Amph 1001 Comic Books You Must Read: 280. "Superboy" #49

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Nevermind, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Funnily enough, I find that a lot of old pre-code romance comics tend to have a level of maturity to them not found in actual romance novels, so that might not be as long a shot as you'd think.
  2. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    208. "Casper, the Friendly Ghost" #10

    [image=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2417/2163089932_c2571b7069_o.jpg]

    Writers: Uncredited

    Artists: Uncredited

    Harvey (June, 1953)

    "Casper's stories are basic: he tries to avoid scaring people, and other ghosts try to scare them. This issue introduces his city-bred cousin Spooky--"The Tuff Little Ghost"--who finds the country far more frightening than any urban apparitions."
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Casper would later go on to prolong Harvey Comics' life cycle to a degree many would consider to be unnatural.
  4. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Had a few of these as a kid, never got into them that much though. I do recall the tough ghost from the city, though I'm not sure why he should be considered essential. I really think, even as a kid, I thought Casper was just too formulaic and shallow. I doubt the stories would hold up at all to an adult. Could be wrong, of course.
  5. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    209. Crime SuspenStories #17

    [image=http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/436-1373-464-1-crime-suspenstories_super.jpg]

    Writers: Ray Bradbury, Al Feldstein

    Artists: Johnny Craig, Jack Kamen

    E.C. (June-July 1953)

    "Craig's adaptation of Bradbury's "Touch and Go" has been called 'a technical masterpiece' and it is. But readers shouldn't overlook Kamen's cleverly connected "One For the Money" and "Two for the Show" with art by Jack Kamen and Bill Elder."
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Holy cripes! You can actually see a gunshot coming out the top of his head! Man, that's crazy. I didn't know those covers got that graphic.
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Oh, they totally did.

    [image=http://goldenagecomics.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/crimesuspenstories22.jpg]
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    It's the details that make these covers work. For instance, the reflection in the mirror on the first one; you can see the whole exit wound in the back of the guy's head. And on the ax one . . . look again, you can barely see her irises, rolled up nearly out of sight. *shudder* Dang, that's amazing stuff. I see why we got the Comics Code.
  9. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    And so do I. This issue comes up on the list, about a year later. Publisher Bill Gaines defended this cover's taste before Congress, noting that it didn't show dripping blood from the head (but actually, the original art showed just that before it was cropped for the title.)
  10. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    It's a damn shame we did, more or less strangled the American comic market right before it could really take flight.
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I dunno. I mean, it's the same ol' debate. That cover is in no way tasteful, no matter what was said to Congress. It's tacky and exploitative and purposely drawn to be both of those things. Is the answer censorship of the industry? Well, no, but I guess it's the simplest option. The fact that, in some strange, visceral way, that cover is astoundingly great art is left by the wayside in the battle for the next generation. And then you read comics today where a superhero goes out and beats people up because he's impotent and you wonder what we've wrought here. How much farther can art be pushed or has it, in fact, stopped being art? Oldest debate around, at least around the Amp or anywhere people care about creativity and art. I don't want to say that the Comics Code was justified, but when you see a cover like the one above, you can see the case for it, even as I admire the almost archetypal power of the image. I guess it's one reason I'm interested in some of the modern extreme horror movies, at least in reading about them, even if not watching them. I'm fascinated by this eternal debate: should art be censored because of harmful elements or are the elements somehow not harmful when included in actual art, but if so, what about crappy knockoffs of art that include the same elements? Can those be censored? Should they be? I mean, it's the same conversation they just had about the Human Centipede sequel; is it art? should it be banned/controlled/censored? I don't believe in censorship, but that is a hell of an image to put in a comic book rack. Or to encourage others to put in comic book racks.
  12. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    See, though, I'd argue some of the more nonsensically violent elements of today's comics are a direct result of the Comics Code in the first place. I think it's important to keep in mind the parallels in other cultures: EC's rather scandalous artwork was inevitable - the first, quick steps an artistic medium takes when it tries to expand its horizon tend to be the most vulgar, and this holds true for the growth cycle of what is sometimes more pretentiously dubbed sequential art in a lot of countries. Where we diverge - quite noticeably - is that while other countries eventually got through these growing pains and produced really sophisticated works across a broad spectrum of potential readers, the US of A got congressional hearings and an overly stringent self-imposed reaction.

    Namely, we got this seal.
    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/df/CCA.gif]

    And with it any chance American comics had of becoming a national institution were crushed. Comics immediately reverted to being kids' stuff, and while I love the Silver Age, even the more sophisticated works of the time (Mostly Marvel's output, DC kind of got lost in its own miasma of goofiness back then) seem like hollow half-deliveries on the promise of the pre-Code period.

    Which brings me back to modern shlock (Although I do not believe all modern comics are shlock) - it's going to happen, because we purposefully stunted the mediums' growth, and now it has to struggle with an understanding of what a mature work actually means. The first reaction is gore, just the way it was back in the 1950s, but I think that, this time, we might just finagle our way out of it eventually. In particular, the burgeoning field of webcomics is quite promising - or at least the good ones are - and even the big two have got a couple of books that I would consider indicative of the sort of real maturity the medium (Mark Waid's current run on Daredevil comes to mind) can hope to achieve.

    That being said, there's always going to be shlock. I enjoy shlock, it's got a lot of camp value going for it. :p
  13. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    210. "Menace" #5

    [image=http://www.atlastales.com/covers/2343.jpg]

    Writer: Stan Lee

    Artists: Bill Everett, Joe Maneely

    Marvel (July 1953)

    "This horror anthology seemed to be a favorite of Lee's, since he often wrote entire issues. The Everett-drawn "Zombie" would be revived in the 70's as the star of Marvel's black-and-white horror magazine "Tales of the Zombie."
  14. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    211. "Weird Science" #20

    [image=http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ktxj2q8uL._SL500_AA300_.jpg]

    Writers: Al Feldstein, Ray Bradbury

    Artists: Wally Wood, Al Williamson

    E. C. (July-August 1953)

    "Future Just" is the driving force of Bradbury's "Surprise Package" and the Williamson-drawn "50 Girls 50"--but it is "The Loathsome" that will break your heart and stay with you forever: "To whoever finds this note...I love you."
  15. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    "Black Cat Mystery" #45

    [image=http://www.samuelsdesign.com/comics/big/blackcat45.jpg]

    Writers: Bob Powell, Uncredited

    Artists: Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand

    Harvey (August 1953)

    "The Black Cat's crime-fighting exploits had been replaced by horror stories two years earlier. This issue has one of the better ones. Powell's "Colorama" is a downright psychodelic tale of a man whose life suddenly overwhelmed with blobs of colour."
  16. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

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    God bless you for your taste, sir. Bob Powell was at the top of his game by this era. My personal favorite Powell work on Black Cat is 1952's issue 34, but #45 is rather spectacular and came at the right moment in the whole Kefauver/Wertham scandal to have impact.
  17. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    213. "Strange Fantasy" #7

    [image=http://images.comiccollectorlive.com/covers/8ba/8ba951c3-c868-4d10-ad15-82f37115b1bd.jpg]

    Writers: Uncredited

    Artists: Uncredited

    Ajax/Farrell (August 1953)

    "Dozens of publishers lauched horror comics to cash in on the trend and some added kink to the mix. In "Grave Rehearsal", a whip-wielding health-resort operator covers her rich clients in soothing mud and then not-so-soothing cement."
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Not to be confused with "Weird Fantasy" "Odd Fantasy" "Abnormal Fantasy" or "Actually Fairly Mundane Fantasy"
  19. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    214. "Little Dot"

    [image=http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/little-dot/1-1.jpg]

    Writers: Uncredited

    Artists: Uncredited

    Harvey (September 1953)

    "Little Dot has three claims to fame: her nigh-psychotic obsession with dots, an impossibly huge family of uncles and aunts with her own obsessions, and, in one of this issue's back-up stories, she gave Richie Rich his start in comics."
  20. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Well, it's a change from all the murder and gore we've been getting here lately. Not a nice change necessarily, but a change.
  21. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Little Dot is a lot like Little Archie.

    ... If Little Archie sucked.

    Mind you, I think the latter might have been a rip-off of the former, which just sort of proves that the original is not always the superior product.
  22. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Three Stooges #1

    [image=http://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/iss/400w/503/375031/895601.jpg]

    Writer: Uncredited

    Artist: Norman Maurer

    St. John (September 1953)

    "Moe Howard got more than a son-in-law when his daughter Joan married Norman Maurer in 1947. Two years later, Maurer produced the first Three Stooges comic book, and his association with the Stooges continued for decades in comics, movies and cartoons."
  23. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

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    The exception to the weak product in the trend toward cute books has always been the shamefully underrated work of John Stanley. While he altered the industry with his LuLu stuff, I am in continual awe of what he put into Melvin Monster.
  24. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    The spider spins again!
  25. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    216. "1,000,000 Years Ago!" #1

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/67/Tor1st.jpg/200px-Tor1st.jpg]

    Writer: Joe Kubert

    Artist: Joe Kubert

    St. John (September 1953)

    "His conscience and decency set Tor apart the other men of his prehistoric era. His perilous encounters with dinosaurs, tyrants, and volcanoes thrilled readers, but his stories doubled as subtle psychological inquires into the nature of man."