Every Day is a Holly Day" instead of "Every Day is a Holiday"?
Because it was given away to kids by grocers who sold Holly Sugar!
Illustrated by John Rosenberger, it's a unique pamphlet covering a number of American holidays, including both Lincoln and Washington's Birthdays (before they were combined into "Presidents' Day"), Mothers' Day (though not Fathers' Day), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and a couple of holidays we've largely abandoned...Pan-American Day and American Indian Day!
We'll be presenting the other chapters on the dates they fall upon.
Watch for them!
Now, let's switch from reverence to sarcasm, with a never-reprinted one-pager by Arnold Roth from Humbug Publications' Humbug #5 (1957) covering a major culinary conundrum...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Best of Reading Room WEIRD WORLDS "Space Vampires"

How did the cover-featured tale from Avon's Strange Worlds #4 (1951)...
...end up being used (almost verbatim) in Eerie Publications' Weird Worlds #V1N10 (1970)?
Eerie Publications had been using photostats and negatives from defunct comics companies as the source material for their b/w magazine line.
About a year in, they started using South American artists eager to break into the comics market and American artists like Dick Ayers and Chic Stone who were losing work as the Silver Age ended and comics companies cut back their lines, to re-do old stories with a more contemporary style.
Some illustrators totally-redid the art, using new "camera angles" and clothing/technology designs reflecting contemporary tastes.
In this particular case, artist Cirilo Munoz just lightboxed and re-inked the existing Wally Wood/Joe Orlando artwork!
Editor Carl (Golden Age Human Torch) Burgos rewrote the opening captions and changed the hero's name, but otherwise left Gardner Fox's original script intact.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Best of Reading Room STRANGE GALAXY "Space Monsters"

Yesterday, we posted the final adventure of Kenton of the Star Patrol...
Art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
...except, it both was and wasn't the final tale!
The script was used, almost verbatim (but with a renamed lead character), for a new story in the first issue of the short-lived 1970s b/w magazine Strange Galaxies!
All the other names, including the female lead, Maeve, and various locations, remained the same...
In fact, all the stories in Eerie Publications' Strange Galaxy V1N8 (which was the first issue), were re-dos of earlier stories from various defunct comic companies!
I guess they figured that no one would remember the original 1950s tales in 1971...
The rewriter/adaptor is unknown, but could be editor Carl Burgos, who created, among others, the Golden Age Human Torch and the first Silver Age Captain Marvel (the android who said "Split"!).
The stories don't have individual art credits, but according to the Weird World of Eerie Publications by Mike Howlett, the illustrator is one of the artists who were regular contiburors to the Eerie Publications line, Oscar Fraga.
BTW, this isn't the only Kenton tale that Eerie Publications reworked!
Be here tomorrow for another one!
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Best of Reading Room KENTON OF THE STAR PATROL "Monster-Men of Space!"

It's time for interstellar adventure with Kenton of the Star Patrol... another talented artist takes the reins from Wally Wood and Joe Orlando for Kenton's final tale!
This Kenton story from Avon's Strange Worlds #6 (1952) is penned by Gardner Fox and rendered by Everett Raymond Kinstler, who left comics for fine art (including numerous official portraits of US Presidents).
Previous Kenton artists Joe Orlando and Wally Wood did the cover for the issue...
...but, when the cover was reused for IW/Super's Eerie #1 (1958), which contained stories from Spook Comics, the art looked decidedly-different!
Was the Eerie cover the original version, which was modified to make the alien match the Kinsler-drawn aliens?
Ironically, when the Kenton story was reprinted, it had a totally-new cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito featuring aliens who looked nothing like the Monster-Men...
And there's yet another twist to the tale of this tale, which we will week, when we go from Strange Worlds and Strange Planets to Strange Galaxies!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Design of the Week Redux! SANTA'S ELVES ON STRIKE

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another, unless it sells really well!
Then we extend it for another week!
This week...Go back 79 years ago, to November 1938 and see...when elves were part of the 99%!
(You'll note that the cover is dated January, 1939. But it was actually on sale in November, 1938! Publishers used to cover-date comics and pulps two to three months ahead of the actual on-sale date to keep the books on the stands for as long as possible!)
And it looks like the elves aren't going to settle for sweatshop wages and conditions at the North Pole anymore!
Why not pick up this kool design on mugs, greeting cards, and other Christmas collectibles NOW!
Christmas will be here before you know it!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reading Room ANYTHING GOES! "Heroes"

Sometimes you come across a beautiful piece that speaks for itself...
...such as this never-reprinted Alex Toth piece from Fantagraphics' "benefit book" Anything Goes! #1 (1986)
Exactly what Anything Goes was can be discovered HERE.
Several such "benefit books" (and "benefit portfolios") were produced in the 1980s, including Eclipse's Destroyer Duck (to aid Steve Gerber in his Howard the Duck lawsuit against Marvel), and Last Gasp's Strip AIDS U.S.A. (benefiting the Shanti Project, an AIDS education and support organization!)
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Fun TALES OF SWORD AND SORCERY "Cult of the Cave Bear"

The second try at a Tragg strip...
...dropped any elements of science fiction, and went for pure fantasy...including zombies!
This Don Glut-scripted. Jesse Santos-illustrated story from Gold Key's Mystery Comics Digest #9 (1973) has never been reprinted, nor are the events or other characters referred to in the subsequent Tragg and the Sky Gods series, which we'll begin next Friday!
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Best of Reading Room KENTON OF THE STAR PATROL "Sirens of Space"

Kenton goes hand-to-hand with space pirates...

...and to think he gets paid to do this sort of stuff!
Where do I sign up for the Star Patrol?
This Kenton story from Avon's Strange Worlds #5 (1951) demonstrates Joe Orlando and Wally Wood's talent for rendering both exotic machinery and beautiful women.
It's also their final Kenton story, but not their final work on the character.
He did the cover for the next issue, which features the final tale in the Kenton series, but illustrated by another artist!
You'll see that one on Monday!
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