Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weird War Tales #49

I loved all that Weird War stuff, with Jake the Robot and the Creature Commandos. The only DC books I ever really read were the seventies "horror" comics, usually the titles involving war of some sort. therefore, I give you the mystery and madness of... Weird War Tales #49

This issue begins with a competently drawn, relatively straightforward, story about how terrible it is to have to shoot children if they're wearing an enemy uniform. You'll have to read it, I have no interest, at the moment, in arguing whether shooting children is a good idea.

What I do want to talk about is Hostess Fruit Pies. Here we have a classic example of the Green Lantern learning about the Fruit Pie Scene. Let me tell you the fruit pie scene is where it's at, it's happening, it's now.

"I'm what's going on, and you're what's going down." Don't be surprised if you and I ever meet and this phrase slips from my lips within five minutes. I've made a vow to say this to every single person I meet from now on.

The "plot" of this ad involves Dr. Live (spell it backwards) shrinking the Green Lantern down and putting him in a jar with a bunch of other small people. The Green Lantern uses his uh... green... lantern, to reverse the process so the people can resume their sales pitch for fucking fruit pies.
A. If Green Lantern could reverse the process that easily why didn't he just clobber that bow-tie wearing motherfucker as soon as he walked in the door.
B. That one guy didn't mind being small and in a jar? The only thing that bothered him and his compatriots is that their mouths were too small to eat fruit pies? Wouldn't a mouth be able to nibble off at least a little fruit pie at any size? You don't have to eat fruit pies whole you stupid son of a bitch.

I don't understand why Dr. Live can't just talk forward like everyone else.
Anyway, on to why I wanted to show people this book.
The Day After Tomorrow drawn by Steve Ditko and Vince Coletta.

That's it. A cautionary tale for the youth of today who are looking for a new, happening sound. Kids that want to follow glowing hippies around the wasteland. Those hippies are freaking radioactive you arrogant punks! Stay away from the hippies!
and after that we have another boring ad.

URCH... back up a second and check this out.

I can't find any Kotter comics in the back issue bins anywhere. They must be so great that the people that own them won't give them up. I wonder how many Kotter comics there were. I know Horschack ended up in the Watchmen, I wonder if any other sweathogs got their own spin-off comics.

The last story in the comic, Mark Of The Conqueror seems to be cashing in on another popular sci-fi story but I just can't place it. It's about a PLANET full of APE like creatures. Man, it's on the tip of my tongue.
This handsome fella is named Torin and much like Wu-Tang, he ain't nothin to fuck with. He likes to talk about how terrible he is and how his first born son will take over the dictatorship when he dies.

He also likes to blow away the wolf faced creatures that live out in the wilderness.
Check out how that one werewolf monster's head is blowing right off his shoulders, harsh.

Through a kind-of stupid sereis of events Torin finds out that the wolf faced monster is actually his first born son and...

He's been WEARING HIS SON'S SKIN AS A HAT! Ha-Ha, That's the kind of irony that only Alanis Morrisette could truly appreciate. Every time I look at that last panel I imagine that comedic trumpet womp-womp-womp noise.
And here's one last ad. Like the kids reading this comic don't already have enough "big as life, hang-ups."

Elijah J. Brubaker -Epicure, Statesman, graphic noveleer.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Crazy #61

Like most kids that grew up to become cartoonists, I was heavily influenced by MAD. So much so that I found out when newsstands got their weekly shipment. And if the boxes were still unopened when I got out of school, I'd pester their employees into hurrying up and putting them on the racks. If a new issue of MAD was out, I'd run home and plead for my parents to give me an advance on my allowance since I couldn't wait three days. One time my mother was outraged that it cost 60 cents for the new issue, as if the publishers could still afford to charge a dime but chose not to. I told her there was a thing called inflation, to which she replied, "I know. It makes garbage cost more". And this was just last month.

No, not really. It was more than twenty-five years ago. But back to the story. If the new MAD wasn't out, I'd settle for CRACKED. If that wasn't around either, I settled for CRAZY. If that wasn't out, SICK would do. If I was really desperate, I'd buy WACKO, TRASH, NATIONAL CRUMB, or one of the other myriad fly-by-night black & white 52-page kids' humor publications. I'd go down the ladder of humor magazine hierarchy so that like a methadone addict, I could get my weekly fix.

CRAZY was a MAD imitation Marvel did. This when Marvel was still a subsidiary of a company that put out imitations of every successful magazine in existence. CRAZY went a little bit further than most of the other juvenile satire mags mostly because some of the articles were things Marvel staffers tried to sell to NATIONAL LAMPOON.

One piece they published and reprinted several times that stuck with me was a parody of CASPER. The premise was that Harvey comics were tame and saccharine despite the fact that much of their audience read them only two years earlier, kind of like how second graders call first graders "babies" (can you imagine if 37-year-olds considered all 36-year-olds less mature? Anyway....)

Ed wanted the actual comic people had as a kid. I had several boxes of these magazines. Aside from getting them fresh off the newsstands, I would scour yard sales and thrift stores for them. Unfortunately, I got rid of them by the time I was in high school. I don't remember how, but I know it's not the usual stories like "my mother made me throw them out" or "I discovered girls". Luckily, I was able to find this story online, and the person who scanned it kept the stains and other damage the comic accrued over the years. I think if you click on the images, you can get versions that aren't cut off.

I like how the victims say what's happening to them in the throes of death. And I guess wife-beating and child abuse were okay for kids' material as long as the characters didn't say bad words.

This particular comic freaked me out as a kid and I hid it under my bed for an eternity (i.e. three months). I wasn't superstitious at all or worried comic characters would come to life and get me. I didn't have any belief in anything scary but for some reason I couldn't look at certain things a second time.

Another comic that bothered me at that age was "Flob Was a Slob" from MAD #4 by Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman, because of the face in this panel.
Yes, my father kept all the EC's he had as a kid, but they weren't my earliest influences, so I can't scan those.

--Sam Henderson