Sunday, December 12, 2010

April-June 1936: More Fun Comics #10-11; New Comics #5

Cover by Vin Sullivan
Alger (aka Russell Cole) is doing work over here as well, on 'Woozy Watts'.  I'm cooling on him now.  His distinctive style caught my attention to begin with, but he's just doing the same tired gags as everyone else.

As much as I hate having to read the short stories, they're pretty much always more involving than the strips.  More rounded characters, deeper plots, they just seem a bit more grown-up.  And perhaps that's to do with the relative maturity of that medium as compared to comics.  Comics are here in their infancy, while prose stories are hundreds of years old by this point.  I feel the need to point out that these stories range from alright to reprehensible; we're not talking genuine quality here.  But the strips feel lacking in comparison.  I couldn't tell you thing one about Wing Walker or Brad Hardy or Barry O'Neill or any of those generic goofballs, but the characters in the prose stories are a bit more alive.

'Doctor Occult' (by Siegel and Shuster) has a pretty standard mystery story as he tries to solve the "Methuselah" Murders, featuring a guy who is killing people to steal their life essence and become immortal.

'Mr. Divot' is a filler strip that makes its only appearance here. He's a crap golfer who digs all the way to China..  It looks like 'Chubby' has moved from New Comics to More Fun Comics.  Same with 'G. Wiz' and 'Ramblin' Jim'.

'Henri Duval' used to be by Siegel and Shuster, but now it's credited to Hugh Langley.  A bit of research reveals to me that it's Shuster using a pseudonym.  They're doing the same thing with 'Doctor Occult', which is pretty mystifying to me.  Are they trying to disguise how much work they're doing?  I don't know, it seems like a crappy way to build a career.

Cover by Whitney Ellsworth
There are a couple of new strips this month.  The first is 'Sandor', by Homer Fleming.  It's about a white kid raised by wild dogs in the Indian jungle, who is the enemy of local ruler Rajah Maharajah.  Sure, he kills a tiger bare-handed, but there's nothing to distinguish this from every other adventure strip out there.

There's a humour strip featuring cowboy 'Rattlesnake Pete', but I'm not sure if it's just a one-off or a series.  Even so, there's nothing to see here.

'Steve Conrad', by Creig Flessel, is also new. He's an adventuring scientist exploring the mysterious Dolorosa Isle, with the usual natives and mutinous crew members and such.  And much like the other new strips this month, it's pretty uninspiring stuff.

Steve Carson Watch: This month in 'Federal Men' (by Siegel and Shuster), Carson blows up a submarine by shooting a torpedo with his pistol.  Everyone in the submarine dies except for him.

Cover by Vin Sullivan
'Doctor Occult' is tackling the old standbys this month, as he confronts a werewolf.  I still can't figure out why he's had such longevity.

There's not much movement with the strips this issue.  An adaptation of 'The Three Musketeers' (the Alexander Dumas novel) begins, illustrated by Sven Elven.  Siegel and Shuster are at it again, with yet another new strip: 'Calling All Cars!' It's about a cop who gets mixed up in a mystery involving the boss's daughter, and it would be pretty unremarkable if it wasn't for the gratuitous spanking scene right in the middle.

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