GA Comic Books that Warp Your Mind
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I've long been fascinated by the GA books that were criticized during the anti-comic-book crusades of the 40's and 50's, thus my interest in SOTI. I particularly like taking those comic book descriptions by Wertham and others, and trying to figure out exactly which books they were criticizing. This led to the discovery of SOTI books and suspected SOTI books like Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11, Tween-age Digest #1 and Rangers #38.

 

I made a new discovery that I figured might be appreciated here in GA. Way back in 1947, Colton Waugh's book The Comics was published. It was mostly a look at comic strips, but the last chapter was a pretty unflattering look at comic books.

 

He only describes one comic book in enough detail that you can figure out which one it is. I figured this one out, and I'm betting you other GA fans can probably also figure it out as well. In case you like a good comic book history mystery as much as I do, I won't tell you just yet where the quote below came from. For the answer, either do a little research on your own, or go to the SOTI website and find what I posted there, or just keep an eye on this thread. If you figure out the comic book Waugh is describing here, post it below. If nobody posts the answer in a few days, I'll post it here.

 

Take a typical comic-book cover of World War II days.

Scene, a Jap wireless shack, through whose open door is seen a vessel being dive-bombed and bursting into flames. Which side is that ship on? It isn't obvious. In the foreground a Jap is sending a message under difficulties; he screams, revealing hideous buck-teeth as he sends. A baseball bat swung by a tough youngster has smashed him on the head in a white explosion. Another Jap, with bloody Samurai sword in one hand, spitting gun in the other, has has also been socked by a noble, hooded male in brilliant blue. Meanwhile a blood-red blond man is smashing the power plant with his gloved fists -- Hey! Look out! There's a green Jap splut-sputting him with a machine gun! Yes, but see that blond, teen-age girl crouching on the pink table; she's got a blood-red ax; she's coming down on the Jap's head, or is she? A hideous, shaven crook is leaning through a porthole aiming a blowgun at her -- Yeah, but see that youngster in the blue business suit jabbing a bayoneted rifle at the whole group -- But another jap is reaching at him! Ah, but a gorgeous superwoman with blood-red hair and highly stylized harlequin mask, through which peer blood-white eyes is strangling the Jap with one of her delicate arms, as with the other, she -- oh, well.

 

The layout artist, on completing this page, probably looked hopelessly at it, figured it was a failure. He had used up every inch of available screaming space, yet, there was no block of ice enclosing a glorious, frozen girl about to be sawed in half by a ghoulish hellscientist done up in a whie coat and pince-nez. Probably the editor, looking at this cover, said to himself, "That layout guy Prangle is slipping. We gotta get more action."

 

Hint: The art is not by anybody named Prangle.

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Take a typical comic-book cover of World War II days.

Scene, a Jap wireless shack, through whose open door is seen a vessel being dive-bombed and bursting into flames. Which side is that ship on? It isn't obvious. In the foreground a Jap is sending a message under difficulties; he screams, revealing hideous buck-teeth as he sends. A baseball bat swung by a tough youngster has smashed him on the head in a white explosion. Another Jap, with bloody Samurai sword in one hand, spitting gun in the other, has has also been socked by a noble, hooded male in brilliant blue. Meanwhile a blood-red blond man is smashing the power plant with his gloved fists -- Hey! Look out! There's a green Jap splut-sputting him with a machine gun! Yes, but see that blond, teen-age girl crouching on the pink table; she's got a blood-red ax; she's coming down on the Jap's head, or is she? A hideous, shaven crook is leaning through a porthole aiming a blowgun at her -- Yeah, but see that youngster in the blue business suit jabbing a bayoneted rifle at the whole group -- But another jap is reaching at him! Ah, but a gorgeous superwoman with blood-red hair and highly stylized harlequin mask, through which peer blood-white eyes is strangling the Jap with one of her delicate arms, as with the other, she -- oh, well.

 

 

Speed Comics #33

 

 

speedcomics.jpg

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Speed Comics #33

 

speedcomics.jpg

 

Wow!! BangZoom! Impressive. That only took an hour or so. :applause:

 

Great copy, also. (thumbs u

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Great copy, also. (thumbs u

 

My source for the image was GCD. :gossip:

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The only thing I wasn't sure of was whether Bang Zoom or Scrooge would get it first. :applause:

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Nice job! The description sounded to me like Schomburg, so that narrowed it down for me. A more knowledgeable collector could probably have recognized the Black Cat description as well.

 

This was fun! If you have an interest in hunting down more of these GA mysteries (what's the book, based on a description by a critic), let me know and I'll post more.

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The only thing I wasn't sure of was whether Bang Zoom or Scrooge would get it first. :applause:

 

BZ's the best. :hail: Schomburg was obvious but I got side-tracked checking his Nedor work ... the little girl stumped me.

 

As far as more mysteries, :popcorn:

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Nice job! The description sounded to me like Schomburg, so that narrowed it down for me. A more knowledgeable collector could probably have recognized the Black Cat description as well.

 

This was fun! If you have an interest in hunting down more of these GA mysteries (what's the book, based on a description by a critic), let me know and I'll post more.

 

Please do! :applause:

 

And BTW, this may not have donned on you yet, but you've inadvertently created another target for future collectors. Sensational criticism of identifiable comics by authors of the era, whether admonishing the comics or just drawing attention to them, will probably be fodder for future collectors.

 

Who knows, the notoriety from an obscure book reference of the era could even be the source of footnoting in future Price Guides! (thumbs u

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the notoriety from an obscure book reference of the era could even be the source

 

... though I will argue that Waugh's book is not obscure ... but then again, I have been wrong before. Waugh's book is a great read for comics fans despite his focus being solely on comics strips.

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the notoriety from an obscure book reference of the era could even be the source

 

... though I will argue that Waugh's book is not obscure ... but then again, I have been wrong before. Waugh's book is a great read for comics fans despite his focus being solely on comics strips.

 

It's obscure enough that I was unaware of it... :sorry: ...but I just ordered a copy from an Amazon vendor. (thumbs u

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As far as more mysteries, :popcorn:

 

Okay, here's one. I can't say I found this comic book exactly, but I think I have this narrowed down to one of two books, and I think the article's author inflated their figures a bit. See if you find the same comic(s) I did (or a better match) for this quote from the 1948 article in the Collier's:

 

Go to a newsstand, Dr. Wertham suggests. Take your pick of ten-cent terror. Try one with a nicely murderous cover design. It is made even more alluring by a "For Adults Only" label on the cover -- a sign few ten-year-olds can resist. You'll find at least thirty-seven killings and corpses, and more than fifteen pools of blood in the first story alone. Lefargue investigators brush this off as "typical." "There is also," one investigator noted, "plenty of kicking and punching, and wonderfully chesty girls."

 

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As far as more mysteries, :popcorn:

 

Okay, here's one. I can't say I found this comic book exactly, but I think I have this narrowed down to one of two books, and I think the article's author inflated their figures a bit. See if you find the same comic(s) I did (or a better match) for this quote from the 1948 article in the Collier's:

 

Go to a newsstand, Dr. Wertham suggests. Take your pick of ten-cent terror. Try one with a nicely murderous cover design. It is made even more alluring by a "For Adults Only" label on the cover -- a sign few ten-year-olds can resist. You'll find at least thirty-seven killings and corpses, and more than fifteen pools of blood in the first story alone. Lefargue investigators brush this off as "typical." "There is also," one investigator noted, "plenty of kicking and punching, and wonderfully chesty girls."

 

Fox's Murder Incorporated # 2 ?

 

http://www.comics.org/issue/66230/cover/4/

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As far as more mysteries, :popcorn:

 

Okay, here's one. I can't say I found this comic book exactly, but I think I have this narrowed down to one of two books, and I think the article's author inflated their figures a bit. See if you find the same comic(s) I did (or a better match) for this quote from the 1948 article in the Collier's:

 

Go to a newsstand, Dr. Wertham suggests. Take your pick of ten-cent terror. Try one with a nicely murderous cover design. It is made even more alluring by a "For Adults Only" label on the cover -- a sign few ten-year-olds can resist. You'll find at least thirty-seven killings and corpses, and more than fifteen pools of blood in the first story alone. Lefargue investigators brush this off as "typical." "There is also," one investigator noted, "plenty of kicking and punching, and wonderfully chesty girls."

 

Fox's Murder Incorporated # 2 ?

 

http://www.comics.org/issue/66230/cover/4/

 

FIVE minutes? Really? Did you really just get that one in five minutes after I posted it?! Impressive!

 

Murder_Incorporated_1.jpg

Murder_Incorporated_2.jpg

 

You came up with the same one I did. As near as I can tell, Murder Inc. #1 and #2 are the only GA comics with "For Adults Only" on the cover. If anybody else knows of others, I'd love to hear about it.

 

I've read the lead story in each of those books several times, and I can't figure out where the "thirty-seven killings and corpses" comes from. If I'm really generous with the body count, and I count each image of a corpse once, and each instance of a killing as one (meaning some things are counted multiple times, and in some cases it was unclear whether all people being fired upon were killed), I come up with:

Issue 1: 19 killings and 2 corpses.

Issue 2: 10 killings and 7 corpses.

How does this add up to 37 in a single lead story? Should I count the individual shots fired, too? Even counting all stories in a book, I can't figure where the 37 came from.

 

Scrooge, I'm curious as to how you came up with #2 rather than #1.

 

There is one thing that points me in the direction of #2. In Wertham's files at the Library of Congress, there is a reproduced panel from another story in issue #2. Although the quote above came from Judith Crist, author of the Collier's article, it seems likely that she got her information from Wertham. Since we know Wertham was familiar enough with Murder Incorporated #2 to have made a photocopy from it, it seems reasonable to guess this quote came from #2.

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Scrooge, I'm curious as to how you came up with #2 rather than #1.

 

The reason I picked # 2 is b/c Wertham states:

 

"Try one with a nicely murderous cover design"

 

# 2 is the only one of the two that fits that description, esp., given the sarcastic tone given to the statement by Wertham. # 1's cover action is too "plain" to be the one he aims at.

 

Plus, I didn't quite notice the For Adults Only on the cover of # 1. It's dark on dark.

 

But, yep, 5 minutes. It was obviously a Fox Comics from 1948. From there, it took longer b/c I wanted to double check on the other Fox comics put out to see if I didn't miss anything else :baiting:

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(worship)

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