Monday, January 26, 2009

Great Supporting Players #1: Little Ambrose





Bob Bolling created a lot of characters in Little Archie that had no teenage counterparts in the regular Archie titles: Evelyn Evernever, Fangs Fogarty, Bubbles McBounce, Ludwig La Stanza. The best of these was poor shrimpy Little Ambrose, Little Archie's "picked-on pal". Ambrose was the outcast, always looking to be accepted by the "good ol' gang", even as they avoided and shunned him. When they did include him, it was usually in order to exploit him in some way. But Ambrose never minded; he just wanted to be part of the gang. Somehow he brought out the alpha dog in all of the boys, the worst offender being Little Archie himself.

Here is a story from Little Archie #10 (Spring 1959):





















Little Ambrose got his own comic book as well. According to the inside cover, it was in response to letters they had received, implying that the character was popular. However, poor Ambrose never got a second issue. Here is a story from that one shot (September 1959):




















Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hold That Were-Tiger!


Mixing genres is always fun...and superheroes and horror tend to work well together.

This is a great formula from the Golden Age. You have two characters that are great friends, but then some circumstantial evidence points to one of them as a killer, and the other friend is immediately suspicious. Then after everything is ultimately cleared up, there is one or two panels at the end where they make up and return to status quo...apology accepted!

You have to wonder about the whole "wisdom of Solomon" thing sometimes. Here, Cap's logic runs something like this: The killer were-tiger can talk, therefore he must be Mr. Tawny the talking tiger. Correct logic would more likely be: If Mr. Tawny is a tiger that talks, then there are possibly more tigers that talk. A better basis for his suspicion could have been the fact that Tawny is likely the only known tiger running loose in the city.

Anyway, here's Captain Marvel versus the supernatural beastie from Captain Marvel Adventures #142 (March 1953):

















Saturday, January 10, 2009

Melvin Monster by John Stanley


I’m really happy that Drawn & Quarterly is releasing John Stanley’s 10 issue run of Melvin Monster in three full color hardcover books. I love these comics, and they are frustrating to collect. Even reader copies are pricey. I have the same complaint about Dick Briefer’s humorous "Frankenstein" stories (Frankenstein #1-17) I wish they were collected, so I didn’t have to throw down $40-$60 bucks when I find one.

Here is a short story from Melvin Monster #1 (April-June 1965):




















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