Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rocket Rodeo!

Getting all that power between your legs has lots of implications, many of which I will not be exploring. But the cowboy bronco buster is an iconic American image and to attempt to translate that image into the modern world, we finds a great number of cartoon characters astride rockets and missiles and all manner of ballistic entities. It's a symbol of man's attempt to control technology and consequently his world, but at the same time shows just how precarious man's control of these great energies really is.

Whether it's Kirk Alyn as Superman atop a missile with a smile on his face in a sky-high frolic in the serial Superman,

Or Slim Pickens as Major "King" Kong riding a nuclear bomb in a nihilistic joyride to oblivion in Dr.Strangelove, the image of a man atop such a device tickles the deep imagination of us all.

Even The Three Stooges evoke a sense of adventure when they ride a rocket in Have Rocket, Will Travel. Check it out.

Here are some comic book covers which play around with this imagery in some entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking ways.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Golden Derby - May 1966!

Fifty years ago this month you might have dubbed it "Rocke Mastroserio Month" as Rocke did many if not most of the covers for the comics on that stands. Before his untimely death there was a keen interest at Charlton in making Rocke Mastroserio a mainstay on covers not unlike Nick Cardy at DC and Gil Kane at Marvel. His rugged but handsome style helped cement the look of Charlton across the line, something they knew they needed to do to in the comics market of the time. In the pages of Captain Atom the good Captain battles his one true-blue old-fashioned super-villian in Dr.Spectro who returns to give Cap fits, and some creative use is made of Spectro's powers. Dr.Spectro felt always to me like a DC villain, a proper fit in the Flash's rogues gallery. He looks great on this Ditko-Mastroserio effort. Fightin' 5 was in the homestreath of its memorable run and the cover is among the most dramatic the series ever featured. I saw this one in an ad at the time and lusted after the comic for many years before I was able to lay my hands upon one. Ghostly Tales brought out its second installment and the action on this cover is pretty palpable. It probably has the least punch of the five covers I've featured but that hound dog is hilarious. Mastroserio did the artwork on most of the stories in this one with help from Ditko and Ernie Bache on the fledgling Dr.Gaves feature. Fightin' Army offers up a robust helping of military tales, and as the cover shows the real nature of war is explored, at least a little bit. And representing the western side of things this issue of Wyatt Earp is a handsome one, the infamous sheriff rarely looked better in his Charlton run, and this shows how much the Charlton version owed to the TV Hugh O'Brien version of the character.

More to come next month.

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