Tentacle Tuesday: Your Dime’s Worth of Tentacles!

Some folks seem to display a knee-jerk reaction to the legacy left behind by men and women who lived decades ago: that of condescension. Surely, if it was something that our grandparents believed in, something that made their imaginations soar or intrigued them, by now it’s no longer relevant or just utterly jejune. Frankly, I’d poo-poo this repulsive straw-man I’ve just erected, if it wasn’t for the fact that these narrow-minded airheads actually do live among us. “I’ll listen to music from before my time when today’s musicians stop releasing such excellent music”, somebody daft once opined, and the same (ahem) logic seems to be apply to other forms of culture. If TV shows from two years ago are ancient (overheard at a restaurant), what can we possibly think of comics from 70, 80 years ago?

As you probably noticed, this blog suffers from no such delusions: there’s plenty of intelligent, touching, excellent-all-around material to be dug up from (in this instance) the Golden Age.

Sorry about the varying quality of the images; some of these stories have been reprinted in recent years (and thus, thoroughly cleaned up, or even lovingly restored from original art); and some of them are only available in the original form, which is to say shoddily printed, dubiously coloured, and not all that well preserved. The Golden Age was, as I noted previously, a long time ago…

All right, let’s begin! I have a few favourites in this post, and our first story is one of them. I had access to a pristine, cleaned up, painfully white-papered version of it from Golden Age Marvel Comics Omnibus no. 1 (2009), but I by far prefer the following version, which keeps the colours, shall we say… less blinding? This is On the Planet Ligra, originally published in Marvel Mystery Comics no. 9 (Marvel, July 1940). It is  scripted by Steve Dahlman, who did a very nice job of it, too. It’s worth a read in its entirety; find it here.

Marvel Mystery Comics no. 9-ontheplanetLigra

Marvel Mystery Comics no. 9-ontheplanetLigra2

Marvel Mystery Comics no. 9-ontheplanetLigra3

The next few pages demonstrate the dodgy printing I was referring to earlier…

PlanetComics4-tentacles
Slave Planet is scripted by Herman Bolstein (as Starr Gayza; what a nom de plume!), and illustrated by Arthur Peddy, possibly with some help by Will Eisner on inks. Published in Planet Comics no. 4 (Fiction House, April 1940). Incidentally, we have a whole bevy of Fiction House Tentacles at Tentacle Tuesday: Planet of Tentacles, courtesy of Fiction House.
CometPlanet8-MysteryoftheVanishingMen-The-Red-Comet1
Mystery of the Vanishing Men, published in The Red Comet no. 8 (Fiction House, September 1940), is illustrated by Alex Blum.
CometPlanet8-MysteryoftheVanishingMen-The-Red-Comet
Another page from Mystery of the Vanishing Men.

This next part I like a lot, because I’m quite fond of Henry Fletcher, Barclay Flagg and perhaps even Hank Christy. These are all the same person, of course: Fletcher Hanks, The Most Bonkers Comic Book Creator of All-Time, according to Mark Peters. For now, let’s just look at some tentacles, although I will doubtlessly return to this theme at some later juncture.

Because of Fletcher Hanks’ relative cachet, comic scholars and restorers seem to have paid a little more attention to his work of late, and at a result, we can admire the two following pages in all their mighty crispness.

FantasticComics16-StardusttheSuperWizard
A page from Stardust « featuring the Octopus of Gold!», published in Fantastic Comics no. 16 (Fox, March 1941), scripted and illustrated by Fletcher Hanks.
Fletcher-Hanks-Jungle Comics # 1-tentacles
The Slave Raiders is scripted and illustrated by Fletcher Hanks. It was originally published in Jungle Comics no. 1 (Fiction House, January 1940).

Getting off the Hanks bandwagon, we move into nonetheless enjoyable territory with Dynamic Man. These panels are from an unnamed story (with matching unknown artist ) published in Dynamic Comics no. 9 (Chesler/Dynamic, 1944).

DynamicComics9-DynamicMan
This has no tentacles, but I enjoyed these two panels far too much to not share: the guys’ New Yawk accents, and the witch’s demented rictus (not to mention that it’s all happening underwater).
Dynamic Comics No.9 -theseahorror
How many more rhetorical questions are you going to ask us?

DynamicComics9-DynamicMan1

Last but not least, as boring people say, is my second favourite of today’s post, both because I love the art and because the story gave me something to sink my teeth into. .

SuperMagicianV5#8A
Super-Magician Comics vol. 5 no. 8 (Feb-March 1947), cover by Edd Cartier. Dig the guy’s dopey, sneezy expression… contrasted with the octopus’ hypnotic stare.

Twilight of the Gods, the cover story, is also illustrated by Edd Cartier. It’s surprisingly nuanced, doesn’t fall into horrible stereotypes despite the presence of several Chinese characters, and even has an interesting moral. Read it here.

SuperMagician56-TwilightoftheGods

SuperMagician56-TwilightoftheGods-2

Next week, I’ll return to my usual diet of the Latest Published Thing as well as superhero crossovers! Just kiddin’.

~ ds

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