Monday, May 8, 2017

Bring The Lightning!


It amazes me that with all the wonderful comic book work from decades gone by now available in some sort of published collection that the literal handful of colorful comics books from the short-lived Lightning Comic company has not gotten that treatment by someone.

(Some see the hand of Bill Everet on this aquatic cover. I do too. )

Lightning Comics put out only two comics. The first was the outlandishly titled Fatman The Human Flying Saucer. Aside from the unforgettable title this comic featured the Silver Age work of Captain Marvel veterans Otto Binder and the distinctive C.C. Beck.


Beck famously returned to Captain Marvel when DC revived the book in the early 70's, but with Fatman The Human Flying Saucer (real name Van Crawford who gets his oddball powers from an alien visitor), it's clear that he and Binder wanted to capture that old "Shazam" magic all on their own, populating the comic with colorful villains and even a super-heroic sidekick dubbed "Tinman" in his other guise is a youngster Lucius Pindle nicknamed "Thin Boy".


If you'd like to read the complete Fatman the Human Flying Saucer canon check out this delightful link.


The other title produced by Lightning Comics was Tod Holton Super Green Beret, a comic I've looked at here at the Dojo before. To read those stories go here.


Both of these vintage Silver Age comics, for all their flaws deserved to have a paper collection out there, something old guys like me can buy and have and hold and call our very own.


P.S. And then there is this ad below.


See comments section.

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6 comments:

  1. Were it not for DC’s 1970’s run of SHAZAM! (and the resulting reprints) I likely would have not have had much knowledge or appreciation of who C.C. Beck was. (Like Mike Ploog, Dan Jurgens and Carl Jacobi he was a Minnesota boy too.)

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    1. I knew of Beck from Feiffer's great book, but didn't appreciate him until the reprints in those great over-sized Shazam books.

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  2. Fatman was a really attractive comic, and Todd Holton was a kid who dressed just like Billy Batson before he transformed to the full-grown jingoistic fighter. Binder and Beck were also joined by Wendell Crowley, the old editor from Captain Marvel's glory days. I'm sure the kids who bought Fatman had no clue about all the Captain Marvel-related hype in their books; they had planned (or at least advertised) a third hero called Captain Shazam, which may have been an attempt to get as close to the Big Red Cheese as legally possible.

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    1. Thanks for the tip on "Captain Shazam", I added something about it to the post. I visualize something like a super-Binky.

      It's perhaps the greatest irony in all of comics lore that DC revived Captain Marvel and then because of their own legal machinations which had caused him to be inactive couldn't use his name when they did so.

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    2. I notice they provided their street address in that ad so the lawyers would know where to deliver their summons.

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  3. Wait, he changes into a flying saucer?? What?

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