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  #91  
Old 02-21-2019, 06:28 AM
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Action Comics #5

Written by Jerry Seigel, Drawn by Joe Shuster


Back to some truly classic Superman. How classic? This one feels, in many ways, like the most generic premise for a classic Superman adventure, minus any gangster: a damn is going to burst and only Superman can save the day. I will say, in its defense, this is the first time we see Superman not battle a villain but dealing with a force of nature. And with Superman much weaker than he would become, this is a bit of a big deal. Also, this is the first time he saves a train with his bare hands, which is an iconic act of heroism for Supes. Let's begin!


I like that font. It's not the more famous version, but I still like it.


We start with the situation that will be central to the story: a damn is on the verge of collapsing and people are leaving town before the worst happens. I'm also glad the comic took the time to show us telegraph lines. That was essential. This feels like a Mark Trail that couldn't be bothered to draw the animals.

The story is supposed to go to reporter Clark Kent, but Lois, feeling envious of Kent's great story, decides to steal it from him by telling him a lie and going off to get the story for herself. And her lie?


"A FLUFF PIECE! HOT DOG! THIS IS WHAT I GOT INTO THIS INDUSTRY FOR!"

Clark seems genuinely excited about this. Like, way too excited. If this is Clark playing the rube again for Lois' benefit, he is leaning too far into it. Lois rushes to Valleyho (tee hee), while Clark heads to the hospital. When he finds out he's been had, he returns to work with an awful surprise.


I really with Superman's line in the second panel was "Now to get that LAST PAYCHECK!" Also, you have been fired. I mean, I guess maybe you can do things freelance, but I feel like the presumption is "If I can get the story, I can get my job back", which seems a bit presumptive. But maybe that's how the job market worked in the late 30's.

Anyway, Superman uses his super speed to catch up with and outrun the train. On his way to Valleyho, he discovers...


And, for the first time, Superman uses his super strength and endurance to rescue a train.


Classic.

When Lois arrives in town, she's the only one willing to stay for a story when it looks like the damn dam is about to give. Meanwhile, Superman tries to hold it together for as long as he can.


Superman finally lets it go, but as he's about to leave, Superman encounter's Lois getting caught in the flood.


Wow, if I could parse what was going on in panel 42, I bet I'd be impressed by the art. Is that supposed to be the beach? The sky? I have no idea.

Anyway Superman rescues her...


And based on this picture, runs up and down the beach at least once. I'm also not sure what "He catches up with it's beginning..." (like, he returns to it's source, maybe?) but he does outrace the flood, which is good. Lois and grateful and expresses it with a kiss.


I love that I feel like there's a multitude of ways to read "Lady! ------ Please!" Like "yes, please" but weird or "Lady, please, you're embarrassing yourself" or "Lady, please, are you serious?" Nonetheless, even Superman is impressed with Lois' pucker handling skills. The two pitch a little woo (Superman says "I've got to bring you back to safety... where I'll be safe from you" and Lois remembers how Superman used to scare her but now she loves him. Lois asks him not to go, but Superman suggests that they'll meet again.

Back at the office, the tone between the two becomes quite different.


Wow! On both ends. First of all, Clark ends with a total Milhouse move. "I wasn't happy with how you betrayed me-- STILL LIKE ME!" Look, I get it. You want water to be under the bridge. But she also got you fired in an act of selfishness. So maybe at least hash it out a little before "duh, I still likes you, do you like me?"

Lois, meanwhile, is absolutely awful to Clark. Is he acting a little spineless? Sure. Are you understandably upset that your reporting skills are being overlooked for some goober? Fine. But you fucking got him fired and are not the least bit remorseful in potentially ruining a man's livelihood for your own gain. You are being the bad guy, here. It's one thing to scoop Clark. That's the game. But that assignment was specifically given to Clark by a clearly unstable boss. You don't have to accept Clark's "like" but even an inkling of remorse for nearly ruining him would be just great. I mean Lady! -------- Please!

Next time: A soldier in the army gets Superman's powers.

Until next time...

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  #92  
Old 02-21-2019, 07:44 AM
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Default A super-man is a clumsy portmanteau

I’m reading Lois’ last line in Paul F. Thompkins’-as-The Smooth Criminals voice.

And you can’t stop me!
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  #93  
Old 04-04-2019, 04:36 PM
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Wanted Comics #18

Written by writer unknown, Drawn by Jerry Robinson


It's April and you don't know what that means! So I'll break it down for you: a couple months ago I picked up Reefer Madness, a collection of old school anti-weed comics. So I figured with 420 just around the corner, I should discuss some of these comics? The significance of 420? That's my birthday!

First up is a tale from Wanted Comics #18, drawn by comic book legend Jerry Robinson.


Our comic begins in Anytown USA. The comic actually, after a fashion, USES THIS CLICHE! BECAUSE THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! Assuming YOU are a pudgy aging tabacco store shopkeep. Said shopkeep is being pitched a new cigarette by some shady looking fellows. The keep, referred to as "Pop" by the gangsters, so I'll do the same, is shocked by the 50 cent per cigarette price tag but decides to try selling them.

As an aside, the goons reveal they are trying to make Pop's a fall guy in case he is caught with the "special" cigarettes and use old timey slang like "What a blind he makes!" (I think I get this one) and "The boss sure knows his oats!" (no idea. Are "his oats" aging shopkeeps?

Anyway, His Oats Pops soon gets his first customer.


"Jonesing for pot" is going to be a recurring theme here and this guy is not trying to hide it. I figure if Pop's had a few days of this he should be at least mildly suspicious. At least he should think "Man, this new cigarette is really popular with edgy, intense people."

He certainly notices that they sell well, though, and makes a mental note to order more. Meanwhile, the police shoot a criminal pulling a gun and find marihuana rolled up to be smoked like a cigarette on his person and conclude that the drug trade has moved to town.

The next day, the officer who was present for the shooting enters the smoke shop just as it is opening. Pop mentions he's heard about the shooting and mentions the man shot was buying a cigarette in his shop that very day. A very expensive cigarette. The cop immediately catches on and realizes that Pops is the big break in the case.


I mean, you've been in the tabacco business a long time but it doesn't mean you are good at it if you can't figure this one out. I mean, at the very least, you should be weary about stinky unusual "tabacco", right?

The cop reveals that Pop's has been unknowingly selling pot with each doobie being "deadlier than a bullet", which is true if you mean by putting them in your mouth and you have a marijuana allergy. Pop's is immediately penitent and wants to be taken to jail in a scene where Jerry Robinson either consciously or unconsciously makes the Pop helping the police look like the tragic Faustian moment of the comic.


Days pass and the criminals notice the police vigil but after it ends, the criminals come back. The approach pops, who doesn't exactly play it cool, spilling cigars everywhere.


The cops move in for the arrest, which quickly turns into a bloodbath in the old man's shop.


This comic seems less like an anti-drug screed and more like a grim warning about the pervasiveness guns and police recklessness.

Anyway, Pops is taken hostage but he's not afraid to fight back... I think?


Based on the caption, it seems like Pop's did something. I think Robinson wants us to see this as the old man elbowing the crook but it really looks like his elbow is stationary and the criminal just had a fortune and unexplained arm spasm or something.

Anyway, the crook is tackled by the cop and Pop's is congratulated for helping the cops.


"If this helps the kids enjoy Europe '72 just a little less, than it was worth nearly dying for."

And so we exit Pops, the only sympathetic character in the comic. And there's 2 and a half pages left, so lets try to get this over with, even though it feels like it should have ended with this very panel.

The rest is pretty dull. The perp talks, we get some exposition from the bad guy to his croney about their plan (sell marajuana), berates his croney for thinking of smoking it ("It will make you Goofy-weak upstairs!"). Then the cops raid the villains.


And things go badly for the villains.



Wait, I don't know much about police procedure, but shouldn't you save all the drugs for evidence? I could be wrong, does anyone know if this tracks?

The cop gives a speech about the evils of weed and that's the end really. Frankly, while its all silly, it was much more interesting when it was about Pop. Once the well-intentioned but naive tobacconist exits the story, any sembelence of being interesting is lost. Even the art feels a lot duller, with Pop somehow being the visual highlight of the comic, as he isn't "guy in suit barely distinguishable from other guy in suit.

Next time: Jack Kirby does drugs... related comics.

Until next time...


Last edited by Johnny Unusual; 04-05-2019 at 10:07 AM.
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  #94  
Old 04-05-2019, 06:22 AM
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Kind of feel like every single character in this comic stood around saying “Damn, what a waste” afterward.
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  #95  
Old 04-05-2019, 04:09 PM
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Headline Comics #24

Written by writer unknown, Drawn by Jack Kirby


Jack Kirby is a comic book legend. His unique style helped define the look of Marvel in it's inception and then he went onto make some truly idiosyncratic and sometimes brilliant works in the 70s. But while this is Kirby at peak Kirby, this was also in the latter half of his career. Early on, he co-created Captain America and was a long time artist for the major companies. Which means he was wasn't just drawing superhero books, but also whatever was popular in the era. Following World War II, superheroes fell out of favour so in the mid to late 40's, the hot thing was crime books. The really popular ones were the very violent ones like Crime Does Not Pay and prior to some HUAC nonsense, there wasn't a lot of holding back, with lots of sex and murder. After parent complaints and other stuff, the genre continued in a less exploitative and duller fashion, though there was still a high (often bloodless) body count.

This particular work isn't particularly scandalous (by the era's standards) but it is super melodramatic and over the top, which definitely plays to Kirby's strengths. Let's check out Kirby's foray into the "pot scare" genre.


It claims to be a vivid illustration of why "crime never pays" but it seems more like a vivid illustration of "how to strangle." Also, apparently there is a credited writer: "Red Hot Blaze", who presumably performs nightly at Hunk-O-Mania.

We begin with Red Hot talking to a young man (who either works there or maybe wandered in from the streets...


"Because this cabinet transforms into a rail gun."

I don't think I like how "catching crooks" is basically shooting them to death to these people. Anyway, Red Hot begins his story, describing firemen taking on a blaze in an apartment building... where they find one of the victims... was dead before the fire!


Then, because he's a sick fuck, Red Hot decides to show him the pictures.




Red Hot explains hot the murder was similar to a previous murder, thereby validating his claim that the cabinet is a sacred and holy weapon in the war against crime.


Also, they turn blue because... Kree? Man, Kirby was ahead of the game by over a decade.

Soon a third victim is found and we get to see a fourth.



The police end up trackin the criminal to his home and he tries to make an escape.


But thankfully Super Nintendo Fallon is a crack shot with a potted plant.

Here's a dramatization of that event.



JK, the actual hit is far gnarlier.


That's right, Fallon exploded his goddamned head! What the Hell was in that flower pot? Is Fallon as shocked by this as I am? Like he looks at his hands and screams "WHAT AM I? WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!"

BTW, so far there's a far better case for flora-based pottery than your cabinet, Red Hot. Just saying.

Anyway, the criminal somehow survives complete cranial collapse and is identified as "Limey" Wilson, a marijuana addict! The man is so strung out on the reefer, that he probably sees arresting officer like this.


Anyway, the cops try to pressure "Limey" by agreeing to some sort of suicide pact for their lungs.


The smoke gets to "Limey", who can't help craving the jazz cigarettes, to the point where he becomes one of the creepy hobophobic char men from the last season of Twin Peaks.


Why did the colorist think that randomly making characters was a good move. It's not an overly stylized piece for it too make sense and it doesn't track as "character in shadow". It just looks weird.

Anyway, "Limey" confesses and our story ends with Red Hot staring down the young man, speechifying and, based on the picture, threatening him.

"If you commit a crime, you will discover the true horrors of my cabinet. My cabinet is capable of things you cannot even imagine."

And that's it. This isn't Kirby's best but the art isn't too bad and feels better than a lot of stuff on the stands. It's also the best looking thinking in the collection I got it from. There are some good choices that work, like the murder from the killer's point of view and the moody shading on the splash page. Oh, and the head explosions. And notice the weird shape of the panel as "Limey" tries to escape where it looks like a keyhole? I don't know what he did it, but I like it.

Next time: Monkey on her back.

Until next time...

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  #96  
Old 04-12-2019, 10:51 AM
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Youthful Hearts #1

Written by writer unknown, Drawn by Edwin Goldfarb and Bob Baer


Warning, neither of these celebrities appear in this story. Instead, it is a brief tale of a girl whose sister is addicted to drugs.


Sadly, the monkey in the title never actually appears in the story. And as metaphor's for the horror of drug addiction go, he's way to cute. Like, definitely not among the top echelon of cute monkeys but too cute for the purpose of his existence.

The comic opens with a young girl being taken into the police. She didn't commit a crime but she does have a story to tell.


"So... you don't like Frankie Laine?"

Also does this count as his one appearance in the book?

Also, based on the pennant in her room "Go Tat!" Maybe she's really into tattoos.

Little sister wants to study but big sis wants her to have a little fun.

At the party.


I must remind you, she hasn't done any weed yet.

Also, this is me all the time, pretty much.

Anyway, Mary (that's the little sister) enjoys some booze but when she's offered marijauna, she's shocked. As is her party animal (by this book's standards) sister .


Please let's start calling them that. All the time.

Anyway, Mary decides she doesn't want to party anymore and some time later, Mary finds her sister acting strange.


"Bracy's"? I know that Macy's might be litigious, but can't you come up with a better fake story name? This is like latter day Simpsons when the parody names of business are basically ShmcDonald's.

Anyway, Mary discovers her sister is into a more serious drug... granted, it's unnamed, but seeing as she's injecting it into herself, its probably heroine. Yeah, from here on in, its more about hard drugs that those sweet, sweet goofer sticks.


Also, it makes her kind of a two face or something? I think this color decision is less weird than the Jack Kirby story, but it is still weird.

Anyway, she explains her origin story. First she did pot, then she did harder stuff. It's all pretty simple.


I feel like with different word balloons, this is a romantic dinner where the maitre' D is having a romantic couple try the special house soup. Yum yum.

Things get worse for her sister, to the point where, for her sister's sake, Mary decides to make a drug delivery on her sister's behalf. Her sister is so broken up about it that she becomes the 3-D Man.




But Mary is caught as she was in the beginning of the story. She and the police visit Mary's sister just as she is trying to commit suicide and I don't think it is what was intended by the artist, but her dress is REALLY riding up on her.


Our story ends with the criminals being arrested off-camera and Mary's sister going to get rehabilitated to cure her of her drug addiction and inability to pronounce the letter E.


That's pretty much it. This one is a snooze and barely any weed. The dramatic shading doesn't quite work but at least someone is going for it and trying to make it look like Suspiria or something.

Next time: Do you like Dick Tracy? Too bad, we only got Kerry Drake.

Until next time...

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  #97  
Old 04-12-2019, 11:57 AM
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Didn’t think I’d find a euphemism for the devils weed that I liked more than “Jazz Cigarette”, but here we are.

Goofer Sticks.

Beautiful.

Beautiful and true
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