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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BLUE RIBBON COMICS #2
(On Newsstands in October 1939)
In October 1939 MLJ Magazines was located at 420 DeSoto, just north of downtown St. Louis, MO (close to where I grew up) though their administrative offices were located in 160 West Broadway, NY, NY. Many comics of the Golden Age were published at this location, up through the 60’s...
 Today at 420 DeSoto Ave is Fs Label Manufacuring.
(from Blue Ribbon Comics #2 - October 1939, Rang-atang the Dog story by Norman Danberg, artwork unknown)


With both Blue Ribbon Comics #2 and Top-Notch Comics #1 (also released this month),  MLJ took the plunge into the world of superheroes, with ‘Bob Phantom’ making his first appearance later in this issue, and here on the inside front cover with an ad for ‘The Wizard’ created by Will Harr and Edd Ashe.  
(from Blue Ribbon Comics #2 - October 1939, artwork by Edd Ashe)


Rang-A-Tang the Wonder Dog would be the only feature to appear in every issue of Blue Ribbon Comics, and the subject matter here, once again starts off pretty heavy with kidnapping, suicide, arson… oh, and half naked girls! Rang-A-Tang has his paws full!
(from Blue Ribbon Comics #2 - October 1939, story by Norman Danberg, artwork unknown)


Bob Phantom would be one of the two first superheroes to appear for MLJ, thought to be written by Harry Shorten but certainly drawn by Irv Novick, in what has to be one of his earliest works (it’s his first story). Dan Hastings had another sci-fi adventure, Jack Cole did a few one page strips, but the emphasis was already starting to learn towards more adventure and crime… superheroes were on the way!
(from Blue Ribbon Comics #2 - October 1939, artwork by Irv Novick)


TOP-NOTCH COMICS #1
(On Newsstands in October 1939)

The Wizard would get top billing here, making him the first MLJ Superhero to appear on one of their covers! Like Blue Ribbon Comics, Top-Notch was a 64 page Anthology primarily consisting of new material!
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Edd Ashe?)



One of the coolest pieces of early art - I mean, how much cooler can you get than Rang-A-Tang the Wonder Dog chomping down onto an Octopus underwater?
And this is considered to be Irv Novick’s FIRST published piece of work!
Sure, Inside we’d see more early Jack Cole one pagers, crime stories, sic-fi stories, etc., but THIS inside front cover….
A great early pin-up from one of the long time greats Irv Novick! Who’d have thought he’d be a regular penciler on Batman some 35 years later?
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Irv Novick)


Before he was even old enough to have a pencil thin mustache, young Blaine Whitney, aka ‘The Wizard’ gets some solid advice from President Woodrow Wilson!
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Edd Ashe)


Just an all around great guy!
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Edd Ashe)


Ok, so he does, sort of, have a costume… a cape, and one of those Green Hornet masks (actually the Green Hornet, was only a radio program at this time, and wouldn’t appear in comic form until the following Fall of 1940). Eddy Ashe showing some style in his art here in the early days of comics….
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Edd Ashe)


Sci-Fi was a big part of these anthologies and Scott Rand and Dr. Meade travel through time in their spaceship meeting all kinds of ‘handy’ people….
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by Jack Binder)


Another ‘superhero’ was Kardak the MYSTIC, featuring more stories of crime, bondage and real slappin’!
(from Top-Notch Comics #1 - October 1939, artwork by C.A. Winter)


Of interest this month, besides the very cool MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #2, there was JUNGLE COMICS #1 from Fiction House , and FANTASTIC COMICS #1 from Fox Features making their debut. 

Books published by MLJ Publishing (Archie Comics) and on the stands in October of 1939
BLUE RIBBON COMICS #2
TOP-NOTCH COMICS #1

2 comments:

  1. Norman Danberg wrote Rang-A-Tang in Blue Ribbon Comics 1 and 2.. Interior art is likely Edd Ashe.
    Cover art may be Novick. Danberg did not do any artwork. See:
    http://martinohearn.blogspot.com/2015/06/who-wasnt-artist-on-rang-tang.html

    Also, I believe Joe Blair took over writing Rang-A-Tang in Blue Ribbon Comics 4.

    ReplyDelete