Friday, February 18, 2011
Thanks to the various websites where one can read or download vintage comics, I've come to have a great appreciation for the work of Bob Powell. As a comics addicted kid of the 1960s, I only knew Powell as the guy whose name also appeared on some of those Wally Wood issues of Daredevil (where I could see no sign of any artist's style but Wood) and who drew a few Giant Man stories -- which weren't the most spectacular comics ever. How could I have known about all those great horror comics he drew years before?
Well, thanks to the Grand Comics Database, you can look up all the comics he drew -- and find many of the public domain ones available for download at the Digital Comics Museum. I was thinking about posting some of Powell's fantastic work from Man in Black #1 -- but you can see the whole thing at Pappy's Golden Age Comic Blogzine. Pappy has a lot of Powell on display there, including some shot from the original art! Do yourself a huge favor and check out those posts. But wait until you're done reading this one, as you can get caught up in Pappy's blog for days!
You can also find much classic Bob Powell at The Horrors of It All blog -- be sure to read Colorama while you're there. While you're at it, check out this Emil Gershwin tale, too!
But enough plugs for all those other websites! Your special Scary Terry's World treat for today is Bob Powell's Pit of the Damned -- a tale which shows off the man's remarkable talent for drawing creepy creatures and tormented souls. The story has a carnival background -- and I have to say, having immersed myself in vintage horror and humor comics of late -- I'm amazed at how many stories feature the carnival or the circus. In this story, however, it's the whirlwind tour of the underworld that will stick with you more than the little bits the carnival that we see. I can't imagine any kids of the '50s reading this and not having nightmares for weeks after! Have a look and see why I consider Powell one of the great horror comic artists of all time.
Friday, February 4, 2011
The other day, I posted an Uncle Fuddly story from Quality's All Humor Comics. The Paul Gustavson-drawn feature is one of the highlights of the series -- but there's plenty more worth seeing in the pages of the comic. Ten issues of the 17-issue series are available for viewing at the Fury Comics website -- and for download at the Digital Comic Museum.
Below are a few select pages that I hope will send you to one or the other of those sites to check out this little-known but remarkably fun comic.
Check out this amazing splash page from Klaus Nordling's Odd Jobs Inc. As far as I'm concerned, that's as cool a splash page as anything Eisner or Cole ever drew. I love this sort of cartooning, and think it's a shame that there's pretty much no market in which to do this kind of work these days. We really need to do something about that....
Kelly Poole is the lead feature in most issues of All Humor. Most are signed "Bart Tumey," an artist I'd never heard of before. Very little information about him can be found on the web. The most detailed info I could find was in this Lambiek entry -- just a list of a few features he drew. The splash page below has a funky Wolverton/Elder feel to some of it -- but mostly, Tumey looks to me like someone who might have spent some time working for Al Capp on Li'l Abner. Seriously -- look at that 3/4 rear view face in the foreground of panel four in the story age below the splash. Could that be any more a stock Abner character? At the very least, there's a strong Capp influence here.
Harry Sahle contributes a feature called Hickory (originally Acorn Acres) to All Humor. There's some really great cartooning from Sahle here. The rough and tumble rural-based humor of Hickory proved popular enough that it eventually led to him getting his own comic book.
Even the lesser features in the comic are a lot of fun. Take a gander at the simple, appealing cartooning of Al Stahl on Bozo the Hobo.
And then there's the flat out weirdness that is Atomictot! Some Atomictot stories are drawn by Gill Fox -- others (in a truly odd drawing style) are clearly by another hand (Ernie Hart?).
If you like what you see here, check out the links I posted earlier to see more. In the meantime, I'm just going to wish we had comics of this sort (as well as the horror anthologies I've been posting from) on the market now. I would so much rather read well-drawn wacky, goofball humor stories and over the top horror/suspense tales the likes of which I've been posting here, than the turgid, overly serious super hero books dominating the market today.
A truly healthy comics market would have room for the modern equivalent of All Humor or Web of Evil. We've got to bring back cartooning to comics, folks. There is a market out there that's not being served. Kids still love good comics -- when they are exposed to them. We have to work on that last part.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
From the pages of All Humor Comics #8, it's Paul Gustavson's Uncle Fuddly. Gustavson is better known for his work on such series as The Angel and Human Bomb. I wasn't familiar with Uncle Fuddly until recently, but he's joined Carl Hubbell's Sniffer (I must post a Sniffer story here sometime!) as one of my favorite oddball Golden Age humor characters. Some of the Fuddly stories are signed - this one isn't -- but it still looks like Gustavson to me. If anyone knows otherwise, please chime in.
That's Kelly Poole on the cover (drawn by?) -- he's often seen sharing couch space with a pretty (or not so pretty) girl. If you'd like to see more of Kelly and Uncle Fuddly, not to mention Hickory and Giddy Goose (!), check out the All Humor selection at the Fury Comics website.