Monday, July 29, 2013

Captain Marvel Jr. #31 (July 1945-Sivana Slips Up)

There has been a question about the Blue Boy Chronicles #1. The issue is essentially finished and at this point I'm waiting on a speciality comics seller to decide whether they want to carry the magazine or not before going to press.

I will be skipping next week and be back on August 12 to finish Captain Marvel Jr. #31.

Sivana Slips Up

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of this story is Dr. Sivana's vocabulary-challenged henchman Bugs. The villain's weapon is somewhat similar to the "Man Who Destroyed Friction" (CMJ #84-448). In both cases CMJ wasn't able to nab the villains though the 1950 yarn is a much better story. This story seems a comedown for Sivana who resorts to committing mere crime (albeit grand larceny) rather than plotting to conquer the world (or universe). The moral of the story comes when Cap Jr realizes his strength is ineffective and he must think his way out of the greasy room prison.
Once again the art seems to have been done by several hands in the Fawcett Art Department. This story's artwork is lackluster and seems thrown together with a minimum effort for establishing real drama and genuine excitement.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Captain Marvel Jr. #31 (July 1945 "CMJ and the Robombs of the Rising Sun")

We've basically come to the end of the Fawcett era Capt. Marvel Jr. material that I've had backlogged that is new to the internet. It is possible in the future that I will obtain other Captain Marvel Jr. or Master Comics issues that haven't been on the web so some "new" stories may yet appear here. This week I'll start presenting issues of CMJ that have already appeared elsewhere on the web-from my personal scans. I desire to develop commentary on this stories as I have done for the ones published at this blogsite for the past two years. It is important to keep the dialogue going on these stories. Hope that you will enjoy the ride on taking a second look at these Golden Age Blue Boy tales. We will be starting off with the "decade" of the CMJ "30" numbered issues. We have already posted issues 33 and 39. Over the next several months we'll be posting issues #31, 34 (35), 36-38 and 40. This period is a pivotal time where the strip converts from the World War II epoch to the Post War Era.

Captain Marvel Jr. #31 is an early transitional issue were we have a Pacific Theatre World War II story, a GI homecoming story and a rather mediocre Dr. Sivana tale. The artwork also seems to be in transition. The art is very factory like- it appears there were several artists involved with the ever present Mac Raboy photostats and copies of Cap Jr. The art was probably "knocked out" to meet a deadline without a lot of pride involved in the final product. This is especially evident in the Dr. Sivana story. It certainly says something about the strength of the title character that the title survived, but better days were definitely ahead for the Blue Boy.

CMJ and the Robombs of the Rising Sun

This story was the last actual World War II tale that Captain Marvel Jr. participated in. By the time this story hit the newsstands Japanese troops were pretty much routed out of the Philippines and Germany had surrendered in Europe. The Japanese Robombs were taken from the V-1 buzz bombs that the Germans used against Great Britain during the second "Blitz" in 1944. According to Wikipedia the Germans shared plans for the Buzz Bomb with the Japanese in 1943 and several Japanese missiles were designed but never manufactured. Unlike the land-launched Buzz Bombs the Japanese Robombs were launched from an undersea base--this was about ten years before the Regulus, a submarine launched cruise missile, and 15 years before the United States' first missile launching Polaris Submarine. Apparently Captain Nippon was disposed of by the Cap Jr.'s redirected super Robomb as he didn't appear again during the Fawcett years. The art is by what I'd term the Fawcett Art Department. Certainly many Mac Raboy photostats or tracing were used for the Blue Boy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Master Comics #79 (May 1947- Radar)

Here is another rather unlikely revival of the Fascist menace only two years after its
overwhelming defeat in World War II. Yes, some former fascists and Nazis escaped to Latin America and the Middle East and did cause some political and economic problems and hardships in the nations that received them. But it was not until a generation or two down the road that the influence of fascist and Nazi ideas fully flowered in such regimes as Sadaam Hussein's Iraq and the Islamist Terrorist movement. As with the previous Radar story it seems highly unlikely that Sikir the Great, the leader of the movement, would expose himself to possible defeat and capture when his henchmen could do the dirty work. Radar would plod ago for another 8 stories until his slot was filled by Hopalong Cassidy in Master Comics #88.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Master Comics #79 (May 1947, Richard, Richard)

Richard, Richard

This silly detective filler strip is indicative of many humor comics of the time. You have a title character who is a stupid, bumbling incompetent with one or two sidekicks. In this instance the smart straight man is a dog. The stereotyped Chinese Ah Choo is more or less along for the ride in this story sharing the general zaniness of the title character. Perhaps this is like the Three Stooges where Curly and Larry were the joke characters with Moe being the semi-normal straight man. Richard, Richard usually hung out in Wow Comics and this is his only appearance in Master Comics. 

It should be noted there is another John Broome text piece in this issue. As noted last week Broome was the author of some of the most notable DC Comics stories of the 1960s and also wrote a number of the Justice Society of America stories in All-Star Comics in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Master Comics #79 (May 1947-Nyoka)

Borneo has certainly been known for its headhunters. In this story we see Nyoka's father, Dr. Gordon (perhaps a relative of Flash Gordon?). Nyoka, good-hearted and ready to help, impulsively plunges into the jungle armed only with a pocket knife to rescue a downed pilot. Her escape from the bloodthirsty natives is far fetched and as she admits "impossible". Question: Does bamboo have the sort of elasticity presented in this story? Also there is an interesting throw away reference to Captain Marvel Jr.— Master Comics' lead feature. The copy of Master Comics this story was scanned from was poorly stitched. Some portions of the outer, side panels got cropped out because of printing alinement problems. These alinement issues in addition to poor color registration were common in Fawcett comic books.