Monday, April 25, 2011

Captain Marvel Jr #52 (The Flying Postman)

"The Flying Postman" reminds one of the sort of stories Will Eisner was doing on the Spirit during this period. A normal person (postman Yarrow) with a common problem and a unusual solution that becomes an even greater problem. Mix in a crook ("Ideas" Dolan--Commissioner Dolan was part of the Spirit's cast) and CMJ being the bystander/rescuer and you have an enjoyable light-hearted human interest tale. This story also shows Freddy's newsstand at the corner of Main & Oak in front of the Citizen's Bank. This would be Freddy's business location in most subsequent stories. Art is by Bud Thompson.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Captain Marvel Jr #52 (New Supporting Cast)

Captain Marvel Jr #52 (August 1947) is a pivotal issue in the post-war saga of the World's Mightiest Boy. This issue introduces several  supporting cast members who continued until the end of the series in 1953. This cast centered around Mrs Wagner's Boarding House. Up until this time CMJ/Freddy Freeman had been somewhat of a loner. There were a few reoccurring characters before this issue but they were used sporadically at best. This first story introduces us to Police Officer Jim Bellows and Mrs Wagner. Mrs. Wagner played roughly the same role as Aunt May did to Peter Parker (Spider-Man) that of a surrogate mother. Officer Bellows provided Freddy's link to the local law enforcement authorities. Note the circulation manager's name is W. Crowberson (p. 1), a clever take Wendell Crowley (editor) and Will Lieberson (Executive editor). Art on this story is provided by Bud Thompson.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Captain Marvel Jr #41 (News Prophet)

The last story in Captain Marvel Jr #41 "The News Prophet" has a similar theme to the great Silver Age Flash story "The Doorway to the Unknown" (The Flash #148, November 1964) written by John Broome. According to Grand Comic Datebase Otto Binder scripted the CMJ story presented here. Again Bud Thompson penciled the story with many Mac Raboy CMJ figure photostats or tracings.
This issue also included a 4-page "Snortville Sneeze" fuller strip plus other half page and full page humor strips, a two page text story and several ads.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Captain Marvel Jr #41 (Acrobat, chapter 3)

The artwork in this three-part "Acrobat" story is by Bud Thompson. Thompson is quite a versatile cartoonist. He has a range from straight illustration to a style comfortable with fairy tales bordering on cartoon animation. It seems likely that Bob Rogers helped Thompson with backgrounds. This story is definitely on the illustration side--proving Thompson to be a worthy successor to Mac Raboy, Considering some of his earlier CMJ work Thompson is growing in his comic book story telling craft.  The second page of the second chapter has a very effective sequence where the Acrobat visits his girl friend. Panel four has strong shadows outlining the villain's grasping hand and the next well-composed panel has the girl lying on the floor with heavy shadows cast from the villain's legs. The violence takes place between the panels. Then the Acrobat ducks out the window with a expert use of one point perspective. This is very effective story telling. The strong shadows and effective use of night colors (and building establishment shots) are repeated five pages later in a beautifully designed page that shows the Acrobat attempting to kill his criminal partner, Spike. The opening page of chapter 3 is also very effective with its elegantly drawn CMJ figure on the trapeze with the Acrobat hurling down on him firing a pistol which forces the readers eye into the next gorgeously drawn night waterfront establishment panel. While every page in the story is not as effective as these pages it shows that Thompson (and Rogers) producing excellent comic book art.