Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steeler Sundays: The Return of Inferno!

When last we considered Inferno, we learrned of his stunning origin and his radical turn to the side of truth and justice (even though he was framed by an impersonator stealing his unique modus operandi. But how did this famed flame-breathing fearless fighter face his most fearsome foe, Mr. Sterling himself? Let's look into Zip Comics #11 for the second appearance of this golden age villain turned hero, as he once more engages in a crimespree with his pal Flexo the Rubber Man.
With quite the flair for fiendish felonies, this dastardly duo deviously conspire to successfully loot and pillage, this time without the interference of their former foe Steel Sterling. However, their rather low rent approach doesn't seem to match that of their golden age peers over at All-American Publications or Timely Comics (precursors of DC and Marvel, respectively) despite their rather odd modus operandi of flexibility and fire-breathing. One definite difference from Sterling's doppleganger Sarge Steel is that there was some longterm plotting involved in Sterling's adventures, at least the initial ones, while Sarge's formula was more one-and-done tales (although there were repetitive foes that returned later on like Ivan Chung and other rogues). Perhaps Sterling's strip would be considered a launching pad for other characters in the backpages of Zip Comics (recall that this is prior to the debut of the Web, who himself only lasted for a scant ten issue run... they were really struggling with other features to supplement this publication unlike its companion Pep).
Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the seeds are already in place from the first part of this memorable masterpiece that Inferno is set to become something more than a common hood, even though he is shown rather menacely on both the cover and within this tale. Next week we'll carry on with part two of this timeless tale of evil turned to good. Return with us next Steeler Sunday...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Steeler Sundays: The Original Lex Luthor!

So you think the whole "I'm going to avenge myself upon you Superboy because you made me bald by blowing toxic fumes back in my face" stiche was patented by Lex Luthor? Think again. Another folicle-challenged foe of a Man of Steel beat him to the punch by several years, in Zip Comics #37.  Check out Jameson the jerk confronting Steel Sterling...


Unfortunately for our bald bad boy, he ended up getting burned by his own schemes... literally in fact. Never fear, though, for any concept is fresh for being raped and pillaged by the Big Two at a moments notice, dear reader!
Now had Jameson's opponent been another Steel, Sarge Steel from Charlton, he'd have a sympathetic foil who would understand the loss of a body part... although he at least kept his closely cropped crew cut that was all the rave of ladies in the 60's. Cut clear to the bone? Not so much...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yellowjacket Webnesdays: The Web, Cover Boy

The Web appeared in exactly ten golden age comics, in Zip Comics #27-37. Despite almost every cover having him and his pal Steel Sterling duking it out versus Axis thugs, he almost never battled foreign foes in his own tales underneath the front cover. And while generally shown as a brunette, in his first and another appearence he appeared as a red head, so apparently he was a fan of the hair dye which was quite unusual among his peers back in the day.
Cap may have had a Red Skull over at Timely Comics, but Web had the more nefarious "Green Skull" to butt heads with

DC Comics may have had the World's Finest Team, but MLJ's dynamic duo of the Web and Steel Sterling was "Top Notch"

This incarnation would then rest until being revitalized within the canon of MLJ/Red Circle in Mighty Crusaders #9, as an aged criminologist (long since retired and having bequeathed his costume to his henpecked son) called upon to testify in the trial of his old ally the Shield.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yellowjacket Webnesdays: "The Adventure of the Golden Horn"

Welcome back to Yellowjacket Webnesdays, where we dive into another tale from the golden age with Charlton's most famous hero of that era (and virtually their only one, matter of fact). Once more, Vince Harley decides to investigate the premise behind his latest tale, although this time he's still forming from the beginning.
"Slack off". Umm okay, I'm sure that meant something a little more PC than how it sounds today. When you see a slick customer like this goon with teeth grinning from the start, you know who the villain of the piece is. Now let's dive into the final confrontation between are antagonist and the plot's protagonist, and see if the Count had counted the cost of his corrupt course....

Yikes, so not only did Jacket's yellow pets keep tabs on this troublemaker, one of those buggers sacrificed his life to help his master clock this crook. But tripping on the machination of his malevolent manipulations...classic! And once more, Vince absconds an idea from the actual writer of the story he starred in. C'mon you can do better buddy?!?