Monday, April 29, 2013

BOB COLT "Flying Fists"

Many Western stars including John Wayne and Buster Crabbe had their own comics... when a new Western star (and his horse, Buckskin) came along in 1950, Fawcett Comics immediately gave him his own title, complete with backstory...
Here's one of the tales from his first issue...
This never-reprinted tale from Fawcett's Bob Colt #1 (1950) was drawn by George Evans, but the writer is unknown.

Wanna know a secret?
Bob Colt didn't exist!
Well, the guy who portrayed him on the covers did exist, and if you've ever read "high adventure" paperbacks, you've seen him...
...on almost every Doc Savage book cover since 1964!
(Not to mention The Avenger, James Bond, two different incarnations of The Spider, even as puppet character Steve Zodiac from the 1960s tv series FireBall XL5...
...and, he was the second on-screen Flash Gordon [after Buster Crabbe], on a 1950s one-season TV series filmed in Europe!)
He's male model Steve Holland, who served as the visual template for Bob Colt, and posed for every cover during the book's run.
Fawcett was testing the waters with a plethora of new characters who were portrayed by actors/models on their covers including...
...Vic Torry...
and Bill Battle!
Perhaps they were hoping to sell the properties to tv production companies with the actors used on the covers as the series' stars?
None of them went beyond their comic book incarnations, but Bob Colt was the longest-lasting of the new characters, with a 10-issue run!

Monday, April 22, 2013

ADVENTURES OF ALAN LADD "Guns of Smoke Valley"

Was there any manly movie star of the 1940s who didn't have his own comic?
Personally, I'm surprised there wasn't an Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power title, but it's probably because the licensing rights would've been too expensive.
The scripter of this tale from DC's Adventures of Alan Ladd #1 (1949) is unknown, but we do known it was illustrated by Ruben Moreira, one of the first Puerto Rican artists in comic books.
Among his credits during his twenty-year comics career are a two-year stint on the Tarzan newspaper strip and co-creation of DC Comics characters Rip Hunter: Time Master and Roy Raymond: TV Detective.
Like other titles featuring cross-genre stars like John Wayne and Buster Crabbe, Adventures of Alan Ladd ran stories in other categories like crime and contemporary adventure.
Unlike those titles, AoAL played up the fact that Ladd was, first and foremost, an actor, with the level of fame his profession brought him ("Gosh, you're that movie star...Alan Ladd!"), and a guy who wasn't used to doing the strenuous stuff stuntmen did in his films!

The title ran nine issues, with almost every issue featuring a Western-themed tale.

Monday, April 15, 2013

One-Page Features

Dell Comics ran very few ads inside their books...
From Four Color #1125, art by Gil Kane and Russ Heath
...instead running one or two-page illustrated features and text pages, usually on subjects related to the main story, written and illustrated by the same creators.
From Four Color #1125, art by Gil Kane and Russ Heath
Since stagecoach travel was a major plot point in the Laramie stories in Four Color #1125 (1960), the features were about...stagecoaches!
The next Laramie issue, #1223, had tales about criminals using a ghost town for a hideout and a crooked Indian Agent.
Guess what the features were about?
From Four Color #1223, art by Gil Kane
From Four Color #1223, art by Gil Kane
The next issue, #1284, ran stories about the series characters being isolated by a snowstorm and a Native American who was considered a traitor by other Indians because he worked with settlers.
The feature pages were about...
From Four Color #1284, art by Gil Kane
From Four Color #1284, art by Gil Kane
Who says comics ain't educational?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ZORRO "Spaniard's Secret: the Brooch"

Don't worry, you didn't miss anything.
The first two chapters appeared in other blogs...
Young Anita Cabrillo (Annette Funicello) arrives from Spain in search of her father, Don Miguel Cabrillo, but no one in Los Angeles seems to know him...or if he even exists!
Don Diego Vega (Guy Williams) and his father (George J Lewis) offer to help the girl and put her up in a guest room at their hacienda while she looks for her unseen daddy.
However, there are those who don't want Anita's search to succeed, forcing Zorro into action to save the girl's life twice...
This never-reprinted tale from Dell's Four Color Comics #1037 (1959) was illustrated by Warren Tufts and Joe Giella, but the scripter of the adaptation is unknown.
Trivia: Carlos Rivas, who played the villainous Ruiz was a Mexican-American actor who played both good and bad characters of various ethnicities during his long career from 1945 to 2000.
His real name was Oscar von Weber!
He was a founding member of Nosotros, an organization that works to improve the image and employment of Latinos in the entertainment industry.
Now, the episode itself...

Monday, April 8, 2013

FRONTIER DOCTOR "Apache Uprising"

Decades before Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman, there was... this one-shot based on the 1958-59 syndicated TV series starring Rex Allen.
Though he did not carry a gun, Dr Bill Baxter was not a wimp by any measure.
The medical man used his wits, medical knowledge, his fists, and, occasionally, other people's shooting irons, to aid those who needed help.
Rex Allen, who played Baxter, performed as a rodeo rider while in high school.
After graduation, he took up singing, first in vaudeville, then on radio, becoming a popular country/Western singers.
Like most of his contemporaries, he soon was doing Western b-movies as a singing cowboy, teamed up with comedy-relief sidekicks including Buddy Ebsen and Slim Pickens, and nicknamed "The Arizona Cowboy".
After a couple of dozen films, Rex tried to make the transition to TV with Frontier Doctor, but the show was cancelled after a single season.
But Allen made yet another transition, and became a successful voice-over artist and narrator, primarily for Disney film and tv productions.
Besides Frontier Cowboy, Rex had his own self-titled comic book series from Dell Comics that ran for thirty-one issues!
Allen was a cousin of Gunsmoke cast member Glenn Strange, who played bartender Sam Noonan.
Rex's son, Rex Allen, Jr., is a successful singer.
There's a Rex Allen Museum in Willcox, Arizona!

Both stories in this issue of Dell's Four Color Comics (#877) from 1958, were adaptations of tv episode scripts, illustrated by noted illustrator Alex Toth (though the adaptation scripter is unknown).
There's a kool page about Frontier Doctor HERE.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...