Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 27

« Trent’s home under th’bed! »

Marvel’s Dynamite Magazine ersatz, Pizzazz (15 issues, 1977-79), despite ratcheting its model’s celebrity coverage by several notches, while providing the House of Ideas’ usual rabid circle-jerking… wasn’t all bad. For one thing, there was its inspired recycling of Harvey Kurtzman’s splendid Hey Look! one-pagers from the 1940s, lovingly recoloured and presented with painstaking attribution. Fan on board!

And when Pizzazz reached beyond the Bullpen for ink slingers, it often struck paydirt, landing a heady mix of established and burgeoning talent, such as Jon Buller, John Holstrom, Bobby London, Ken Weiner (aka Ken Avidor), Rick Meyerowitz… and Graham Hunter.

The original caption: « Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! PIZZAZZ SAYS THANKS… Look at this picture. If you’ve ever written us, you may find your name in it. If not, take a look next month, or a few months after.PIZZAZZ says a big, warm THANK YOU to everybody who’s written us. And KEEP THE MAIL COMING – some month maybe your name will be in the picture! » The feature ran for the final seven issues of the magazine (including a gorgeous Xmas double spread.) This was Pizzazz no. 13 (October, 1978, Marvel). Say, is that your name in there?

Hunter was a bafflingly brilliant pick: his career in comics, as far as I know, consists in the main of a string (1946-47) of one-pagers featuring early soft drink product placement shill/mascot, the prosaically-named Pepsi, the Pepsi-Cola Cop. Guess what he was pushing!

This is Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact vol. 17 no. 4 [310] (October 26, 1961). The issue features TC’s strident screed This Godless Communism, illustrated by EC veteran Reed Crandall. It still sucks. I said they were entertaining, but I draw the line at reactionary politics. Read it for yourselfright here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Of greater interest is the handful of covers Hunter created for the surprisingly entertaining Catholic comic book Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact, and this is what must have landed him the Pizzazz gig, a couple decades down the pike.

Nailing this sort of humorous bird’s-eye-view crowd action scene requires some rather astonishing artistic chops. Perspective, proportions, movement, comic exaggeration… and that’s just the basics. This sort of thing was popularized by Dudley Fisher’s Right Around Home strip, which débuted in 1938.

A Right Around Home Sunday from 8-20-39 (King Features Syndicate). Here’s a fine, informative article about the strip, from the indispensable comics mag Hogan’s Alley.

– RG

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