Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Futura - Chapter 7

Planet Comics #49 (July 1947) features a very nice cover credited to Joe Doolin. A Fiction House regular, Doolin did a lot of very nice work for that company. Modern readers could favorably compare the cover art and the fine line work to Bolland or McGuire.

The comic books of the Golden Age often get short-shrift from readers for several reasons. One factor as to why they are often dismissed is due to the quality of writing and art. While lack of interest by many in the works of an earlier era is a factor, honestly, many of the old comics are a chore to read even in the context of the times. It is often only my own fanatic love of the pulps that get me through many of the old magazines and comic books, not because of the silly science or impossible plots but because lots of times the story is just simply awful.

There are several instances where the other Planet Comics features are are superior in concept and execution to Futura. The Nazi-allegory setting of the Lost World aside there are many enjoyable chapters in that series. Mysta of the Moon contains some very high-concept ideas I have not noticed before their appearence in that series, but have noticed cropping up over the years in different science fiction media afterwards. The quality of the art in the lead stories rarely dipped below a certain point in execution, even when it was clear the magazine was in its final days.

Other than the printing process, publishing deadlines were probably the main reason that many of the pulps and comic books suffered in percieved quality. Overworked and notoriously underpaid creators of the time had to work fast. Often one artist or writer would work on several features at once over various titles, using different pen names or laboring under one house name. Even strips a creator has a fondness for and invested interest could suffer under less than ideal working conditions.

The next several chapters of the Futura Saga seems to be affected by such creative problems. If the letters pages were any true indication Futura was appreciated by fans over several of the other regular features, yet the strip received little cover space and perhaps less editorial attention. Chapter 6 of Futura's story in Planet Comics #49 still retains some great concepts and a few panels reveal some fine line work not entirely wiped out by the inking and printing process, but something was happening behind the scenes creatively and it appears as if short cuts were being applied that was then reflected in the quality of the strip.


1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying this series -- thanx for bringing them all together!


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