Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Super-Girls of The Golden Age

For your reading pleasure: Lady Fairplay from "Bang-Up Comics #1" (Decembber 1941; Golden Girl from "Golden Lad # 5" (June 1946); and War Nurse from "Speed Comics # 26" (April 1943). My mindless ramblings can be found after the last story so that everyone can jump right into reading the stories, which were taken from scans available at goldenagecomics.co.uk, which is currently experiencing "technical difficulties".

Lady Fairplay ran in issues 1-3 of "Bang-Up Comics" from Progressive Pulbishers Inc. Pat Parker, War Nurse, appeared in "Speed Comics" from 13 until 42, published by Family Comics (aka Harvey Comics). In issue 26, she last appeared in her "War Nurse" costume and, from 27 on, became just another member of the "Girl Commandos". Golden Girl only ever appeared in issue 5 of "Golden Lad", which was also the last issue of that series from Spark Publications.

On a totally unrelated topic (so you can ignore the rest of this post if you want), occasionally I'll search the internet for other cool Golden Age Comic blogs. There's quite a few out there, but most of them I hardly ever visit ... except when I'm really bored. Some are inconsistent in what they post, going beyond comic books and posting whatever type of artwork they feel like posting without giving much information about what their readers are seeing. Some of the bloggers are like me, in that they don't post on a regular schedule. Some bloggers ramble on and on about topics that have nothing to do with comics at all.

I ran across one blog where the person has a 500-word essay about his day's events before posting a Golden Age story. The person is a self-proclaimed "expert". No, seriously, he comes right out and says that he feels he is in a class all by himself, bascially an "expert amoung experts". I never heard of the guy before stumbling upon his blog last week, but ... whatever! He throws around the "big words" of a well-educated man, and is not shy about using the term "Panelology". If you're a comic book reader or serious collector and have no clue what "panelology" means, if you're sitting there thinking "What's that? The study of comic panels?", pat yourself on the back for enjoying comics for what they are.

Without a doubt, the artwork contained within the pages of any comic is worthy of study. I am something of an artist myself (although, by choice, not on a professional level), so I can appreciate the act of studying the work that goes into a comic page. But c'mon, do people really need to make-up words to make their hobby seem more mature than it really is? Besides, if the definition of the word is "the study of comic books", wouldn't "Comicology" be more appropriate (and sound better)? Are certain comic fans still embarrassed to talk about their hobby in front of non-comic readers, so they have to disguise it with words like "panelology" and "pannapictagraph"? At the risk of offending every reader I currently have, using words like "panelology" is more childish than the hobby itself.

I'm not a self-proclaimed anything. I've been reading comics since the 1970s. I've studied (seriously studied) the characters created during the Golden Age since the early 1990s (something made easier today thanks to tools like the internet). I've studied the artwork of Jack Kirby, Rob Liefeld and John Giunta for many years (well, Giunta is more recent, but you get my point, I hope ... and yes, I've studied Liefeld's artwork because it was fun, not because he's I think he's the greatest artist ever). I have, occasionally over time, since I was first introduced to the characters by Malibu Comics' "Protectors" series, investigated the history of the books commonly referred to as "Centaur Comics". But I will not proclaim myself an "expert" of any aspect of comic books that I've personally studied. There's always going to be someone who knows more than I do, and even if there wasn't, I simply don't have that type of ego where I need to proclaim myself a "Comic Historian" or "Expert" in order to justify the amount of time I've committed to one of my hobbbies.

To be clear, I am not, in any way, putting down anyone who takes time out of their lives to investigate, study, review, read or comment on comic books in a serious manner, because, as you've just read in the paragraph above, I do the same thing. I think it's vitally important that there are people out there who help preserve the history of this medium so that future generations can view the older stories with a greater appreciation beyond what they could get simply be seeing what's on the page. I just fail to understand why anyone would feel a need to legitimize this hobby with a word like "panelologist"? Dude, they're comics!

1 comment:

  1. Hi - Just found you blog and love it! I teach a class at Penn State on popular culture and technology and will be referring to your blog. Many thanks - Gerry Santoro (gmsantoro@gmail.com)


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Comic Blog Elite