Monday, February 16, 2015
The Danger Road!
Comic Media was a short-lived publisher from the early 50's and they put out some handsome material in their brief existence. Their go-to artist appears to have been the painfully underrated Don Heck who of course went on a decade later to be a mainstay at Marvel.
Danger was one of the company's flagship titles and begins its run in 1953 with a wide range of manly men engaged in a variety of sweaty activities as evidenced by this debut cover by Heck. These are, as the banner announces, stories about "Men Without Fear".
Pete Morisi, better known a decade later for his Thunderbolt title for Charlton, also was a regular artist for the fledgling company and his cover for the second issue is quite handsome.
Morisi is back for the third issue, offering up an even more entrancing image.
Don Heck returns for the next couple of issues with some covers that promise some wild and intriguing adventures indeed.
But then with the sixth issue a new regular feature was introduced, drawn by Heck. Not named on the cover this is Duke Douglas, a dapper secret agent who appears by the many montages he is featured in on this cover and others to be engaged in all sorts of clandestine adventure.
With the ninth issue Duke's name finally rates a cover and the action here goes more for mood rather than action.
Duke holds down the comic until 1954 when it completes its Comic Media run, the company having given up the ghost. You can almost imagine him firing his gun into the fourth wall at the creditors.
Charlton Comics was in a position to swoop in and gathers up much of Comic Media's material and titles, though Duke Douglas and Don Heck alike are gone from the covers when they relaunched the title in 1955.
The series runs a mere three issues before a dramatic transformation takes place.
The comic shifts not only titles but genres as espionage gives way to western action and Jim Bowie takes over the star spot as well as the title in 1956.
But after only three issues, Bowie too bows out and a new star gallops in.
With the twentieth issue of the run the title is changes in 1957 to Rocky Lane's Black Jack, and a comic which once featured manly men without fear now stars another species entirely, a brave horse.
But it's a successful horse and the Black Jack lasts until the thirtieth issue when the comes to an end in 1959.
If you would like to savor some of those vintage Danger adventures with Don Heck still very much in his lush Milt Caniff mode, then check out this link.