Monday, September 25, 2017

Jungle Queens and Space Rangers 2: JUMBO COMICS

Jumbo Comics was the first and longest running title in the Fiction House line, and you'll find all 167 good-lookin' covers in Todd Frye's new Jungle Queens and Space Rangers. Though Sheena the Jungle Queen appeared in every single issue (if you squint you'll see her at bottom center on the cover above), it took her thirteen issues to get her first solo cover shot, and within a few issues dominated every cover until no. 161, when Jumbo started trying to look like a horror comic. 

Those covers are all here, they're all good, and it was mighty tough choosing these samples to scan for you. You really ought to see them all. 


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Jungle Queens and Space Rangers 1: FIGHT COMICS

A few months back we featured scans from Todd Frye's book AMAZING! ASTONISHING! WEIRD! (that's HERE), featuring oodles of great pulp covers. Well, Todd's at it again, this time bringing us about a zillion action-packed comic book covers from Fiction House. That publisher, as you may know, consistently had some of the finest covers in comics, thanks in no small part to its association with the (Will) Eisner and (Jerry) Iger Studio. 

All this week, we'll be looking at samples from the new book, Jungle Queens and Space Rangers. It leads off with all 84 covers from Fight Comics, published between 1940 and 1954. It's mighty interesting to see the focus progress from two-fisted adventurers like Shark Brodie to the costumed heroes Power Man and Super-American, and eventually find a steady headliner in the Sheena clone called Tiger Girl.

Tomorrow: Sheena of the Jungle and Jumbo Comics

Saturday, September 23, 2017

YouTube Theater: The Weird, Weird World of TIN-TAN

I've never seen a Tin-Tan movie, and wouldn't understand it if I did. But I know weirdness when I see it. Wikipedia tells me Tin-Tan was a Mexican actor, singer and comedian whose real name was Germán Valdés, and these are only a few of the wacky films he made in the '50s, '60s and early '70s. La Casa del Terror, I understand, really does feature Lon Chaney, who plays a mummy who turns into a werewolf. By the time you see this, I may have succumbed to curiosity and taken a peek, but more likely I'll wait until it appears here and watch some of it (and maybe some of the others) along with you.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Forgotten Stories: MICHAEL AVALLONE meets BAT MASTERSON (1960)

I've read Mike, and I've seen Bat, but never dreamed the twain had met. If fact, I'd be willing to wager that even so avid an Avallone fan as Mr. Stephen Mertz had no notion of it. But meet they did, and here's the proof.

This record has resided in my collection for fifteen or twenty years, and the line "Stories by Michael Avallone" was right there on the back cover, but I never noticed it until recently, when I was fixin' to post it to YouTube. There's no date on the LP, but I found an ad for it in an August 1960 issue of Billboard magazine, and that seems about right.

The stories themselves are no great shakes, by any standard. I'm guessing Avallone dashed each one off in thirty minutes or less, collected his paycheck, and promptly forgot them. But they're interesting enough, and suitable for children, and what the heck, they are about Bat Masterson.

Most interesting to me was "The Duel in the Bella Union," in which Bat faces his doppelganger. Yeah, it's an overused device, trotted out for just about every pulp, comic and movie hero sooner or later, but it's still worth a listen. This version of the Bat Masterson Theme, attributed to The Nightriders, ain't bad either.