Saturday, June 29, 2013

Batman 1966

My introduction to the very strange concept of "costumed crimefighters" was the Adam West BATMAN TV series.  Unlike the vast majority of TV shows I watched when I was a kid, I actually managed to catch BATMAN from the very 1st episode.  At the time, we only had a B&W TV set. It wasn't until Valentine's Day of that year (about 6 weeks into the run of the show) that we got our very first color TV with UHF stations.  A whole new world opened up for me that day!

I read very few comic-books in the 60's.  They tended to be a rare, "special" item.  My parents would get me one here and there, and I'd treasure it-- reading it over and over and over.

However, newspaper comic-strips were a whole different animal.  Since were already getting the paper 7 days a week, THESE comics were "free"! And so it was that my introduction to BATMAN in the comics was not a comic-book (that would come a few months later), but when the BATMAN newspaper strip started up.  It would be decades before I found up it was actually being revived (about 20 years after it had been stopped).  Or that the artist on the strips I read-- indeed, my very first BATMAN artist-- was Sheldn Moldoff!  Shelly could be a real chameleon, doing "realistic" (swiping Alex Raymond's style for HAWKMAN) or very cartoony, and anything in between, including... "Bob Kane".

The 1st story featured Catwoman as the villain, only a couple months she'd appeared on the TV series.  And, whatta ya know, in the newspaper strip story, she was wearing Julie Newmar's costume!

Coming from that perspective, I thought there were a few odd things about the strip.  For one thing, Alfred and Commissioner Gordon didn't look anything like they did on TV.  Turns out this was my first exposure to the "real" (comic-book) versions of the characters.  On the other hand, Chief O'Hara-- a character created for the TV show-- looked exactly like actor Stafford Repp.  You also had Bat-ropes instead of Bat-poles (which must have been a real hassle to slide down!).  And the Batmobile, which only somewhat resembled the one on tv, was actually the comic-book version, on which the TV version had been (loosely) inspired.  I guess you could say the newspaper comic was a version about "halfway between" the comics and the TV show.

Anyway, I was so thrilled by the strip, I started collecting it right from the start, and actually managed to glue the entire 1st story down in a scrap book, which I've kept with me intact all these years.  I decided to scan the entire story in WAY back in 2004, but never actually got around to processing it until now.  Just as well-- I've gotten so much better using Photoshop in the last 9 YEARS.  Enjoy!

"CATWOMAN"
Story by Whitney Ellsworth  /  art by SHELDON MOLDOFF
001  /  5-30-66
002  /  5-31-66
003  /  6-1-66
004  /  6-2-66
005  /  6-3-66
006  /  6-4-13
007  /  6-6-66  /  Week 2   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-7-66)
008  /  6-7-66   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-8-66)
009  /  6-8-66   (The COURIER-POST actually ran this on 6-6-66)
010  /  6-9-66
011  /  6-10-66
012  /  6-11-66
(Continued in Part 2)

Distributed by The Ledger Syndicate, Inc.
Copyright (C) DC Comics Inc.
Scans from my personal collection,
     clipped & collected from The Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, NJ
Scan of strip for 5-30-66 from Steve Thompson  (THANKS, MAN!!!)

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tim Holt, Part 4

(Continued from Part 3)

More Wild Western Wonderment from artist Frank Bolle 
     (and-- Dick Ayers!!)

Early in 1954, the "3D" fad that had swept the movies came to comics.  Not every publisher went the complicated 2-color route.  Magazine Enterprise-- and artist Frank Bolle in particular-- came up with a style to emulate "3D without the glasses"!  You can see the results below on the covers of #39-43.

At some point, Tim Holt stopped appearing in RKO films.  This was reflected on his licensed comic-book when the banner "R.K.O.'S Western Star" vanished. Some months later, his comic-book was retitled RED MASK.  Other than that, things continued as they had before.  Each issue had 3 Tim Holt or Red Mask stories with Frank Bolle art, and 1 Ghost Rider story with Dick Ayers art.

However, the "witch-hunt" aimed at (ALLGEDLY!!!) stamping out "juvenile delinquency" (which was more like "the other media" trying to stamp out a source of COMPETITION) saw the formation of the Comics Code Authority.  One of the casualties was GHOST RIDER.  Even though the vast majority of his stories were of the "GHOST CHASERS" or "SCOOBY-DOO" variety (supposed supernatural elements which turned out to be explainable hoaxes), the drive to stamp out "horror comics" saw the cancellation not only of his solo book, but of the series entirely.

Since GHOST RIDER had clearly been one of the main reasons for the long-term success of the TIM HOLT comic (and obviously the reason for the creation of his own "masked identity"), it must have become apparent the handwriting was on the wall.  Before long, Magazine Enterprises became one of many comic-book publishers that closed its doors, one more example of an entire HIGHLY-SUCCESSFUL industry that went under, putting countless thousands of people out of work, without the slightest objection or lament heard from the "general public" (barring the readers-- and WHO listened to them?).

Of course, in Magazine Enterprises' case, I have heard that Vincent Sullivan blamed television for the downfall of his comic-book company...

TIM HOLT 29  /  inset art by FRANK BOLLE   (May 1952)
TIM HOLT 30  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (July 1952)
TIM HOLT 31  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (September 1952)
This one was the most difficult, time-consuming of the bunch. I wound up having to "re-draw" almost every black line on it in Photoshop, but I think the results were worthwhile!

TIM HOLT 32  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (November 1952)
TIM HOLT 33  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (January 1953)   (In Progress!)
TIM HOLT 34  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (March 1953)
TIM HOLT 35  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (May 1953)
TIM HOLT 36  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (July 1953)

If anyone could supply me with a much bigger images of #14, 16, 28, #33, #44, #45 & #47 to work with, I'd appreciate it.(There's only so much one can do-- or am inclined to try to do-- with SOME real horrific messes.)

TIM HOLT 37  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Sep'53)
TIM HOLT 38  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Nov'53) 
TIM HOLT 39  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Jan'54)
TIM HOLT 40  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Mar'54)
TIM HOLT 41  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (May'54) 
RED MASK 42  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Jul'54) 
RED MASK 43  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Sep'54) 
RED MASK 44  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (October-November 1954) 
RED MASK 45  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (December 1954) 
RED MASK 46  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (Jan'55)

RED MASK 47  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (February 1955)
RED MASK 48  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (March-April 1955)
RED MASK 49  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (May-June 1955)
RED MASK 50  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (July-August 1955)
RED MASK 51  /  art by DICK AYERS   (September-October 1955)
RED MASK 52  /  art by DICK AYERS   (February-March 1956)
RED MASK 53  /  art by DICK AYERS   (May 1956)
RED MASK 54  /  art by DICK AYERS   (September 1957)
(I may get to some of the reprints... we'll see!)

If anyone could supply me with a much bigger images of #44 & #45 to work with, I'd appreciate it.(There's only so much one can do-- or am inclined to try to do-- with SOME real horrific messes.)

Artwork (C) Magazine Enterprises

Raw scans from Heritage Auctions site, except...
Raw scans of RED MASK #47, 50, 51, 52, 53 & 54 from "Freddyfly"
     at the Comic Book Plus site

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read the complete contents of TIM HOLT comics at Comic Book Plus!
Visit the Frank Bolle Studio site
See Frank Bolle's work on the BOYS' LIFE BIBLE Stories series!
Read "Pappy"s TIM HOLT article at the Insomnia Notebook blog
Read the TIM HOLT biography at the IMDB site
Read the RED MASK article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site

Read the GHOST RIDER article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the GHOST RIDER article at the International Hero site
Read The Presto Kid article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Twomorrows site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Adelaide Comics And Books site

Buy BEST OF THE WEST reprints from the AC Comics website!

Tim Holt, Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)

More Wild Western Wonderment from artist Frank Bolle!

After 19 issues, someone apparently felt that Tim Holt needed a "gimmick".  Following the trend of The Durango Kid and The Ghost Rider (not to mention The Lone Ranger), in TIM HOLT #20, he took on a secret identity in the form of Redmask.  This never carried over to his films, though-- only the comics.

The Ghost Rider feature continued as usual.

5 issues later, in TIM HOLT #25, a female masked bandit was introduced, The Black Phantom.  Like Valkyrie in AIRBOY, P'Gell in THE SPIRIT and Catwoman in BATMAN, she had romantic feelings for the hero, and eventually reformed.  She even got her own (short-lived) spin-off book!

A month after her debut, M.E., perhaps at the height of their popularity, added the anthology BEST OF THE WEST to their output.  While A-1 was their version of Dell's FOUR COLOR COMICS (a rotating anthology with different features every issue), BOTW was perhaps their version of DC's WORLD'S FINEST or COMICS CAVALCADE, which gatthered together several of their most popular features for additional stories.  Much like many "various-artists comp" music CDs I've bought over the years, the idea is simple.  A collection of stories, each starring a different hero, to attract fans of any one of them.  Not only would fans be buying 2 books instead of 1, if they liked any of the other characters, they might up wind up regularly buying as many as 5!

Although the 1st issue of BOTW did not feature Tim Holt or Red Mask, it did feature Ghost Rider ! 

TIM HOLT 20  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (November 1950)
TIM HOLT 21  /  art by FRANK FRAZETTA   (December 1950-January 1951)
TIM HOLT 22  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (February-March 1951)
TIM HOLT 23  /  art by FRANK FRAZETTA   (April-May 1951)
TIM HOLT 24  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (June-July 1951)
TIM HOLT 25  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (August-September 1951)


A-1  #42  /  BEST OF THE WEST 1  /  art by FRED MEAGHER, JOE CERTA, FRANK FRAZETTA &  BOB POWELL   (September-October 1951)
TIM HOLT 26  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (October-November 1951)
TIM HOLT 27  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (January 1952)
TIM HOLT 28  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (March 1952)   (In Progress!)

(Continued in Part 4)

If anyone could supply me with a much bigger image of #28 to work with, I'd appreciate it.(There's only so much one can do-- or am inclined to try to do-- with SOME real horrific messes.)

Artwork (C) Magazine Enterprises

Raw scans from Heritage Auctions site

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read the complete contents of TIM HOLT comics at Comic Book Plus!
Visit the Frank Bolle Studio site
See Frank Bolle's work on the BOYS' LIFE BIBLE Stories series!
Read "Pappy"s TIM HOLT article at the Insomnia Notebook blog
Read the RED MASK article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the TIM HOLT biography at the IMDB site

Read the GHOST RIDER article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the GHOST RIDER article at the International Hero site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Twomorrows site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Adelaide Comics And Books site

Buy BEST OF THE WEST reprints from the AC Comics website!

Tim Holt, Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

More Wild Western Wonderment!

With its 6th episode, The Calico Kid was revealed as being U.S. Marshall Rex Fury, who had been working undercover.  In a sequence that parallels that of Texas Ranger John Reid and his Indian friend Tonto (see THE LONE RANGER), a failed attempt on the lives of Fury and his Chinese friend Sing-Song saw Fury transform himself into THE GHOST RIDER !  While I've found more than one earlier character that used that name, there's no doubt in my mind that Fury was the "definitive" article.  Artist Dick Ayers would illustrate every single one of his Golden Age appearances.  What a guy!

THE GHOST RIDER's popularity actually out-stripped Holt's, and was such that, starting in early 1950, he was spun off into his own series, which for 14 issues was part of the rotating A-1 series.

TIM HOLT 11  /  inset art by DICK AYERS   (November 1949)
Here's the splash page of THE GHOST RIDER's debut!
(I wish I had better scans to work with.)

Story by Ray Krank  /  art by DICK AYERS
TIM HOLT 12   (December 1949)
Here's the splash page of the 2nd THE GHOST RIDER story!
Note he's wearing a mask now, though not yet the "classic" one.

Story by Ray Krank  /  art by DICK AYERS
TIM HOLT 13   (January 1950)
A-1 #27  /  GHOST RIDER 1  /  art by DICK AYERS   (approx. January 1950)
TIM HOLT 14   (February 1950)   (In Progress!)
TIM HOLT 15   (March 1950)
TIM HOLT 16  /  inset art by DICK AYERS   (April 1950)
TIM HOLT 17  /  art by FRANK FRAZETTA   (May 1950)
A-1 #29  /  GHOST RIDER 2  /  art by FRANK FRAZETTA   (May 1950)
TIM HOLT 18  /  inset art by DICK AYERS   (June-July 1950)
TIM HOLT 19  /  art by FRANK BOLLE   (August-September'50)


(Continued in Part 3)

If anyone could supply me with a much bigger images of #14 & 16 to work with, I'd appreciate it.  (There's only so much one can do-- or am inclined to try to do-- with SOME real horrific messes.)

Artwork (C) Magazine Enterprises

Raw scans from Heritage Auctions site, except...
Raw scans of TIM HOLT #14 & 16 from the GCD site
     and "Freddyfly" / "Josemas" at the Comic Book Plus site
Raw scans of interior pages from "Freddyfly" / "Josemas"
     at the Comic Book Plus site

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read the complete contents of TIM HOLT comics at Comic Book Plus!
Visit the Frank Bolle Studio site
See Frank Bolle's work on the BOYS' LIFE BIBLE Stories series!
Read "Pappy"s TIM HOLT article at the Insomnia Notebook blog
Read the RED MASK article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the TIM HOLT biography at the IMDB site

Read the GHOST RIDER article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia site
Read the GHOST RIDER article at the International Hero site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Twomorrows site
Read the Dick Ayers interview at the Adelaide Comics And Books site

Buy BEST OF THE WEST reprints from the AC Comics website!