Mar 29, 2012

Plastic Man's Rare 1944 Cameo Plus a New Dan Tootin

It's my 50th birthday today, and I wanted to post something cool. Here's a largely unknown Plastic Man cameo from Hit Comics 32 (Summer 1944). The story looks to me to be done by Alex Kotzky, who assisted Jack Cole on many Plastic Man stories at Quality.

The abrupt and brief appearance of Plas in this story on pages 5-7 may have been a tribute of sorts to Cole. Kotzy was the truest imitator of Cole and he does a terrific job of rendering the stretchy sleuth in this story.

Many thanks to Digital Comic Museum (it's their birthday, too!) for sharing this great scan.

Here's the whole wacky story:

And, as an extra special treat, here's a terrific NEW Jack Cole Dan Tootin one-pager, also from Hit Comics #32. More great Dan Tootin pages by Cole can be found here.

Please check out my NEW blog,  The Masters of Screwball Comics. This week, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I'm posting FIFTY rare screwball comics!

Mar 23, 2012

Two Rare Jack Cole Pencils of Playboy Style Cartoons

Sadly, very little of Jack Cole's pencil work exists in any form. Here are two extremely rare examples of his masterful drawing from around 1952-54. 

It's a sheer delight to see how loose Cole's pencils are, and how well he captures the necessary round, feminine forms. 

The bold strokes on these pages, which were probably done with a very thick pencil lead or perhaps a conti crayon of some sort  give us an indication of the strength of his compositions. For example, in the cartoon below, we can see how Cole intends for the lines of the brickwork and even the lines of copy in the newspaper to direct the eye towards the sultry siren he has so beautifully sketched.

These drawings are what is known as "roughs" of cartoons that were sent to magazine editors. It's not known if these cartoons were ever completed or published. In the top right corners of the pages, you can see Jack's address stamp from his New Milford, Connecticut home.

Instead of taking the effort to finish a cartoon, a cartoonist could send in a "rough" preliminary drawing. This also afforded the editor a chance to alter the cartoon or caption, as in the example below, where the caption has shifted towards a more screwball tone.

Jack Cole cartoon rough, probably for a Humorama publication

As in the first rough, this drawing's bold pencil strokes and composition elements indicate exactly where Cole wants the eye to go. 

For more on Cole's cartoon composition, see our popular guest post by Timothy O'Neil: Jack Cole's Playboy Style Cartoon Composition.

And, speaking of screwball, be sure to check out my new blog, The Masters of Screwball Comics. This blog features some way cool nutty stuff, including many rare comics scans from my collection that fans of Jack Cole will appreciate. This week's post features more incredibly wacky Gene Ahern comics!

Mar 5, 2012

Cole's Screwball Roots: Wacky Inventions

One of Jack Cole's favorite themes was SCREWBALL inventions. He populated his stories with wacky stuff, such as Midnight's "secret vacuum gun," which fired an avenging suction cup at crime. 

One of his first series, Dickie Dean, Boy Inventor, is built around such nutty devices are the "time camera" and an accordion hat retriever. Of course, Plastic Man was filled to the brim with wacky inventions, starting with Plas inventing new forms to stretch his body into.

This theme has its roots in the great screwball comics, which in turn have their roots in the American entrepreneurial spirit. For more on crazy inventions and some great SCREWBALL comics, be sure to check out my article at my MASTERS OF SCREWBALL COMICS blog...

The Snoremonica: They Laughed When I Went to Bed

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