compiled and with an introduction by John Benson Talk about long overdue! This book presents -- for the first time since their original appearences over fifty years ago -- a selection of some great but sadly overlooked comics from the post-WWII era. Originally published in the late 1940s and early 1950s, these comics are the real romance comics. The stories in this volume were (at least, according to Benson) penned by one Dana Dutch, an almost completely unknown author about whom the only thing we can say for sure is that he sure knew how to tell a good story. The art is, for the most part, executed by one of the all time greats of comics, Matt Baker. Better known for his sultry super heroines like the Phantom Lady, his best work is here in the Romance (and Crime) comics published by the St. John Co. These are comics that tell engaging stories about people whose actions have discernable motivations and who make decisions that they are then forced to live with. Totally forgotten by all but a few die-hards is the fact that the women in these early romance comics were very much the agents of their own destiny; certainly when compared to their counterparts in the later romance comics whom, during the genre's long uninterrupted slide into oblivion that ran from the late 1950s through to its ignominious end in the early to mid '70s, gradually became a self-parody of their former selves, metamorphosizing into mindless automatons who sighed and cried their way to the altar. Sadly, it it is these later comics that are normally conjured up when one hears the term "romance comics." This is due, in large part, to specific images from these later, genre-in-decline (i.e., decadent) comics being given iconic status by their being reproduced in the paintings of pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein. But it is the comics that are presented here in Romance Without Tears, that are the true Romance Comics. These are the comics that now need to be remembered and reevaluated so that they may reenergize the comics of today! 160 pages; full color (except for one story); squarebound; 8 1/2" x 11"
A dozen never-before-reprinted, classic Sheena tales are herein collected. All the stories were originally published in Jumbo Comics, almost all during the 1940s. As an added bonus, you get to read one of the stories as it was truncated and rescripted -- or "censored" as the editor and/or publisher of this collection have it -- for republication in Sheena #12 in 1951. This collection is assembled with care. The entire volume is reproduced in full color from high quality scans of the stories as they originally appeared (as well as the original covers and many original advertisements from the same issues that the stories appeared in, which together help to provide the proper ambience for that "you are there" feeling), to insure that your reading experience will be the closest possible approximation to that of actually reading the original comics (which would cost a small fortune to purchase). If classic jungle comics are your thing, then this is a no-brainer. And remember, Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.
Yes! Matt Baker is one of the all-time greats of Golden Age and Atom Age comics. His lack of greater fame is largely due to the fact that he eschewed delineating superheroes – at least of the masculine variety – instead choosing to focus largely on employing his prodigious talents in the service of bringing a long line of feisty fighting female firebrands to the comics page. While Baker made a mark with his minor foray into the world of caped crusaders with the infamous Phantom Lady (singled out by Dr. Frederic Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent for her heady "headlights"), he is best known for his down to earth women. Some of these were serially recurring characters like the military-based, Canteen Kate, and, especially, the more exotic types like South Sea Gal, Vooda, Tiger Girl and, of course, Sheena, which were Baker's forte. The core of Baker's oeuvre, however, was the parade of women who populated the pages of Crime and, especially, Romance comics published by St. John's Comics during the late '40s and early '50s in titles like Authentic Police Cases, Diary Secrets, Pictorial Romances and Teen-Age Temptations. And he did plenty more besides, managing to produce an immense body of work in his all-too-brief 38 years of life, which ended in 1959. Local Copacetic customers will be interested in learning that, shortly after his North Carolina nativity, Baker's family moved to Pittsburgh, and he grew up right here in Homewood. In addition, it is worth pondering a moment the fact that Matt Baker was one of the few – and by far the most successful – black men to work in comic books during their formative, pre-code years. Matt Baker is a comics figure worthy of attention, and with this volume we have a good place to start.
Long suffering Matt Baker fans are at last rewarded with this full color hardcover collection of the complete Canteen Kate. Featuring 160 pages of humorous hi-jinx from the early 1950s, the stories that make up this volume comprise a silly symphony of fighting man fantasies featuring the curvaceous Kate Revere, her comic foil and "everyman" marine, Private Al Smith and the bane of their respective existences, the ever angry Major Herringbone. Comics books like they used to be!