Saturday, February 8, 2020

Before the Black Panther...

The Black Panther was not the first Black Marvel character to get a cover-featured series!
He wasn't even the second!
He was the third!
First was Luke Cage, who received his own title...
[Note: Though the series has ended, two of the stars have gone on to headline new CBS series!
Simone Missick (Misty Knight) on All Rise and Mike Colter (Luke Cage) on Evil!]
The second character was...
WHO???
Several months before Prince T'Challa took over a reprint book, Jungle Action, and began a memorable series that served as part of the plot of the billion-dollar blockbuster movie...
...this character took over another reprint book and began a series that nobody remembers!
[You can read every never-reprinted tale featuring Calvin and his buddies HERE!]
What makes the strip even more fascinating, beyond the vaudeville-level humor, is the identity of the writer-artist behind it!
"Kevin Banks" was not a pseudonym for an already-established creative, but an editorial staffer at Marvel in the early 1970s who received his "big break" with this strip!
Trivia: Kevin was the first (and so far, onlyMarvel creator to have a head shot illustration on an on-going series!
Even the ever-amazing comics researcher Nick Caputo could find little about the mysterious Mr Banks, as seen HERE.
What did Banks did after working at Marvel?
Did he work in advertising?
Become an art instructor?
Switch careers and become an accountant or fireman?
We may never know the answer...

Friday, February 7, 2020

Friday Fun THE FORGOTTEN SILVER AGE DC COMIC!

...and asked if anyone could identify what DC comic it was from.
Nobody could!
The answer is this...
DC's Teen Beam #2 (1968)!
Yeah, it doesn't look like a comic, but it was comic-sized, and DC produced it!
From '66-'69 several comics companies took a shot at doing mixed-format comics/teen mag titles...
Tower's Teen-In
Charlton's Go-Go
Harvey's Pop Comics
Warren also tried their hand with two b/w mag titles...
Freak Out, U.S.A.
and
Teen Love Stories!
Oddly, Marvel, once noted for their tendency to jump on trends, didn't do one of these!
DC advertised their attempt with this...odd...ad...
...featuring the mascot character Teeny and, presuming it would appeal to the target teenage girl audience, a grungy hippie!
The first issue featured Teeny introducing articles about various heart-throbs...
...but no other comics-type material!
The incredibly-popular mag they based the title on...
...immediately threatened a trademark infringement lawsuit!
So, DC hastily-altered the title in their ads and the book's logo to Teen Beam...
...and added comic pages along with the articles!
It didn't help, since distributors, unwilling to anger the insanely-hot Tiger Beat, refused to rack the title!
(as the ad points out, you had to ask for it, since it was now, as they used to say "under the counter" along with porn magazines!)
The second issue was the last!
You'll be seeing the other comic strips throughout the summer.
Watch for them!
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics
Visit Amazon and Order...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Baker Reading Room TALES TO ASTONISH "I Fell to the Center of the Earth!"

Here's a 1950s sci-fi story penciled by Black artist Matt Baker, whose speciality was "good girl" art!
Yet, there's not a single beautiful woman (not even a cavewoman), in this story, one of his few assignments for Atlas (later MarvelComics!
When this story appeared in Atlas' Tales to Astonish #2 (1959), Baker was near the end of his career, working through Vince Colletta's studio, doing only penciling to increase his productivity.
Vince Colletta inked the pages, and it's possible that, seeing how much detail Colletta tended to leave out during inking, Baker did less-detailed pencils than normal.
The writer is unknown, but it's believed to be the book's editor Stan Lee.
Penciler Matt Baker was one of the few Black comic book artists of the Golden and Silver Ages, and was easily the most prolific of them!
Though known for his "good girl" art, including the famous (and infamous) Phantom Girl stories, he handled every genre with ease, including horror, war, sci-fi, and romance!
Sadly, though, few of his stories featured Black characters...who were rare in comics until the mid-1960s!
You can read a short, but complete bio HERE!
He'll be our featured artist this month in the Baker Reading Room at Atomic Kommie Comics, spotlighting his amazing cross-genre versatility!
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics
Visit Amazon and Order...

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder HARSH REALM "Case" Conclusion

In the near-future, private investigator Dexter Green is hired by the Crawfords, whose teenage son, Dan, has disappeared into a virtual-reality world called "Harsh Realm."
It's called that because if your avatar dies in the Realm, your body dies as well!
Since communication with those in the world and the real world isn't possible, Dexter decides to enter the game and use his sleuthing skills to find Dan!
The private eye is "plugged in" to the virtual reality plane and...

Will Dex head for the distant city?
What other weird creatures will he encounter?
Will he find Dan?
For the Answers to these and other Questions...
Be Here the First Wednesday in March!

Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics!
Visit Amazon and Order...

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Baker Reading Room "Behind the Scenes of 'Half Man-Half What' "

Here's Saturday's tale...
...but from the original Matt Baker/Al Williamson art!
Take particular note of the areas "whited out", probably at the request of the Comics Code Authority!
BTW, note that in the story, Dr Talbot's right side is altered, but on the cover, his left side is affected!
Let's look closely at that final panel...
Dr Talbot's right side has been totally-whited out.
Was it still metallic?
And his face originally wasn't happy!
Did the original ending show him at the beginning of the process, wondering if it would succeed, and leaving the door open for a sequel if it didn't?
Was the Comics Code Authority responsible for the odd changes?
We'll never know...
Penciler Matt Baker was one of the few Black comic book artists of the Golden and Silver Ages, and was easily the most prolific of them!
Though known for his "good girl" art, including the famous (and infamous) Phantom Girl stories, he handled every genre with ease, including horror, war, sci-fi, and romance!
Sadly, though, few of his stories featured Black characters...who were rare in comics until the mid-1960s!
You can read a short, but complete bio HERE!
He'll be our featured artist this month in the Baker Reading Room at Atomic Kommie Comics, spotlighting his amazing cross-genre versatility!
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics
Visit Amazon and Order...

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday Madness ALL-NEGRO COMICS "Lil' Eggie"

Some things are universal...
...including vaudeville-level humor about husband-wife relations, as this never-reprinted cartoon from All-Negro Comics #1 (1947) proves!
Illustrated by John Terrell, it reads much like the then-current Maggie & Jiggs comic strip about a married couple who were constantly-throwing crockery at each other during their arguments!
Terrell himself was the artist for more material in the book (including house ads and both covers) than anyone else, handling crime (Ace Harlem) and humor (Lil' Eggie) with equal aplomb!
All that's known about Terrell is that he was from Philadelphia.
There's literally no other info extant about him, and All-Negro Comics was his only credited work.
It's possible the "Terrell" name was a pseudonym.
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics
Visit Amazon and Order...

Sunday, February 2, 2020

San Francisco 49er by Jack Kirby!

As we settle in to enjoy the spectacle that is the Super Bowl...
...we wanted to show you a suggested uniform design for the San Francisco 49ers  penciled, inked, and colored by the late, great Jack (King) Kirby from the October 21, 1973 issue of the NFL's PRO Magazine, which was sold (with a customized game-day insert) only at NFL stadiums!
Though the Kansas City Chiefs were not among the teams represented, other designs included the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and Green Bay Packers!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have chili, sliders, wings, and desserts to prepare for this evening...