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ALTER EGO #133 (84 full-color pages, $8.95) spotlights Gentleman JIM MOONEY, the guy who drew ’em all—Batman & Robin, Supergirl, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Tommy Tomorrow, Ghost Rider, Dial H for Hero, Kaanga, The Invaders, The Moth, Wildfire, Lash Lightning—and a whole host more! This issue features an incredible in-depth interview conducted by DR. JEFF McLAUGHLIN—never before published! Plus there’s FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America), MICHAEL T. GILBERT in Mr. Monster's Comic Crypt, BILL SCHELLY's Comic Fandom Archive, and more—all behind a cover montage by JIM MOONEY of his greatest DC hits! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

Text of Alter Ego #133

  • Roy ThomasMooney-struck Comics Fanzine

    Characters TM & DC Comics.

    $8.95In the USA

    No.133June2015

    JIMMOONEY

    TALKS ABOUTYESTERDAYSTOMORROWS!

    18265827763

    5

    05

  • Vol. 3, No. 133 / June 2015EditorRoy Thomas

    Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorJohn Morrow

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comic Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editorial Honor RollJerry G. Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo WhiteMike Friedrich

    ProofreadersRob SmentekWilliam J. Dowlding

    Cover ArtistsJim Mooney

    Cover ColoristTom Ziuko

    With Special Thanks to: ContentsWriter/Editorial: Sunny Jim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2I Never Really Considered Comics An Art Form . . . . . . . . . 3

    Golden/Silver/Bronze Age artist Jim Mooney interviewed by Dr. Jeff McLaughlin.

    Seal Of Approval: History Of The Comics Code: Ch. 6 (contd) 49From Dr. Amy Kiste Nybergs groundbreaking studythe aging of the CCA.

    Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt! Wertham Attacks! . . . . . . . . . 55Michael T. Gilbert takes a look at Wertham and the Code, pro & con, as seen in the 1950s.

    Comic Fandom Archive: The RBCC Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62Beginning Bill Schellys multi-part study of the foremost comics adzine of the 1960s.

    re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections] . . . . . . . . . 68FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America] #192 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

    P.C. Hamerlinck presents Fawcett/Captain Marvels Otto Binder & The Fawcett Invasion of France - Part II!

    On Our Cover: While Jim (Madman) Mooney contributed memorably to Marvel Comics in thelate 1960s & 1970s, hell probably forever be even more identified with the DC heroes he drew fromthe 1940s through the 60s. Our crazyquilt cover is composed of commission drawings he did forRobert Plunkett (Supergirl and her animal buddies) and interviewer Dr. Jeff McLaughlin (Batman &Robin) and Eddy Zeno (The Legion of Super-Heroes), plus a penciled Tommy Tomorrow figure froma proposed revival in the mid-1980s, supplied by Mark Ellis. Jim was drawing, and drawing well,right up until he left us. Photo courtesy of Eddy Zeno. [All hero art TM & DC Comics.]Above: One of the few times Jim Mooney drew Daredevil was when the Man without Fear sneakedpast Spider-Mans spider sense to clobber him (we forget just whybut hey, this was Marvel!) inMarvel Team-Up #25 (Sept. 1974). Script by Len Wein; inks by Frank Giacoia. [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Heidi AmashGer ApeldoornTerry AustinBob BaileyWilliam BigginsChristopher BoykoRobert BrownBart BushJohn CaputoNick CaputoShaun ClancyComicBookPlus

    (website)ComicLink (website)Jon B. CookeChet CoxRay CuthbertAl DellingesMichael DunneMark EllisJean-Michel

    FerragattiShane FoleyBob FujitaniJeff GelbJanet GilbertGrand Comics

    Database (website)Arnie GrievesR.C. HarveyHeritage Comics

    Archives (website)Richard HowellAlan HutchinsonDr. M. Thomas IngeMarc Kardell

    Jim KealyDavid KirkpatrickLee LaskaStan LeeJim LudwigBruce MasonDoug MartinDr. Jeff McLaughlinBrian K. MorrisFrank MotlerMark MullerWill MurrayMarc Tyler

    NoblemanDr. Amy Kiste

    NybergJake OsterBarry PearlRobert PlunkettKen QuattroGene ReedBob RivardBernice Sachs-

    SmollerMaggie SansoneRandy SargentVijah ShahDarci SharverAnthony SnyderDann ThomasHerb TrimpeDr. Michael J.

    VassalloLynn WalkerRebecca WentworthEddy Zeno

    This issue is dedicated to the memory ofJim Mooney

    Alter EgoTM is published 8 times a year by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Eight-issue subscriptions: $67 US, $85 Canada, $104 elsewhere. All characters are their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in China. ISSN: 1932-6890

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  • Jim was a total pleasure to work witha realpro. He was totally dependable as far as deadlineswere concerned, and although he had a greatsense of humor and loved to kid around, he tookhis work seriously and never gave any assignmentanything but his best effort. If the world consisted of people like JimMooney, it would be a much happier place. Stan Lee.

    When I began working for Marvel, I lumped Jim in with the restof the giants in the bullpen who worked for them. It was a friendlybut intimidating environment in the bullpen in those dayssurrounded by all that talent, and Jim being strictly a freelancer, hisvisits were not frequent. I was impressed with his style and caneasily picture his work in my mind. Herb Trimpe.

    Working with Jim was always memorable and always a joy. Henever disappointed he always gave more than I envisioned with ascript. Jim Mooney was one of the two finest men Ive ever met inmy life. He more than justified his existence. I hope I can say thesame about myself. Mark Ellis.

    I remember how delighted Stan Lee waswhen Jim came over to help us out withSpider-Man. Besides which, Jim seemedabout as amiable an artist as ever I met. ButIll confess, my main thought about Jim isthat I consider him my good luck piece, soto speak. In 1965 I was [at DC Comics]proofreading a Supergirl story he haddrawn when I received the surreptitiousphone call from secretary Flo Steinberg thatStan Lee would like to see me. Right after

    that lunchtime I came back to DCs office and handed in my resig-nation. Jims Supergirl was the last page of art I saw as a DCemployee for 15 years. And it was always a pleasure to look at.

    Roy Thomas.I was a fan of Jims since the Supergirl stories of the 1960s, and

    it was both an honor and a pleasure to work with him. We struck upa friendship which lasted for almost 25 years. Jim Mooney was manythings: a superb comic book artist; a fine storyteller; an accom-plished painter; a connoisseur of antiques, theatre, movies, andmusic; and a true gentleman. I expect that Im not the only editor, orpenciler, or collaborator who has a batter of Jim Mooney saved mybacon stories, but its worth reiterating that Jims output was not onlymiraculous in its turnaround, but it was expert, individualistic, andstylishjust like Jim himself. Richard Howell.

    I Never Really ConsideredComics An Art Form

    Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist JIM MOONEY TalksAbout A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

    Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Dr. Jeff McLaughlin

    3

    I Dont Like Spiders And BatsBut Jim Mooney, whos flanked here by hisart for two of the creepy costumed super-heroes with whom hes most identified, had

    no reason to warble those (slightlyreworded) song lyrics. The splash page atleft is from Batman #48 (Aug.-Sept. 1948),

    wherein he penciled all three stories(Charles Paris inked this one; scripter

    unidentified)while the Spider-Man colorillo was done circa 2006 for interviewer Dr. Jeff McLaughlin, and was inscribed byboth Jim and Stan Lee. Photo courtesy of

    Mark Ellis. [Batman page TM & DC Comics;Spider-Man TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • NTERVIEWERS INTRODUCTION: Jim Mooney passed awayMarch 30, 2008, as I was editing the following interview, which wehad conducted over the phone during the previous month, while I

    was in Austria and he was in his home in Florida. I had met Jim at theSan Diego Comic-Con in 2006 and had wound up spending most of mytime just sitting with him and other legendary writers and artists as theytold me story after story. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends I haveever had. And, as I write this introduction, it is one of the saddestmoments, as I miss Jim a great deal even though I only knew him for acouple of years. We chatted at least once a month, sometimes once a week.His grace, his humor, his honesty, and his decency, not to mention hissincere interest in others, made him a dear friend. Little did I imagine, asa kid reading comics, that I would have the honor of becoming a friend ofthe artist who drew so many of my favorites. Jim had been married twiceand had three children: Bruce (deceased), Jimmy, and Noel. He also hadseven cats (none of whom was named Streaky). In our conversations, Inever asked him how he got the moniker Gentleman Jim, because Iimmediately knew the answer the first time I met him. It is a clich,yes, but I am truly a richer man for knowing him. I hope you enjoy ourconversation as much as I did. It took place in February 2008. A few ofmy remarks have been interpolated in italics. Dr. Jeff McLaughlin.

    The First Job I Got [In] New York Was A Strip Called The Moth

    Jim Mooneys long comic book career spanned every age. It began when hedid his first seven pages of pencils and inks back in early 1940 forpublisher Victor Fox with Mystery Men Comics #9, introducing acharacter called The Moth. Fox was threatened with a lawsuit by DCComics over that story, yet Jim would eventually be hired by DC becauseof it. But that is getting ahead of our story.

    When a young Jim Mooney was riding his horse on one of his familysthree estates, it is unlikely that he was thinking about how so many peoplearound the world would become familiar with his comic book art. Borninto privilege on August 13th, 1919, in Mount Vernon, New York, JamesNoel Mooney would find that this wealthy lifestyle was not to last.Although his father had made millions in real estate and when theytraveled they stayed at the finest hotels in the world, James Mooney, Sr.,would over-extend himself by investing in Arabian horses at a time whenthe world was about to enter the Great Depression.

    Going from having servants to having almost nothing must have beena great challenge for the family. However, Jims mother Irene had her feetfirmly planted on the ground. Even though she had not finished grammarschool, she had done a little investing of her own and was able to buy ahouse to make the family moderately comfortable. While Jims fathercontinued to struggle, his uncle Ed, who owned the Hartford Dispatchand Warehouse Company, was responsible for getting Jim into a LosAngeles art school. Jim did not want to finish high school because hedidnt want to hang around for a lousy diploma in something he wasntkeen on and so jumped at his uncles offer.

    Jim loved art school. He especially loved the sketching class, becausethe models were nude. When he brought his work home to show hisparents, they probably wondered what they had allowed their son to getinto, but he took a real liking to painting (especially watercolor) and tostained glass. It wasnt long before his vast artistic talents would beshown off.JIM MOONEY: [Science-fiction and comic writer] Henry Kuttnerwas instrumental in getting me my first job while I was still goingto art school. He got me my first assignment in the nationalmagazine Weird Tales. He talked to [editor] Farnsworth Wright andhe said, Ive got a young man here and hes very goodwouldyou go along if I had him illustrate some of my stories? So I illus-

    trated some of Henrys stories which appeared in Weird Tales at atime when I was still going to art school. [A/E EDITORS NOTE: Aphoto of young Kuttner was seen in A/E #107.]

    There seemed to be a touch of glamor in the Mooney family, no matterwhat their financial situation. Jims older sister (by eight years) Julie wasa very beautiful New York stage actress and had signed a contract withMGM. Subsequently, the family would relocate with her to Hollywood,California. Although Julie tried to get Jim involved in the movie business,where she found herself in small roles (including much later on in the filmadaptation of Abraham Merritts Burn Witch Burn!), he discoveredquickly that they didnt need any more Dead-End Kids. So Jim beganworking at Earl Carrolls Vanities.Earl Carroll was famous (or infamous) for having the most beautiful andthe most scantily dressed women on stage. Jims vocal talents led himstraight from a brief appearance on stage to becoming a checkroomattendant. I asked him if he ever got to meet Earl Carroll....

    MOONEY: Oh yeah, a couple of times. I showed him some of mystuff. He was interested. I was doing a little bit of sculpture anddrawing at the time, and he was really quite nice. He was a veryaloof person, but he was very encouraging, and, of course, hissweetheart was Beryl Wallace. They died together in a plane crashyears later.

    Race Into SpaceYoung Mooneys cover for a mimeographed science-fiction fanzine dated

    Dec. 1939featuring a spaceship from that future year 1940. The Ackermanlisted as co-editor was Forrest J. Ackerman, founding editor in 1958 of the

    influential Warren magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. [ the respective copyright holders.]

    II4 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

  • JM: Ive read that in his auditions the women had to be in the nude.MOONEY: Oh yeah, yeah. He went to bed with every girl he couldfind. You know, its funnyI remember one of the parties we wentto, when my first wife Carol was working in the checkroom [circa1939].... Actually, Earl Carroll was very personable, very tall,slender, and spoke well and was a person who projected himself asbeing what he waswhich was a very confident gentleman.

    JM: And how beautiful were the girls?MOONEY: Oh, none of them was working there if they werentbeautiful and didnt have a good figure. The showgirls were acertain height, the chorus girls were a certain height, and they wereall pretty girls, every darn one of em. You know, I used to love toget an assignment where I had to go backstage and bring amessage.

    I remember one time when Errol Flynn came up. He went intothe ladies room and he was raising hell and they finally had totoss him out. I didnt have the physical stature to stand up to ErrolFlynn nor did I have any inclination.

    Clark Gable was there. I met Clark Gable at the studio throughmy sister one time. He said Hi and shook my hand. I thoughtWow, this is real celebrity! He was personable. I dont know howhe was otherwise, but he was nice enough to take and treat a kidbrother who didnt amount to a row of beans as if, you know, youhad some reason for being.

    JM: So you were working at Earl Carrolls while you were at art school.And then you quit there, right?MOONEY: I quit there because my first wife Carol and I werehaving a fling. We were close but we were warned: Dont see eachother. Dont make it apparent that we were together. And this wasfrom Earl Carroll himself. And we, like a couple of damn fool kids,just said, Well, were gonna do what we want! And you know, hedid what he wanted and he said we were fired. [laughs] So welived on our unemployment insurance for a while.

    Comic books were becoming popular, so Jim thought perhaps this might bean opportunity for his artistic side. Like every other kid, he read some ofthe newspaper comic strips, and Alex Raymonds Flash Gordon was oneof his favorites.

    MOONEY: Alex Raymond was really a very good draftsman. Hereally knew how to draw. I thought it was pretty professional.Although Milton Caniff was a very much-loved artist, Caniff didnot draw as well or as accurately as Alex Raymond. Another one,

    of course, was Hal Foster, who did Prince Valiant. Hal Foster wasmagnificent. Hes probably the best draftsman in comics. I wasntso much into Prince Valiant for the story as I was for the drawing.

    Jim recalls seeing Batman on the newsstands, so he hitchhiked acrossthe country back to New York, because thats where the comic books werecoming from and he thought they might provide him with an employmentopportunity.

    JM: Did you bring Carol with you?MOONEY: Oh nonono. I took off by myself cause I could. Shewouldnt have. I wouldnt have expected her to do that. I sent forher six or eight months later, once I finally gained a little bit ofemployment. It wasnt easy. The first job I got when I went to NewYork was for a strip called The Moth.

    JM: Mystery Men Comics #9, April 1940.MOONEY: And then they were sued by DC for that because theyclaimed I was copying Batman and Robin.

    JM: Yeah, which apparently you were.

    All Is VanitiesShowman Earl Carroll, plus a posterfor the 1945 movie version of his

    Broadway revue Earl Carroll Vanities.Carrolls show was the main

    competitors of the even more famousZiegfield Follies.

    Magno Mistake About It!For Ace Periodicals, Mooney drew the adventures of Magno the MagneticMan and his teenage sidekick Davey. Seen above is the splash page for

    Super-Mystery Comics, Vol. 2, #4 (Oct. 1941). The German-accentedprisoners are seen in a Canadian POW camp because, in mid-41 when thisstory was published, Canada, like the rest of the British Empire, was at warwith Nazi Germanybut the United States was not, at least not officially.

    Writer unknown. [ the respective copyright holders.]

    I Never Really Considered Comics An Art Form 5

  • Like A Moth To A Flame(Top row:) Maybe its just because DC was alreadyangry at Fox Comics for copying Superman withWonder Man in Wonder Comics #1 (May 1939), over

    which they successfully sued to prevent thepublication of a second Wonder Man adventurebut somehow, the Mooney-drawn series The Moththat debuted in Foxs Mystery Men Comics #9 (April1940) doesnt seem to us to closely resemble the elder

    companys Batman, as DC claimed whenthreatening a second lawsuit. A different artist drewThe Moth in #10; then, on Mooneys splash page for#11 (June 40), note how the writer cleverly worked ina reference to a bat. Still, with his power of flightand his creature-of-the-night costume, The Moth

    seems to us halfway between Superman and Batman.The bylines Godfrey Clarke and Norton [later

    Norman] Kingsley seem more like authorial housenames than Mooney pseudonyms; the writers areunknown, in any event. Thanks to Jim Kealy.

    (Right:) Oddly, though, with Mystery Men #13 (Aug.1940), The Moth was dropped and Mooney insteaddrew the first episode of a new strip, The Lynx withBlackie the Mystery Boy, which definitely broughtto mind Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder. Thistime, DC did sue Fox againeven though these newFox heroes, too, could fly! (Incidentally, the spacingin some of the balloons and captions suggests thatThe Lynxs name was originally something with

    more than seven letters total.) After the debut story,others took over The Lynx art chores. Scripteragain unknown. Thanks to Chet Cox, Gene Reed,Darci Sharver, & the ComicBookPlus website for

    the scan. For more on Wonder Man, The Moth,The Lynx, and the DC/Fox lawsuits, see Ken

    Quattros well-documented coverage in Alter Ego#101. [ the respective copyright holders.]

    6 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

  • DC Was Looking For Somebody To Do

    BatmanJM: And it happened with Batman,right?MOONEY: Well, the reason I wentto DC [circa 1945] was that I under-stood they were looking forsomebody to do Batman. Whenthey asked why I thought I could doit, I mentioned the Moth lawsuit[where they argued that I had copiedthe character Batman]. I guess itamused [editor] Whitney Ellsworth.And he said, Okay, heres the script.Take it home and lets see what youcan do with it. You know that story by heart now.

    JM: [laughs] One of the things I find interesting is that you had heard

    somehow that they wanted someone to doBatman, and yet on the other hand apparently itwas all Bob Kane. How did that situation gel?Kane was supposed to be drawing it, but there werea number of people actually doing it.MOONEY: Well, I met Bob [just the one time]and I disliked him intensely.

    JM: Did he know who you were in terms of drawing Batman?MOONEY: Oh, yeah. He just [acted] very much superior. I mean, itwas like you were barely noticeable as far as his scrutiny wasconcerned. The only reason I went to meet him is because I wantedto talk to Bill Finger at the time.

    Bill Finger I liked very much. He was a prince. Unfortunately,Bill was an alcoholic and died bankrupt. He got credit for some ofthe stuff. But I think that Bill was Bill, in spite of being one thebetter writers in the business. But he was his own worst enemy. Hewas a far-gone alcoholic.

    Theres Always A Joker In The PackJim did this color print depicting Batman and various heads of The Jokercirca 2006based on the cover of Batman #44 (Dec. 1947-Jan. 1948),

    which is depicted on p. 46. Thanks to Mark Ellis.[Batman & Joker TM & DC Comics.]

    I Never Really Considered Comics An Art Form 13

    WhitneyEllsworth

    Editorial director ofDC Comics, 1939-53

    after which herelocated to

    Hollywood to overseethe Adventures ofSuperman TV series.

    From Moth Balls To Bat Boy(Above:) We dont know precisely which was the first Batman story Mooney was assigned to draw by DC ber-editor Whitney Ellsworthbut here are

    his cover and splash page from what may be his firsteffort for Detective Comics#132 (Feb. 1948), with inks by Charles Paris. Scripter unknown. The cover

    is reproduced from the online Grand Comics Database,the splash from DCs hardcover Batman Archives,

    Vol. 6. [TM & DC Comics.]

  • JM: And at this time there wereartists like Dick Sprang around andJerry Robinson.MOONEY: I never met JerryRobinson, though I liked his stuff. Imet Sprang. But we were not closeor anything like that. Sprang I feltwas a very, very accomplishedartist.

    You know, its funny. Of all theartistsI dont know why I mentionthis, I happened to be looking atsomething a tribute to Jack Kirby.Of all the guys, Kirby, I guess, wasprobably the sort of cornerstone ofthe comic industry as far as theultimate comic book artist. We nevergot along. He was the hardest guy to talk to. Aloof. Not physicallyaggressive or anything like that, but he had a tendency to totallyoverlook you as if you didnt exist. He was really immersed withJack Kirby and rightfully so. He was, I would say, probably of allthe comic book artists, close to being tip-top.

    JM: Who else would you put up there in terms of tip-top?

    MOONEY: There were so many that were so good. But he justseemed to epitomize the comic book stylethat strong, simplestyle. Kirby had another thing, too. That guy was so damn fast thatit was amazing. Id be lucky if I could do a page of pencils and inksa day, and that guy would do three.

    JM: You did Batman #38 from 1946.MOONEY: I remember that one story, Carbon Copy Crimes.

    JM: Did you emulate anyone while drawingBatman?MOONEY: Well, I was supposed to emulateBob Kaneyou know, make it look like BobKane. But of course everybody was told that. Itwas like, did Dick Sprang stuff look like BobKane? God, no. Did Jerry Robinsons stuff looklike Bob Kanes? God forbid! Jerry Robinsonwas one hell of a draftsman.

    JM: I know some readers can look at the Batmaninsignia and they can tell who the artist is. Did youhave any little touches that you put in to say, Thisones mine. This is my Batman and not DickSprangs?

    Bill FingerCo-creator of

    Batman, circa 1945.Thanks to Marc Tyler

    Nobleman.

    Jim MooneyNo Mere Carbon Copy(Above:) The legendary Dick Sprang drew the cover of Batman #38 (Dec. 1946-Jan. 1947)but Mooney drew all three of the stories inside.

    Jim particularly remembered The Carbon Copy Crimes, written by Batmanco-creator Bill Finger and inked by Charles Paris. Thanks to the GCD for the

    cover, and to Doug Martin for the splash. [TM & DC Comics.]

    When The Red, Red RobinOur interviewee had less than stellar memories of the Robin the BoyWonder series he drew for years for Star Spangled Comics. This splashpage is from issue #76 (Jan. 1948). Well, at least the story was written byJims favorite, Bill Finger! And to judge from the only byline, that Bob Kane

    sure got around! Thanks to Bob Bailey. [TM & DC Comics.]

    14 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

  • JM: Did you have any sense of loyalty to any of thecharacters that you were drawing?MOONEY: I was not that involved with them.As I say, I liked Tommy Tomorrow. I likedSupergirl although Supergirl was a bore, atremendous bore. It was the same thing over andover again. A few of the things I enjoyed doing,but it wasnt something that, if I had my choiceand had had the money, I would have evergotten into it. I know that.

    JM: Did you look at any other comics or any of theother artists work, while you were working away?MOONEY: Oh yeah, yeah. As I said, Ruben Moreira was excellent.Jerry Robinson was very, very good, and there were quite a fewothers through the years. I cant come up with names right now,but the guy that has the school Joe Kubert Kubert was good,awfully good.

    JM: Did you have any tricks or tips when you were drawing?MOONEY: I dont know. I mean, I guess my feeling was, if youneeded a model, get a model. If I needed a model, my wife mightpose for me for a hand or pose in one way or another. Andoccasionally some of my friends, if I needed something inparticular, would pose. But most of the time it came from myimagination. I didnt need a model. Very seldom did I have anyonemodel for me unless I needed a particular pose, which was reallyunusual.

    JM: Did you incorporate any of these people into your characters?MOONEY: Wildfire was based on my first wife Carol. The figure,anyway. Carol was not terribly tall, but she had one hell of a volup-tuous figure.

    Steve Gerber Was An Excellent [Writer]JM: Was there any writer in particular that you really enjoyed?MOONEY: I cant say that there were any writers that I was partic-ularly fond of besides Bill Finger. A good script was a good script,and I really never singled [one] out and said, Hey, who did this?

    JM: Steve Gerber?MOONEY: Oh, I see what youre getting at. That was a differentperiod. I always thought Steve Gerber was an excellent one. I

    enjoyed thoseOmega [theUnknown] strips.They were one ofthe minor strips, butI found they wereprobably as inter-esting as anything Iever did. Certainlymore interestingthan Supergirl.Certainly moreinteresting thanBatman or

    Legion of Super-Heroes. I really just enjoyed them immensely.

    JM: Why?MOONEY: Well, I guess it was [that] I had a certain degree offreedom. Nobody said to me: Hey, somebody else has drawnBatman, maybe draw a little bit more like this. I realize thatSupergirl was my own [after her first appearance by Al Plastino]. Idont know, I just had a certain degree of freedom [with Omega]and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the stories tremendously. Steve was areally excellent writer. But, strangely enough, the few times I triedto make contact with him, it was almost impossible to touch base.You dont want to fluster somebody by saying, God, I love yourwork, its wonderful! But Id always express my admiration forsomething, or how well I thought he had done it, but never, nevergot much response [from Gerber].

    JM: Did you ever put any little hidden things in artwork? You know,little nods or little cute inside jokes or?MOONEY: No, the only thing I did was, occasionally Id incor-porate a picture of myself.

    Another Tangled WebA hard-working college teacher grading paperswhile Spidey attempts to purloin his own handiworkgave Jim a chance to draw himself into The Spectacular Spider-Man #41 (April 1980). Script by Tom

    DeFalco. Thanks to Mark Muller & Bart Bush. [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Steve Gerberin a photo that

    appeared in MarvelsFOOM Magazine #19

    (Fall 1977).

    18 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

    Alpha-Steve And OmegaSteve Gerber conceived and co-wrote the Marvel series Omega theUnknown, with Jim Mooney as co-creator and original artist. Seen here is their splash page for issue #1 (March 1976). For more on bothSteve and Omega, see our TwoMorrows sister mag Back Issue #31

    of a few years back! [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • MOONEY: Well, I tried not to berepetitive. Unless the samecharacter was called for, I triednot to repeat it.

    JM: How did you remember all that?MOONEY: I probably keptreference on it.

    JM: I mentioned Supergirl a littlewhile ago. One of the things I noted inreading Supergirl was that, in thelast panel, she often would look at thereader and wink or smile as if you twowere in on the same secret.MOONEY: Yeah, I remember usingthat. You know, as an inclusive thingwith the reader, like were incahoots.

    JM: Exactly. I didnt notice that in other books too much. The story endsand thats it. Theres no sort of ah-hah where the character and thereader have a secret to share.MOONEY: Yeah, it was sort of an addendum that I thoughtworked, I dont know.

    JM: And of course there were times when she would take off her wig andeveryone would go, Wow, its Supergirl!MOONEY: That was funny, that was such a staid and really, Iwould say, very, very acceptable strip morally. As the years go by,the [number of] fans that have wanted [me to draw them a pictureof a] nude Supergirl are almost too numerous to mention. I haveonein fact, the last one I didin color. Shes just coming up fromthe depths in the nude and theres a sea serpent there whosgrabbed her uniformhave you seen that one?

    JM: No, I havent seen that one. I saw one whereMOONEY: Ive sold a lot of that one in black-&-white. I have theoriginal color painting. Its one of those things you cant put up onthe Internet yet you have to, you know, mask it a little bit.

    JM: I saw one where Krypto is flying away with her costume.MOONEY: Oh, yeah. I really milked that to deaththe Supergirlnudes after a while. I finally got a little tired of it. They were easyto do I could probably knock them out in half a day. It paid for afew bills now and then. But, like anything else, it got a little boring,monotonous, tiring

    JM: But I understand you drew her in the nude to begin with.MOONEY: Sometimes I did and sometimes I didnt. But usuallyId make a very rough nude and then Id put her costume on.

    JM: Okay. Ms. Marvel. You did her for a whileMOONEY: Yeah, I enjoyed that very much; that was one of myfavorites. Joe Sinnott did the inking on it.

    JM: Joe was kind enough to send me a comment, let me read it to you:My good friend Jim Mooney was one of my favorite pencilers to workwith. His work was clean, complete, and highly professional. I canrecall a number of books that Jim and I collaborated on, particularlythe Ms. Marvel pages. We did issues #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13, plus thecover to #8. Ms. Marvel was a really great character to work on and alot of fun!

    MOONEY: Evidently Joe liked doing it. I liked his stuff. Joe wasone of those inkers there was no way of approaching his styleand doing it better. I always considered myself a pretty good inkerand I think I was; but, ah, Joe was just absolutely superlative. Iguess that is why he is still doing the Sunday Spider-Man.

    [The Artwork Was] Just Taken Down To TheCellar And Trashed

    JM: Well, then let me ask a really stupid question, unlike the other onesIve been asking [laughs] What makes a good inker?MOONEY: What makes a good actor? Its just something that is

    Call Me Ms.!(Top center:) In the online Grand Comics Database, this cover is listed ashaving been penciled (maybe!) by Keith Pollardbut Joe Sinnott told JeffMcLaughlin that Ms. Marvel #8 (Aug. 1977) was the one cover of that seriesthat Mooney penciled and he (Joe) inked. [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    (Above:) Jim later did a commission drawing of two fightin females hedrew for four-color competitors: Supergirl and Ms. Marvel. Thanks to MarkEllis. (Oddly, in their civilian identities, the ladies share the last nameDanversso perhaps that surname was lodged in Roy Thomas

    subconscious somewhere along the line, since hes the one who christenedCarol Danvers, when he and artist Gene Colan created her for the CaptainMarvel series in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968)never dreamingthat one day she would become Captain Marvel!) [Supergirl TM & DC

    Comics; Ms. Marvel TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    24 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

  • MOONEY: I did, indeed. In fact, my wife at one time was workingat a local bookstore. So some of my pages were up on the wall, andmost of those the owner of the store took with her when she closedup. So there were quite a few originals I lost that way.

    I was looking through this Supergirl reprint today, and myLegion of Super-Heroes as well, which was my all-time favorite.Dial H [for Hero] was a lot of fun, Superboy I really enjoyed, buttheres something about those Legion stories that was a little bitmore sci-fi. I didnt enjoy drawing it, because there were so manycharacters. But I remember that, when I had that assignment, I wasbusy, busy, busy. In fact, that was when Annie and I had moved upback to Woodstock for a while. And we were snowed in a lot, so Ihad enough time to lavish on some of the Legion of Super-Heroes, though I didnt really enjoy it that much.

    JM: When you were working, what was your set-up like? Did you havethe radio on or no music?MOONEY: When I was penciling, I had no distractions, no musicor anything like that. But when I was inking, I would play theradio or I had books on tape that I used to play sometimes. I could

    concentrate on the inking and listen to a story, too, but I couldntwhen I was penciling. Because the penciling actually had to becreativenot that the inking wasnt creative, but it was amechanical type of thing. I could be listening to something and stillknow where I wanted the brushstroke or the pen stroke. Thepenciling, I actually had to think about, how am I going to do thisfigure so it looks like its flying through space?

    JM: Did you always start at the upper left hand side of the page?MOONEY: I would immediately lay it out panel-wise, and usuallyId just start first panel, second panel, lay it out roughly, and thenfinish it up more completely with pencil.

    JM: Did you use a blue pencil?MOONEY: Sometimes they objected to that, because sometimesthe blue would reproduce. You had to make sure that you had anon-reproducible blue pencil. Sometimes Id make a very, verylight outline with it. But most of the time it was just with graphite.

    How Did I Feel About BeingLimited Service?

    JM: Jim, we were talking earlier about the war and about how the femaleartists were coming in. As a more of a personal question, what were thewar years like for you? Growing up, living in America at the time?MOONEY: You mean how did I feel about being limited service?JM: Yeah.MOONEY: Well, obviously I was a young able-bodied guy. Icertainly looked like I was perfectly capable of shouldering a rifleand putting a helmet on. I got into one or two situations in a barthat I handled okay, but it was a little bit difficult.

    I think the most difficult thing of all was when I went down tovisit Stan Lee in Duke [while he was in the Signal Corps]. My wifeand my first son were with me, and were on a train and suddenlyall the rest of the train fills up with troops. Im the only civilianthere with a wife; a rather good-looking and attractive wife. And ason. But the guys were great. They couldve been real nasty. Noway at all. But it was embarrassing, it was verydifficult. Occasionally I would feel veryconspicuous.

    I mentioned that Ruben Moreira was in thesame boat; George Tuska, a few of us wentthrough that. Occasionally when we would gonightclubbing or something, youd just have toavoid getting into any sort of a confrontation ifpossible. It usually worked out pretty well, but itwas uncomfortable. Many of my friends wereoverseas, some were killed. One was in the so-called Invasion of Normandy; his landing craftwas blown up and he was in the hospital. Butthen, you know, I had a lot of other friends thatwere active and I was conscious of it, lets put itthat way. Nick Cardy was there, of course. I thinkhe drove a tank for a while.

    JM: Some artists were embarrassed by what they did,and others were okay with it. Previously you told methat it really depended upon who you were talkingwith.MOONEY: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, I remember onesituation when I was up in Woodstock. This guy

    TheodoreDreiser,(1871-1945),author of theacclaimednovels SisterCarrie and AnAmerican

    Tragedy, was aneighbor ofyoung Jim

    Mooneysbutthe feelingsbetween themwerent veryneighborly.

    Man-Thing BluesThis version of a Man-Thing page shows Jim working in blue pencilthistime in far more detail than the very, very light outline he speaks of in

    the text. Thanks to Mark Ellis. [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    26 Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Artist Jim Mooney Talks About A Long & Landmark-Laden Career

  • 49

    Do, Do, That VoodaThe evolution (or maybe devolution) of an Ajax/Farrell title (left to right): Voodoo #18 (Nov.-Dec. 1954), that mags final issue as a horror comic #19

    (Jan-Feb. 1955), as, with censorship becoming an inevitability, a switch was made to reprints from Seven Seas Comics, etc. and Vooda #20 (April 1955),which featured South Sea Girl stories from Seven Seas, altered to star the new heroine and to give Ajax/Farrell a shot at avoiding having to pay the Post

    Office to register a new title for second-class mailing privileges. Wonder if it worked? Artists unknown. [ the respective copyright holders.]

    Dr. Amy K. Nyberg

    EDITORS INTRODUCTION: Despite ourprevious two issues last-minute forced omissionof a chapter, we near the conclusion of our

    reprinting of Dr. Nybergs groundbreaking history of comic bookcensorshipa work weve felt honored to be able to re-present, with awealth of added illustrations, for Alter Egos audience. As weve saidbefore, Seal of Approval is footnoted in the MLA style which listsbook, article, or author name, plus page numbers, between parentheses inthe main text: e.g., (Hart 154-156) refers to pp. 154-156 of whicheverwork by an author or editor named Hart appears in the bibliography(which will be printed at the conclusion of our serialization, a few issuesfrom now). When the parentheses contain only page numbers, its becausethe other pertinent information is printed in the text almost immediatelypreceding the note.

    Weve again retained such usages and spellings from Nybergs book as

    superhero, an uncapitalized comics code, E.C. and DC, etc. Inthe captions we ourselves have added, however, we have reverted to A/Ehouse style and preference. These captions, of course, do not necessarilyreflect the opinion of Dr. Nyberg or of the University Press of Mississippi,the original publisher of the bookthe original edition of which can stillbe obtained from UPM at www.upress.sate.ms.us. Our thanks onceagain to Dr. M. Thomas Inge, under whose general editorship the volumewas originally published in 1998 as part of its Studies in Popular Cultureseries, and who was of great help to A/E in arranging for its reprintinghere to William Biggins and Vijah Shah, acquisitions editors past andpresent at the U. Press of Mississippi and to Brian K. Morris forretyping the text on a Word document for Ye Editor to, what else, edit.

    The first part of Chapter 6, seen in A/E #130, dealt with the first fewyears of operations under the Comics Code, which was adopted onOctober 26, 1954.

    A EA E//

    Seal Of Approval:The History Of

    The Comics CodeContinuing Chapter 6 Of Our

    Serialization Of The 1998 Study By AMY KISTE NYBERG

    [Main text continued on p. 52]

  • Judge Murphy, of course, is Judge Charles F. Murphy, who served as the first administrator of the Code, from 1955-56. Frank M. notes that the DC coversdepicted on the first page are those of Our Army at War #33, A Date with Judy #46, Strange Adventures #55, Real Screen Comics #85, and Adventures of DeanMartin & Jerry Lewis #20, all of which would be cover-dated April 1955though there were, he reports, slight changes made to those covers before they went

    on sale. At any rate, the giveaway mustve been prepared really early in 55, if not at the end of 54! [TM & DC Comics.]

    Seal of Approval: The History Of The Comics Code 51

  • y the CMAAs fifth year of operation, there were signs theindustry was recovering. [President John] Goldwaterreported to CMAA members that circulation of comics

    was approximately six hundred million annually, and while it wastrue that a number of companies had not survived, the overallcirculation of the comic book industry had increased by almost 150million annually. He urged members to experiment with new typesof material and new approaches to material while maintaininghigh standards (CMAA Files [Address of the President, 14 Apr.1959]). While funny animal, teen, and romance comics performedadequately on the newsstands, the publishers were in search of agenre that would appeal to the baby-boom youngsters who werenow teenagers. Their experiment would be to resurrect the genrethat started the industry, that of the superhero. National Comics[DC] led the way with the reintroduction of a 1940s character, theFlash. He made his debut in Showcase #4, cover-dated October1956. His success was to launch a revival of the genre, and comicbook historians use the reappearance of the Flash in 1956 as amarker to indicate the start of the Silver Age of comic books(Benton, Comic Book 177). Archie Comics hired Jack Kirby and JoeSimon to revive their 1940s superhero, the Shield, but the revivallasted only two issues. Next, they tried an original character, theFly, who had insect-like powers (Benton, Comic Book 59).

    As DC revived more of its 1940s heroes, it decided to put themall together in the Justice League of America with an issue cover-dated October 1960. It was tremendously popular. MartinGoodman at Marvel, seeking to capitalize on the superhero teamconcept that had been successful at DC, gave writer Stan Lee thego-ahead to develop a team for Marvel. Lees answer was TheFantastic Four (November 1961). The team consisted of a scientistwho could stretch, a teenager who burst into flame, an invisiblegirl, and a monstrously ugly strongman. The team also representeda departure from the traditional superhero formula; instead of

    being perfect and god-like, these four behaved more like humanbeings who happened to be superheroes than heroes whohappened to be human (Benton, Comic Book 63).

    This new approach to superheroes would eventually pay off forMarvel. By 1965, every other comic book publisher was rushing tointroduce its version of new-and-improved superhero characters.And the success of the campy Batman television series in 1966created a new superhero craze. Sales of all comic books rose as aresult, and the Batman comic book reached an all-time high of900,000 copies, the best performance by a comic since the pre-codedays. It was the revitalization of the superhero comic that lentimpetus to making revisions in the comics code. The new breed ofsuperheroes, with their human problems, were creatures of the1960s, a decade very different from that of the Golden Age super-heroes of the 1940s. The social upheaval of the 1960s, with its liber-alization of attitudes toward sex and the rise of a drug culture, ledpublishers to push for a code that adhered to more contemporarystandards.

    But the first comic books to escape the constraints of the comicscode came from outside the industry in the form of undergroundcomics. These comics were the product of the counterculture thatflourished in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At first,underground comic books were available only by mail order ordirectly from the artist, but eventually a network of retail outlets,including alternative record stores and bookstores, along with so-called head shops, was created for distribution. Historian MarkEstren identifies the first underground comic book as God Nose,produced by Jack Jackson under the name Jaxon, which appearedin 1963. It was not until 1967 that underground comics began toemerge as a unique medium. A whole new alternative comicsculture was established, with its peak years coming between 1968and 1974 (Estren 45, 50; Sabin 41).

    52 Continuing Chapter 6 Of Our Serialization Of Amy K. Nybergs 1998 Study

    BBChapter 6 (Continued)Evolution Of The Comics Code

    Two Faces Are Better Than OneIn A/E #105s Tales from the Code coverage, we displayed the panels in The New Crimes of Two-Face! from Batman #68 (Dec. 51-Jan. 52) in which

    the acid-hurling that led actor Paul Sloane to become the second Two-Face was softened for reprinting in Batman Annual #3 (Summer 1962). Here, from left toright, are pre- and post-Code versions of the aftermath of that criminal assaultwhich the Code had forced DC to alter into merely a freakish accident. Scriptby Bill Finger; pencils by Lew Sayre Schwartz (with Batman and Robin figures by Bob Kane); inks by Charles Paris. Thanks to Gene Reed. [TM & DC Comics.]

  • 55

    OK, we admit it!. Michael T. shamelessly swipedNorm Saunders Crime Clinic #5 cover (Summer1952), from Ziff-Davis. See it bigger in A/E #128.

    [ the respective copyright holders.]

  • Revenge Of TheComic Guys!by Michael T. Gilbert

    omic book creators must have feltlike Custer at Little Big Horn as Dr.Wertham and other comic criticssavaged them in the media. Some

    fought back the only way they knewwith humor.

    For a while it was open season onWertham and his fellow critics. Al Cappgot his licks in, as did Marvel head honchoStan Lee. And then there was Myron Fass.

    Myron Fasss short-lived Mad knock-off,Lunatickle, took broad swipes at both thegood doctor and his arch-foe, EC Comics.Issue #2s The Horrible Comic Storybehind the Horror Story Comic Books,featured unflattering parodies of Fasscompetitor Bill Gaines (Sam Grisly) andDr. Wertham (Dr. Frederick VonWerthless). Werthless, it was said, wasinclined to offer his unbiased and un-asked for opinion.

    The story blamed EC for the excessesthat led to the Code. Ironically, the storysartist, Lee Elias, drew some of the mostexcessively gruesome pre-Code horrorcomics for ECs rival, Harvey Comics.

    CC

    Piling On!(Above:) Dr. Werthless stars on this pagefrom Myron Fass Lunatickle #2 (April 1956).Art by Lee Elias. Writer unknown (see p. 58).

    [ the respective copyright holders.]

    (Left:) Stan Lees story The Witch in theWoods from Menace #7 (Sept. 1953) depictsan editors worst nightmare comic-hatingparents! Art by Joe Sinnott. [TM & Marvel

    Characters, Inc.]

    (Right:) In The Raving Lunatic! fromSuspense #29 (March 1953), editor Stan

    gives a piece of his mind to another angrycomic book critic. Art by Joe Maneely.

    [TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    56 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt!

  • UTHORS INTRODUCTION (2015): Comic fandom has alot of reasons to commemorate the late Gordon Belljohn Love,publisher and editor of the advertising juggernaut RBCC... or, to

    spell it out, Rockets Blast-Comicollector. I was well aware of this whenI wrote The Golden Age of Comic Fandom, way back in 1995.Therefore, to begin our multi-issue tribute, which will include a series ofinterviews and other special features from his friends and colleagues,heres the story of G.B. and his fanzine, made up of excerpts from thattome (with a few revisions). And remember, Gordon was still very muchalive when GAOCF was published.

    The excerpts begin after I had covered the origin of Alter-Ego and itslikewise Jerry Bails-edited-and-published offshoots The Comicollectorand The Comic Reader in 1961, as well as Parley Holmans earlyfanzine Spotlite.

    1961: Something To Occupy My Time1961 was not yet over, and there was one more development

    with far-reaching implications to occur: the publication of a brieffour-page fanzine called The Rockets Blast. Only six to eight copiesof the first issue were produced, using carbon paper. There couldhave been no humbler beginning for this acorn which would oneday grow into a mighty oak.

    The Rockets Blast editor Gordon (G.B.) Love was born in 1939 inAtlanta, Georgia. He became a comic fan early with his love for theoriginal Captain Marvel comics in the 1940s. He dreamed ofperforming feats of derring-do, but, unlike other boys, evenmodest feats of physical prowess would remain outside his grasp.For G.B. Love had cerebral palsy. He had had it since birth, whendoctors found certain motor functions of his brain had beendamaged.

    In 1959, G.B. and his family moved from Georgia to Miami,Florida. When the 20-year-old was tested by the rehabilitationpeople, he was told they had nothing for him. Goodwill offeredhim a job for $25 a week, but he wouldnt take that. G.B. Love hada great deal more to offer than charity make-work, even if hiscerebral palsy made telephone communication an uphill battle, andhe could only type by clutching a pencil in one hand and strikingthe keys of an electric typewriter laboriously, one by one.

    In a recent [1990s] interview, Love remembered how he decidedto publish a fanzine:

    [In 1961] I was looking for something to occupy my time, andhoped to develop something that might eventually becomeprofitable. My original idea was to combine sf and comics in afanzine, but I quickly dropped the sf and concentrated on my firstlove, comic books. I picked the name The Rockets Blast myself but Ireally dont remember how I came up with it.

    A letter from Love printed in [the DC comic book] Mystery inSpace announced his intention to start a club and put out anewsletter. At the time I produced the first issue of RB, I wasunaware of anyone else trying it, too. After I began publishing, Ithink the first fanzine I discovered was Alter-Ego.

    Love published under the aegis of the SFCA. This originallystood for Science Fiction and Comic Association, but was changedto South Florida Comic Association. In any case, it was merely thename of Loves company.

    Love Is What Makes An RBCC An RBCC(Above top:) Gordon Belljohn Love. According to Robert Brown, who snapped thisphoto circa 1980, The cap was part of a Kool Aid pilots kit I got at one of Don

    Maris shows. G.B. loved the caps. There was a hostess cap for girls. He was happyto pose for the picture.

    (Right:) Cover art on Rockets Blast-Comicollector [RBCC] #60 (1968) by theremarkable John G. Fantucchio. Mid-decade, this artist began producing a string of superb, idiosyncratic covers that upgraded the appearance of the fanzine. His first appeared on RBCC #44 (1965). His photo will be seen in a near-future

    issueas it was in A/E #122. [Art John G. Fantucchio.]

    AA

    The RBCC StoryBeginning A Multi-Part Tribute To

    G.B. LOVE & Rockets Blast-ComicollectorExcerpted from the 1995 book The Golden Age of Comic Fandom

    by Bill Schelly

    62

  • tto Oscar Binder (1911-1974), the prolific science-fiction andcomic book writer renowned for authoring over half of theMarvel Family saga for Fawcett Publications, wrote Memoirs

    of a Nobody in 1948 at the age of 37, during what was arguably themost imaginative period within the repertoire of Captain Marvelstories.

    Aside from intermittent details about himself, Binders capriciouschronicle resembles very little in the way of anything that is indeedautobiographical. Unearthed several years ago from Binders file materialsat Texas A&M University, Memoirs is self-described by its author asramblings through the untracked wilderness of my mind. Binderspotpourri of stray philosophical beliefs, pet peeves, theories, and anecdoteswere written in freewheeling fashion and devoid of any charted courseother than allowing his mind to flow with no restricting parameters. Theabridged and edited manuscriptserialized here within the pages ofFCAwill nonetheless provide glimpses into the idiosyncratic andfanciful mind of Otto O. Binder.

    In this 14th excerpt, Otto shares his thoughts on writing Westernstories. P.C. Hamerlinck.

    Westward Ho!

    i, pardner! Put away that thar six-shooter and lets have arootin tootin palaver together. Ill git down offn mygreat horse Swayback and jine yuh at th bar!

    As you might dimly surmise, Im now going to froth at themouth about the Golden West. At present writing, the Westerns inall formsbooks, movies, radio, and comic booksare enjoyinganother heyday. Periodically they rise to a seat of eminence in theminds and imaginations of the American public. Then, for a while,they will suffer a mild eclipse or slowing down, but year in andyear out, the Western story is as durable as a rock.

    Its an amazing phenomenon. Why should that period of historylive on in story and song without the slightest dimming of itsluster and glory by time? When you analyze it, you run into ablank wall. First of all, the stage is so limited. You can only haveone kind of hero: a gun shooting Westerner. You can only have onekind of villain: the ubiquitous badman. And your heroine mustalways be the soul of virtue.

    Your plots are strictly bounded, too. Cattle rustling. Range fightsbetween cattlemen and sheepmen. Pioneering and wild Indians.The brave sheriff cleaning up a lawless town. Think of another oneif you can! And the basic formula is as cut-and-dried as peelingpotatoes: your hero has a rollicking fist-fight with the badman.Then the hero is framed of something. His girl loses faith in him.

    Hero then goes out and slings lead with the badman andhits him or rounds up a posse and hits the hull-dangedgang!

    Love stories have much more range and variety.Adventure stories have no narrow restrictions to keepwithin. Murder mysteries, which can be in a mold of theirown, still have an infinite horizon ahead of them.

    But the Western story has been told over and over again,without any real variation whatsoever. And yet, peoplekeep begging for more and more, and not just kids. Why,consarn ye, a good A Western will draw the grownupslike cheese will mice. And among those mice you will findme, too.

    Pardner, Im baffled. It aint hooman!

    Perhaps the only logical explanation is that the brawling,lawless, heroic days of the Old West strike some ancient spark inall our souls. Maybe under the veneer of civilization were all justaching to be he-men and she-women, and live a rootin hootinwild and free life.

    Of course, thats the wonderful picture presented to our imagi-nations. Actually, if you and I were suddenly transported back tothose days, wed find it quite different, I think. Wed find it dirtyand boring and sordid and full of villainy and injustice. And Iimagine a Westerner transported from then to now would take onelook at our set-up, toss away his shootin irons, and never go back.I think hed find our civilization, with all its faults, pretty good tolive in. And he wouldnt miss those bullets whistling past his ear atall.

    Yes, pards, its nice to think about those old Western days astimes of glory and adventure supreme, but take it from me: younever had it so good as right here and now. Of course, we havewars killing off 20 million and such but, uh, lets not get into that.

    Wars may come and wars may go, but yuh kin bet yore bottomdollar that the days of the Old West will live on and onuntarnished, indestructible. All you Western writers cansit back and relax. Youve got a sure thing. Take it fromthis hyar varmint.

    Next: FINIS!

    Art 2015 Mark Lewis

    Part XIVAbridged & Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    74

    OO

    HH

    Go West, Shazam Man!The author (seen above circa 1944) of so many Captain Marvel, Marvel

    Family, etc., stories during the 1940s & early 50s also wrote his fair share ofcowboy yarns for Fawcett during that era, such as (see facing page) his

    adaptation of the Saturday matinee film The Gunmen of Abilene starring AllanRocky Lane (Fawcett Movie Comic #7, 1950; interior art by Bob Powell)and the original yarn The Redwood Robbery for Ken Maynard Western #6(Oct. 51; art by Carl Pfeufer). Also seen is the photo cover of Ken Maynard #5(Aug. 51). Otto Binder also penned the Western heroics of Golden Arrow, Rod

    Cameron, and Gabby Hayes. Pages the respective copyright holders.]

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