Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015
posted by Bruce Canwell
What better way to begin a "fantasy comics page" entry devoted to Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day than with the front-page headlines from the Galveston Daily News? What you see here is indicative of the extra editions newspapers all over America rushed into print, even as details on the attack continued to pour in.
Despite the shocking news from the Pacific, newspapers on that day still featured the Sunday funnies, of course. Some readers undoubtedly found respite from the day's shocking news by taking a few minutes to delve into the comics pages. Others perhaps found cartoon melodrama and light-hearted humor at odds with both the grim dispatches being filed from Hawaii and the repercussions they knew were sure to follow; to those members of the audience comic strip offerings may have been more an annoyance than a welcome diversion. Still, the cartoonists, syndicators, and newspaper editors had no choice but to run the material that had been prepared weeks in advance, material like this ...
The events in Hawaii of seventy-four years ago transformed December 7, 1941 into (as President Franklin Roosevelt stated in his address to Congress) "a date which will live in infamy." While other infamous dates bloomed on our calendars like black orchids as subsequent years unfolded, no incident in almost three-quarters of a century has so threatened or so galvanized the nation as did the attack on Pearl. The public service ad below, discovered while I researched this piece, ran as scheduled in select newspapers on that dark day. Surely it spoke more deeply and eloquently to America's young men than it would have had it been published only twenty-four hours before ...
We hope you'll join us in saluting the members of The Greatest Generation who answered the country's call following the Axis strike on American territory. Their sacrifices and contributions helped preserve the freedoms still enjoyed today.
Tuesday, Nov 17th, 2015
No Tricks, Only Treats
posted by Bruce Canwell
Yes, Hallowe'en has come and gone for another year, and we had quite a truckload of kids come a'knockin' this year, just for the record. Still, since trick-or-treat candy is still in the supermarkets (albeit on sale at fifty percent off) and pumpkins still adorn many doorsteps in my neighborhood, I don't feel it's out of place to offer you this, the latest in our sporadic series of "fantasy comics pages." In this case, here's what fantasy readers would have looked at on Hallowe'en in this fantasy newspaper exactly seventy-five years ago—October 31, 1940. I've stocked this particular fantasy page with LOAC favorites, but tried to provide a balance between adventure strips and comedy comics.
In the former category it's easy to see America's love of aviation was still going strong as demonstrated by this dramatic Frank Robbins Scorchy Smith and the more light-hearted Smilin' Jack, by Zack Mosley. Add in a different type of flyer—the Man of Tomorrow, Superman—and garnish with a taste of the incomparable Roy Crane (Buz Sawyer is still three years in the future when this Wash Tubbs originally ran), and there's a pretty nice mix of derring-do on the page.
Laughs are not in short supply, either. Note that as late as 1940, Blondie still has more than a little of her original Boopadoop looks, while Dagwood is already doing one of the things that made him famous. Two very different yet equally delicious takes on domestic life—Sterrett's amazing Polly and Her Pals and Edwina Dumm's gentle-but-rambunctious Cap Stubbs & Tippie - are on hand, as is everyone's favorite time travelin' caveman, Alley Oop. Though neither of the principals appears in this installment, note by the name dropping in the last panel that Big Chief Wahoo is already on the path to losing his strip to the likes of Steve Roper. Time, as Bob Wills once so sagely sang, changes everything ...
Fortunately for us, we live in an age when our access to the works of the past has never been greater—which is what makes features like these fantasy comics pages possible. It's not as tasty as a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup tossed into a plastic jack o'lantern, perhaps, but here's hoping you find these strips equally fun!