A Month in the Life of the Comics
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C'mon guys, she just means bend over and give me a kiss!

 

You're reading into it WAAAY too much! foreheadslap.gif

 

Boy and my dirty mind was running away with that one. Man, just goes to show you how bad comic dialogue can get. I feel so ashamed.

 

blush.gif

 

893naughty-thumb.gif27_laughing.gif

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words such as to skulk, swath, obsfucate, sheath (sp?). Needless to say in Oklahoma, that marks you clearly as a "for'ner" (read foreigner).

 

I'm pretty sure that I would be labeled a furner in Oklahoma as well 27_laughing.gif

 

BTW both skulk and obfuscate are excellent words thumbsup2.gif

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BTW: This is one of the better threads going, great stuff! thumbsup2.gif

 

Can't stop thinking Edward G. Robinson everytime I see this panel! 27_laughing.gif

 

1001102-958931-JourneyintoUnknownWorlds9Story5Pages.jpg

1001102-958931-JourneyintoUnknownWorlds9Story5Pages.jpg.fac3e5c01a9c39edb67ce87003abc830.jpg

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C'mon guys, she just means bend over and give me a kiss!

 

You're reading into it WAAAY too much! foreheadslap.gif

 

Shouldn't that be bend "down" instead of "over" then? I think we have to see what her dialogue is with him throughout the book. Is she mad at him? Does she tease him? Etc.

 

But just from reading that one panel I thought spanking.

 

Kaanga is "branch bearing fruit"? Next you'll tell me that Nyoka is a pun...

 

Marc

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969882-Wings115Panels.jpg

 

Well from just seeing the one page the guy "Suicide"? shoots down the plane thereby saving her life. I assume she wants to kiss him for a reward.

I'm also going by something that was said to me as a tallish kid when I would see my little Grandmother. My Mom would always say "Bend over and give her a kiss." The man in the last panel is taller than the girl, also she seems to be tugging on his jacket to pull him closer.

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969882-Wings115Panels.jpg

 

Well from just seeing the one page the guy "Suicide"? shoots down the plane thereby saving her life. I assume she wants to kiss him for a reward.

I'm also going by something that was said to me as a tallish kid when I would see my little Grandmother. My Mom would always say "Bend over and give her a kiss." The man in the last panel is taller than the girl, also she seems to be tugging on his jacket to pull him closer.

 

Man, and I thought that was a fisting gesture. grin.gif

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Thanks Jayman, it makes perfect sense thumbsup2.gif Nice and simple.

 

However, there is still the confused-smiley-013.gif as to why that panel was singled-out in Parade of Pleasure. Apparently, we were not the only ones to read it wrong.

 

I am still endebted to you to make sense of this one. Just goes to prove that language / slang has had time to evolve a lot over the last 50 years!

 

That E.G. Robinson picture comparison is a riot 27_laughing.gif and I have a suspiscion you are correct too.

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Who knows? I may be off base but it is just my take on it.

I haven't read what was said about the panel in Parade of Pleasure but maybe because of the "bend over" phrase, it was automatically grouped with the naughty boy/girl spanking themes. confused-smiley-013.gif

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Who knows? I may be off base but it is just my take on it.

I haven't read what was said about the panel in Parade of Pleasure but maybe because of the "bend over" phrase, it was automatically grouped with the naughty boy/girl spanking themes. confused-smiley-013.gif

 

Well, here's part of the quote - "In Wings Comics # 115, [...] in the last picture of one story a girl, who has been proved right, turns to her boy friend and says, "Speaking of rewards, Mister - Bend over!"

 

When Ted scanned the panel, he read over the entire story and could not from the context provide any more info. Yet the PoP author goes out and points out that she "was proven right". What's that's got to do with anything is beyond me. I think we'd better bury that sideshow.

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I guess almost any panel, taken out of context, could be interpreted as unintentional porn then.

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Yet the PoP author goes out and points out that she "was proven right". What's that's got to do with anything is beyond me.

 

Well, that's kind of the context I was looking for to support the spanking but it's very likely that Jayman is right.

 

Marc

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# 108

 

Justice Traps the Guilty # 36 - eBay Purchase

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36s.jpg

 

Content:

Hot Freight Mob! by ? 10 pgs

Blackmail in Reverse! by Marcus and Abel 6 pgs

His Big Mouth! by ? 7 pgs

Find the Woman by ? 7 pgs

 

I've had the scans ready for this entry for well over a week but found myself hitting a wall as to more information about this book.

 

Despite being a perennial crime title, little has been written about it. This is probably due to the attention we've focused as a hobby on the outrageous example of the period. And outrageous, this title is the further from. Still, Joe Simon was horrified when, as he recalls, "things were not going well for comic books, and the mounting pressure finally came to a head with an investigation into the industry. Invariably, in the news photos of a group of comic books, the title shown in the center of the heap was our own Justice Traps the Guilty."

 

In the end, Joe continues, "the first speaker sworn in was Richard Clendenen, executive director of the committee. "We have prepared a number of slides which show pictures taken from comic books of the type to which we have addressed ourselves ... the first such crime comic is entitled Black Magic," said Clendenen. Watching this on television, I [Joe] cringed - like I was suddenly thrown into a steaming vat in a horror comic." 27_laughing.gif

 

Overall, I will have to agree that the content in this book are pretty un-memorable but they are no worse than other books from the period. Actually, I will contend that this book read better. First, with Joe at the helm, you can rest assure that the art will on the main be clear. Yet, what struck me the most is the room the writer was allowed in order to develop his / her story. With the added 2 to 3 pages denied to a typical Atlas crime story, more can be made of the characters and the story benefits from it tremendously. In the same way, I would have to guess, Biro was successful in making the most of his page count by not being afraid of being text heavy to palliate the little room available (at the expense of the artist). In final analysis, this is a slightly better than average read.

 

Before moving on to the interior scan, notice the small time-capsule provided by the target of the mobsters: FM Radios and TV Test Tubes wink.gif

 

First Story Splash -

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36sStory1s.jpg

 

Second Story Splash - Sadly I was not able to turn up valuable bio info about neither Moe Marcus nor Jack Abel -

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36Story2s.jpg

 

Third Story Splash - If I had to, I would guess this is by Bill Walton but who knows confused-smiley-013.gif

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36Story3s.jpg

 

Third Story Final Page - The Headline Comics issue advertised on the bottom tier of this page has been covered earlier in the thread.

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36Story3Pages.jpg

 

Fourth Story Splash -

 

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36Story4s.jpg

1016372-JusticeTrapstheGuilty36Story4s.jpg.2c842bddc9fc4bfc69e44a153066d0d1.jpg

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# 109

 

Katy Keene # 5 - Bought from Twomorrow's Treasures

 

1019885-KatyKeene5s.jpg

 

Content -

Cover by Bill Woggon (or assistant - true for all art)

katy Keene Story 1 by Bill Woggon 7 pgs

katy Keene Story 2 by Bill Woggon 6 pgs

katy Keene Story 3 by Bill Woggon 7 pgs

Sis the Candy Kid Story by Bill Woggon 5 pgs

 

The following entry was culled from multiple sources. The main text comes from The Comics Journal # 252 and additional comments I incorporated were from Comics Between the Panels, the Toonopedia, Mark Evanier, Scoop or the Comiclopedia all of which have entries regarding KK or Bill Woggon.

 

"Obituary: Bill Woggon 1911-2003

 

William (Bill) Woggon, the creator of and longtime artist for the popular comic book character Katy Keene, died March 2. He was 92 years old.

 

Bill Woggon began his long and successful career in art in Toledo, Ohio in the 1920s. The fourth of sixth children, he became fascinated with a federal art correspondence course taken by his brother Elmer. Elmer passed the course and became an art director at the Toledo Blade. Woggon did fill-in work at his brother's place of employment before quitting high school at age 16 to become art director at Tiedtkes Department Store.

 

Early in his career Woggon played an important role in one of the stranger title progressions in comic strip history, the decades-long transformation of The Great Gusto into Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. Elmer Woggon created the Great Gusto feature that would upon its publication in 1936 almost immediately change its name to Big Chief Wahoo. A popular strip of the time largely forgotten now, Big Chief Wahoo appeared in hundreds of papers and spawned both comic books (Fawcett) and little-big books (Whitman).

 

Lost Pioneers - Big Chief Wahoo Big Little Book -

 

1019885-BigChiefWahooBLB.jpg

 

When adventure strips started to push many humorous features out of the newspaper, Big Chief Wahoo changed in tone and direction. Elmer, perhaps feeling his own art style was slightly dated and inappropriate for the feature as it was developing, turned art chores over to brother Bill. The Steve Roper character was introduced in 1940 and eventually took control of the strip, with Mike Nomad being added in the early 1960s. [Note that this strip ceased publication on Dec. 26, 2004, after 64 years]

 

Steve Roper # 1 from 1948 -

 

1019885-SteveRoper1.jpg

 

A meeting with Harry Shorten led to Woggon penciling and inking several short stories for MLJ/Archie in the middle 1940s, a time during which he inaugurated the feature Dotty and Ditto, starring a western girl and her pet parrot. He created his signature character Katy Keene in 1945, during a brief moment in comic book history where publishers were stumbling over themselves to provide material for female readers. Good girl Keene debuted in MLJ's Wilbur Comics #5, cover dated Summer 1945, amid the early rush of teenager titles that would briefly eclipse all other comic book genres. (Such an effort must have been on the artist's mind. Woggon did a similar feature that same year for Kasko Comics #1, a giveaway for a feed company). The title's main character, Wilbur, was an Archie knock-off best known for re-living earlier adventures of Riverdale High's redhead in their to-the-letter entirety. But Wilbur had impressive publishing legs given his pedigree, and provided a solid sales anchor for Woggon's new work. The Katy Keene character continued in her back-up position to Wilbur for over 60 issues of that title, enjoying a similar although less frequent place in titles such as Laugh, Suzie and Pep. She received her own title in 1949, by which time Woggon and wife Jane had moved to California.

 

Cover to Wilbur # 5 -

 

1019885-Wilbur5s.jpg

 

First KK Page -

 

1019885-Wilbur5KKStorys.jpg

 

Second KK Page -

 

1019885-Wilbur5KKStoryPages.jpg

 

Lana Turner -

 

1019885-LanaTurner.jpg

 

Betty Grable -

 

1019885-BettyGrable.jpg

 

[Let's not forget that KK was not unique for that time period. "A couple of Katy's contemporaries, Patsy Walker and Millie the Model, [...] outlasted her, but in her time, nobody doubted Katy was the queen of glamorous comic book women." "Of all the '40s girl humor characters,' Artist Barbara Rausch wrote in the 1984 Overstreeet Comic Book Price Guide, 'only Katy Keene has the individuality and excellence of the great newspaper strip beauties; her peers are not Millie and Suzie, but Tarpe Mills's Miss Fury and Dale Messick's Brenda Starr."

 

"Katy Keene was sort of a Betty Grable for the comics - but her intelligence, wit and endless adventures were all balanced with her beauty to give her a charm that elevated her above the standard pretty pin-up gal. Katy's lifestyle is enviable even today - so you can imagine how her tales impacted little girls growing up in the '50s. From modeling gigs to movie shoots to fighting off a bevy of gentleman suitors, Katy breezed from one jet-setting episode to another - always calm, cool, and dressed to the nines."]

 

In addition to Woggon's consistently high-quality artwork, what distinguished the feature was Woggon's use of reader's clothing designs ["Like Dale Messick with Brenda Starr] and the use of a popular newspaper strip feature: paper dolls and cut-outs. In what became a story motif so ubiquitous it could be parodied, nearly every page of comic featured a character in a new outfit accompanied by a small text-based aside giving credit to the reader who designed it. The parade of new clothes proved incredibly popular, and even drove plotlines - the character would model, or appear in a movie with multiple costume changes. ["The industry of comic books, paper dolls, and premiums soon proved too exhausting for Woggon, who hired on such assistants as Hazel Martel, Floyd Norman, Tom Cooke, and Bill Ziegler."]

 

The Katy feature not only carried her own title, but also less frequently published books like Katy Keene Pinup Parade and Katy Keene Annual in addition to spin-off one-shot titles like Katy Keene Glamour (1957), Katy Keene Charm (1958) and Katy Keene Spectacular (1956). She also occasionally made drop-ins in Archie Giant Series Magazine.

 

Woggon's approach to costuming wasn't only attractive, but displayed a remarkable level of integrity when it came to utilizing reader's suggestions. While he or an assistant might improve the submission so that they met a certain standard of quality, unlike artists on similar titles Woggon never allowed himself or other artists to create their own designs and pass them off as a reader's. Thousands of readers, including prominent designers such as Betsey Johnson and the late Willie Smith, have credited Woggon with inspiring some of their first creative stirrings in fashion design. The paper dolls, a feature which preceded Woggon taking fashion suggestions from readers, pleased Katy's readers as the same rate with which it made undamaged copies of his books rare and hard to find. As comics, the otherwise wish fulfillment-saturated Katy Keene book came to feature a number of very loosely conceived, sumptuously realized visual jokes on covers. (Multiple samples from "'Bossman' Bill Woggon's" most popular book have appeared as installments in the Oddball Comics on-line magazine feature written by Scott Shaw!) Katy Keene was also a sales success. Woggon told interviewer Shel Dorf in 1986 that at its height the character's namesake comic sold over a million copies per issue. Woggon, who also created a family feature for Archie called The Twiddles, did not own the copyright on any of the work he did for the youth-oriented comics company, and at the height of his career received approximately $50 for a completed comic book page.

 

Comics historian and artist Trina Robbins paid tribute to the cartoonist's cultural impact, telling the Journal, "All you have to say to a woman of a certain age are the two words, 'Katy Keene,' to watch her eyes light up. Immediately she'll reply, 'That was the comic with the paper dolls, right? The one where readers sent in designs?' And she'll tell you how she used to design clothes for the comic's glamorous heroine, how she used to cut out the paper dolls (One reason why today an uncut copy of Katy Keene will cost you an arm and a leg), sometimes how it was the only comic book she read as a kid. Bill Woggon hit on a winning formula when he opened his comic to readers, creating a pre-computer age interactive comic book. The result was fans who, 30 years later, got Archie Comics to reprint their beloved comic book, and later, to bring her back, drawn by John Lucas, himself an early contributor of designs for Katy.

 

"I was one of those fans back in the 1950s," Robbins noted. "But, like many other kids, I never realized that Bill redrew the readers' designs for publication. I thought all the fans whose designs were published were little Da Vincis, and, thinking that I could never draw as well as them, I kept my paper dolls to myself. The result was a brown paper grocery bag full of paper dolls that I had designed."

 

Katy's first run in comics ended in 1961 when the girl's comic trend exemplified by her adventures finally slowed down to cancellation levels for several titles. Woggon later recalled receiving word at his home, the Woggon Wheels ranch, on an April 15th evening, in the form of a phoned telegram from John Goldwater at Archie: "Stop work on Katy Keene immediately, air mail letter will follow." After Katy Keene, Woggon found some work on Al Vermeer's Priscilla Pop, and provided pencils and inks for Dell on the Millie the Lovable Monster feature from 1962 to 1964 - work that was reprinted in the early 1970s. By that time, Woggon had long retired from the comic book field. Woggon's highest profile cartooning job after leaving Archie was in coloring books. He did a popular gift book for the then-mighty Sambo's restaurant chain, and another one for Uncle John's Pancake House. He also found illustration work with Christian publishers.

 

In 1978, Woggon received an unexpected compliment when fashion designer Marilise Flusser at Saks in New York City used oversized copies of comic covers from Katy's long run as the backdrop in a prominent window display. This event helped spur a revival of interest in Woggon's work. A regularly published fanzine popped up soon after. Woggon received an inkpot award from the San Diego Comic Convention in 1981, signaling a renewed interest the Katy Keene comic.

 

A fan-driven re-launching of Katy's comics adventures in 1983 featured work by Dan DeCarlo and John Lucas and lasted until 1990. Those comics featured several Woggon reprints. According to a write-up on the paper dolls phenomenon that included a section on Woggon's contributions, in recent years Woggon and Barb Rausch created new work and facilitated some reprints of comics for Hobby House Press. Although Archie does not prominently feature the character in its continuing efforts to promote several properties as potential cross-media superstars, Archie Publications artist John Lucas continues to do the occasional paper doll project with the character, and Katy remains a small presence on the company's web site.

 

In 1985, Woggon and one-time Katy Keene designer of the year winner Rausch created Vicky Valentine for Renegade Comics, making the cartoonist and his protege one of the more unlikely creative duos in the 1980s indy comix movement. For Woggon collectors, the relatively low print run on that title, combined with its use of cut-out paper dolls, makes finding issues a rare treat. The title was part of a brief mini-movement in the middle 1980s to bring back cutout heavy comics, including Trina Robbins' Misty (Star Comics, 1985) and California Girls (Renegade, 1987), and the appearance of cutout dolls in various Eclipse comic books.

 

Vicki Valentine Cover at Mile High Comics is here.

 

"Bill himself was a charming and dapper gray-bearded gent, gracious and delighted to be remembered after so many years," remembers Robbins. "Despite the fact that Bill was a regular churchgoer, if he noticed that all the boy fans who'd read his comic were gay, it certainly didn't bother him."

 

Woggon drew on family members to create the supporting cast in his most popular feature, and often mused on how close the Katy Keene character was to his own heart. "I was living in Toledo when I created Katy," he noted in 1986, "And Katy was living in New York, and dreaming about getting into the movies... just dreaming about the big time. Then when we moved out west, I brought Katy out west, too. She always never succeeded in the big time, but she was a dreamer."

 

Here are some pages from KK # 5 which HoC tells me is one of the more common book from the first 10 issues. There are no titles to any of these stories and actually the first page of each story has a different feel, generally following a fashion page with no introduction.

 

First Page - KK Pinup -

 

1019885-KatyKeene5sPage3s.jpg

 

KK and Sis at the Beach -

 

1019885-KatyKeene5sPage1s.jpg

 

KK Fashion Page -

 

1019885-KatyKeene5sPage2s.jpg

 

Sis Cut out Page with ad for more Cut-out -

 

1019885-KatyKeene5sPage4s.jpg

1019885-KatyKeene5sPage4s.jpg.ef9e509ea8375aae78a5989ae090ff81.jpg

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893applaud-thumb.gif

 

You really should consider putting all of this together and propose a book to publish. I'd think someone out there would publish it. thumbsup2.gif

 

I suppose there would be some TM's that would need clearance, but it really would make an interesting book, IMHO.

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I suppose there would be some TM's that would need clearance, but it really would make an interesting book, IMHO.

 

I owe the most debt to Don Markstein at the Toonopedia as he did a lot of work for his site, culling sources I would have to go directly to myself. His content is one of the most "original" online as opposed to a lot of other pages which only copy (without citation) book excerpts. I try to the best of my capabilities to cite my sources because their work hail.gif is outstanding.

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You do great service on this thread, that's for sure! 893applaud-thumb.gifthumbsup2.gif

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This thread is fantastic and (under my board settings) approaching 23 pages. Nice job! I will have more to add on Katy Keene soon.

 

Marc

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# 110

 

The Katzenjammer Kids # 20 - Bought at my LCS

 

1023378-KatzKids20.jpg

 

Content -

Katzenjammer Kids in Finders Keepers by Peter Wells 12 pgs

Muggs and Skeeter by Wally Bishop 1 pg

Katzenjammer Kids by Knerr 4 1-pager

Men from Mars 2 pg Text piece

Lil' Sigmund by Lou Trakis 4 pgs

Muggs and Skeeter by Wally Bishop 2 1-pager

Katzenjammer Kids by Knerr 6 1-pager

Grandma by Chas Kuhn 1 pg

 

When I covered the Captain and the Kids, you might remember that I emphasized the historical relationship between the two strips, whereby the founder left for Europe and then his paper took the right to the strip but courts allowed the founders to re-use the characters in another strip by a different name and that's how we had two similar strips running simultaneously with the same characters.

 

This time, I will let Coulton Waugh from his book, The Comics, give us his opinion on the strip content -

 

"Not all strip students unite in admiring “The Katzenjammer Kids.” Gilbert Seldes has complained of what he calls its sloppy color and weakness of conception and execution. Yet despite this damnation, the Kids have continued to flourish for a period unique in strip history, of forty-seven years, and even to divide in two equal parts, as the cells of the human body propagate themselves. Surely there must be some grand principle of vitality here that Mr. Seldes has overlooked.

 

It’s not difficult to find. Our critic has considered strips as an adult; the “Katzies” are for children. Some of the overtones which induce adults to admit strips into their mental world are missing in this one. The mournful pathos of Mr. A. Mutt’s feet, which appear as symbols of humanity in an evil world, is missing. The irony, the delicately beautiful language of “Krazy Kat,” its abstract pattern, are missing. But children are not grown-ups. They are not interested in these rarified matters. They do not know what the word “picaresque” means; they do understand Hans and Fritz when they are sticking hatpins in the Captain’s ample backside.

 

In defending Hans and Fritz, we’d better admit at once that they have carried their fiendishness to apocalyptic heights. At first they were but bungling amateurs in the art of adult-baiting; a half-dozen jars of cranberry sauce would buy them off any time. But they studied and became experts; they were enjoying hellishness, not for any reward, but for the pure, abstract beauty of the thing itself. Here is the strong inner core of their appeal; for most healthy people have gone through such a stage when they were unthinking children. Hans and Fritz represent the savage; but it is the refined, intelligent, even artistic savage. The Inspector once said it all: “Mit dose kids, society iss nix.”

 

If, in certain pages, the Kids seem unbearably cruel, soulless little brats, let’s remember that with a few years of normal growth they would be hard at it, doing a good deed every day. A clipping singularly apropos comes to hand; it is from Leonard Lyon’s column in the New York Post, published a few years ago:

 

‘We must distinguish between viciousness and boyish pranks,’ said Mayor La Guardia. Then he confessed that when a boy, he and his friends would walk along the streets until they spied a horse hitched to a post. ‘We’d unhitch the horse and ride him around the town,’ said the Mayor, ‘and then we’d return the animal!’ “’Are you telling us that you were once a horse thief?’ asked one of the startled listeners.” “’No,’ said the Mayor, ‘I’m telling you that I once was a boy.’”

There you have it; that’s what the Katzenjammers’ critics have forgotten.

 

In the fuss and fury of the boys’ pranks, certain human aspects of the plot of “The Katzenjammer Kids” are apt to be overlooked. The relationship of the Captain to Mama, for example. Who was Mr. Katzenjammer? This writer has no information, only knowing that Mama started in alone. Apparently it was Mama’s superb cooking that originally induced the Captain, a lover of remote voyaging, to join the family. The Captain is not the boys’ father, nor is he married to Mama, yet one suspects delicate, but strong mutual feelings between these two. The Captain, exasperated by the fearful hazards of home life with the team of Hans and Fritz, is always on the point of leaving. Sometimes Mama restrains him with a simple clout on the head, but often she puts the joys of home to him in an irresistible manner:

 

“Yoo-hoo, Dollink, back to der home sweet home! Giffs flop-chacks for breakfast!” and the Captain is apt to reply” “Ven all iss done und said, dere ain’t no dod-rotted place like home.”

 

This researcher, fresh from a study of the subject, believes that the truth is that Mama Katzenjammer is one of the finest, sweetest, most interesting characters in all the “funnies.” Her patience is not inexhaustible, but her heart is entirely genuine, and her love for Hans and Fritz unique in grandeur, considering the circumstances. Then too, she is romantic; can be so happy; can sing cheerfully: “On der mountain spitz mit lieber Frits, yo lay, yo lay, de hoo-!” She can give a sweet, though naïve thumbnail sketch of home-happiness. “So long Mama got two nice liddle boys to protection her, it giffs doughnuts und afterwards der moofies!”

 

It is interesting that these characters have so endeared themselves to Americans that two wars against Germany have not affected their popularity. Perhaps it is the ingenuity of the boys’ pranks, but this writer likes to think that it is because of the warmth and humanity of the Captain and Mama. “Kindness mit kidlets iss der pinochle of life!”

 

Finders Keepers Splash -

 

1023378-KatzKids20Story1s.jpg

 

Katz Kids by Knerr 1 page gag -

 

1023378-KatzKids20Page1s.jpg

 

Katz Kids by Knerr 1 page gag -

 

1023378-KatzKids20Page2s.jpg

1023378-KatzKids20Page2s.jpg.8fffd37c6ab2c92b1b78f22a5f2148e3.jpg

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# 111

 

Ken Shannon # 3 - Bought from Jim Payette

 

1024517-KenShannon3s.jpg

 

Content

Cover by Reed Crandall / Chuck Cuidera

Ken Shannon in The Corpse that wouldn't sleep! by ? 10 pgs

Angles O'Day in Work! by ? 5 pgs

Ken Shannon in The Case of the butchered Butcher! by ? 7 pgs

Ken Shannon in One Day I'll Kill You! by ? 7 pgs

 

Let's start with a quote from an unusual source, the Thrilling Detective website, which is a great resource concerning any written detective and does feature a few comic PIs such as Ken Shannon -

 

"A comic book private eye from the early fifties, handsome, two-fisted shamus KEN SHANNON had a short run with his own comic book, after making his debut in issue 103 of Police Comics. Alas, it was not to be. As of issue #11, Ken Shannon became Gabby, a teen humor mag. Must have been quite a change from the opium den story that ran in #8.

 

Classic cover to the Opium Den issue -

 

1024517-KenShannon8.jpg

 

But in his short, glorious run, Ken had some fun, going up against white slavers, Oriental criminal masterminds, shrunken heads and, on one memorable occasion, vampires.

 

Cover to Issue # 6 -

 

1024517-KenShannon6.jpg

 

Billed as "the crime-busting private eye," Ken supposedly bore more than a passing resemblance to My Three Sons' Fred MacMurray -- including a bowtie. Like the blurb says, "Uncanny, Terrifying!" Tough as Ken was, it seems that his plucky, red-headed gal Friday ("and any other day of the week") Dee-Dee Dawson, had all the best lines. "Not that I scare easy, Kenny, but at this moment even my goose pimples have goose pimples." Or how about, "Oooh, lovely, Ken! Hit him again!"

 

Okay, so it's not Hammett or Chandler, but come on, admit it -- they just don't write 'em like that anymore."

 

Let's digress for a minute and focus on Fred MacMurray. We are all aware that he was the likeness inspiration for the original Captain Marvel (the one that emerged when Billy Batson said "Shazam!") for artist Charles Clarence Beck in 1940. He also was the first person to be named a Disney Legend in 1987.

 

I wouldn't have mentioned My Three Sons in order to reference Fred's appearance with regards to Ken Shannon's looks since the TV series My Three Sons started to air on ABC only on September 29, 1960, some 10 years after the first appearance of Ken Shannon. I actually had never heard of this particular show which was in fact quite popular and had a long run.

 

""My Three Sons" is the story of a Mid-West Aeronautical Engineer who watches his family grow up. This seemingly innocuous and simple, but effective sitcom, was a huge hit and a cornerstone of television's 'family programming' era in the 1960s.

 

Second next to "The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet" as television's longest running family sitcom, "My Three Sons" was created by former "Leave It To Beaver" alumnus George Tibbles (1913-87). Executive Producer Don Fedderson (1913-94) campaigned the series as a probable vehicle for movie veteran Fred MacMurray (1908-91), who was reluctant to star in it at all. He spoke to Robert Young, of "Father Knows Best" fame and his suspicions were confirmed. He'd be working seven days a week and would barely see his real life family. Finally he gave in after the Producers guaranteed that they could have enough scripts available ahead of time to warrant filming the show within a set sixty five day period. He agreed to this, and so for example, all the scenes set in the kitchen of many different episodes were all shot together in one day, all out of sequence, which were then later edited into each episode in order. Co-star William Frawley (1887-1966), used to years of filming "I Love Lucy" in sequence before a captive studio audience and performed like a play, never got used to this schizophrenic method of filming. And thus this technique was dubbed 'The MacMurray Method' and was also used by Brian Keith on the "Family Affair" series, coincidentally also a Don Fedderson Production."

 

Instead, I would like to turn our attention to earlier shots of Fred in order to see if we can discern traits from Fred that transfer to Ken Shannon -

 

Fred # 1 - In Double Idemnity with Barbara Stanwick -

 

1024517-FredinDoubleIdemnity.jpg

 

Fred # 2 - Face Shot -

 

1024517-FredMcM-2.jpg

 

Fred # 3 - An older Fred I think.

 

1024517-Macmurray_faceshot.jpg

 

Michelle Nolan in her article, 'The Case against Crime Comics!', originally published in Comic Book Marketplace #65 (December, 1998), notes that -

 

" [Ken Shannon was an entirely original comic book character. An] outstanding character from Quality, Ken Shannon, ran in Police Comics #103-127 and in 10 issues of his own title.

 

Ken Shannon not only featured outstanding art from the Quality stable, but darned good stories straight out of the pulps and lurid paperbacks of the period.

 

Other than T-Man and Ken Shannon, how many original detective characters had their own comic books, however brief? The answer will surprise you: a very short list indeed.

 

Such characters were Boy Detective (Avon), Crime Smasher (Fawcett), I’m a Cop (Magazine Enterprises), Jeff Jordan (Parents), Johnny Danger (Toby), Johnny Dynamite (Comic Media and Charlton), Kent Blake (Marvel), Little Al (Ziff-Davis), Molly O’Day (Avon), Mr. Risk (Ace), Private Eye-Rockey Jorden (Marvel), Public Defender (Charlton), Rookie Cop (Charlton), Rusty, Boy Detective (Gleason), Sam Hill (Archie), Scotland Yard starring Inspector Farnsworth (Charlton), Breeze Lawson, Sky Sherriff (D.S. Publishing), Special Agent Steve Saunders (Parents), Undercover Girl Starr Flagg (ME), Young King Cole (Curtis) and Zaza the Mystic (Charlton)."

 

This list almost makes me want to hurry and own an example of each.

 

First Story Splash -

 

1024517-KenShannon3Story1s.jpg

 

Second Story Splash - I know all sources I saw mentioned some Jack Cole art in the issue. Can anyone confirm that this is indeed by Jack Cole?

 

1024517-KenShannon3Story2s.jpg

 

Third Story Splash -

 

1024517-KenShannon3Story3s.jpg

 

Fourth Story Splash -

 

1024517-KenShannon3Story4s.jpg

1024517-KenShannon3Story4s.jpg.39a6fa63257bfc2f183698ec386581f7.jpg

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# 112

 

Kent Blake of the Secret Service # 6 - Bought from Metro

 

1026002-KentBlake6s.jpg

 

Content -

9343 - Kent Blake in Tunnel of Death by ? 7 pgs

9514 - Copy-Cat Crime 2 pg text

9344 - Kent Blake in Blood on the San! by ? 7 pgs

9484 - The Black Bag by ? 3 pgs

9465 - Mission at Midnight by ? 2 pgs

9381 - Kent Blake in Deadlier than the Male! by ? 5 pgs

 

Kent Blake is the typical Spy book from the 50's with "Actual War Tales of Fighting Men behing Enemy Lines!" as the sub-title would suggest us. The title ran for 14 issues only but we have to remember that Kent Blake was only one of several spy and counterspy in Atlas' line-up. Here's a snapshot of the cover gallery of Kent Blake from the GCD -

 

1026002-KentBlakeGallery.jpg

 

I will focus the discussion not on the book specifically but on the genre itself thanks to an excerpt from The Red Menace chapter in William W. Savage's "Commies, Cowboys, and Jungle Queens - Comic Books and America, 1945 - 1954",

 

"Inherent in the comic-book perspective on the Communist world was the notion that the enslaved masses of Russia, China, and assorted satellites ached to recapture their respective revolutions and cast out the agents of Soviet tyranny as the first order of business. Practically, such thinking tended to lower the odds against the comic-book spies and counterspies in the employ of the United States, indicating to the truly concerned reader that all a fellow really had to do was topple one or two members of the inner circle. Then, because one thing leads to another (as in the case of falling dominoes), the whole Communist bloc would crumble. Comic-book agents were not superheroes, and this sort of convention gave American protagonists an edge. It suggested that, at least on one level, the Cold War was a better conflict than World War II had been, to the extent that America's enemies were not fanatical populations but merely a few hundred fanatical individuals. It also suggested that most of the nations of the world could elude the Red Menace with just a little help from their American friends.

 

1026002-Combat11.jpg

 

[Footnote - "He Died for the Cause!," Combat 11 (Atlas: April 1953) was an entirely typical preachment on the subject of fanatical Communism ("To a Communist, his cause is everything! Human emotions ... love, loyalty, friendship mean nothing!") The willingness of the oppressed to revolt with American encouragement was pursued in "Trial by Terror," T-Man 9, and "Mind Assassins" and "Red Minder Incorporated," T-Man 13 (Comic Magazines: November 1953)]

 

Because American comic-book agents worked alone or in pairs - seldom were more than two ever required to thwart any Communist plot - the "domino" convention served to indicate the fragile underpinning of each subversive enterprise. American agents always aimed for the top man; and when he fell, of course, the whole plot collapsed. In this way, comic books stressed the superiority of American intellect by demonstrating the inferiority of the Communist mind. No matter how complex the Communist plan, and regardless of the amount of effort put into it, the comic-book agent had only to locate the proper domino to push.

 

1026002-KentBlake3.jpg

 

Consider the September 1951 issue of Kent Blake of the Secret Service, wherein the protagonist parachuted into Tibet to learn why the Dalai Lama had begun "preaching a holy war against the western hemisphere." In the bowels of the Pentagon, Agent Blake's boss had explained the urgency of the mission: "First there were stirrings of unrest. Now all of Asia is inflamed and awaiting his final word! If the Asiatic hordes are properly armed they could sweep over all of Asia, Europe, and Africa ... then deal the death blow to our own civilization!"

 

Naturally, there had to be Communist influence behind anything as potentially devastating as that; and, sure enough, Blake learned that two Soviet agents had entered Tibet and murdered the Dalai Lama. One of them had assumed the holy man's identity and was in the process of inflaming the masses. Blake, alone and in unfamiliar territory, managed to expose the plot, kill the two Soviet spies, and install the dead Dalai Lama's brother as the new spiritual leader. The tale ended with all the customary platitudes: America's flag would fly "high and proud" as long as the nation continued to produce men like Agent Blake, etc., etc. But Blake, for his part, shrugged off the whole adventure and took a nap."

 

First Story Splash -

 

1026002-KentBlake6Story1s.jpg

 

Second Story Splash -

 

1026002-KentBlake6Story2s.jpg

 

Third Story Splash -

 

1026002-KentBlake6Story3s.jpg

 

Fifth Story Splash -

 

1026002-KentBlake6Story5s.jpg

1026002-KentBlakeGallery.jpg.3cc0bee0e8fd3b90f24010180c0916f9.jpg

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