Content: Bill Spang - Hot Rodder by ? 6 pgs Heavy Foot and Green by ? 5 pgs Nice Guys Finish Last by Mort Lawrence 6 pgs Four Wheels and A Friend by ?
Probably with Hot Rods and Racing Cars, one of the earlier precursors of the later wave of Hot Rod series (mainly spun out by Charlton). However, this particular series only lasted 5 issues for Hillman. It is no surprise that this comic hit the stands in early 1952, once we look at a short history of Hot Rodding:
"The term hot rod became popular in the 1940s. But the first examples—called gow jobs or soup-ups—were built during the Depression by young enthusiasts, usually with little or no money, who were eager to tinker with what then was still a novel piece of machinery.
Many of those early hot rodders also wanted to show-up their wealthier cohorts; to prove to them that money wasn‘t the only way to gain automotive status. So, despite its emphasis on power and performance, a hot rod has also always been a social statement, having to do with self-reliance, ingenuity and ultimately independence. It is this added emotional resonance that separates hot rods from mere homebuilt racers, and gives them a deeper definition not addressed by dictionaries.
How it all began California, especially the dry lakes region in the southern part of the state, generally is regarded as the birthplace of hot rods. There a cult of backyard mechanics, working with junkyard parts, created streamlined, no-nonsense racing cars for competition against each other over straight-line courses laid out on the nearby desert salt flats. In those days nothing but open country lay between the flats and such small towns as Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank where hot rodding began; and since few rodders had more than one vehicle, it was essential that the cars used for racing could also be driven to the sites, as well as back and forth from home to work during the week.
Most early hot rods were Ford Model T or Model A roadsters—cheap, plentiful, and lightweight, having no top and only a single seat. Standard procedure was to strip off all nonessential parts—fenders, running boards, ornaments, even the windshield—to achieve maximum weight reduction and aerodynamics. Eventually coupes and sedans joined the ranks. Typically, these heavier models underwent drastic surgery to chop their tops lower and slope, or rake, their windshields backward.
Large rear tires were installed on all hot rods to raise the gear ratio for high speed, while standard-size or smaller tires left on the front helped lower the car and rake it forward to decrease wind resistance. Rows of slots, called louvers, were cut into the hood, body, and rear deck lid for engine cooling and to release trapped air. Sometimes flat aluminum discs were fitted over the wheel hubs for further streamlining.
Ford flathead V8 engines were the power plants of choice after their introduction in 1932. Mass-produced in the millions, they too were cheap and plentiful, and their design permitted relatively easy—and nearly limitless—performance enhancements. Developing 85 horsepower in stock configuration, the earliest modifications usually consisted of removing the muffler, straightening the exhaust pipes and adding multiple carburetors. The results more than doubled the original punch, producing an engine that often could propel a soup-up at better than 100 miles an hour over a lakebed course.
[One aspect of explaining why a specific type of car was used for hot rodding at first that this piece is leaving out is better spelled out in this other commentary:
"At the end of the war, a legion of young men returned to America with a wad of demobilization cash in their pockets and a sense of freedom and excitement bred by their experiences in the war. With a period of peace and the steadily increasing prosperity of the country as a backdrop, these young men had a "can-do" attitude and a desire to express themselves in ways that their time in the military had stifled. And, all of a sudden, there were a lot of inexpensive used cars available. For five years Detroit had basically been in the business of supplying the military. Now all that production capacity was turned to creating a stream of new cars to satisfy the pent-up demand of a civilian population that had scrimped and saved throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s and the sacrifices of the war years. Men who'd stayed behind to work in America's offices and factories had a lot of savings and they were ready to ditch their aging cars from the 1920s and 1930s for gleaming new models offered by the Big Three (and the others who are now gone, like Wilys and Kaiser). Their trade-ins became the starting point of the hot rodders, and came to define the way they were built and how they looked."]
Hot rodding‘s golden era World War II put an end to early hot rodding but not to the hot-rod craze. Indeed, California servicemen leaving their dry lakes roadsters and chopped coupes behind on blocks or in the dubious care of younger brothers took pictures of their cars with them and spread tales of their exploits wherever they went to whoever would listen—mostly young, male servicemen like themselves from every area of the country. When the war ended, in 1945, hot rodding exploded into the public consciousness, becoming one of the strongest fads of new postwar America.
With money in their pockets, mechanical and metalworking skills gained in the military and burning desire to build dream cars, hundreds of hot rodders and fans now flocked to the dry lakes races in southern California. Elsewhere in the state and across the country dangerous—often fatal—street racing caught on, and with it the practice by many youthful hot rodders of gathering at local hangouts and cruising up and down avenues at night, showing off their cars—and themselves. Hot-rod activities became an easy target for public attention that focused increasingly on what were perceived as frightening new national problems: juvenile delinquency and teenage gangs. Along with rock and roll, hot rods and hot rodding became symbols for the darker side of American youth.
Of course the result was soaring popularity for these phenomena, at least among young people. In an effort to reverse hot rodding‘s negative connotations, the first Hot Rod Exhibition was held in January, 1948, at the National Guard Armory in Los Angeles. Emphasizing positive qualities like craftsmanship, engineering and safety, the show was attended by some 10,000 spectators. Two years later, Robert E. Petersen‘s newly-formed Hot Rod magazine, whose first issues were sold on the steps of the Exhibition, boasted a circulation of 300,000.
[Note: Considering the recent creation of the NHRA (see below) and the success of Hot Rod Magazine, it was only a matter of time before comic book publishers tried their hands at the genre, which Hillman and Charlton did and we also saw more dragging stories appear in both Teen and Crime books.]
Enthusiast magazines like Hot Rod and organizations like the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), founded in 1938, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), founded in 1951, led in defusing the image of hot rodding as a national menace by fostering civic-mindedness and cooperation between hot rodders and police, and by creating organized straight-line courses—called drag strips—to replace clandestine street racing. Many enthusiasts turned to building cars exclusively for drag racing. Others continued to build so-called street rods—hopped up cars that could be raced (illegally) at traffic lights but that usually served chiefly as stylish transportation—and still others broke new ground by modifying cars primarily for looks rather than performance."
As far as art ID, the only signed story is the one by Mort Lawrence, there isn't much information out about Mort Lawrence. Most is tangential to the career of "bigger" names. A general description of his career goes "Mort Lawrence. Lawrence hailed back to the Timely hero titles, specifically SUB-MARINER in the mid 1940's and had a short run freelancing for Stan Lee from 1953-55. His art is one of consumate elegence, with fine feathering in the inking."
Re the Sub-Mariner. In an interview with Gary Groth, Gil Kane recollects that "[after working with Kirby and Simon at DC] I was hired by Bernie Baily. I was already 17 at this point, and it was my last year before I went into the service. I met Carmine [Infantino] again at Bernie's and he and I formed a partnership as penciler and inker -- I was penciler and he was inker. We worked for Bernie, he was on salary and I was working freelance. A lot of guys were leaving Bernie's -- there were some very good guys there despite the artist shortage, but I'm telling you, jobs were just like syndicate jobs: somebody had to leave or go into the service. Bill Everett had to leave so a guy named Mort Lawrence got the job of doing Sub Mariner. It was like hitting the lottery. All of a sudden you went from $30 a week to $150 a week. It's not possible to tell you what $150 meant in those days.
GROTH: Why were they paying so much money?
KANE: They paid higher page rates. Don't forget that the agents got a good portion of the page rate for himself. You only got dreck when you worked for an agent."
Later in his career, Lawrence was working in the same studio as Syd Shores. "By 1952, Syd was tired of working at home and wanted to get away from the monotony. He opened a private studio with Mort Lawrence (who was doing WANTED COMICS and several westerns for ORBIT), and Norman Steinberg (an artist for ATLAS-primarily doing war books) in Hampstead, Long Island-later they were to move the studio to Freeport. By 1955 they had planned to make the studio a showcase for local artists not commercial enough to have their own gallery, but promising enough for their work to be on commercial display. They also planned several syndicated strips, incorporating advertising into the actual artwork, and got so far as to have samples and finished artwork on the project. The death of Norman Steinberg stopped their plans and ended the studio altogether. Mort Lawrence quit comics entirely and headed west while Syd returned to his studio at home and continued free-lancing for the major outfits, notably ATLAS."
Most memorable from that period perhaps is that Lawrence worked on the failed superhero revival at the 50's Atlas, as recollected by Romita, Sr. in an interview with Roy Thomas:
"RT: When I showed you the splash for the first "Captain America" story in it [Young Men #24], you said it was by Mort Lawrence, though you drew the rest of the story. You thought he might've been slated to be the original artist.
ROMITA: I think he started the story and Stan stopped him, for some reason. When I came in, the splash was done and it was signed "Mort Lawrence." Stan asked me to do the rest of the story. I'm not sure if there were any panels underneath the splash or not.
RT: The two other panels on that page in the printed book are by you. In fact, the only "Captain America" work in 1953-54 that wasn't by you was that first splash - one story totally drawn (and signed) by Lawrence - and I presume the first of the three covers of the Captain America title - #76, which has that thin-line approach for backgrounds we were discussing - and there's a cartoony smile on Cap's face.
ROMITA: Stan probably had somebody touch it up. Whoever was out in his waiting room, Stan would call them in and have them do corrections on the spot."
As usual, I welcome any additional information about this artist. Now the art.
First Story Page
Lawrence Story Page
Last Story Page
Here's an example of some of the techie information put in the magazine. Don't know anything about cars myself but would get a kick if anyone had any insightful commentaries about the information on this one-pager.
Content: Howdy Doody by ? 10 pgs Howdy Doody by ? 8 pgs Howdy Doody by ? 8 pgs Flub-a-Dub by ? 6 pgs
Another typical Dell offering with no ad, a two-page text story shown on the inside front and back cover, a one-pager gag on the back cover and nothing else but story pages inside.
OSPG lists Howdy Doody as the First TV Comic with # 1 cover dated January 1950. The title ran for a total of 40 issues. Contrary to other titles who graduated to a regular series from several one-shots in the FC series, Howdy Doody started immediately with a regular series which lasted for 38 issues before folding into the FC series for the last two issues: FC 761 and FC 811 both in 1957.
Here's more information about Buffalo Bob from The Howdy Doody Show Online site regarding his early career on radio as well as some information on the Howdy Doody show itself:
"The man who brought me to life and charmed kids the world over was born Robert Schmidt on November 27, 1917. He later changed his name to Bob Smith and then Buffalo Bob Smith. His grandfather, a Lutheran minister, insisted that he receive a good Christian education. Smith and his family regularly attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, even Saturday School!
Bob began studying piano at age 8, able to play nearly any song after hearing it just once! His coal miner father recognized his son's musical talents early and became young Robert's staunchest supporter and disciplinarian. Bob played his first church service at 11 after just five lessons on the church organ! Bobs opportunity came when the regular church organist took ill and Bob was the only keyboardist available, he played the entire service without a book!
Bob's father, Emil Schmidt, dreamed that his son would become a piano virtuoso. Bob often told the story of how his father punctured, then tossed, his football into the furnace to make a point: piano practice always came before football or anything else.
Buffalo Bob got his start in radio by playing piano, singing in a boys choir, performing with an instrumental string trio, and announcing words for broadcast spelling bee's, all at the age of 15. Although he wasn't paid, Buffalo Bob was eventually working four nights a week, but he knew he was getting invaluable experience.
During his last year in high school, Buffalo Bob hooked up with fellow singers, Johnny Eisenberger and Elmer Hattenburger (the inspirations for the Elmer character that would become Howdy Doody, years later?). Buffalo Bob arranged an audition for the trio with Herb Rice at WGR Radio who gave them classic advice: "Practice, practice, practice."
Practice, practice, practice they did and were hired for Simon Brewery's Simon Supper Club of the Air. The group, now known as the Hi-Hatters Trio, were hired at the (then) incredible sum of twenty-five dollars a show for three shows a week. The date was August 23, 1933: but the day that should have been one the best of Buffalo Bob's life was one of the worst. His father died of a heart attack before Bob could give him the great news.
The Hi-Hatters Trio soon received a major break; winning out over 950 other acts after an audition for the Kate Smith Show. During the prize trip to New York City, the three met the "Voice of RKO", Tom Kennedy. Kennedy introduced them to his wife, Mickey Freeley. With another song-writer, the four developed special lyrics and material and played the New York vaudeville circuit for four months.
But even 16 year old boys get homesick; Buffalo Bob's good friend Herb Rice hired him to be the station's staff piano player. Bob and Eisenberger formed the singing duo, Jack & Gil, and Rice put them on the air 3-4 times a week as part of a fifteen-minute feed to the CBS network.
Buffalo Bob and friend Cliff Jones entered into a partnership to open a summer theater, the Roadside Theater, on Lake Erie. It was here that Buffalo Bob again met an old classmate and former "girlfriend" Mildred Metz. Soon Buffalo Bob and "Mil" began spending more and more time together, and quickly realized they were in love.
They were married Thanksgiving Day, 1940.
In 1942, the World was fighting yet another "war to end all wars". Among those companies that took the war effort seriously was the Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York. Buffalo Bob accepted the job of writing, producing, emceeing, and arranging the music for a series of company talent shows. The decision was easy: he was making $50-$60 a week doing several different jobs at WGR; the Corning Show would pay $250 for just one weekend's work! Yet Buffalo Bob would continue his work at WGR and WKBW the rest of the week!
In the mid-40's Buffalo Bob teamed up with a young comedian named Foster Brooks in a segment called Stump Bob Smith, one of many forerunners of Johnny Carson's Stump the Band on late TV years later.
Herb Rice reappeared with an idea for a show called The Cheer Up Gang. Buffalo Bob again emceed the show, wrote it, and directed the band and the vocalists. The 'Gang entertained people in hospitals, nursing homes and such. Soon Rice convinced the mutual Broadcasting Company to broadcast the show every morning over the network in the 11:00-11:30 AM timeslot.
In 1943, local morning radio was dominated by Don MacNiel's Breakfast Club show that originated in Chicago. WBEN program director, Julian Trivers had enough faith in Buffalo Bob and a local star personality, Clint Buehlman, to team them for the Early Date At Hengerer's show; Hengerer's being a local department store. Buffalo Bob again sang, played the piano, co-emceed, wrote and produced the show. In six months the regionally broadcast variety/audience participation show, matched, then beat, MacNiel's ratings. Buffalo Bob was convinced to give up the Corning job on weekends; in addition to Early Date, Buffalo Bob co-hosted Quiz Of Two Cities, a regional Sunday afternoon quiz show. By 1946, Buffalo Bob was making over $600 a week doing local Buffalo radio.
Buffalo Bob's talent and personality lead to his biggest break thus far: going up against the inestimable Arthur Godfrey. NBC's gamble paid off when Godfrey retired. Buffalo Bob began scoring in the ratings and soon became the top-rated morning show in Radio Valhalla, New York City. The halcyon days at NBC's station WEAF would lead to an even bigger break...Television.
The show originated when radio producer Jim Gaines approached Bob Smith to develop a children's show for Saturday morning radio. Smith and co-writer Vic Campbell developed The Triple B Ranch Show.
The innovative quiz show featured contestants from different elementary schools answering questions that were a little different from the normal quiz show. The questions were funny rather than academic and designed to elicit funny answers. Although very successful, Campbell thought the show could be even funnier and asked Smith if he could do voices. Given the show's Western flavor, the character of the Ranch Hand emerged.
The voice, a local-yokel oaf, led to Elmer. Elmer didn't say too much; most of their conversations went something like:
Smith: "Hi ya, Elmer."
Elmer: "Oh, hoho, howdy doody. Yuk hoho. Kyuk howdy doody."
More jokes followed...mostly corny...and the exchange would end with:
Elmer: " Well howdy doody. Huh hohoho. Howdy doody!"
Kids loved Elmer! If they were lucky enough to sit in the (radio) studio audience, they always wanted to meet Elmer! But they were invariably disappointed. "Elmer" was just another Bob Smith voice on radio and wasn't there to meet them.
This dilemma led to two historic ideas: Elmer's name was changed to Howdy Doody because it was "cuter". And if kids wanted to see Howdy Doody, I had to be on television. Howdy Doody, cultural icon and entertainment revolution was born.
Buffalo Bob approached Gaines about putting the show on TV in December 1947. Smith was introduced to television producer, Martin Stone, who introduced Smith to NBC programming heads Owen Davis Jr. and Warren Wade. Stone praised the radio show and convinced the execs that if kids would listen to a show on the radio, they would watch it on television.
The executives asked Smith to do a kid's show employing puppets designed and built by Frank Paris of Toby and the Circus. Smith would host the show, preside over games, music and contests, comment on old-time movies (just purchased by NBC, at considerable expense) and chat with the Frank Paris-built puppet.
Producer Roger Muir delivered the good news: he wanted an hour-long show. The bad news: the show has to start the very next Saturday,this was Tuesday! Not acknowledging that they were attempting the impossible, Smith, Muir, Vic Campbell and Eddie Keane pulled the show together on time.
On Saturday December 27th, 1947, Puppet Playhouse went on the air as NBC's first show of the day at 5:00 pm! The days of 24-hour/day broadcasting were years in the future.
Our early shows featured Old Time Movies, Paris' Puppets and various live acts for the eight children seated on uncomfortable folding chairs...the days of the classic 40-member Peanut Gallery were yet to come.
The night of the first show was anything but auspicious: two feet of snow blanketed New York City. Clarabell the Clown never made it to the studio! But Buffalo Bob worked his magic and thoroughly enchanted the children watching us.
On that first show, our guests were puppeteer Frank Parris and Toby Tyler, Nino the Sketch Artist, Prince Mendez, and the Galshint Brothers and their dogs. The Galshint Brothers were world famous for their highly trained dogs who knocked them head-over-heels every time they turned their backs.I loved 'em!
Our first shows ran for one hour on Saturday afternoons. The success of the show prompted NBC to ask us to produce another show on Thursday afternoons. Then they wanted yet another show on Fridays. But doing a one hour show three days a week (live) became too much. Even though Bob Rippen was helping Muir, there wasn't enough time to get the material together for an hour-long show. Muir suggested five half-hour shows would be much easier to produce than three one-hour shows each week.
NBC had not yet done a strip of programming on TV; although they had done it for radio for many years. They agreed to try the idea. The dilemma of when to broadcast the show was solved by deciding that 5:30-6:00 Eastern Time would be ideal.
At that hour, kids came in from playing, settled down to see our half-hour show,and were still ready for dinner at 6:00. (As unreal as it might seem today, families actually had set dinner times,oh so long ago,or so it seems.) At the time, NBC broadcast a test pattern most of the day to allow installers to fine-tune the new-fangled TV sets. Our show was the first thing on TV at 5:30; a test pattern with my head in the center was on all day until my new show, entitled Puppet Playhouse started.
Puppet Playhouse featured me, a marionette designed by Frank Paris and performed by Rhoda Mann. My new theme song included the lyric "It's Howdy Doody Time". Ironically, I didn't appear on my first three shows because Frank Paris had not had the time to finish me, Buffalo Bob talked to a voice (also Buffalo Bob's) in a drawer! Despite my very conspicuous absence, kid's loved us!
Soon, the real me appeared to interact with other puppets and characters. My favorite was Clarabell the Clown played by Bob Keeshan (later to become Captain Kangaroo on his own show) followed by Lew Anderson, the Clarabell we came to know and love.
In late 1948, Frank Paris demanded the merchandising rights to his puppet creation: Me! NBC declined and Frank took the puppet that had been me, to New York City for an unsuccessful run as Peter Pixie on a local children's' show.
What to do? We were a show without a star! Obviously another puppet had to be made, and obviously this would take time.
I eventually re-surfaced after having "plastic surgery". I was cuter, more likable, and more human-looking. Our ratings soared, then rocketed even higher as we waged a campaign to elect me, Howdy Doody, as "President of All the Kids". The event generated immediate requests for 58,000 campaign buttons; the eventual number of requests would be over 250,000!
Our campaign demonstrated the enormous popularity of our show and we began attracting major sponsors, including: Colgate Toothpaste, Hostess cakes, Wonder Bread, and Welch's Grape Juice.
In 1949, Puppet Theater officially became The Howdy Doody Show and we traded our circus atmosphere for the town of Doodyville. That October, Buffalo Bob and I appeared at Macys Department Store in New York and sold more than 10,000 Howdy Doody dolls!
Unfortunately, Dayton Allen, Bob Keeshan, Bill LeCornec, and Rhoda Mann left the show about this time. Bill later came back to the show. We hired Bobby Nicholson as Clarabell the clown, added several new puppeteers, and Alan Swift took over the voices for Dayton Allen's characters.
It took a lot of work from all of us to make our half hour program seem natural and spontaneous. Puppet sculptor Velma Dawson spent many very late nights creating the props and characters needed for the next day.
We started rehearsals at 12:00 Noon. For the first hour, Buffalo Bob and the others recorded all the puppet voices for that day's show, not just mine but Dilly Dally's and any other puppets in that particular script.
Camera rehearsal started at 1:00 PM and lasted until 5:00 PM. Generally we rehearsed the commercials towards the end, usually about 3:00 or 3:30 (all commercials on the show were done live, but they had to be fully scripted and rehearsed), and finished about 5:00. Then all of us went for make-up and were on the air at 5:30.
Smith's brutal radio/TV schedule lead to a heart attack in 1954; he was replaced on the show by Bison Bill and Gabby Hayes during his recovery. We explained Buffalo Bob's absence by telling our audience that Bob was vacationing at Pioneer Village, actually a specially made studio in Bob's basement.
1955 brought yet another new Clarabell (Lew Anderson) and Buffalo Bob returned to his duties on the show. We again broke new ground by being the first show regularly broadcast in color. But times got even tougher for my friends and I.
A new show, the Mickey Mouse Club seriously challenged the show. Our ratings began to slip, forcing us to give up our weekday slot and move back to Saturdays. The show was now videotaped in advance and new features, such as those spotlighting " a little green slab of clay named Gumby" helped hold the ratings for a time. But the original baby boomers were growing up and major changes were imminent.
Ultimately, we were canceled due to lack of sponsorship in the sixties.
A successful TV show led to financial success. Buffalo Bob owned the Howdy Doody image until 1950 when he sold everything but "Buffalo Bob" (image, costume, and likeness) to NBC. Not having any use for the puppets from a defunct children's show, Howdy and the others were entrusted to the care of head puppeteer Rufus Rose when the show folded in 1960.
Included in the ever-growing TV audience were Robin, Ronnie, and Chris Smith: Buffalo Bob and Millie Smiths' sons. "They were glued to the set, fascinated," Bob recalled. "I'd come home and they'd say, 'Daddy, do you know what Clarabell did to Buffalo Bob today? To them, the puppets were real, to them I was 'Daddy', while 'Buffalo Bob' was this other guy on the TV!"
Buffalo Bob credited the shows booming success to the show's focus on two things kids love,fantasy and slapstick: bursting balloons and lots and lots of squirting seltzer water. "The puppets weren't fantasy," Buffalo Bob recalled years later, "but the stories were. The kids thought the puppets were real, and we treated them that way. We'd say, 'Put the microphone on Howdy', never 'on the puppet'."
As the show's popularity sky-rocketed to ever greater heights, Buffalo Bob simultaneously hosted two other live shows, a network morning radio show and a television variety show. That combined workload, plus personal appearances, led to a serious heart attack in 1954. Buffalo Bob was sidelined for a year. When he returned, airtime was already too expensive to broadcast a live children's show five times a week. Buffalo Bob, myself and our friends, real and otherwise, moved to Saturdays, until the show went off the air in 1960.
In 1970, Buffalo Bob was invited to the University of Pennsylvania for a show for the students. Buffalo Bob was sure they were putting him on! "[But] this fellow said, 'No! We want you to come, wear a costum, in short, we want to relive our happy, carefree childhood days.'" Sweet, innocent days were being supplanted by bitter realities. Buffalo Bob decided to take our show and our values to college.
But it wasn't just college students who adored me and Buffalo Bob. "The USO [heard] stories about my college tours and the soldiers over there made a request for me to come and entertain the troops. In 1972 I went to Germany and did 50 shows in 30 days. What a thrill! Plus I had a great time brushing up on my German. Two years later, I was invited back and always ended up entertaining at the organ and piano."
For years after, Buffalo Bob and I toured with Buffalo Mil, Bob's wife Millie. Bob loved signing photographs, lithographs, and other Howdy Doody memorabilia. Everywhere Buffalo Bob and I went, we stirred wonderfully nostalgic memories in our alumni.
Buffalo Bob' Smith died July 30, 1998 at 80 years of age in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Robert Schmidt was dead: but Buffalo Bob, me (Howdy Doody), Clarabell the Clown, and Buffalo Bob's other legacies live on."
As for the artist on this issue, I am not sure. Scott Shaw! lists Dick Hall as the artist on another Howdy Doody issue. Dick is another long-time animator who would have moonlighted for Dell.
Content: Humphrey in Horsing Around by ? 6 pgs Humphrey in Mopping Up by ? 4 pgs Humphrey in Plop-erly Punished by ? 2 pgs Humphrey in Hold that River by ? 6 pgs Little Max in Happy Landins by ? 2 pgs Humphrey in Sno Trouble at All by ? 2 pgs Humphrey in Fan Club by ? 1 pg
This book is part of a triumvirate of comics spun from the Joe Palooka comic strip along with Joe Palooka and Little Max. For today, let's read the run down on the Joe Palooka strip from Don Markstein's ever excellent Toonopedia:
"Hammond Edward "Ham" Fisher (no relation to Bud Fisher, creator of Mutt & Jeff) was a young sports reporter when, in 1920, while talking with a good-hearted but not-very-bright boxer, he was suddenly inspired to create a daily comic strip. Before long, he'd put together a storyline and sample strips about a good-hearted but not-very-bright boxer of his own — Joe Palooka — and was hawking it at all the syndicates. He continued to hawk it for nearly a decade.
Even when Fisher finally did sell it, he kind of did so through a back door. In 1929, he was working as a salesman for McNaught Syndicate, traveling from town to town and trying to interest editors in the hitherto-unsuccessful Dixie Dugan. As he did, he also made an effort to sell them his own strip. He managed to sign up almost two dozen papers, enough to convince Charles V. Adams, general manager of the syndicate, to give Palooka a try.
Joe Palooka was finally launched during April, 1930. It quickly became the most successful sports strip of all time.
Fisher neither wrote nor drew especially well, so he came to rely on talented assistants. In 1932, a young man named Alfred G. Caplin was ghosting the strip for him, and pitted Joe against an uncouth hillbilly boxer named Big Leviticus. When Caplin — who had by then changed his name to Al Capp — left to create a strip of his own, Li'l Abner, he used a very similar mountain setting. Thereafter, Fisher brought Leviticus back over and over, and always made sure to claim primacy as having been first to use the hillbilly setting in comics. That recurring dig was just one small aspect of a feud between Fisher and Capp that would last the rest of Fisher's life.
(In reality, if hillbillies hadn't appeared first in Fisher's strip, they would have in another, as that setting was popular in American entertainment during the 1930s. The same year Capp started Abner, Billy DeBeck introduced Snuffy Smith into his strip, Barney Google, and Snuffy wound up taking over the strip.)
The most prominent supporting character in Palooka was Joe's manager, Knobby Walsh, a small, wiry, middle-aged, excitable Irishman. Second would be the lovely Miss Ann Howe, Joe's fiancee, whom he finally married in 1948. Other regulars included 8-year-old Little Max, mute but cute, and Joe's eccentric friend, Humphrey Pennyworth.
In 1934, Joe made his motion picture debut. It wasn't a huge hit, but did well enough for a low-budget film, and inspired a number of sequels — which, in fact, continued to come out until well into the 1950s. Joe Kirkwood Jr. was the actor most identified with the title role.
Joe Palooka was published in comic book form from 1945-61. He was the first newspaper comics character licensed by Harvey Comics, which later did comic book versions of The Phantom, Blondie, Bringing Up Father and others. Harvey also published a couple of Joe's supporting characters in their own titles — Humphrey from 1948-52, and Little Max from 1949-61. And by the way, one of Harvey's own long-running characters, Little Dot, made some of her earliest appearances in the back pages of Humphrey's and Max's comics.
Back in newspapers, Fisher's longest-lasting assistant was Mo Leff, whom he'd hired away from Al Capp in the mid-1930s. Leff was still doing the strip during December, 1955, when Fisher, leaving notes citing health problems, committed suicide. It was only then that Leff began signing the strip. Leff remained on Palooka until 1959, when Tony DiPreta took his place. DiPreta was still doing the strip when it ended, a quarter-century later. The final Joe Palooka episode appeared in newspapers during April, 1984. DiPreta moved on, taking over Rex Morgan, M.D. shortly afterward.
Joe Palooka wasn't on very many people's lists of the world's greatest comic strips. But in its own class — comics about boxing stars — it easily kayoed Big Ben Bolt, Curly Kayoe and all other contenders."
To be specific about Humphrey's character, here are some reminiscences of "Ham Fisher's Humphrey Pennyworth [who] is nothing less than tons of fun. He first appeared in December 1947, in Joe Palooka #15, as a friend of the sweet, if not-too-bright boxer. Humphrey's eccentricities, however, soon garnered him his own title from 1948 - 1952. His ensuing antics usually included piles of hot dogs, hamburgers and hilarity. Humphrey Comics always included some other sort of fun in addition to the stories themselves - from how to make hand shadows, to building your own Humphreymobile, to colonial guessing games." Scott Shaw! prefers to describe Humphrey as [this] lovable oaf (who drove an strange bicycle-like vehicle that resembled an outhouse on wheels)." Indeed, "the immense Humphrey [was] smiling, kind, simple of heart, traveled the country, doing good deeds. He pedaled a three-wheeled vehicle that somehow carried his bulk and all his earthly goods. The latter were packed in a shed built onto his cycle's back."
Humphrey did make it into at least 3 of the Joe Palooka movies: Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey, Humphrey Takes a Chance and Joe Palooka in Squared Circle all dated 1950.
From the All Movie Guide, we learn about Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey that "in Ham Fisher's original Joe Palooka comic strip, Joe's pal Humphrey Pennyworth was a blimp of a man. In Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey, Mr. Pennyworth is played by Robert Coogan, a slim, athletic chap who was then starring as TV's Captain Video. At least Joe Kirkwood Jr. was closer to Fisher's visual concept of soft-hearted pugilist Joe Palooka. The plot finds Joe pitted against Humphrey in a charity bout. Eschewing the gangster and murder-mystery subplots of Monogram's previous "Joe Palooka" entries, this one is played strictly for laughs, even unto having Leon Errol (cast as Joe's manager Knobby Walsh) going through his "Mexican Spitfire" paces in a dual role. Also good for a few chuckles is Joe Besser (who physically was better suited for the part of Humphrey) as a nervous hotel desk clerk." You can find further plot summaries at the IMdB.
First Story Splash
Second Story Last Page
Third Story Page
One Page Gag / Information / Quiz page
In-House Ad - Notice that this ad features monthly release dates for the books.
If you have a feeling of déjà vu about the cover of this comic, it is probably because it is very similar to this Dennis the Menace cover.
Indian Chief # 5 - Bought from Tomorrow's Treasures
Content: The Sacred Fire by ? 16 pgs The False Face by ? 16 pgs
Here's a gallery of the painted covers for the (British) series:
From a review / description of a video game, here's a short rundown about native americans' role in comics:
"Believe it or not, Native Americans have a long history in comics. Even a brief investigation will turn up dozens of characters and titles. From humble beginnings as enemies and sidekicks in cowboy stories, the "noble savage" emerged as a hero in his own right once Tonto got his own comic. White Eagle Indian Chief, Tomahawk, Son of Tomahawk and Red Wolf, Masked Avenger of the Western Plains brought justice to the prairie. Want more? How about Black Condor, Night Eagle, Thunderbird, Victor Ten-Eagles, Little Raven, Little Beaver, Little Sureshot, Arrowhead, Black Crow, Red Warrior, Warpath, Moonstar, Psi-Hawk, Tomorrow Hawk, Werehawk, Hawk, and Hawkman III.
And who could forget the broken English and awkward growth spurts of ethnic Superfriend, Apache Chief?
But it was Turok who threw Native Americans, guns, alien lizards, time travel, body-swapping, dinosaurs and lasers into a meat grinder and came up with a video game."
It is interesting to see a mention of Turok in this write-up because one of the mainstay artists on Indian Chief was no other than Alberto Giolitti who later drew Turok.
"Alberto Giolitti (14/11/1923 - 15/4/1993, Italy) - Alberto Giolitti started working for the magazine Il Vittorioso in the late 1930s. In 1943, he drew his first comic, called 'I Sensa Paura'. In 1946, he moved Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he worked for the publishing houses Lainez and Columba. During this period, he produced police stories and novel adaptations, including 'Quo Vadis?'.
He emigrated to the United States in 1949, where he began a collaboration with Dell/Western Publishing. There, he produced art for 'The Challenge of Zorro', 'Indian Chief', 'Cisko Kid', 'Tonto', 'Tarzan', 'Sergeant Preston', 'Abraham Lincoln Life' and the Four Color Comics series. He also illustrated comic adaptations of television series like 'Lone Ranger's Famous Horse Hi-Yo Silver', 'Gunsmoke', 'Tom Bell', 'Tales of Wells Fargo', 'Have Gun Will Travel' and 'Boris Karloff' and films like 'Alexander the Great', 'Aladdin and the Marvellous Lamp' and 'Gulliver's Travels'.
Giolitti returned to Italy in the early 1960s, but continued to draw 'Turok Son of Stone' for the American market. He founded the Giolitti Studios, which consisted of about about 55 artists, who produced hundreds of pages a month for national and international publishers. The studio provided erotic comics for magazines of the publishing house Edipériodicci (Jacula, Cosmine), but also popular titles like 'Super Black', 'The Phantom', 'Mandrake' and 'Flash Gordon'.
For the US market, they drew comics with Warner Bros characters and several series for Dell/Gold Key, such as 'Freedom Agent', 'Twilight Zone', 'Lord Jim', 'Tarzan', 'Star Trek', a 'King Kong' adaptation', stories for Ripley's Believe It or Not', 'Laredo', 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea', 'Cowboy in Africa', etc. In England, Giolitti's studios was present at the publishing house IPC, where they did 'Jackie and the Wild Boy' in Princess-Tina, 'The Fiery Furnaces' in Tiger and Hurricane, 'Flame of the Forest' in Lion and 'Enchanted Isle' in Tammy. In Germany, they took over the artwork of Hansrudi Wäscher's 'Reno Kid' in Lasso, and produced stories with among others 'Perry Rhodan' and 'Buffalo Bill'.
Between 1986 and 1988, Giolitti drew '5 Anni Dopo' with a script by Pedrazzi in Comic Art, and joined the artists team of Bonelli's 'Tex Willer' in 1989.
Among the artists that worked for the Giolitti studios are: Giancarlo Alessandrini, Enrico Bagnoli, Massimo Belardininelli, Franco Caprioli, Ugolino Cossu, Roberto Diso, Ruggerio Giovannini, Paolo Morales, Renato Polese, Giovanni Ticci, Nevio Zeccara"
A final note to mention that I found some information that a Red Thunder Cloud, a Catawba Indian from South Carolina wrote stories of Indian lore for The Lone Ranger and Indian Chief comic books in the '50's.
First Story Splash
First Story Page - This first story has a very nice Severin - Elder look to it.
First Story Page
Second Story Splash
Second Story Page
Back Cover - "On the Southern Plains in 1860" by Frederick Remington was such a good portrayal of the old United States Cavalry in action that it now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their arms were an "Army Colt" and a saber."
Content: Manzar the White Indian in "The Human Snakes" by "John Starr" 10 pgs Warriors of the Wild West - Crazy Horse, War-Chief of the Sioux by ? 4 pgs Orphan of the Storm by "Emila Jayne" 5 pgs Long Bow by "Capt. Stuart Kerrigan" 7 pgs
Here's another Fiction House book. I have always liked their covers. This is not one of their best but there were some attractive ones on this series which ran 17 issues. Here's the cover gallery thanks to the GCD:
Our star of the issue is Crazy Horse who debuts a series of Picture Stories of the First Americans and we should add Warriors really. According to several online sources,
"Crazy Horse or Tashunca-uitco (1840-1877), celebrated for his ferocity in battle, was recognized among his own people as a visionary leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.
He was of Oglala and Mniconju stock, born near Bear Butte, in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota, in the Winter the Oglala Took One Hundred Horses from the Snakes (according to the winter count of the Bad Face band of the Oglalas), or 1840.
His father, the second Crazy Horse (his grandfather was the first) was Oglala Lakota and his mother, Rattling Blanket Woman, was Mniconju Lakota. As a boy he was known as Light Hair and Curly. In his mid to late teens he was called His Horse Stands in Sight. It was probably before his twentieth year that he was given the name Crazy Horse, becoming the third, and the last, in his family to carry it.
Crazy Horse is most often remembered as a warrior and leader of warriors, riding into battle with loose, waist-length hair flowing in the wind. While this is a true image, there were other sides to his identity: he was a son, a pupil, a brother, a loner, a husband, a thwarted lover, and a father. The way of the warrior was a societal role preordained for males in traditional Lakota life. Young men, however, often sought a vision to clarify their specific paths and seek spiritual connection to help them on that path. Crazy Horse had such a vision as a boy. In it he saw a warrior mounted on a horse that changed colors, riding through hail and lightning, and through the arrows and bullets of enemies as his own people tried to hold him back. The vision revealed his destiny, giving him a clarity of purpose that few men or women in any culture have had.
Two incidents during his boyhood helped form his attitude about white people. They occurred about a year apart, and both involved the U.S. Army. In the first, in 1854, a brash young officer underestimated the resolve and fighting ability of Lakota warriors when he insisted that they return a diseased and abandoned cow they had captured. The confrontation set off an encounter that resulted in the deaths of an entire detachment of thirty soldiers. The second incident occurred when the army retaliated about a year later and wiped out most of an unsuspecting Lakota village, killing women and children as well as warriors. Both incidents taught Crazy Horse that white people could be cruel and were not to be trusted. It was a lesson he never forgot.
Even as a young man, Crazy Horse was a legendary warrior. He stole horses from the Crow Indians before he was thirteen, and led his first war party before turning twenty. Crazy Horse fought in the 1865-68 war led by the Oglala chief Red Cloud against American settlers in Wyoming, and played a key role in destroying William J. Fetterman's brigade at Fort Phil Kearny in 1867.
Crazy Horse earned his reputation among the Lakota not only by his skill and daring in battle but also by his fierce determination to preserve his people's traditional way of life. He refused, for example, to allow any photographs to be taken of him. And he fought to prevent American encroachment on Lakota lands following the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, helping to attack a surveying party sent into the Black Hills by General George Armstrong Custer in 1873.
He had three wives during the course of his life. The first was Black Buffalo Woman, whom he had loved since boyhood. Though she had married another, she left her husband (a privilege allowed in Lakota tradition) and eloped with Crazy Horse. But her jealous husband followed them and nearly killed Crazy Horse. Black Buffalo Woman finally returned to her husband, mainly to avoid bloodshed among her own people. His second wife was Black Shawl. His third wife was Nellie Laravie (or Larrabee), given to him five months before his death. Of the three, only Black Shawl bore him a child, a daughter. Black Shawl was the wife with whom he lived through much of his adult life; she died in 1920. Their daughter, named They Are Afraid of Her, died at the age of three, probably of cholera.
When the War Department ordered all Lakota bands onto their reservations in 1876, Crazy Horse became a leader of the resistance. Closely allied to the Cheyenne through his first marriage to a Cheyenne woman, he gathered a force of 1,200 Oglala and Cheyenne at his village and turned back General George Crook on June 17, 1876, as Crook tried to advance up Rosebud Creek toward Sitting Bull's encampment on the Little Bighorn.
After this victory, Crazy Horse joined forces with Sitting Bull and on June 25 led his band in the counterattack that destroyed Custer's Seventh Cavalry, flanking the Americans from the north and west as Hunkpapa warriors led by chief Gall charged from the south and east.
Following the Lakota victory at the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and Gall retreated to Canada, but Crazy Horse remained to battle General Nelson Miles as he pursued the Lakota and their allies relentlessly throughout the winter of 1876-77. This constant military harassment and the decline of the buffalo population eventually forced Crazy Horse to surrender on May 6, 1877; except for Gall and Sitting Bull, he was the last important chief to yield.
Even in defeat, Crazy Horse remained an independent spirit, and in September 1877, when he left the reservation without authorization, to take his sick wife to her parents, General George Crook ordered him arrested, fearing that he was plotting a return to battle. Crazy Horse did not resist arrest at first, but when he realized that he was being led to a guardhouse, he began to struggle, and while his arms were held by one of the arresting officers, a soldier ran him through with a bayonet.”
No fully authenticated photo of Crazy horse exists. This photos is the most likely of several said to be him. It originated from Ellen Howard, daughter of the scout Babtiste Granier, or Little Bat whose wife was Crazy Horses cousin. She claimed that Little Bat and and the scout Frank Grouard persuaded Crazy Horse to have it taken in Fort Laramie about 1872.
Content: Cover - Repro from Avon # 304 Paperback Rival for Love by Rafael Astarita 6 pgs Forbidden Honeymoon by ? 8 pgs Heartbreak Speedway by ? 6 pgs Tormented Love by ? 6 pgs
As mentioned, the cover was originally use on the Avon # 304 paperback whose title was Song without Sermon by James Woolf (his first novel). A summary goes: "a woman who married a man she didn't love in order to give her illegitimate son a name, and another man to give him a gentleman's education, has produced a parasite who is ready to accept all favours from men and women alike" and another summarizes the story as " It was the moment for which he had waited so long and the fact that he was just a male to her, with no separate identity, also made no difference" so who knows what it was about.
The first issue of this series is one of the top valued romance comics and probably because of its cover -
As usual with romance comics, there is little information known about the artists. Thankfully, Astarita signed the splash on his story. More information on Astarita in the Ghost entry.
The Table of Content on the inside front cover is courtesy of Kinstler.
For those of you who were not aware, there is a just released book on Everett Raymond Kinstler where his work in popular culture, read pulps, comics and books, is explored and documented.
The reproductions are amazing and most are full page. I received my copy yesterday and was happily surprised by the contents. The illustration above was scanned from the book rather than from my copy of the comic.
The first three stories in the comic share a pattern. Instead of the usual pining (sp?) for a secretly loved one, the love is shared by the first or second page in these stories BUT page three brings in a menace to the relationship and bliss of the couple. Let me run down with pictures who is throwing a kink in the relationships.
Astarita Story - The Rival for Love is the main character's sister who is handicapped and therefore requires constant attention and care.
Forbidden Honeymoon - After the couple marriage, the bride is introduced to a rich and lovely ex-companion / acquaintance of her new husband and feels threatened.
Heartbreak Speedway - Besides introducing a link to racing and hot-rodding which we saw was really emerging to a nationally recognized phenomenon at the time, racing becomes the menace to the relationship in this story as portrayed in the middle panel of this page - Further note that Kitty must have been a popular with this writer as both lead female character in this story and the previous one are named Kitty (Stevens and Baldwin, respectively).
Tormented by Love - Nothing better than a promiscuous roommate to teach you how to attract guys at the office!
Content: R-456 - The Man I Wanted by ? 8 pgs R-291 - Party Pests by ? 1 pg R-474 - Pretty as a Picture by ? 1 pg R-471 - Too Smart for Love by ? 2 pg R-469 - Small Town Girl by ? 5 pg R-484 - Smart Talk from the Boys by ? 1 pg R-461 - Love Problems by ? 2 pgs R-434 - My Reckless Heart by ? 8 pgs R-425 - Miss Know-It-All by ? 1 pg
Well, I have to admit this one has me stumped because it exemplifies perfectly the insipid romance comic from the 50's. For that matter, I would go further and claim that it exemplifies the blandness of Standard as a whole comic publishing enterprise. Despite its putting out 16 comics this month, not a single one is memorable in the hobby. Here's the list by Genre then by Alphabetical order:
5 Funny Animal books - Coo Coo Comics, Goofy Comics, Happy Rabbit, Supermouse and Willie the Penguin 2 Newspaper Reprint books - Jiggs and Maggie and The Katzenjammer Kids 7 Romance books: Best Romance, Intimate Love, New Romances, Popular Romance, Thrilling Romances, Today's Romance and Western Hearts 1 War book: Joe Yank 1 Miscellaneous book: Real Life Comics
Not a thrilling line-up for sure. Our particular title for today ran from # 5 in 1950 to # 28 in August 1954 and apart from an odd Celardo or Toth story here and there shows no sign of brilliance. It does contain more 1 pagers than most romance books of the era; one pagers with the intent on educating young girls about either proper or acceptable behavior or behavior geared to ensure a shot at popularity such as this one I found funny - an inside look into what boys think -
The Man I Wanted Page
Small Town Girl Splash - Oh yeah, she's "already" 23. She's damaged goods How much have we changed!
My Reckless Heart Page - In this story the lead female character's given address is 34 Oak Lane in North Meadville. While there is no Oak Lane, there is a North Meadville located in Pennsylvania, right out of Pittsburgh. The lead male character is one Tod Kirby.
Content: Love that Cover btw Jesse James in Devil's Desperadoes! by Infantino(?) 7 pgs Jesse James in Jesse James - Sheriff by Kubert 5 pgs Jesse James in Helltown Holdups! by Infantino(?) 7 pgs The Secret of the Old Mine by Allen Ulmer 8 pgs
Let's start with a little history about our lead character:
"Jesse James full name is Jesse Woodson James. He was born in Missouri, of Reverend Robert and Zerelda James, on September 5, 1847. By the time Jesse was eight, his mother had remarried twice more. From the third marriage, Jesse gained two stepbrothers and two stepsisters, in addition to the two natural brothers he had. He was skilled with horses and a natural leader. He was never a very skilled marksman.
In 1861, Jesse’s brother Frank left home to fight for the rebel cause. Jesse wanted to join him, but it wasn’t until 1863 when he joined Quantrill’s raiders. Quantrill didn’t really want him, but “Bloody” Bill Anderson took Jesse under his wing. Somehow Jesse acquired the nickname of Dingus. He was part of the Centralia massacre in 1864. He is also known to have been a spy for the rebel army. Jesse was wounded towards the end of the Civil War. He took a bullet through one of his lungs. His cousin Zerelda Mimms nursed him back to health. His recuperation was slow.
Frank and Jesse had talked about forming a gang with Cole Younger, but Jesse was not with them when they committed their first robbery in February of 1866 at Liberty, Missouri. Jesse didn’t join them until October. Frank and Cole Younger got about $57,000 from that job. But it wasn’t until March 1867 that they pulled their first job together. They tried to rob a bank at Savannah. All three aimed at the bank president, but all were poor shots, and only one bullet barely grazed him. This job failed. Two months later a man and his fifteen-year-old son were found dead, thought to have been killed by Jesse. He was very attached to his mother and usually hid out at her house after pulling a job.
In March of 1868, the James brothers and Younger brothers robbed the banking house of Nimrod & Cin in Russellville, Kentucky. In 1869, they robbed a Richmond, Missouri Bank. That same year they robbed the Daviess Savings Bank at Gallatin, Missouri. On April 29, 1872, five men, including the James, robbed a bank in Columbia, Kentucky.
Jesse is thought to be the mastermind behind robbing railroad express cars. Their first target was the Chicago and Rock Island express near Adair, Iowa, on July 21, 1873. They stopped the train by removing a portion of the track. Jesse killed the engineer during that robbery. They got $2,000 from the safe and the valuables of the passengers. Two months later Frank and Jesse stole $10,000 from a Kansas City fairground. By that time the Pinkertons were after them. Pinkerton detective J. W. Whicher was killed while pursuing the James brothers, allegedly by Jesse and Frank. Pinkerton sent more agents after them.
On January 31, 1874, they robbed the Iron Mountain Railroad train in Wayne County, Missouri. While hiding out in Roscoe, Missouri, the Pinkertons caught John and Jim Younger. During the gunplay that resulted in their capture, John was shot in the neck and killed by Captain Louis J. Lull of the Pinkertons. This occurred on March 17, 1874.
On January 25, 1875, they laid siege to the Samuel’s home. James and Frank got away. Sometime during the shootout, a device similar to a Molotov cocktail was thrown in the window, where it hit Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, which caused her to lose most of her right arm. Half-brother Archie was killed at nine years old.
Three months later Jesse married his cousin Zerelda, after a courtship of nine years. She always knew he was an outlaw. Others had asked for her hand, but she wanted Jesse. They would eventually have two children, Mary and Jesse. Frank married Annie Ralston about the same time. They eloped and her father had no idea who she was married to. It wasn’t until a posse showed up at the Ralston house that he realized who his daughter had married.
Jesse's children, Mary and Jesse Edwards.
The following year, a disastrous robbery attempt at Northfield, Minnesota, resulted in many of those in the James gang losing their lives. Unlike many of their previous escapades, this time the citizens fought back. As they approached the bank, several citizens thought they looked suspicious and alarmed the sheriff. The outlaws rode up and down the street firing randomly to try to get people to stay away while they robbed the bank. Inside the bank, the three tellers resisted handing over the money. One even escaped out the bank. Outside many were fighting the other gang members. The owner of a nearby hardware store killed gang member William Stiles. Henry M. Wheeler, a medical student, killed Clel Miller. He also wounded Bob Younger. The remaining robbers rode away, getting absolutely nothing for their efforts.
Hundreds of volunteers joined posses to go after the gang. Stiles was most familiar with the territory and he was dead. They were also short on horses. Two men had to share one horse. They were cornered at Medalia, Minnesota, where they shot their way out of a gunfight. During this fight, another gang member was killed and three more were wounded. They were jailed at Faribault, Minnesota. They pled guilty and were sentenced to life imprisonment at Stillwater State Penitentiary. Jesse and Frank made good their escape, but had to lay low for over three years. Jesse lived under the name of Howard during this time. He kept moving and took up residence across the country in Tennessee, California, and Colorado. For awhile he worked a rich strike in California Gulch in Colorado with Frank and the Ford brothers.
In October 1879, he was back to his old tricks with a new gang. They robbed a Chicago and Alton train. They robbed four more trains in 1881, the last one at Glendale, Missouri. Two of their gang members were captured after that one. After that the James gang was never heard from again. Jesse was killed by Bob Ford, a gang member, on April 3, 1882, reportedly for the reward money. They made sure it was really him by identifying war time wounds on his body. After Jesse was killed his guns and gunbelt were auctioned off for fifteen dollars. He had owned a Colt .45 Peacemaker and a .45 Smith and Wesson Schofield. For years afterward, Jesse’s mother sold many other guns claiming that they belonged to Jesse. They were obviously old relics she bought by the dozens to sell at outrageous prices. Frank turned himself in after Jesse’s death. However, he was never convicted of anything.
Jesse's death picture showing wound over his left eye.
The Ford brothers attempted to collect the reward. Instead, they were charged with murder. They were sentenced to hang, but were pardoned by Governor Tom Crittenden.
Bob Ford shows off the revolver he used to slay Jesse James.
Two years later Charles Ford committed suicide and Bob Ford, the "dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard, and laid poor Jesse in his grave," was himself killed in a bar room brawl in Creede, Colorado, in 1892.
Jesse James was a moral paradox. He was a good father and family man, and was religious in his own way. Whether he stole from the rich and gave to the poor, or just kept it all, has never been decided.
Jesse James died in 1882, but the legend of Jesse James continues more than a century beyond his death. Today Jesse and Frank James are among the best-known Americans in the world.
For a long time there were rumors that Ford did not kill Jesse, that it was somewhere else. Jesse was thought to be living in Guthrie, Oklahoma as late as 1948 and that he died at Granbury, Texas. The real recipient of Ford’s bullet, claim some stories, was a crook named Bigelow, reported to have been living with Jesse’s wife at the time."
Vanguard Productions collected some of these Jesse James tales in an album and here's what they have to say about the work:
"This graphic novel collects, for the first time, the classic 1950s outlaw stories of the often heroic Jesse James, by comic book legends Joe Kubert and Carmine Infantino.
In the old West the young gunslinger Jesse James rode a hard road to become a legend. In New York City of the early 1950s, two young compadres joined forces to prove what they were made of on their way to their own legendary status. Joe Kubert went on to create classic Tarzan, Hawkman and war comics starring Sgt. Rock before founding the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Art! Carmine Infantino went on to create the Flash, Deadman, Batgirl, and proved the top Batman artist of the 1960s before becoming President and Publisher of DC Comics."
In The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino, Carmine has the following comments about this work for Avon:
"During this early period at DC, I also freelanced for Avon. Joe Kubert and I had met at DC / All American and became good friends. We started working together on Jesse James for Avon. I pencilled one whole Jesse James book in one day, and Joe inked it in one day. We did it so fast, we didn't even put borders on the pages! I told him, "Joe, I did this in one day!" He said, "I'll match you!" And Joe did! It was amazing!"
Content: Miracle from Mars by Bill Discount 8 pgs The Plague of the Flying Fish by ? 6 pgs Suicide Smith by John Belcastro 4 pgs Set'em up in MIG Alley by ? 4 pgs The Flight of the Four-Headed Monster by ? 6 pgs
As Michelle Nolan stated in her April 2005 CGC News article about Wings Comics, "Fiction House did not survive the mid-1950s, since it published virtually nothing other than pulps and comics. Only a handful of pulps remained after the last issue of Planet Stories in 1955, and most of Fiction House's garish comics could not have survived the beginning of the Comics Code with early 1955 issues.
[Still] Fiction House tried hard to take advantage of the Korean War, probably more than any company except Atlas/Marvel. The last five issues of Fight and the final four of Rangers featured Korean War stories to go with Wings, plus the short-lived Jet Aces #1-4, War Bird #1-3 and Knockout Adventures #1.”
The emphasis of the book is obvious and if there is a hero in this book, it is the airplane, specifically this airplane in the first story -
Lockheed's F-94 Starfire resulted indirectly from the Soviet blockade of Berlin. Concerned that it lacked a modern jet powered all-weather/night fighter, and forced to rely on the long-in-the-tooth P-61 Black Widow the Air Force asked Lockheed to look at a specification for an aircraft capable of the all-weather and night interception mission. Lockheed used their T-33 (a tandem seat jet trainer based itself upon the F-80 Shooting Star) as the basis for its conversion. Forward of the cockpit, the fuselage was stretched to house the AN/APG-33 radar. Aft, the fuselage was extended to accommodate an afterburning J-33-A-33 engine.
Demonstrating the required performance, the F-94A was quickly placed into service with the Continental Air Command. As the need for a jet powered night fighter became apparent in Korea, two squadrons were dispatched for duty. Flying against enemy piston-engine night intruders proved to be troublesome for the Starfire. It was out of its element chasing slow moving biplanes at low altitude. Finally, being utilized as an escort for night-time B-29 raids, the F-94 came into its own to some degree. The planes and their crews managed to shoot down four enemy fighters, for the loss of one Starfire in night-time air to air combat.
As for the artists IDed in this issue, little is known about them.
Bill Discount only seems to have been around during 53-5. He worked for Comic Media, F.H. & a few Charlton stories, too. These may even have been inventory stories that CDC bought up when C.M. folded.
John Belcastro (who also used Johnny Bell as a pen name) and Bill Discount don't seem to stray far from Fiction House and Comic Media (Weird Terror, War Fury, ...).
While the main artists known to have worked for Ace in the 1950's were: Gene Colan; Harry Harrison; Howard Larsen; Lou Cameron and Mike Sekowsky. It is possible that Bill Discount also worked there but I have no confirmation of his work there.
Bill Discount Splash - Kinda weird cross-over with Flying Saucers in Korea.
Bill Discount Page - See the F-94s in action.
Second Story Last Page
John Belcastro Splash
Fourth Story Splash - Here the action has switched to Hungary.