Friday, February 27, 2009

Gumbo Galahad is Laffin' at Yo'.

Reckon ah left out this Gumbo Galahad story from mah post on Hillbilly Comics, fer space considdy'rations, but summa them thar int'ry-net fellers is a-fussin' and a-fumin' bout th' dee-piction o' hill folk in thet thar critter. Given alla them comments, seems only proper to serve up this Hillbilly Bonus story from Hillbilly Comics #2, whar'in a buncha' high falootin' sassiety folk git outy-smarted by Gumbo Galahad, Screwball of the Hills!

Art/Story by Art Gates

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hillbilly Comics!

Goldurn if'n thar weren't a hillbilly craze back in the mid-1950's, an' goldurn if comics didn't try to cash in like everyone else! As America emerged from World War II and entered the atomic age, a group of lovable, backwards, shabbily-dressed hill folk were left behind by a combination of poverty and geographic remoteness. Their feudin' moonshine-drinkin', cousin-marryin' ways were pure comedy gold for the country's burgeoning entertainment industry, and soon the movies, television, and yes, comics had hillbilly fever. For years, the American hillbilly provided his wealthier, more sophisticated countrymen with countless hours of joyful schadenfreude before the fad wore off, and they went back to just being poor people. Anyhow, bite off a chaw o' tabaccy, have a sip o' some of this hyar corn likker, dig inta some of maw's possum pie, and enjoy some good old fashioned, down-home HILLBILLY COMICS:

Now git offa my land, afore ah sets the dawgs to yo'!

All stories originally printed in Hillbilly Comics #1-3, Charlton, (1955)
Script (?) Art: Art Gates

Friday, February 20, 2009

Space Canines Animated

The Space Canine Patrol Agents made a return just a few years back, only not directly to comic books. The legion of super hounds re-appeared in the short-lived Krypto the Superdog cartoon, renamed the Dog Stars. The Space Canine Patrol Agents were the absolute last characters I ever expected to see again, let alone on TV, so it was positively surreal to see them cavorting on Cartoon Network. The Warner animation folks have done a fantastic job of bringing the DC Universe to the screen for a range of ages, and Krypto was an entry for the preschool set, but fun nonetheless. Wanna see Tusky Husky, Tail Terrier, Hot Dog, and the rest in animated action? Heres a link to their first appearance on Krypto the Superdog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Krypto Joins the Space Canine Patrol Agency!

When Superboy once again ditches his faithful dog Krypto to join the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th century, the dejected hound of steel is delighted to find a similar group of super canines of his own to join! Yes, once again we find that there is no depth to the insanity of the Silver age, as Again With the Comics scrapes the bottom of the 1966's Superboy barrel to dig out yet another nutty Krypto story when the Dog of Steel becomes..."The Dog from S.C.P.A."

The story begins with Krypto in space, where he spots what he thinks is a giant balloon, but what is actually Mammoth Mutt, the dog equivalent of Bouncing Boy. If you think its wacky that Superman has a dog, consider that there is actually a dog version of Bouncing Boy in DC Comics history. But hang on, it gets worse. It gets much, much worse.

Mammoth Mutt explains that he is a member of the Space Canine Patrol Agency, a group of space-dog crime fighters, each of whom has one unique superpower. He then explains that the a group of interstellar criminals named the Canine Caper Gang were the ones who killed him, as well as holding his team-mates captive on the planet below. Then, he dies. Krypto actually buries him in a little grave, which is absurdly touching in that way that only Silver Age Superman stories can sometimes be. He then flies to the planet Mammoth Mutt described:

Having noted that the Dog-people are walking upright and wearing clothes, Krypto then Dons the fallen SCPA agent's collar and a pair of Clark Kent's spare glasses that he was carrying for no apparent reason, and disguises himself in order to tackle the Canine Caper gang:

Yes, having noted that the Dog-people are walking upright and wearing clothes, Krypto then Dons the fallen SCPA agent's collar and a pair of Clark Kent's spare glasses and no clothing whatsoever and disguises himself in order to tackle the Canine Caper gang, his naked shame hidden behind a convenient pale yellow cloud.

His nudity uncommented on, he attacks the canine crooks as secret agent Air Daile, the flying dog. Flummoxed by his speed, the poaching pups sic their "doggysaur" on Krypto/Air Daile:

Krypto dzzies the freakish mutation by flying circles around it, but then lets himself be beaten and jailed to keep up the ruse that he's an SCPA agent with only one power:

You know, there just aren't that many scenes of dogs sharing chewing gum in comics, are there? Well, no avoiding it any further; time to meet the Space Canine Patrol Agency!

Tail Terrier! Tusky Husky! Chameleon Collie! Hot Dog! Bull Dog! Paw Pooch! The Space Canine Patrol Agency! This barrel has no bottom, folks!

Unfortunately, the hound of steel finds he has suddenly, inexplicably lost his super-powers! His plan to use his mighty powers to break them all free foiled, the super-powered canines pool their wits to dig their way out of greyhound gulag:

And yes, by the internal logic of this fictional Dogworld, established only two pages earlier in this very story, the SCPA are also apparently nudists.

Soon enough, even though powerless, Krypto has rallied the SCPA to rout the Caper Gang:

Yes, that's right, the gum that Chameleon Collie offered Krypto in that seemingly pointless gum-sharing scene was tainted with Kryptonite, causing Krypto's mysterious weakness. It's a textbook case of Checkhov's gun, only with super-powered dogs and chewing gum.

The Canine Caper Gang somehow gains the upper hand again, demanding to be taken to a place with no canine agents, a request Krypto is only too happy to fulfill:

The Space Canine Patrol Agency official slogan:


With special thanks to the Michael Coco library for it's loan of Superboy # 131!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Girls Can't Resist This KISS ME NECKTIE As It GLOWS In The Dark!


MEN...BOYS...Now amaze your friends! Surprise and thrill every girl you meet!

Like a miracle of light there comes a pulsing, glowing question - WILL YOU KISS ME IN THE DARK BABY?

There's no trick, no hidden batteries, no switches or foolish horseplay, but a thing of loveliness, as the question emerges gradually to life, touched by the wand of darkness.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Star TreX-Men

The thing about the Star Trek X-men crossover was, it was actually a lot better than it had any right to be. I'm indifferent to the X-men at best, and this particular era is no draw for me, but at least Gambit spends most of the issue unconscious and silent. The less Gambit, the better, as far as I'm concerned. the Star Trek characters' are actually pretty well-written in this special:

See, those, to me, sound pretty close to the "voices" of the classic crew on the original series. In fact the main thing that rings false is that the cosmic space anomaly is represented by swirling light effects and not by a toilet paper core wrapped in aluminum foil and Christmas tree lights.

In the story, the X-men and the Shi'ar are stuck in Star Trek times due to a "psionic rift in timespace" which basically means anything goes. The Enterprise is in orbit above the planet Delta Vega, looking into unusual spatial activity below, the cause of which Jim Kirk suspects to be Gary Mitchell, the friend he had to leave behind in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Their mission is derailed, as are so many, by weird shit off the starboard bow:

Once Gladiator shows up and punches the Enterprise, he becomes top priority, and Spock leaves the bridge to follow a "hunch". A hunch that turns out to be Wolverine and the X-men, hiding aboard the Enterprise, deposited aboard by the rift. At one point before Spock showed up, some of the X-men decide to take a gravely wounded Gambit to seek some medical attention , leading to the best scene in the issue:

Once both teams met, Kirk tried hitting on Phoenix only to find she was married to Cyclops, then, before he had a chance to mack on Storm, they all beamed down to the planet below to find that Proteus had reformed his essence to Bond with Gary Mitchell and the resulting all powerful psionic entity teamed with Deathbird and the Imperial Guard to take over the Universe. Of course, the two teams managed to defeat the entity by channelling Bishop's power through the phasers, thus inverting the tachyon stream, and nullifying the dampening field. Or something sciencey like that.

As I said, not bad, and better than we had any right to expect. But let me also point out that with a 40-page lead story, 8 pages of pin-ups, and several previews of upcoming Star Trek comics for $4.95 in 1996, Star Trek/X-men is kind of a rip-off even by today's inflated standards. Good ol' Marvel!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wolverine Versus Spock!

What happens when cold Vulcan logic squares off against unbridled mutant fury? Who would win in a battle between the X-Men’s Wolverine and Star Trek’s Mister Spock? If you’re sane, it has probably never occurred to you to ask. Regardless, Marvel/Paramount's 1996 Star Trek/X-Men provided us with an answer with a brief confrontation between these two unlikeliest of combatants. Without further ado,

Okay, so OF COURSE Marvel pussed out and called the battle a draw. Haven’t read many crossover comics, have you, chum? In true team-up tradition, both sides get their licks in before declaring a truce and agreeing to work together. The main assault in this scene is on our senses, as this ...most illogical combination of characters is forced to ever so briefly share a space in a work of fiction! This ain’t all I have to say about Star Trek/X-Men either, pals. Fan fiction has nothing on some of the stuff Marvel has actually published!


Monday, February 02, 2009

Hugh Mann, the Impossible Man

Here's an obscurity from Comics' Golden Age: Impossible Man, the lone normal man on the superhuman planet Brutus. If that sounds familiar, you've probably read Jim Valentino's Normalman, the mid-80's independent comic starring a powerless, terrified nebbish on a planet populated solely by superheroes.

Published in Meteor #1 (1946), this story was one of Impossible Man's handful of appearances in various Enwil Associates titles before disappearing into comic book limbo. I'm printing it here because I kind of dig the George Marcoux artwork.

9/12/10 Updated to add: The art for this feature may have been drawn by George Marcoux or by C.A. Voight, but I'm not sure which. See the comments for more details.