Saturday, June 25, 2022

Space Hero Saturdays CAPTAIN AERO "Alien Invasion"

What do you do with a wartime character after a war?
In the case of fighting aviator Captain Aero, you make him into a space-going fighter!
Art by Rudy Palais, writer unknown.
Captain Aero was one of numerous independent costumed aviators who fought the Axis in comic books during World War II.
His few distinctive traits included a mustache that came and went depending on the artist and an aircraft that could use its' propeller like a buzz-saw.
(The laws of physics were rarely-followed in Golden Age comics!)
In his early days he was assisted by the Sky Scouts, a gang of tweens and teens who wanted to be aviators, and who were popular enough to briefly have their own backup strip.
By the time of this never-reprinted story's publication in Holyoke's Captain Aero Comics #25 in 1946, WW II was over, and sales on military-themed comics were dropping.
A number of them, like Blackhawk, shifted to battling criminals and/or Communist spies.
But not Captain Aero!
He was destined for bigger interplanetary conflict!
The series' change of concept was taken even further in the next you'll see in two weeks!
But be here next week as space-going hero SpaceHawk begins his descent from spanning the galaxy of the far future to patrolling (then0 present-day Earth!
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featuring the cover art from this issue of Captain Aero Comics by LB Cole!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday Fun MODELING WITH MILLIE "Millie the Marvel"

If you think Marvel and DC are rebooting their characters (and continuities) more frequently than ever...'ve never followed the many incarnations of Millie the Model from 1945 to the present!
This particular story is from the early Silver Age "romance comic" phase of her career.
This never-reprinted story from Modeling with Millie #54 (1967); written by Gary Friedrich, penciled by Odgen Whitney, and inked (uncredited) by Frank Giacoia; was Millie the Marvel's only appearance.
It was also the final issue of this particular title.
Over at her ongoing "sister" title, Millie the Model, the character returned to her previous Archie Comics-influenced format, once more becoming a teen-humor title without ongoing storylines.
Trivia: From 1945 to 1973, there was always at least one Millie title from Atlas/Marvel, for a total of five different series, plus annuals, a couple of one-shots, an ongoing strip in Comedy Comics, and a spin-off series for her rival, Chili!
Her main title ran for 207 issues, and was, until Fantastic Four #207 came out in 1979, Marvel's longest-running character-named book!
(Books with longer runs like Mighty ThorIncredible Hulk, and Captain America had different names [Journey into MysteryTales to Astonish, and Tales of Suspense, respectively] before becoming "character" titles.
Millie's flagship title was always Millie the Model!)
Millie was rebooted several times going from a romance/humor hybrid to Archie-style humor to romance/soap opera and finally back to Archie-style humor with changes to the characters' ages, professions, and relationships at each stage.
Millie Collins, despite being shown as outside the Marvel Universe in this tale, has appeared as part of the mainstream Marvel universe in several titles, including the "Wedding of Reed and Sue" in Fantastic Four Annual #3 (and Marvels #2), Dazzler #34, Sensational She-Hulk #60, and the Models, Inc mini-series.
In the 1980s, a middle-aged Millie appeared in the Star Comics mini-series Misty, about the teen-age daughter of Millie's brother!
(The best thing about this Trina Robbins-produced mini-series was the retro look and use of readers' designs for the characters' clothes.)
Millie was scheduled to be rebooted in 2003 as a teen-age tennis player in a manga-style mini-series called 15-Love.
When the project was finally published in 2011 (yeah, eight years later), the lead character was Millie's teen-age niece (though Millie herself did appear briefly)!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Reading Room EPIC ILLUSTRATED "Relic"

Is this never-reprinted tale from the 1980s...
...a subtle commentary by the "old guard" about the "young bucks" who were taking over the comics industry?
When this Archie Goodwin-scripted/Al Williamson-rendered story appeared in Marvel's Epic Illustrated #27 (1984), the comics industry was going through an upheaval.
Due to the introduction in the late 1970s of comic book stores and the Direct Market (which enabled publishers to "print to order"), numerous small publishers were popping up to compete with the major companies.
But, among the casualties in the changing marketplace were the "old pros", long-time creatives who were finding less and less work as the majors hired youngsters who were willing to work on their characters for lower rates.
The older writers and artists did find work, but mostly for new publishers, and usually at lower rates.
Some kept going by taking commissions from fans for new pieces.
Others moved on to advertising or newspaper syndicate work.
It's a sad turn of events that only started reversing itself after 2000.
BTW, note the story is dedicated to Williamson's fellow Fleagle Gang member Roy Krenkel who passed away around the time this tale was being created.
Krenkel was especially expert at rendering lush overgrown jungles and fantastical lost cities, so Al's dedicating this particular tale to him was most appropriate.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder ADVENTURES OF THE DOVER BOYS Chapter 5 "Power of the Evil Eye!"

Before I present the synopsis, note that the material that follows may be NSFW due to politically-incorrect racial stereotypes common to fiction of the era (1950).
No need to hold your breath, just dive right in...
Suzie was a combination of the teen-age antics of Archie's crew and the bubble-headed blonde stereotype common to movies/tv/radio shows/comic books of the era.
The character first appeared in 1942, the same year as Archie, and kept going until 1954, ending her own book with #100.
Next Wednesday:
Don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Reading Room OUT OF THIS WORLD "Secret of Capt X"

Here's an "out of this world" tale illustrated by Steve Ditko...
...that, for the life of me, I still don't understand, even after re-reading it several times!
What the hell just happened?
This lovely Ditko-rendered story from Charlton's Out of This World #8 (1958) makes no sense!
Why couldn't the Korellans simply leave?
Why were they kidnapping and forcing others to adapt to their planet?
Since they can be moved to another planet with no ill effects, why remain on Korella?
Most experts blame Charlton mainstay Joe Gill for this silly story, but could someone else be responsible?
We'll never know...
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Monday, June 20, 2022

Monday Medical Madness TRUMP "Common Cold"

Long before a putz named Donald made the word a world-wide punchline...

...there was a humor magazine with this name published by Hugh (Playboy) Hefner.
Illustrated by Al Jaffee and likely written by editor Harvey Kurtzman, Jaffee himself (who was also serving as assistant editor), or Will Elder, this two-pager from #1 (1957) was a typical example of the high level of humor the creators (who had just left MAD) were capable of!
Though sales were decent, unrelated financial problems caused Hefner to cancel the title with #2 (and all other non-Playboy projects at that point in time.
Needless to say, Hugh overcame this temporary fiscal setback!
Kurtzman and Elder continued to do projects with Hefner, the best-known being Little Annie Fanny!
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