Dark Horse announces more pre-Code anthologies

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From the gory, lurid world of pre-Code comics….Dark Horse is putting together some kick-ass collections — in fact, you’ll soon be able to read the insides of all those comics that we post whenever we’re sick or late or whatever. ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN indeed.

The golden age of comics license apathy

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Our feverish maunderings about old comics did draw one great link, from Jamie Coville, this interview with DJ Arneson, who was the editor for Dell after Western pulled its licenses and the company essentially started a comics company from scratch in 1962. It’s a fascinating look at the business away from Marvel and DC. And it also provides a glimpse into a long ago Shangri-La before…approvals:

Thoughts from a sickbed about comics genres

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While looking for a comics cover for a sick alert, I realized that the heyday era of the doctor comic was definitely the early ’60s. Licensed comics were such a big deal then, especially for Dell/Western. They licensed just about anything. The BEN CASEY and Dr. KILDARE comics were based on popular TV shows of the time. Dr. KILDARE lasted about 9 issues, BEN CASEY 10, although it did spin off into a comic strip which was written and drawn by Neal Adams.

Reprints in Review: The Lurid World of Pre-Code Crime [Column]

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by Casey Burchby

How dangerous or offensive were pre-code crime comics – really? Most of us probably agree that the anti-comics hysteria of the early 1950s was ludicrously overblown, and can probably also think of a few current issues that are similarly hyper-inflated by reactionary gasbags. Dr. Fredric Wertham’s claims (enshrined in his ridiculously titled pseudoscientific 1954 screed Seduction of the Innocent) about the ill effects of comic books on easily-corruptible young minds probably said more about Wertham’s Germanic way of seeing the rest of humanity than they did about observable reality. But how do these Golden Age crime comics look to contemporary readers? A couple of new releases collect some of the best pre-code crime comics and prove that they still pack a wallop, both in terms of their swift, punchy visual storytelling, and in their ability to deliver real shocks.

It never gets old: Superman's strange behavior as seen on old comics covers

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BuzzFeed cribs from Superdickery for 25 Hilarious Vintage Comic Book Covers. These are all oldies, but sometimes it is just so great to take a break and look at these amazing covers from the golden age of comics. And we like posting them, because sometimes Pinterest just won’t do.

Everyone is talking about…BUTT RILEY

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George Tuska‘s version of ROADHOUSE.

Incredible things Superman actually said

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From 1958’s SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE #5

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Internet existed in 1958? Perhaps people like Mort Weisinger could not exist in a wired world. Julie Schwartz would probably have been running a website and playing Halo.

Holiday reading: "…And All Through The House…"

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An EC classic by Johnny Craig for some holiday ho ho horror.

Cover Gallery: Joe Simon

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When Joe Simon passed away at the age of 98 last week, he left behind an impressive body of work. Although everyone knows he was the partner of Jack “King” Kirby, Simon and Kirby were partners in the truest sense — collaborating freely on art and writing, with Simon mostly the editor and Kirby the art director. However, Simon was a prolific artist on his own. While he didn’t have Kirby’s command of sheer power and imagination, he did have a way with wiry, dynamic heroes. Heritage Auctions recently ran a cover tribute to Simon in their newsletter — have a look:

Sharon Moody repaints Kirby

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Is there a new Lichtenstein roaming the forests? Scott Edelman has brought to our attention thr work of Sharon Moody who paints trompe l’oeil paintings of comics by Jack Kirby, Sal Buscema and others — but Edelman is bothered by the fact that the source artists are not credited anywhere:

Jim Shooter: I did not write Avengers #200

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Not too long ago, we presented for your amusement several videos recapping the rather appalling events of AVENGERS #200, in which Ms. Marvel was kidnapped, drugged and forcibly impregnated, and after giving birth to a reincarnation of her rapist, went off with him in a happy daze. The writers on the story are listed as Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Bob Layton and George Pérez but it’s been noted that in the years since, no one has actually taken credit for coming up with the story. It’s like that one round of blanks in the firing squad — every man can believe he is the innocent one.

Now over on his blog, Jim Shooter has come out and confirmed that he’s wiped the entire incident from his memory:

Marvel's women problems past and present: when Ms. Marvel got raped

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Yesterday’s comments by Tom Brevoort on the lack of sales support for female characters at Marvel did not go unnoticed by the usual gender issue commentators.

Random thoughts on hoarding

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About once a year, we give Stately Beat Manor a really good going-over — tossing out unwanted pamphlets, moving some stuff into storage, organizing permanent additions and so on — and after doing so we write a post with our thoughts about storage and hoarding and so on.

This is that post, c. 2011.

I assume most of you reading this are borderline hoarders, like The Beat. Your shelf porn resembles a splatter film. You have more longboxes than you do pieces of silverware. Your home contains at least one Billy. You have at one time — perhaps even at this very moment — made use of some kind of software to catalog your collection even if it was just Excel or Google spreadsheets. You know the drill.

Stolen ACTION #1 that once belonged to Nicolas Cage expected to become most expensive comic of all time

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It’s the Hope Diamond of the comic book set. The one-of-a-kind 9.0 graded copy of ACTION #1 that once belonged to actor Nicolas Cage is going on the auction block — and it is expected to set a record for a comic price. The comics loving actor purchased the copy — the finest of ACTION #1 known to exist — in 1997 for $150,000. It was then stolen from his house in 2000 and vanished from history until it was found in a California storage unit last year. According to ComicConnect’s Vincent Zurzolo — the go-to man for all comics collectible lore — the stolen comic was actually tracked down and traced to a man who had purchased it from the owner of the contents of the unit. Will someone please make a movie about this investigation?

Preview: Gyro Gearloose in "Picnic"

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This is one of my all-time favorite comics stories. I’ve often alluded to it in conversation as “It’s like, you know, that story where Gyro Gearloose builds a house for a picnic?” Very few people get the reference. In fact I am the only one. But It’s a couple of things: a fine example of Carl Barks at his 1957 form — sure fluid art with the joke extended visually to its fullest extent, and a tight plot based on human folly — all executed with a seeming effortlessness. It’s also a fine example of the Gyro story — a well-intentioned dullard whose high intelligence is unencumbered by any sign of wisdom (he’d outsourced that to Helper, his little lightbulb-headed robot.)

Gyro Gearloose and Helper call into the category of foolish leader and the sidekick who saves him — Wallace and Gromit, or Green Hornet and Kato in the recent film. “Picnic” takes that basic dynamic and adds in another universal human truth: how the solution is often worse then the problem; and how losing sight of the goal can take you in the exact opposite direction. 

Nice art: Defenders splash pages

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These Defenders don’t mess around.

Also, call me nuts, but on the off-chance that this just happened to be the first comics book I ever picked up, I’d rather just read a big old caption explaining who these groovy characters are than read dialog like, “Namor will not let your gamma-radiation based mutation take over, Banner!”

Although considering that this is a ’70s comic, they probably ALSO said something like that inside even though there was a caption.