Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recently Read: Super Weird Heroes: Outrageous But Real!, edited by Craig Yoe

If 320 pages of obscure, mostly early '40s superhero comics sounds fun, Craig Yoe's Super Weird Heroes will float your boat. Most of the characters inside, including The Hand, Rainbow Boy, Kangaroo Man (and his kangaroo helper, Bingo) and Zippo, were created when the superhero template and formula was still being forged. This means crazier, more primal stuff than can usually be had in today's conglomerate-driven, team retreat-created
hero comics.

It's worth noting that these comics are generally weird, but not necessarily "bad"; a young John Buscema has a nicely drawn story represented, and Charles Voight's charming artwork for Jeep and Peep is a revelation. Yoe also prints an entire Fletcher Hanks Fantomah story from the original artwork. A Siegel and Shuster Funnyman story has the wrong first page attached, which just makes that story weirder.

There's more: Yoe introduces each story with a page or two of historical and biographical text. The cover logo is designed by the great Leslie Cabarga. The book is also printed on matte paper approximating old newsprint, so no light glare.

A second volume is advertised in the back of the book and I hope it arrives in 2017, as I can't say I've lived till I've read a "Twilight and Snoopy" story. Thanks to Jeff Cannell for the gift of this book!

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