Sunday, March 15, 2015

Golden Age America: Covers, part 3

The third journey back to America of the 1950s to look at pre-code comics from my collection. Kicking off with Suspense No.19, June 1952. One of Marvel's horror comics.

Wild Western No.22, also from June 1952 and published by Marvel. Anthology comic featuring Kid Colt, Apache Kid, and Gunhawk. Cover by the late great Joe Maneely.
Crime Exposed No.14, again from June 1952. Marvel Comics. Another of Marvel's many crime comics of the era. 
Weird Science No.14, July-August 1952. EC Comics. One of the great SF comics of the fifties. Cover by Wally Wood.
Jungle Comics No.152, August 1952. Publisher: Fiction House. Another popular genre of the golden age was the jungle adventure strip. Stories of women in fur bikinis aimed at adolescent Americans. We had Robot Archie, the Jungle Robot. America won that round I think. 
Crime and Punishment No.56, November 1952. Lev Gleason Publications. Torture covers such as these would later be banned by the Comics Code.
Terror Tales No.5, January 1953. Fawcett Publications. A horror comic from the same company that brought us the wholesome Captain Marvel.
Adventures Into Weird Worlds No.18, May 1953. Marvel Comics. More Marvel horror. Cover by Bill Everett.
Tales of Horror No.6, August 1953. Minoan Publishing. 'The Treacherous Genie'? More like the Lecherous Genie going by this cover, eh readers? Eh? 
Tomb of Terror No.11, September 1953. Harvey Publications. Classic horror comic, now back in print in the UK thanks to PS Publishing

Don't miss the final selection of golden age covers tomorrow! 
Previous parts in this series:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/golden-age-america-covers-part-1.html

http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/golden-age-america-covers-part-2.html

15 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Great covers from before that reactionary menace Frederic Wertham came along. They actually started burning comics on public bonfires like the Nazis had done with books.

John Pitt said...

Was the EC Weird Science as bad as they said? Gasp!
I've never seen an EC horror, I'd love to see what all the fuss was about!

Lew Stringer said...

The EC Comics were classy, well written and drawn comics John. Their imitators were the ones who pushed the gore etc, but it's EC who bore the brunt of a lot of the unjustified criticism.

Yep Colin. Crazy times, which proved that if authority figures spin a biased take on things with enough conviction then some will always believe the lies. Despite there being no proof that comics harmed children, the mob mentally went along with it.

It happened in Britain too. I'm not sure if it went as far as throwing comics onto public bonfires but it certainly made the news and led to the Harmful Publications Act. Have a read of this lot when you have time:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/1954-year-britain-got-horrors-over.html

paddykool said...

I agree Lew about the EC comics .They were really classy. In the 1960's the only remnant of that great line left standing was MAD magazine .I loved it in the early 1960's ..and the paperback reprints. EC were nowhere by then, of course .It was only when East Coast comics reprinted a dozen of the titles in among all the other underground comix like Zap and Bijou that I came across them in in BOOKS bookshop in Leeds in 1972 .Luckily after that they started those beautiful reprinted ..and very expensive... hardback collections and of course there was that big oversized one by Nostalgia Press. I managed to get the Weird Fantasy, Weird Science,Shock, Crypt and one of the wonderful war sets.Heavyweight large boxsets. I think they've been reprinted infinitum since then in various forms ..even in actual comic reprint form. So anyone who hasn't dipped into these is due a surprise.Some of the best artwork ever and snappy , funny adult O'Henry style short stories with shocker endings.They're even reprinting some of the best of these in the actual size of the original artwork. I managed to get a huge one featuring wally Wood's artwork about a year or two ago but it is so huge and expensive ..something like £150 ..that i'll not be buying many more of these without building a house-extension..Take out another mortgage and....Get some of these!!!

paddykool said...

By the way Lew ..forgot to say .These are a great set of covers. There was plenty of great artwork about across the range of titles.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Paddykool. Yes, I discovered the EC reprints in the same way as you: Mad paperbacks, then the East Coast selection, then I bought a couple of those huge box sets. I had Vault of Horror and Weird Science. Lovely stuff, reproduced in crisp black and white so you can see every brush stroke.

I also bought all of those single issue colour reprints that came out in the 1990s, so all in all I have every EC comic in reprint form.

Dark Horse are now doing hardbacks in the same size as those 1980s volumes but in colour. I don't like the computerised colouring they've used, or the glossy paper, so I don't collect those. However Fantagraphics have issued some nice black and white books with stories gathered together via artist, rather than by issue. They're excellent for anyone wanting to see what EC Comics were like.

Colin Jones said...

Thanks for that link, Lew - very interesting and a fascinating discussion between you and Kid Robson in the comments section back in the days when you still spoke to each other - though I see the relationship was starting to get a bit strained even then lol. I certainly remember the "video nasties" hysteria of the '80s.

paddykool said...

I'm with you on the computerised colouring. I think most of the Marvel Masterpieces were destroyed by it. What a lot of people failed to realise was that the mad colouring in the early marvels was a very big part of their charm.It made they seem "punky" compared with DC National. I loved the purplish blues they used on things like Spider-man.

Lew Stringer said...

That's just where our disagreement kicked off, Colin.

You can follow these links if you want to see how it developed/deteriorated:

http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/lowbrow-redtop-calls-for-beano-ban.html

then this...

http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/very-best-of-black-bob.html

As you can see, I gave him plenty of room to spout his increasingly abrasive opinions before I'd finally had enough. It was a mistake to ever respond to him in the first place.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes paddykool, if they must be in colour I much prefer the way that Yoe! Books do reprints, by scanning the actual comics to retain the original dot screen colours, off-register and all. At least that way they keep the finer lines, unlike some restoration in the Marvel Masterworks where some finer detail has dropped out.

paddykool said...

The Yoe books are really the way to go . I agree wholeheartedly.Sometimes the little flaws are as important as a slick finish ...much like a unique personality..or as Leonard Cohen might have it ...the cracks are there so that the light can get in...

Mikeodee said...

Just to agree with you and Paddykool re the colours but also I much prefer reading EC stuff in the original 'pulpy' comic format...the texture of the paper and the muddy colours all adding to the experience. I too picked up those 90s reprints (though not all unfortunately) and likewise my first exposure to EC was the first East Coast reprint...purchased in Dark They Were and Golden Eyed . I also seem to remember the Nostalgia Press book prominently displayed in the shop window.

Geoff said...

The later attacks on your reputation by that guy didn't do him any favours in the long run as we know Lew. Keep walking tall mate and ignore those with a knack for twisting the truth. Karma is a wonderful thing.

The 50s cover gallery has been interesting but it's before my time. I couldn't help noticing the glaring absence of super hero comics. There were still some being published then, right?

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Geoff.

Yes, there were superhero comics published throughout that time but I don't have any originals. Far too expensive for my wallet I'm afraid. I have various collected reprints but I only wanted to scan original comics for the purpose of these golden age posts.

Lew Stringer said...

By the way, talking of those collected reprints I recommend the Atlas Era Marvel Masterworks which reprinted Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, Black Knight, Etc.

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