Zoot Allures!

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Rulah was created by Matt Baker, the greatest “good-girl” artist of the Golden Age. Perhaps because the character was under the aegis of the sensationalistic Fox Publications, however, Rulah was a bit seedier than such Baker characters as Sky Girl.

Today’s story, for example, breaks just about every notion of propriety a modern audience could conceive. There are startling instances of racism mixed in with a surfeit of good girl shots, bondage and – if one were inclined to think along the lines of noted Rulah hater Frederic Wertham – hints of bestiality.

That said, there’s still something undeniably entertaining about “The Frenzy Of The Dishonored Idol.” Forbidden fruit, perhaps? However, I can’t help but wonder how Baker, an African-American pioneer in the comics field, felt about portraying Africans in such an unflattering matter.

“The Frenzy Of The Dishonored Idol” originally ran in Zoot Comics #10 (Fox, November 1947). Grand Comics Database identifies Baker as the the story’s artist, although the cover image shown at the beginning of the post is credited to Jack Kamen.

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“Punish the woman as you see fit.” Golden Age justice!

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It’s another typical day for Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle: Greedy criminals out to exploit a sacred jungle secret, a well-meaning – if not overly competent – boyfriend in peril, an evil twin and easily duped caricatures of African tribesmen.

And, to top it off, art by the man who steered the character through 12 years of these crazy adventures – Robert Webb!

From Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle #9 (Fiction House, 1950), here’s “Luru Temple Of The Dead.”

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The Mirror Crack’d

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Now let’s get to some actual business …

It’s time to usher in the new year with one of our favorite tropes – the deadly doppelgänger – in a beautifully illustrated tale by the legendary Mort Meskin.

“The Woman In The Mirror” originally appeared in Black Magic #1 (Prize Comics, October-November 1950).

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Golden Age husbands were such clueless tools…

The Unfriendly Skies

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Ginger Maguire may not have been the brightest bulb among Golden Age heroines, but in the true Fiction House tradition she was more than capable at getting the job done. Too bad chauvanist attitudes at the time defined her job as “waitress” rather than acknowledging her true skill: flying – and more often than not, crashing – airplanes.

Oh well. At least Sky Girl had the fortune of being drawn by the greatest “Good Girl” artist of all time, Matt Baker!

The following story originally appeared in Jumbo Comics #129 (Fiction House, Nov. 1959). As you may have guessed, Time Bulleteer, the art was provided by the aforementioned Matt Baker.

(P.S. An evil twin has been sighted in today’s tale. Stay alert!!)

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Bungle In The Jungle

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Of all the jungle girls who patrolled the Golden Age of Comics, Atlas Comics’ Lorna was undeniably saddled with the most annoying and useless sidekick.

Greg Knight, a would-be explorer, spent nearly every moment of his fictional existence disparaging Lorna’s efforts to keep peace in the jungle. Insisting such tasks were best left to men, he would invariably pursue dead-end leads or find himself captured until the Jungle Girl restored everything to his rightful place.

Naturally, Lorna was madly in love with the idiot even though he rarely responded in kind.

*Sigh* No accounting for taste, right?

The following tale (an admittedly fun take on the evil twin trope) is a typical example of Greg Knight’s winning combination of ineptness and ill temper.

Fortunately, this rather unpleasant character is more than offset by the gorgeous good-girl art of Werner Roth. There may have been jungle queens less dependent on the affections of crummy boyfriends – such as Rulah and Tiger Girl, to name two – but few enjoyed better illustrated adventures.

From Lorna The Jungle Girl #6 (Atlas, 1954), here’s “Double Danger” by Roth and writer Don Rico.

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The Artificial Twin

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After the fabled team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby parted ways in the mid-50s, the once and future king of comics lent his talents to DC and produced an astounding 600 pages of material for the company in 30 months.

His contributions to the company included co-creating DC mainstays The Challengers Of The Unknown, blasting Green Arrow off into a unique series of science-fiction based adventures and assorted short stories in the publisher’s many anthology titles.

Despite his prodigious output, however, Kirby soon found himself at odds with a few notable – and powerful – figures within the company. Superman editor Mort Weisinger, the co-creator of Green Arrow, disliked Kirby’s take on the Emerald Archer and often spoke disparagingly of the King’s artistic style.

Complicating matters, Kirby found himself embroiled in a contractual dispute with DC editor Jack Schiff over disputed royalties owed from the artist’s work on the syndicated Sky Masters comic strip with Wally Wood.

The sum result of these, and other, disputes within DC led Kirby to rejoin Stan Lee at Atlas Comics … and of course, the rest is history.

“The Artificial Twin” was one of many stories Kirby illustrated for DC’s House Of Mystery horror anthology. Although DC’s horror and sci-fi offerings were rather tame even before the Comics Code Authority was established, the King’s art provides its customary kick and there are a few nice, paranoid moments as the protagonist struggles to make sense of his fiance’s sudden change in behavior.

From the House Of Mystery #76, here’s “The Artificial Twin.”

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