Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Romance on the Range ADVENTURES IN ROMANCE "Stopgap: the Saga of Coby Nash"

Though not strictly a "Western romance" title......St John's anthology Adventures in Romance was an attempt to mix several genres with romance...including contemporary high adventure, swashbuckling pirates, and, as you'll see, attract both male and female readers!

Despite running romance strips in almost every genre (except horror and sci-fi), the book only lasted two issues.
Illustrator Leonard Starr spent a decade in comics before moving on to newspaper comic strips, first as an assistant on Flash Gordon, then as the creator/writer/artist of the long-running Mary Perkins: On Stage!
He's best known to contemporary audiences as the creator/writer/designer of the animated TV series ThunderCats!
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Friday, February 2, 2024


Yes, the cover title actually was Fess Parker: Daniel Boone...

...because, by the time this TV show debuted in 1964, there had been several other comic book series about the legendary frontiersman and the comic's publishers wanted readers to know this comic was based on the TV series starring the guy who previously-played Davy Crockett!

As this never-reprinted tale from Gold Key's Fess Parker: Daniel Boone #2 (1965) demonstrates, racism was a part of the fabric of America from the very beginning!
Admittedly, the authorities are British, since the story takes place before the American Revolution, but even our Declaration of Independence calls Native Americans “the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.”
So it's not surprising the judges take the word of disreputable, uneducated White settlers instead of the sworn testimony of an Oxford University graduate who was half-Cherokee/half-British!
It's rumored that this story, written and illustrated by Fred Fredricks, was based on an unused TV series plot.
It certainly reads as more sophisticated than the usual comic based on a movie or TV show.
Note: writer-artist Fredricks had produced all the stories in issues 1 and 2 (including this one).
Issue #3 had one story by him...which was partially-redrawn, and then he was gone from the series which ran another twelve issues.
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Saturday, January 20, 2024

RED MASK...or...MAVERICK??? Either Way, He's the "Man Who Lost Yesterday!"

We told you the tale of how 1940s Western movie star Tim Holt became comic book hero "Red Mask" HERE!
But that Masked Western Hero went through another metamorphosis, which we'll detail at the end of this story!
While this somewhat-cliched story of amnesia and imposters from Magazine Enterprise's Tim Holt #37 (1953) is a decent enough tale, what happened next was downright pitiful!
In 1971, fledgling comic publisher SkyWald, desperate for filler for their comics, used photostats and printing films from defunct comics publishers to add reprints behind 20-page new stories in their double-sized 52-page, 25-cent books!
In some cases, they used the material without any change.
In this case, Butch Cassidy #1 (1971), they re-titled the tale's lead character, and re-colored the story.
However, as you'll see, neither the editor nor proofreader did a very good job, as most of the captions and word balloons identifying the hero as "Red Mask" weren't altered!
Even the first paragraph calls him both "Maverick" and "Red Mask"...
Note: Skywald reprinted other Red Mask stories without trying to re-name the character!

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