Friday, June 29, 2007

What sort of man reads Pulps?

This comic book advertisement from Movie Comics #1 (December 1946) complete with smoking jacket-wearing Hef could be the spiritual precursor to the classic 'What sort of man reads Playboy' print ads that would appear in the adult magazine Playboy several years later.


Luckily, there was a boy nearby

Chicks are pretty much useless in a crisis, aren't they?

No, he didn't use the branch to silence her annoying screeching.

From New Heroic Comics #94 (
December 1954).


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Night Thought


One of the advantages of having an advanced Kryptonian super-brain is that with a simple mental command, Clark Kent can switch from speaking about a subject to merely thinking about it! Truly, Superman is the Man of Tomorrow!

From Action Comics #158 (July 1951).


How to make a blogger cry

From Superman #53 (July-August 1948).


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some days

The Sleester just feels like Ol' Gil from the Simpsons.

Or Charlie Brown.


And abused.

In spite of the drama...

Things are looking up.

It just takes time.

Life is an odd journey but I am comforted by the fact that
no matter what happens, I'll always have Hayley.

What the..? This post looks suspiciously like self-indulgent blogger self-pity! That's crap! I hate when bloggers do that! Things are going good, so I guess this proves I shouldn't post when I'm exhausted from work and feeling flu-ish.

How to lighten this page up? I know! A photoshopped picture of a cat with humorous text! That always works!


Yes, Land of the Lost Cats! Just when you though the hilarious cat + text meme fad was over-exposed, dead and hanging on by zombie claws, along comes a guy like me to inject new life into an old and worn concept. The merging of funny kitties and the spectacular Sid & Marty Krofft series The Land of the Lost was inevitable and long over due. Go ahead and LOL, you are welcome.

More to come!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Clearing out the "Pending" folder

You'd never see Lois Lane being such a jerk. There's aggressiveness in chasing down a lead for a news story and and then there is being just plain obnoxious and insulting. Great stand-alone panel from the Golden Age of comics, though.
Four Favorites #8 - Sensitive reporter
From Four Favorites #8 (December 1942).

Do modern comic book fans realize that without the superior coloring techniques of today's creative teams that much of the art published in current magazines would get a high school kid a failing grade in art class? Imagine this art as black and white reprints in a trade collection.
Cable & Deadpool #41 - High school art class
From Cable & Deadpool #41 (August 2007).

Comic book puzzle from Teen Beat. I think it's a rock star.
Teen Beat #1 - Puzzle
From Teen Beat #1 (November-December 1967).

This one is pretty much for Dr. Zaius to play with.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
From the Whitman Big Little Book, The Calcutta Affair (1967).

How this scene would have played if I wrote the Phantom.
Ace Comics #116 - Phantom
From Ace Comics #116 (November 1946). Original here.

Just because it is the greatest Ditko panel ever.
Greatest Ditko panel ever



Dang, Little Archie's mom is HOT!

"...And stop wasting the whipped cream! I'm going it tonight after you go on your trip."

How did Archie's 60 year old shlub of a Dad land such a young babe? He must have originally purchased her from some Walton Mountain family and keeps her locked in the basement in between sessions of drugging and hypnotism so she can't run away.

From Little Archie #12 (1961).


Friday, June 22, 2007

Burn, Butler, Burn!

Little Archie rescues Little Veronica from the family butler who kidnapped her for ransom by lighting him on fire and throwing the villain down a flight of stairs.
The cartoonish figures of Archie and Veronica are an odd contrast to the far more realistic depictions of the dungeon setting and the plummeting butler.

From Little Archie #12 (1961).


Friday Catblogging: ART AZ A THRET

While riding the bus a few weeks ago to and from work I noticed the phrase ART AS A THREAT spray-painted in a few places by the college. Oh, those edgy college kids with their local band stickers and graffiti stencils, out to educamate the world. It's so cute. Like a baby's first steps across the living room.

Yeah, once they realize they will starve and die by maintaining their principles they sell out eventually. It'll be years before they realize they have become just like their parents when they walk by that homeless guy without giving him a quarter. It's amusing to see them in later years decline to sign a ballot measure petition because it means they might have to re-register to vote and then be called to serve jury duty later.

I thought it would be interesting to take the message symbolizing their generational angst and pretentious dissatisfaction of a pop-culture they secretly embrace and co-opt it by making it cute, fluffy and Hallmark store marketable.



Because you demanded it, more Bear-Zapping!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cool Golden Age Page of the Day: ELEPHANT-MOUNTED MACHINE GUN!!!!!!!

From the splash page of The Fighting Yank #12 (June 1945) comes this awesome image of the Fighting Yank gleefully destroying America's stereotyped enemy soldiers by using an ELEPHANT-MOUNTED MACHINE GUN!!!!!!!
An ELEPHANT-MOUNTED MACHINE GUN!!!!!!! is almost as mind-plotzing as Cowboy Sahib! This image appears nowhere in the main story and makes me think it was originally intended to be a cover, but the scene may have been too violent for the news stands and the far more palatable art of the Yank kicking back in the Imperial Palace throne room was used instead. I thank the Comic Book Gods it was included for publication in the issue and therefore the awesomeness was preserved for eternity.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thank you, brave adventurer! You rescued me from savageness with your HUGE sword!

The good old days.

"The Birth of a Nation" was a positive selling point, Manifest Destiny was the 11th Commandment and psychotic fanaticism was called patriotism!

Image via Pulp of the Day.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

He means spelunking!

Some days I think I should just give up and use my LJ account and do nothing but post to scans_daily.

The out of context (kind of) panel is from the story "Gentle Brute" in Unknown Worlds #25 (August 1963). Both the story and the comic is just so appropriately named, isn't it? I mean, you know the editors and staff were sitting around a table pointing to the finished art and giggling like schoolboys. Check out the guy's leering expression. I'm a big believer in the idea that the creative teams of comic books chafed under the Comics Code Authority and often took the opportunity to slip gags and situations past the censorship panel that only mature readers would catch for what they really were.

Cover bonus: Bear zapping!
A bear getting zapped on a comic book cover is almost as cool as evil monkeys.


Cool Golden Age Page of the Day: Out of nowhere -- THE EAGLE!

The Eagle versus the Beast, the bad guy with a crowbar for a hand! Now that's a fight scene! Plus, "Helga Vegas" is very nearly the best name ever for a villainess.This page features something that can only be found in comics. No, not a muscular shirtless hero in the company of a young sidekick who wears school boy's gym clothes! In the final battle, the Eagle leaps from the second story of a building and lands with both feet onto the villains' s face...and the bad guy lives! In fact, he he keeps on fighting until the Eagle smashes him in the face with an anvil!

Cool Page from Weird Comics #15 (June 1941).


Monday, June 18, 2007

Sleestak reviews: Rise of the Silver Surfer

A friend told me to bring along a cat with me to the theater when I went to see the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie, because the urge to kill something out of fanboy rage might possibly turn upon myself if a victim was not otherwise readily available.

While I didn't think it was that bad I have to agree with most reviews of the film:

- The sequel was better than the first, which isn't saying much.
- It's a fine 90-minute babysitter for eight year olds.
- The CGI was pretty good.
- The FF mostly stood around or ran away.
- The FF and Doom were the Eddie Murphy to the Silver Surfer's Golden Child.
- The film is almost good (a la' any Golan & Globus production).

I often gauge a science fiction or effects-driven film by how much story remains after the special effects are removed. The measuring stick I use for is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Story wise, Raiders has more plot and characterization crammed into 2 hours than most trilogies. Even mentally subtracting the F/X leaves you with a movie that is full and entertaining. Not so the Fantastic Four.

is typical of Hollywood productions of late, a thin story that won't confuse too many people and a few neat-o CGI effects thrown that someone much smarter and with far more wit and talent than the committee that produced the film could envision. FF: RotSS joins other films like Ghost Rider in being a shallow series of vignettes connected by a loose plot designed to sell toys and video games and justify the product placement licensing opportunities.

As a guy, I have to comment on Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. Wig and contact lenses aside, she is becoming more attractive as she ages and it is a pity that she does not posses a greater acting talent. As Alba matures she is probably destined to become the next Terri Hatcher, someone who is pretty enough for television dramas and Lifetime Channel movies but not much of a challenge for the viewer.

I also did not mind the V'ger-ish Galacti-smog as much as some fans, though I can't believe a scene like this one from Thor #167 (August 1969) would not have worked in the right context. If not even Vince Colletta were able to ruin this scene, then Hollywood couldn't.
The hint of the face of Galactus at the center of the cloud in the film was enough for me, but I would have liked to have seen the Surfer emerge from the cloud into the calm eye of the cosmic storm, confronting Galactus as it stands stands on the world ship operating Kirbyesque machines. The film makers could have even thrown in the "Galactus appears as whatever the observer can accept it to be" thing and show differing representations of Galactus as the Surfer battles for the life of the Earth. One of them could have been the classic Kirby space-god. That would have been cool.


Golden Age tentacle porn?

Are these examples of Golden Age tentacle porn?

Exciting Comics (March 1948).

Feature Comics (February 1945).

Nah. Sometimes an elephant's trunk is just an elephant's trunk, even if it is attacking a distressed, scantily-clad female wearing a strategically torn bathing suit and a guy in his underwear.

Lest we forget in all the rightful H4H argle-bargle that tentacle porn did not originate in Japan. It actually has its beginnings in American pulp science fiction and became widely prevalent in the Spa Fon era of 1950s comic books.
That isn't to say that the popular Japanese media didn't import the concept and make it their very own in ways to numerous and horrible to contemplate, but the American mainstream comic books didn't take the idea past the occasional Freudian image.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Comic Book PSA: Cold War humor from Henry Boltinoff

Gosh! Cutesy cartoons about the nuclear annihilation of mankind are so darn funny! Any child living in the atomic age who read this Professor Eureka page-filler tale from Showcase #12 (January-February 1958) must have been splitting his sides with laughter. This installment of the Prof. Eureka strip is just so Atomic Cafe.

The strip is quite a bit less humorous in contemporary times given the high rate of behind-the-scenes corporate involvement in war and corrupt shenanigans we have in the battle field of today. Not to say it didn't happen in the past, but the American mind-set was a bit different then and the military-industrial complex was the basis of most country's economies. To paraphrase Hank Ford, what was good for war was good for America.

Detonate each page for a huge explosion
Even in the context of the strip I have a hard time buying into the notion that the Prof's spectacular weapon of mass destruction is subject to budget cuts so severe that he was forced to seek corporate sponsorship to build his nuclear bombs. I have the impression that the strip is more Boltinoff being rebellious against the status quo and stealthily educating readers through subtext.

If the professor was a DC Comics villain he'd threaten to bomb a country for ransom, requiring the JLA to step in and halt his mad revenge scheme. But in an all-ages kiddie comic of the 50s he merely struck a marketing deal. Call me cynical, but I sure wouldn't put it past a company to whole-heartedly embrace the notion that they could gain market share through promoting an atomic holocaust. The plot device of the spurned mad scientist seeking revenge against the government or company that failed to recognize their unique genius was often used in popular entertainment, but would not be explored fully and used ad nauseum until the books of the 70s and 80s, when work-for-hire creators took monthly jabs at their employers via their comic book output.

I imagine that even now somewhere there is licensing executive sitting in an office praying for the day their company can put a corporate logo on a weapon of mass destruction similar to the decals on a NASCAR racer or as an advertisement on a soldiers' body armor. It is already in the public consciousness that the bumper-sticker sentiment of "This war brought to you by [insert company name here]" is a truism.

Comic books usually follow the public zeitgeist in whatever era they are published. While the creators may have differing ideas and often fight the system from within, the companies themselves are notorious for having editorial policies that fall in line with the prevailing public or official view of things. Golden Age comics of the 1940s were sheer propaganda and little more than an unofficial branch of the War Department due to their desire to reach an audience and stay solvent in a failing pulp and magazine market. The Silver Age of the late 1950s and into the 1960s was all about the wonders of science and the benefits of nuclear energy. That naive sense of Golly-Gee lasted until education about both the Cold and Korean wars made people nervous. The Vietnam conflict was all but ignored in comic books of the late 60s and 70s because the main audience for the books, young adults in college, knew propaganda when they saw it and wanted no part of it. When Vietnam was mentioned at all it was in the context of another war or as a part of a life-changing moment in a character's life when they saw how wrong they were about armed conflict, Tony Stark being one example. For the most part the ultimate American authority symbol of Captain America awkwardly avoided the Vietnam era due in part to the perception that Cap would not be fighting an evil force such as the Nazis or fascism, but instead would be battling women and child-soldiers.

Comics of that era, Marvel particularly, walked a fine line between the liberal consciousness of their audience and the old way of telling a story. It was especially problematic that all of their characters had origins based deeply in the military-industrial complex. While Barry Allen of the Flash comics was a de-facto authority figure in his career as a police scientist, a reader never actually saw him do any actual police work, plus he was a lab-rat so it didn't count that he was a cop. Hal Jordan of Green Lantern was a test pilot and not really an active soldier any longer. While he was part of a space police force, Hal Jordan was often at odds with the way his alien bosses, the Guardians, accomplished their goals. Hal Jordan often got the the job done in his own way by breaking the rules the Guardians had set forth for standards of conduct.

But in the Marvel comics the characters had strong ties to the government and the military, all the things the audience of the 60s and 70s abhorred. So the creators took great pains to make the characters relevant to the readers by making them rebellious authority figures. Bruce Banner created atomic bombs for the military and was thus turned into a Hulk who was then forever at odds with the culture that created him. Tony Stark of the Iron Man series gave up the manufacture of munitions and turned to peaceful efforts, which made him even more powerful and wealthy.

One thing to remember is that the Professor Eureka strip was written by Henry Boltinoff, who often seems to insert a subtle message into most of his gags, particularly those not only of Prof. Eureka but Peter Puptent as well. I don't know anything about Boltinoff or his politics specifically, but he seems like quite the progressive. In reading his strips I find sexual liberation themes, anti-war and racial equality messages covertly inserted in strips that appear on the surface to be falling in line with the prevailing political and public sentiment of the times but are really the opposite. That he does it without preaching like an After-School Special reveals his cleverness.

Using atomic weaponry as a vehicle for advertising is a powerful image. The corporate-sponsored mushroom cloud is an allegory for Manifest Destiny. The image warns other cultures that they must accept Western influence and embrace Democracy and all that comes with it or else. The stealthy and subtle educational message for readers being that aggressively exporting ideologies can be as destructive as the army of an expansionist tyrant.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jim Shooter in Love

From Girls' Love Stories #168 (April 1972).

That guy must be 8 feet tall! Cripes! I can't find one element in this panel where human anatomy or perspective resembles proper proportion in art. From banister to doorknob to the guy's tiny, tiny hands everything is wrong.

Bonus! Cover art features a rare cameo by the hip early 70s band Jesus and the Nazarenes totally rocking out!

Coming soon: Torn from the pages of romance comic books, inappropriate advice to the love-lorn!


The Deus Ex Decimal System

One of the popular conceits about the Library of Alexandria is the perception that the unfortunately destroyed archives contained in the dusty scrolls the answers to mysteries that will never be solved and secrets lost to the ages.

Tony Stark gets all misty-eyed in Sub-Mariner #1 (August 2007).

But, really? Maybe in a comic book universe a lost scroll held the secrets of eternal youth and spells leading to other dimensions, but not in our reality. In the real world the Library of Alexandria was a repository of all the knowledge that civilization had recorded up to that point.

Now think about that for a moment.

How smart were people of the third century AD? Not very. Culturally, they were barely out of the stone age. Human life was cheap, fire scared them and they saw magic and ghosts everywhere and they thought flies were born out of mud puddles. For all the advances in plumbing and infrastructure the denizens of that era were pretty primitive. After all, how smart do you have to be to figure out that if you poop where you live then horrible disease will result? Even forest animals know to eliminate outside the den. The library was a good idea in concept but probably failed in practice. Knowledge wasn't that important to most people then. The pressures of daily life took precedence. People didn't need to go to the library to research when to plant corn, they knew that already and didn't have time for learning.

The destruction of the library was certainly a crime against humanity but the idea that it held all the answers to arcane mysteries is doubtful. What library would store for public or scholarly perusal the method for making Greek fire, gunpowder or changing base metals into ones more precious? If there were tomes in existence that were full of dangerous ideas then I really doubt the average scholar would have had access to any of them. Imagine some high school kids checking out the Name of God scroll as a laugh and speaking the creator's name backwards thus unmaking the universe. Scary thought.

As an experiment try gathering up the collected knowledge of any modern city today and any archivist would be appalled at the pile of incorrect entries to wade through to get to the facts. The main sources of information would come from the misinformed, stupid, well-meaning but wrong, misanthropic and those with skewed agendas. The royal library was probably full of questionable material. In content the Library of Alexandria was probably somewhat similar to many current on line resources with poorly-vetted or wrongly accepted information that is taken as a definitive source.

Did the Library of Alexandria hold the answers to the many secrets of the universe? No. But I bet it had a great section devoted to tasty dung beetle recipes.

Tags: because

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sleestak reviews: New Avengers #31


Dammit, Vinnie!

This poignant story of a young widow worried about the future welfare of her baby is made horribly tragic by the "erase everything and get the pages to the messenger by 3 pm" inking style of Vince Colletta. What should be a dramatic moment as the young widow reminisces about her late husband is instead transformed into a scene from a horror comic featuring a shut in and her mindless, zombie toddler.

From Young Love #80 (May-June 1970).

By removing the text, these panels could also be a long-lost deleted scene between Sue and Franklin, from that issue of Fantastic Four when Reed Richards turned off his son's brain with a ray gun.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


48 hours after the last cleaning this mass of fur, twigs, dog food and other debris is what I swept up out of just the living room.

Pets suck.


Monday, June 11, 2007

MORE Comic Book Romances of Liberated Women

From Young Love #80 (May-June 1970) is another example of a love story featuring a liberated comic book woman. Liz is sexy, confident and capable until she meets her dream man. Then when he dismisses her in favor of his work she falls apart and goes totally psycho nutty insane as the fear she will live the remainder of her life without a father-figure as a husband consumes her.

Good thing for us guys that women don't behave like this in real life!

The story has the usual happy ending as Liz gets her man after Richard confesses his love instead of running screaming in the opposite direction. So long as Richard can keep slipping anti-psychotics into her food without Liz noticing then they will surely live happily ever after.

Of course, the above panel cries out like a Bronze Age comic book debutante stood up by the richest guy in town for the Sleestak comedy treatment!

Aww, who's got the cutest little daddy issues? You do! Yes, you!

Carole Danvers didn't handle very well losing her super powers that one time.

I'm so glad to be male. I will gladly put up with the occasional bout of impotence when I'm older than to have to go through the ordeal that gals have to deal with every month.

Suddenly, Zatanna pointed her hand at Liz and shouted, "ZIL POTS!"

As the world turns, these are the days of our sands through the hourglass...
The Love Doctor makes a house call.