Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Satan's Cargo"

Besides appearing in her own title, Phantom Lady was also featured in the anthology All-Top Comics for several issues starting with #8.
While the art is still wonderful Matt Baker "good girl" work, the script is pretty weak.
BTW, most people don't realize that PL is even in these All-Top Comics issues since Rulah: Jungle Goddess, another Matt Baker-illustrated heroine, dominated the covers!
Phantom Lady will return, next week...

featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Possibly...the (non-Popuppian) Impossible Man!

Long before Jim Valentino created the hilarious NormalMan series, there was another, short-lived Golden Age saga, about a guy without super-powers on a world where everyone else had them...
Never heard of this guy?
The only "Impossible Man" you know is the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Popuppian wacko from Fantastic Four?
It's understandable.
Hugh Mann: the Impossible Man, made only three appearances, each one in a different comic title, and all hidden away in the back of the book!
This was his first, in 1945's Red Band Comics #3 and #4 (the two issues have identical covers and contents, but different indicias).
As to who the creators are...some attribute the art to George Marcoux, who created SuperSnipe, the Kid with the Most Comic Books in America! and some say Charles "C.A." Voight, who did humor strips like Captain Milksop and Sir Prize.
Either way, it's a hoot!
Enjoy, and be assured that Impossible Man will return...
And these related goodies from

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "Red Rain"

When meteorology meets murder...
...only the pulchritudinous Phantom Lady can protect America from this perilous precipitation!
(Say THAT five times fast!)
The final tale from Phantom Lady #15 features art by the legendary Matt Baker, "good girl" artist without peer!
Our next tale, chronologically, will be from All Top Comics #8 as we present..."Satan's Cargo".
Look for it next week!

featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The OTHER CatMan!

He's not the Cat-Man we showed you yesterday...
...but, this guy, who appeared in two issues of Amazing-Man Comics (a year before Crash Comics #4), was a super-hero with a difference!
How different? Read on...
"Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts...I shall become...a little old lady with cats!"

Tarpe Mills, the writer/artist of this titillating tale, later created another, better-known, feline-themed comic character...Miss Fury!
BTW, despite Wikipedia's claim that Madame Fatal was the first transvestite super-hero, this Cat Man predates him/her by several months. (Amazing-Man Comics #5 was cover-dated September, 1939. Crack Comics #1, Madame Fatal's first appearance, was cover-dated May, 1940!)
And yes, we will present the second, and final appearance of this...unique...Cat Man, soon!
Curiously, though other characters from Amazing-Man Comics (and the entire Centaur Comics line have re-appeared in Alex Ross' Project SuperPowers, this CatMan has yet to do so!  C'mon, Alex, you can find a place for,, whatever...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Hero with Nine Lives...Cat-Man!

Debuting in Crash Comics #4, "The Cat-Man" as he was initially-known, had an amazingly-detailed (and politically-incorrect) origin crammed into only six pages...
Now, it would be a six-issue mini-series with at least two tie-ins with other books...
After the next (and last) issue of Crash Comics, the character was revamped and given his own book.
(Crash wasn't cancelled! It was simply retitled Cat-Man Comics*.)
While the writer is unknown, the artist (pencils and inks) for Cat-Man's two Crash apperances was Irwin Hasen, who besides creating the long-running newspaper strip Dondi, was also a prolific artist for DC, Atlas (Marvel), Centaur, Holyoke, and Radio (Archie), doing a lot of Golden Age superhero material including Green Lantern, Justice Society, The Fox, and co-creating another feline hero, WildCat!
When he gained his own title, David Merrywether doffed the furs and picked up a more traditional costume.
Somebody realized that the "nine lives" gimmick would only work for nine issues, so Cat-Man apparently became more cautious, since he wasn't killed and ressurected on a monthly basis after his first issue (which left him with six lives)!
He retained his other cat-powers.
Initally a private investigator, Merrywether made two major changes as of #5.
He joined the Army, and due to influental connections, was immedately made a lieutenant and given Stateside duty.
And his costumed alter-ego acquired a kid sidekick, when he rescued young Katie Conn, whose circus acrobat parents had been killed in an accident, from a life of crime with her criminal uncle.
Nobody minded bachelor Merrywether "adopting" the girl, nor did they notice that Cat-Man suddenly acquired a girl crimefighting partner who went from about 12 (see top of page) to a rather voluptuous 18 (see left) in a year!
The series continued until #32 in 1946, when the publisher went out of business.
An Australian publisher who was reprinting the series did several new stories after the supply of American-produced material dried-up, but that didn't last long.

Alex Ross has included both Cat-Man and Kitten in his Project SuperPowers series which utilizes forgotten characters from defunct publishers, with Cat-Man becoming a feral cat-creature now called "Man-Cat".
Kitten, thankfully didn't share that fate.

We've also revived the originals on a line of kool kollectibles including a 12-month calendar, t-shirts, mugs, and other goodies!

Cat-Man's got a new lease on life! Let's see how long it lasts.

*While the renamed book carried a cover numbering from #1 on, the indicia listed it as #6 on, continuing the Crash Comics numbering so the publisher could continue to use the 2nd Class Mail license issued for Crash! (The licenses were expensive, and publishers had to purchase a new one for each new title they published!) It's also why Amazing-Man Comics, began at #5, continuing the numbering from it's predecessor, Motion Picture Funnies Weekly!

And check out these Golden Age-themed goodies from Amazon...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reading Room: PHANTOM LADY "World's Meanest Crook"

A startling story ripped from today's headlines...
...but it's from Phantom Lady #15, published in 1947!
Talk about "the more things change, the more they stay the same"!
Meet the menace of the man called...Foreclose!
If only our national economy could be corrected so easily...
According to the Grand Comics Database, while there's some Matt Baker work in the story, they believe the majority of it is by someone else, as yet unidentified.
I think it's primarily Baker with someone else assisting, but that's just me...  ;-)
Phantom Lady will return in...
"Red Rain"

featuring goodies emblazoned with cover art that Fredric Wertham railed against in Seduction of the Innocent.