SOME R ‘n’ R IN EDEN

by Jimmm Kelly

myff7.jungneg

Matt Baker

Matt Baker

artist by association

I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.

–Edgar Rice Burrougns, TARZAN OF THE APES.

Cover by Matt Baker. SEVEN SEAS COMICS No. 6 ('47 Leader Enterprise/Universal Phoenix Features)

Another one of Baker’s beauties: South Sea Girl. Cover by Matt Baker. SEVEN SEAS COMICS No. 6 (’47) from Leader Enterprises/Universal Phoenix Features

Matt Baker is singled out not just for his “Good Girl” art in the Golden Age; not just for being one of the few African Americans to break the colour barrier in the mainstream U.S. funny book industry; not just for Fredric Wertham’s attacks on Baker’s art in SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (with the side effect of making those funny books even more sought-after); but  for being associated with some exceptional comics–everything from PHANTOM LADY to IT RHYMES WITH LUST.

And for sure, one of the oddest funnies he’s been associated with is RULAH, the Jungle Goddess. The question is was Baker ever really the Rulah artist?

***

a history of adventure

I have no business in telling you this, but I’ll tell you anyway, that I followed Edgar Rice Burroughs’ TARZAN OF THE APES by Russ Manning, in the ’60s and ’70s–who didn’t? If TARZAN was in your paper’s funny section, you had to read it! 

Our Sunday paper landed on our front stoop Saturday afternoons just before supper time. The colour funnies section was a full meal. An appetizer to start–PEANUTS by Charles M. Schulz. Then a few side dishes like NANCY by Ernie Bushmiller, ARCHIE by Bob Montana, and THE FAMILY CIRCUS by Bil Keane. A main course of LI’L ABNER by Al Capp, DICK TRACY by Chester Gould and TARZAN. Then the dessert at the end–MARMADUKE by Brad Anderson, LITTLE IODINE by Bob Dunn and ANDY CAPP by Reg Smythe.

Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, THE ALL STORY MAGAZINE (October,1912). Art by Clinton Pettee

Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, THE ALL STORY MAGAZINE (October,1912). Art by Clinton Pettee

Likewise, I sometimes picked up Gold Key’s TARZAN comic book from the drug store. It was a bit hit ‘n’ miss if Manning’s version of Tarzan would appear inside. Sometimes I’d get stuck with the Ron Ely version–comics that tried to emulate the TV series. [Nothing against Ron Ely, it’s just that those stories had little to do with the Burroughs/Manning brand of adventure.]

***

jungle books

In the Golden Age of Comics (late ’30s to early ’50s), in addition to all the super-heroes, there were other adventure heroes–and a staggering number of jungle adventure heroes. I know that Africa is a large continent, but it’s a wonder that all these jungle lords and ladies didn’t trip over each other. This proliferation of Tarzan-like characters–male and female, adult and child–is attributed to the popularity of Burroughs’ Apeman.  That might be so, but Tarzan couldn’t claim to be the first–not even close to being the first feral child of the forest.

Legends of children growing up in the wild go way back in time. Even the storied builders of Rome–Romulus and Remus–were raised by a she-wolf. There have been many reported cases of wild children in history, such as the Wild Chid of Aveyron, in France, or the Wolf-Girl of Devil’s River, in Texas, both from the 19th century.

In all likelihood, Burroughs had heard some of these legends, which may have inspired his TARZAN OF THE APES–published as a novel in 1914, having appeared first in the October 1912 issue of ALL STORY MAGAZINE.

H. Rider Haggard's SHE in NEW ADVENTURE COMICS No. 14 (March '37) art by Sven Elven

H. Rider Haggard’s SHE in NEW ADVENTURE COMICS No. 14 (March ’37) art by Sven Elven

Twenty-five years earlier, H. Rider Haggard’s SHE [A HISTORY OF ADVENTURE] had been serialized in THE GRAPHIC magazine between October 1886 and January 1887. Not exactly a feral child story, but still this tale of a white queen in the “dark continent” would extend its influence over many jungle adventures to come. Then Rudyard Kipling’s Indian stories of Mowgli the Jungle Boy appeared in magazine form between 1893 and 1894–before being collected in THE JUNGLE BOOK.

A decade later, Rima the Jungle Girl appeared in W. H. Hudson’s 1904 novel, set in the rain forest of Guayana: GREEN MANSIONS. Those other white authors had lived in close proximity to the places they set their fiction–Haggard in Africa, Kipling in India and Hudson in South America–but Burroughs had never been to Africa.

Which is all the difference in the world, since Burroughs was liberated completely from fact and could create a jungle world that does not exist in any gazetteer or guide book.

He had no business to tell the story, but he told it anyway. Which was a good rule of thumb going forward in creating other sons and daughters of the wild. Given Tarzan was not the first pioneer in the territory, those that followed had just as much claim to be in the jungle as the Apeman. And readers, given the choice between a man in a loin cloth or a woman, often chose the woman.

***

a tale of two houses

Matt Baker worked for the Iger Studio. He got a job there in ’44, starting out doing background art, after having graduated from the Cooper Union School of Engineering, Art, and Design in New York. In the ’40s, two of the biggest publishing houses for selling funny books with pictures of pretty women were Fiction House and Fox Features and the Iger Studio provided pages for both. The Iger Studio began as the Eisner and Iger Studio in late ’36, when Will Eisner and Jerry Iger joined forces to produce new work for the growing comic book industry.

Eisner sold his share of the studio to Iger in ’39, before going on to create the Spirit. The Eisner and Iger Studio proved to be unlucky for Victor Fox’s Fox Features Syndicate. In WONDER COMICS No. 1 (May ’39), the studio created Wonder Man for Fox, which got the publisher in legal trouble with DC for ripping off their Superman. When Fox lost the case, he dropped Eisner and Iger. It wasn’t the first or the last time Victor Fox found himself in dire straits. After a bout of bankruptcy for Fox, bygones were bygones and the Iger Studio was back to packaging comics for the publisher in the mid-’40s.

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle Fiction House

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, JUMBO COMICS 104 (October ’47). Art by Robert Webb

The Eisner and Iger Studio fared much better at Fiction House. In ’37, under the name of “W. Morgan Thomas,” Eisner and Iger created Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (with Mort Meskin doing the artwork on that first story), originally for WAG, a British tabloid.

The next year, the studio repackaged Sheena for Fiction House’s JUMBO COMICS No. 1 (September ’38)–and eventually Sheena got her own quarterly, beginning in ’42, and later still fame in television and movies.

Sheena comes across as a little too serious for her surroundings, if you ask me, but the success of Sheena sets the fashion for other ferocious females in fur swimsuits.

By the time Fox’s Rulah comes along, most of the popular animal prints have been exhausted.

The Jungle Goddess has to settle for wearing the hide of a giraffe that has met with misadventure. That’s in ZOOT COMICS No. 7 (June ’47). Up until that issue, ZOOT had been a funny animal comic, but it changed its format to adventure, with Rulah featured on the cover.

Soon her stories dominate the title and it’s re-named RULAH. In addition, the Jungle Goddess becomes the cover feature for the all-star title, ALL TOP COMICS, beginning with issue 8 (November ’47)–despite that mag including other Fox powerhouses like Blue Beetle, Phantom Lady and Jo-Jo Congo King.

Most of the Rulah stories in ALL TOP do not feature Baker art, but he’s well represented elsewhere in the mag on Phantom Lady and Jo-Jo.

***

divine employment

 

Rulah's orign, p. 3, ZOOT COMICS No. 7 (June '47). Art by Matt Baker?

Rulah’s orign, p. 3, ZOOT COMICS No. 7 (June ’47). Art by Matt Baker?

Rulah’s appellation is Jungle Goddess. How she qualifies as a divinity, I don’t know. It seems like she styled herself as Jungle Goddess because all the other titles had been taken. She couldn’t be queen or girl or princess, because those positions had been filled.

As Jungle Goddess, Rulah has very few qualifications. She isn’t a feral child like many of the other jungle personages. She supposedly was a bored American adventurer, that one day happened to crash her airplane in a part of Africa (presumably near the Congo), killing a giraffe in the process, and then wearing the skin of that dead giraffe because her other clothes have been conveniently destroyed.

She seems to fend for herself by pure luck. It might be assumed, given the racism of the time, that simply by being white in the “dark continent” Rulah meets the low standard for Jungle Goddesses of that era. But if her adventures are racist, they are not racist in the regular sense.

***

colour blind

"The Fangs of Black Fury" ZOOT COMICS No.9 (October '47), p. 2. Art by Matt Baker?

“The Fangs of Black Fury,” ZOOT COMICS No.9 (October ’47), p. 2. Art by Matt Baker?

Right from the beginning, we see that there are other white women in the jungle. Not only that, but the majority of these white women have black mates. Most of the white and the black residents seem to be native to the jungle–allowing for the occasional interloper from the outside world.

Sometimes there are black women with white men or other configurations–but the usual arrangement is for native white women and native black men to live together in perpetual happiness until some outside force kills them or they get big ideas to usurp Rulah’s authority.

There are a few stories where black characters are drawn as racial strereotypes. Yet even the African American “race papers” of the day used stereotypical racial caricatures. [Race papers were newspapers published for a strictly African American readership and comic strips by African American artists were included in their content.]

However, the majority of black characters in Rulah’s stories are not depicted in a negative light. The one distinguishing feature is that all women (black or white) are incredibly good looking and most men (white or black) are ordinary by comparison.

"Blood Stained Fangs," ZOOT COMICS 12 (January '48), p. 7. Art by Matt Baker?

“Blood Stained Fangs,” ZOOT COMICS 12 (January ’48), p. 7. Art by Matt Baker?

Likewise, the relationship between the sexes is progressive. Just as many women are the boss of their men as the other way around. Everyone in Rulah’s village [or kraal, as they sometimes say] doesn’t seem to care about race–white and black living together, all one family, sisters and brothers.

***

a question of credit

As Matt Baker was African American, one might think there’s an important subtext t0 Rulah’s racially mixed kraal. However. Is Baker the Rulah artist?

Matt reportedly said he never worked on Rulah. He’s even reported to have left the Iger Studio in ’48. And Bill Black (publisher of AC Comics) believes that all the Rulah art was done by others in the Iger Sudio copying Baker’s style.

If it’s not Baker’s art, it’s still a mystery why the Iger Studio would break the colour barrier in Rulah’s kraal. Are the Iger writers and artists sending a message? No. I don’t believe so.

Even if Matt Baker or someone else had that in mind, Rulah is the work of many hands. I doubt any one artist could execute his own agenda over all the many and varied adventures of the Jungle Goddess. And I doubt Jerry Iger or Victor Fox wished to make a political or social statement.

A good number of the male characters are black to maintain the fiction that these stories are supposed to be taking place in Africa. A majority of the female characters look like Hollywood pin-up models because this is what Fox is selling. Some women are aggressive in Fox comics because readers want to see women fighting each other.

The interests of commerce overcame any of the moribund morality of the age– where, in parts of the United States, black men were being linched for even looking at white women, society was segregated along colour lines and mixed race couples crossing over state lines were in danger of a jail sentence. But as long as a publisher saw a profit in defying social norms, he would do so.

***

a woman with a past

"The Twisted Fates," RULAH 20 (November '48), p. 4. Art by Iger Studio.

“The Twisted Fates,” RULAH 20 (November ’48), p. 4. Art by Iger Studio.

Sheena had her boyfriend, Bob. A dull guy who never got with the fashion of wearing an animal print loin cloth–always kept his pants on. Rulah had no man candy on her arm. The closest she came was in RULAH 20 (November ’48), when her old fiancé state-side, Tim Pointer (who was told she died) bumps into her in the jungles of Africa.

 

When Rulah’s old suitor sees how she has changed, Tim Pointer understands that she could never settle down with him or any man.

Rulah20p11.panel1

There’s no hard feelings between them and they both go their separate ways. Rulah20p12.panel3 But while she’s fiercely independent, that doesn’t stop Rulah from having affairs–it wouldn’t be a far leap to assume Rulah finds comfort wherever and whenever she can, from both sexes. But her true love is the jungle. In RULAH 20, her American name is given as Joan Grayson, while in ZOOT 7 it was Jane Dodge. I don’t see this as a continuity problem. Rulah had a history and may have had several different names. The full back story on the character was never explored. Readers are free to indulge their own fantasies about the blank pages in Rulah’s life.

***

philosophiæ naturalis

Phantom Lady, headlights, true crime

Fox’s PHANTOM LADY 18 (June ’48). Cover by Matt Baker

 

Fiction House realized well ahead of their competitors, that there was a big audience in the older teen-young adult market, and capitalized on this quite successfully by merrily ladling out liberal dollops of their own peculiar ideas of sex.

–Richard Ellington [in his chapter: “Me to Your Leader Take”] ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME (’70, Ace Books), p. 42.

In the Golden Age, everything was allowed (in theory, if not in practice) and not every funny book catered to the same lowest common denominator. There was something for everyone. Boundaries were clear and everyone stayed within those they had claimed for their own territory.

BATMAN and SUPERMAN were never extreme in their violence–not even in their early years when the rough borders were first being drawn. Fawcett’s Captain Marvel was a solid piece of family entertainment–something that fullfilled a kid’s power fantasy, while making their parents smile. Lev Gleason published CRIME DOES NOT PAY–graphic stories of violent crime–for reader’s with tough stomachs.

Fiction House and Fox understood their audience. They knew that millions of males wanted to look at pretty girls in compromising positions. This is what Matt Baker excelled at and his early compositions sometimes defied the rules of anatomy for a greater rule–the rule of giving the reader what he wants.

Later, as his style matured, Baker stayed more within the boundaries of the physical universe. Baker’s elementary style is obvious in another of his features–Sky Girl–who has a habit of falling with her skirt up and legs spread open. By the time Baker is doing a similar vertically challenged red-head–Canteen Kate–her pratfalls are according to most Newtonian laws. [Sky Girl was a feature in Fiction House’s JUMBO COMICS, beginning with issue 68 (October ’44). Canteen Kate originally appeared in St. John’s FIGHTIN’ MARINES, beginning with issue No. 2 (October ’51), before getting her own title for a short three issue run.]

Matt Baker art, Sky Girl and Canteen Kate

Sky Girl, JUMBO COMICS 104 (October ’47). “Tanks for the Memories,” CANTEEN KATE No.1 (June ’52). Art by Matt Baker.

***

to tame the savage beast

A notable Iger Studio artist on Rulah, besides Matt Baker, was Jack Kamen, who did most of the covers. Kamen worked on a lot of the jungle features for both Fiction House and Fox. At the Iger Studio he became friendly with Al Feldstein, who brought Kamen on board EC, in the early ’50s, where Jack mastered the horror genre.

RULAH 21 (December '48). Art by Jack Kamen

RULAH 21 (December ’48). Art by Jack Kamen

With only a few exceptions, the majority of the covers for  ZOOT, RULAH and ALL TOP feature the Jungle Goddess with one kind of wild animal or another. Rulah is not a bleeding heart. She kills animals freely, unlike some other jungle women and men who have a deep relationship with the creatures of the forest.

But like most lords and ladies of the jungle, Rulah is able to tame any savage beast. She adopts a black panther, called Saber. She’s also able to break zebras and use them just like horses. Besides Saber, she has Babu, a pet ape/monkey (it looks like a chimp, but it has a tail) in ALL TOP COMICS 16 (March ’49).

Rulah has a couple of different boy companions, Nimbo and then Tombo–one is white, the other black, but they’re both cut from the same cloth and would do anything for the Jungle Goddess. She maintains a cordial relationship with Commissioner Blodgett who lives in some village close to Rulah’s jungle. And a number of other folks make contact with the Jungle Goddess in different adventures.

However, her main human contact is with her mixed-race tribe, that she usually has to protect from man-made dangers.

***

double takes

Rulah and Tombo

“The Slumbering City,” ZOOT COMICS 11 (December ’47), p. 5. Art by Matt Baker?

Just where this jungle is located is a question. It seems to be somewhere in the Congo; however, there are several lost kingdoms in the area–vestiges of Norse, Roman and Egyptian civilizations from the past. These types of stories show the influence of H. Rider Haggard on the jungle adventure genre.

Rulah may have some connection to Nisaba, Queen of Ionia, who looks just like her but lived hundreds of years ago [see “The Slumbering City,” ZOOT COMICS 11 (December ’47)]. Could this have been an ancient ancestor? In fact, there are several different women, over the course of Rulah’s existence, that are her near double. Early on, a double tries to replace her in ZOOT COMICS 10 (November ’47).  Two similar such stories with look-alike contemporaries are in issue 24 (March ’49) of her own mag.

And on top of that, Tegra, the Jungle Empress is the spitting image of Rulah. Well, truth be told, Tegra is Rulah by another name.  TEGRA [JUNGLE EMPRESS] No. 1 (August ’48) features what was intended to be a Rulah story, but that beauty of the beasts is renamed Tegra and her animal skins are changed to those of a tiger–nonetheless, Saber appears by her side, without a name change. The title becomes ZEGRA with the second issue, featuring a blonde Jungle Empress in her stead.

tiger girl, matt baker, fiction house

Tiger Girl, FIGHT COMICS 39 (August ’45). Art by Matt Baker

That Tegra or Zegra would wear a tiger skin in Africa is weird, since there aren’t supposed to be tigers in Africa. This doesn’t stop them from showing up in Africa anyway.  Zegra looks a lot like Fiction House’s Tiger Girl, Princess Vishnu, who held a feature in FIGHT COMICS fom issue 32 (June ’44) until 81 (July ’52).

Tiger Girl at least has the excuse of possibly living in India–well, an Africa-India hybrid, as her jungle world seems to have a little of both. Unlike Rulah, she does not have her own mixed race kraal, tending to stick with the white colonials, her tigers and her Indian man servant, Abdola, when she isn’t intruding on various indigenous populations. Tiger Girl uses a whip (something Rulah would normally not do) and she has a tiger named Benzali.

There are weird elements to Tiger Girl, as with all the jungle features–the same plots for all these jungle stories must have been recycled over and over again by the Iger Studio–but Tiger Girl has just enough idiosyncracies to distinguish her from Rulah.

Robert Webb, Matt Baker, Jack Kamen and the other artists at the Iger Studio tended to do a higher quality job on Tiger Girl than Rulah. Perhaps the Iger Studio had a better contract with Fiction House and this is why they would put more effort into the work for them over Fox. Nevertheless, quality isn’t everything. It’s usually in the messy “failures” that the most entertaining adventures can be found. I would certainly argue that’s the case with Rulah, the Jungle Goddess.

***

rulah redux

Zenpha in TERRORS OF THE JUNGLE  7 (December '53) reprinted from ZOOT COMICS 13b

Zenpha in TERRORS OF THE JUNGLE 7 (December ’53) reprinted from ZOOT COMICS 13b

Fox also re-issued some Rulah stories in the giant-size one shot ALL GREAT JUNGLE ADVENTURES (’49)–132 pages with a 25 cent price tag! According to Bob Hughes, Fox would combine four unsold comics randomly to make giant-size compilations like this, to use up his inventory. Fox dumped the jungle adventures and super-heroes to go after the romance market, beginning in June ’49, while going through rounds of bankruptcy.

After Victor Fox declared chapter 11 in July ’50, Rulah had a second life in reprint form from other publishers that had acquired the material. As horror stories had become more in fashion during Rulah’s original existence, her adventures trend more and more toward the horrific and the supernatural. Consequently, when Rulah is reprinted, she tends to show up in horror anthologies.

And now that Rulah is in the public domain, the Jungle Goddess will appear in funny book collections of “Good Girl” art (such as those published by AC Comics) or on websites for the same.

***

For a timeline on Victor Fox and Fox Features, check out this page by Bob Hughes.

For a checklist of all Rulah’s original stories and reprints, there’s my checklist for Rulah-and Rima3 Faces of the Goddess And for MORE on Rima, the Jungle Girl,

________________________________________________

THE JUNGLE ADVENTURES AREN’T OVER YET . . .

More R ‘n’ R in Eden

IS ON THE WAY!  COME ON BACK NOW, Y’HEAR?

_______________________________________________

top

myff8days.blue

8 DAYS, LOUISE!

. . . for the second week in July . . . in the jungle, the mighty jungle . . .

On July 9 ’64 celebrate the 200th issue of BLACKHAWK (September ’64). But it’s a mixed blessing for the high-flying favourites as the Killer Shark alters Zinda’s personality and changes her into Queen Killer Shark–an identity she will maintain for the next couple of years.

Bucky and Toro form their own kid gang in the first issue of Timely’s YOUNG ALLIES (Summer ’41) on sale July 10 ’41.

July 10 ’52, EC launches the first issue of [Tales Calculated to Drive You] MAD (October-November ’52).

EC debuts the first issue of CRIME SUSPENSTORIES (October-November ’50) at the newsstand around July 11 ’50.

Rima by Joe Kubert, issue 4

DC’s RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL No. 4 (October-November ’74). Cover by Joe Kubert

RIMA No. 4 (October-November ’74), Bob Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Nestor Redondo conclude their adaptation of GREEN MANSIONS, by W. H. Hudson, in superlative fashion–meanwhile, Kanigher and Nino provide another trippy Space Voyagers adventure in the back. Reserve your copy for July 11 ’74. [See MORE R ‘n’ R IN EDEN for more on Rima the Jungle Girl.]

Fiction House’s JUMBO COMICS No. 1 (September ’38), including Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, among its features, hits the stands on or about July 12 ’38.

Check out these two modern masterpieces from DC on July 13 ’67 . . . Carmine Infantino and Chuck Cuidera team up to provide the stunning cover for the TV star BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY No. 1 (September-October ’67) . . . Meanwhile, all of the Emerald Ring-bearers come under attack and Roger Vickers, an actor portraying the GREEN LANTERN of Earth, ends up being killed–leading his brother Charley into an epic adventure that will change his life forever, in the September ’67 issue of the Green Gladiator’s mag (No. 55).

On July 14 ’70, Marvel and DC are at odds over the happening scene . .  . Marvel’s SPOOF begins its short run with hip parodies of MOD SQUAD and DARK SHADOWS in the October ’70 issue (No. 1) . . . While DC takes a more serious turn on contemporary issues, when Hal and Ollie come to blows over aboriginal issues in GREEN LANTERN 79 (September ’70).

top

***

Harry Nilson–EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’

. . . for the third week in July . . . everybody’s talkin’ at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying . . .

 

100 Action Packed Pages of Story and Art from Cover to Cover

Neal Adams cover

DC 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR No. 6 (’71). Wraparound cover by Neal Adams.

World’s Greatest Super-Heroes are the theme on July 15 ’71. E. Nelson Bridwell has put together a stunning collection of them in DC 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR No. 6. And Neal Adams offers an amazing wrap-around cover for it.

Weird music floats over the air–and a man dies! The melodious death has struck again. Music that kills! What strange sinister mystery is this that baffles police and terrifies a city? Only Mister Scarlet knows, crimson clad foe of crime. . .

In Fawcett’s WOW COMICS No. 2 (Summer ’41), Otto and Jack Binder present a murder plot by Doctor Death to challenge Mister Scarlet–coming July 16 ’41.

brother power the geek no. 1

A thing that lives and fights for its soul!
Here is the real-life scene of the dangers in Hippie-Land!. . . 

BROTHER POWER THE GEEK No. 1 (September/October ’68), created by Jolly Joe Simon and Bashful Al Bare, is your happening and it will freak you out on July 16 ’68! Cover by Simon.

Right you are, Mr. Brayton! A snake! And now you can test your doubt of his hypnotic power in a contest  between…The Man and the Snake, . . .

so says Eve, your hostess for SECRETS OF SINISTER HOUSE No. 14 (October ’73), as E. Nelson Bridwell and Alfredo Alcala adapt this short story by 19th century American author Ambrose Bierce–with a chilling cover by Luis Dominguez. Not to be missed July 17 ’73.

 . . . Molly Maynne takes destiny in her hands and assumes the role of a character who will change the lives of millions–the Harlequin! . . .

Alan Scott’s secretary carries a torch for the Green Lantern, but he has no time for her, only for crooks, so she becomes one, with her first appearance in ALL-AMERICAN COMICS 89 (September ’47), by Bob Kanigher and Irwin Hasen, at your newsstand July 18 ’47.

romita cover art, mary robin rn

An exciting new feature of the life and loves of a beautiful young nurse in a great metropolitan hospital . . .

On sale July 18 ’63–having been acquired from Prize (along with YOUNG ROMANCE), YOUNG LOVE begins its run at DC (under the Arleigh Publishing Corporation imprint) with issue 39 (September/October ’63), which debuts a continuing series about Mary Robbins, R.N., written by Bob Kanigher and illoed by John Romita. Cover by Romita

It’s true, Murray? They will die? You didn’t tell me how to finish this page! You’re gonna kill our–DOOM PATROL? . . .

so asks Bruno Premiani of editor Murray Boltinoff on the first page of the last story for the World’s Strangest Heroes–or will it be? Don’t miss their September-October ’68 issue (No. 121), on July 18 ’68, for the shocking answer.

Professor, this is the greatest moment in my life, . . .

says Kent Thurston when Professor van Dorn sprays his hood and robe with a special chemical that turns him invisible. invisible hood smash 2Just Kent’s luck that he has already adopted the identity of the Invisible Hood, to fight against injustice, little knowing that he would one day literally be invisible. The astounding details–from creator Art Gordon (aka Art Pinajian) are in the 2nd issue of SMASH COMICS (September ’39) from Quality, for all to see (or not see as the case may be) on July 19 ’39.

top

 ***

. . . for the last week in July . . . Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got nothin’ on me . . . 

An Important Message From The All-American Comics Gang!!!

Dear Kids:-
We hope you’re enjoying your vacation and having a swell time this summer!
How did you like our last issue of All American Comics? In this issue, we’re continuing “The American Way”, featuring Frederic March, and also the adventures of “Popsicle Pete,” the typical American Boy!
In our next issue, “Red, White and Blue” are at the N.Y. World’s Fair, and all the rest of us will be funnier than ever (we hope)!
Then, too, we’re going to publish a letter from Karl McCready (“Popsicle Pete”) to the readers of All-American Comics, which, we know, you’ll enjoy reading!
Very truly yours,
The A-American Comics Gang.
P.S. Next issue will be on sale August 25th.
-Don’t miss it!!

— [inside front cover] ALL-AMERICAN COMICS No. 6, on sale July 25th ’39.

Hal Jordan, while piloting a flight simulator, is transported by a strange green light that brings him to an alien spacecraft crashed somewhere in the southwest desert of the United States–inside the rocket ship, Hal finds a ruby-skinned warrior who passes his ring and battery of power to the young test pilot, before he himself expires from his injuries. So begins the epic story of the man without fear, Green Lantern, in SHOWCASE 22 (September-October ’59), at your newsstand on July 28 ’59. Cover by Gil Kane.

On sale July 29 ’48, Dell FOUR COLOR 196 presents Charlie McCarthy in the Haunted Hide-Out, wherein Charlie and Mortimer Snerd set up their own laundry business, which is doomed to fail. Mortimer goes to a haunted house to see if the ghosts would like their sheets washed.

July 30 ’54 don’t miss the Jungle Cat Queen by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris!  Batman and Robin land on a jungle island inhabited by the Catwoman, in DETECTIVE COMICS 211 (September ’54).

Kate Bush is born on July 30 ’58–140 years to the day after Emily Brontë (author of WUTHERING HEIGHTS). Happy birthday Kate!

WUTHERING HEIGHTS –Kate Bush

The Crest Movie Theater on Rising Sun Avenue was buzzing with anticipation. Every seat in the place was filled, and some of the crowd had spilled over to the moldy maroon carpeting on the aisle floor. A few minutes after a Tom & Jerry cartoon and two coming attractions for horror movies, over 350 kids, many wearing buttons and T-shirts emblazoned with images of the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder began to chant, “We want Batman! We want Batman!”

The curtains suddenly closed, then opened again, the logo of 20th Century Fox now visible. The chants drowned out the familiar studio fanfare and the dialogue of three salutes to real-life crime fighters that appeared on the screen. Then, a searchlight in a dark alleyway, moving around, finding its subject, and…BAM! Adam West as Batman. The chants turned to deafening cheers. Then another searchlight, moving around and…KER-POW! Burt Ward as Robin. More cheers. Searchlights on again, on the lookout for…CRASH! The villains: The Joker (Cesar Romero). Hissss! The Penguin (Burgess Meredith). Boooo! The Riddler (Frank Gorshin). Hisssss! Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). Boooo! The level of electricity in the theater remained constant through all 105 minutes of Batman. It’s likely the current was so strong the corn popped on vibes. Sometimes the dialogue was drowned out by loud cheers or boos…

— from VIDEOHOUND’S GROOVY MOVIES: FAR-OUT FILMS OF THE PSYCHEDELIC ERA, Irv Slifkin (2004, Visible Ink Press)–BATMAN (the movie) premieres on July 30 ’66.

Pat, Terry and Connie are being held captive by the Dragon Lady, but they will be killed if the American Marines attack, in Milton Caniff’s popular Terry and the Pirates feature reprinted in Dell’s POPULAR COMICS No. 8 (September ’36), on sale July 31 ’36.

top

 ***

All on sale dates might be approximate, as provided by Mike’s Amazing World of Comics (The Newsstand) and by other sources.

All characters, logos, and images are owned and © 2013 by current copyright holders. They are used here for educational and review purposes.

Advertisements