Thursday, September 8, 2011

Master Comics #45 (December 1943) Hopalong Cassidy

As a young kid growing up in the 1950s B Western heroes were a special breed. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Cisco Kid, and many others held the allegiance of many children during that period including myself. They had pretty much run their course by the middle of the decade being replaced by more "adult" wild west good guys like Marshall Dillon, Wyatt Earp, Paladin, the Rifleman and others. Hopalong Cassidy was one of the earlier generation heroes that I have fond memories of— from his movies.

Fawcett produced his comic books until they largely left the field in 1953-54 but the Hoppy comic (as he was affectionately called) migrated over to DC Comics where it lasted until 1959. One of the problems with western comics that are largely movie or TV based is the lack of sound and movement that helped to distinguish one western hero from another. Many of these characters have pretty much the same voice--they all sound alike on the comic book page. Hoppy pretty much sounded like any other B-movie western hero in the comics. It is amazing that these comics were as popular for as long as they were. It is a testament to the original film source material then the actual comic itself.

However the artist Harry Parkhurst was a good draftsman who captures the western setting quite well. While the story telling is stilted which comes more from the placement of large quantities of dialog and the over reliance on medium shots. He does have a profile medium shot on page 3 (panel 2) but such variation of camera angle is limited. Parkhurst also worked on Golden Arrow for Fawcett and Western (Dell) on Trigger, Roy Rogers and others.

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