Thursday, January 07, 2010

Depressing Ditties

Friday Comic Book Day.

Since this seems to be turning into something of a Timely/Atlas week anyway, here are the two opening stories of Man Comics #14. Stan Lee's war comics came in two kinds. There were the gung-ho 'let's kill the bastards' type of stories, usually with a rough hero at the head of a group of soldiers and there were the more bleak 'war is hell, but it is necessary, isn't it?' stories, which often had the hero dying. The second type disappeared after the Korean war ended and was replaced by the equally fascinating 'great moments form the histery of military conflict'. The gung-ho stories were the least interesting, but at least they weren't as clean and sanatized as DC's output. Artists who worked on both side of the fence did their most impressive work at Atlas, I think. Over at DC war usually was an emotionless thing.

Here are two stories by two a terrific artists who didn't work for DC. Jerry Robinson was busy with his newspaper efforts (although I am curious what he did between 1955, when Jet Scott ended and the late fifties, when he created True Classroom Flubs and Fluffs) and George Tuska had the daily Scorchy Smith going. Bouncing Betsy's is written by Hank Chapman and is as bleak as any of his early war stories. I'd write more about this man, if I could find any information about him. No Prisoners is a bit more chearful. In fact, I'd call it downright sarcastic. No Prisoners, by the way, is 'one of the nienteen that got away' at set of19 stories with job numbers 10001 to 10019
that probably got their job number because the scripts were delivered after it was decided that the numerical system was to be changed into a letters and numbers system and to many of the A-series were already given out to other scripts. For what ever reason, they were given the nineteen numbers over the supposed cut-off point #10000 and they make an interesting crosssection of all of Timely/Atlas' marvelous output at that time.


Jeff Overturf said...

I am really becoming a fan of the 1950's comics. I Have long been a fan of the "Silver Age" and "Golden Age" superhero stuff, and have long been aware of these gems of the interim years, usually in the genres of "War", "Romance", "Western", "Sci-Fi", "Horror" etc., but never really took the time to read them.

Thanks for hipping us to some of these stories. Your efforts are much appreciated! Keep 'em comin'!

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, Jerry Robinson was one of three staff artists, with Bill Everett and John Severin, at Atlas in the mid to late '50s, until Martin Goodman hit his crazy stretch and all but collapsed the company. Had he not... well, imagine the Marvel Age Of Comics started with Robinson, Everett & Severin (& Maneely, Colan, Heath and other Atlas standards) instead of Kirby & Ditko...