Friday, January 19, 2018

Composer John Williams' Father, Drummer Johnny Williams listed on a 1937 Raymond Scott Quintet 78!
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Recently Read: Golden Age Marvel Comics, Vol. 1

This volume is tabula rosa for Marvel comics, reprintings of the earliest comics Marvel published, starting in 1939: Marvel Mystery Comics 1-4. The (Golden Age android) Human Torch gets his start here; some of the other serialized strips are the Tarzan ripoff Ka-Zar (pulled over from the company's pulp magazines), Ferret, a bland detective with a ferret on his shoulder, The Angel, a bland superhero with no powers, the robot Electro, boldly drawn by Steve Dahlman. The star of the show is Bill Everett's lovingly written, drawn and colored Sub-Mariner, here, as always, an enraged terrorist wanting to sometimes destroy western civilization and helping it at others. A Roy Crane-influenced war strip, American Ace, died too soon, but every issue of Marvel Mystery Comics is worth your time, a precious snapshot of comics history.

Beware: avoid the original 2004 printing, which I unwittingly paid good money for. It's the worst comic book reprint reproduction I've ever seen; it looks like a bad microfiche source, wretchedly "fixed", with illegible lettering, dropped out and darkened art in every panel and incorrect coloring. That reconstruction was by Jerron Quality Color in Sparta, Illinois. The cover price was $50! The 2011 edition, by Pacific Rim Graphics (art) and Wesley Wong (colors) is markedly improved.

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Classical LPs I've Listened to Recently, January 2, 2018

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Comics Read Recently, December 27, 2017

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Comics Read Recently, December 23, 2017

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Friday, December 22, 2017

An Ad for the Short-Lived Harvey Thriller Line

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recently Read: The Superman Chronicles, Vol. 9

In the second-to-last volume of DC's missed chronological reprintings of the adventures of Superman, cartoonist John Sikela does a good job attempting to keep the book looking like co-creator Joe Shuster's work.

Fortunately, Jerry Siegel's still writing every story and the work has a charm missing from today's interpretations. In this volume, Lois and Clark take on car dealers who purposely sell unsafe cars, take inner city kids out for a day in the country, rat out a fake astrologist, and help a budding baseball player start his career. This down-to-earth and humanist take on Superman is just what's missing in the stories I've read in the past several decades (although Grant Morrison's run started promisingly).

These are also the first reprinted stories I've read which use material created for the Superman radio show as orthodoxy. Jimmy Olson and the Fortress of Solitude are used in the stories as if they've already been introduced on the page; rather, they were apparently created for the radio show first and transferred to the comic books (and comic strip?). I'd love to hear from comics historians about this particular transference from radio to comics.

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