Batom Comics – The Untold History Part 8
posted on January 30, 2016
Brady Wentworth needed an artist for his new Charlie and Chuck book. Coy Dockett, a local freelance artist in Cleveland, needed a job. When Coy showed up at the Batom Comics offices in the Eaton Building with his portfolio, Brady couldn’t understand why Coy had been let go by the local greeting card company at which he’d worked. The work Brady was looking at showed talent, was professional and would be a perfect match for the new “kitchen characters” of his fourteen-year-old phenom Mitchell Knox. Brady hired Coy on the spot and even provided him a workspace in what would soon become known with more than a little irony as the Batty Batom Bullpen.
Coy showed up for work promptly at nine o’clock the next morning. He was ushered by Brady to a drawing board in a corner of the large room. A blank sheet of bristol board drawing paper awaited him on that drawing board along with page one of the first Charlie and Chuck script. An hour later when Brady strolled by to check on Coy’s progress, the page of bristol board was still pristine in its blankness. Brady chalked it up to a bout of cold feet and resolved to check in again after lunch. He wasn’t worried. After all, he’d seen the man’s portfolio and what he was capable of. When he returned after lunch, he found Coy still staring at the blank page. Brady’s bile slowly began to rise. For crying out loud he thought, Mitchell Knox’s scripts had even included sketches of how the story should flow artistically! How hard can this be? In his frustration he grabbed a pencil from the taboret next to the drawing board and said, “Put the damn villain here!” making a mark on the paper as he raged at the dumbstruck artist. Coy looked at the line for a moment and then picked up an eraser and removed the it. Then he took the pencil from his irate editor and replaced it with a more elegant line that began to give form to the cover’s villain. Thus Brady and Coy gave birth to an ice breaking ploy that would become a daily routine for as long as Coy worked there. And Batom Comic’s third new entry into the comic book field was born.
Flash Fridays – The Flash # 125
posted on January 29, 2016
With this issue of The Flash, DC raised the price of their comics to ten to twelve cents. It was a rude awakening as to just how cold, uncaring and unpredictable the universe could be. Twelve cents was a big deal to someone whose only source of income was an allowance. On the other hand, since I had had the foresight to subscribe to the magazine, I’d locked in the old price for a year and was pretty pleased by the thought that I had pulled off a financial coup of sorts. If someone had told me that one day the price for a comic book would run somewhere north of four dollars, I probably wouldn’t have stopped laughing for a week. But enough about economics.
The issue itself was a home run. When a cover has dinosaurs and rockets on it, you’re pretty much halfway home already. It featured the second team-up of the Flash and Kid Flash and, as with the earlier team-up, it was a book length story. The story opens with everything that makes use of nuclear power suddenly fizzling. We then see Wally West arriving in Central City for a vacation with his aunt Iris. Barry Allen meets him at the station saying that Iris had been called away on an assignment. Barry says that it’s just as well, and then whisks Wally off to his apartment to explain why. In Barry’s apartment we are introduced for the first time to the cosmic treadmill which can send Barry (as the Flash) into the future and or the past (I’m not one for collecting superhero figurines, but the closest I ever came to buying one was one showing the Flash on the cosmic treadmill. ‘Nuff said about it’s import to my personal Golden age). It turns out that Barry has been fooling around with the CT a bit and that on a recent trip to the future he found that the humans there (our team) were being invaded by some aliens called the Dokris. The Dokris had sent a beehive looking thingy into the past to cancel out all of the radioactivity in the rocks so the humans in the future would have no atomic energy to fight them with. It also explained why nuclear power was on the fritz in Barry and Wally’s time as well. The Flash explains to Kid Flash how to maintain an inner vibration to remain in either the future or the past which also allows writer Broome to bring them back to the present with out the aid of a cosmic treadmill.
And so, Kid Flash hops on the treadmill and heads back to the past to bust up the hive while the Flash heads off to the future to helps the humans there fight the Dokris. In the past, Kid Flash is saved from a giant bee by some humanoid bird people who he then enlists to help him find the “hive”. In the future, Flash is captured by the Dokris and all is looking pretty grim when suddenly an atomic pistol he’s carrying begins working again indicating that Kid Flash has been successful in destroying the “hive”. The Dokris are summarily dispatched and the Flash and Kid Flash return to a present in which the nuclear energy is once again working and all of the plots and subplots are tied up in a nice big bow.
Editor, Julie Schwartz, continues giving away pages of art to his favorite letter hacks in the Flash-Grams column and the issue also contains one of those glorious house ads for the first appearance of a new character in Showcase called the Atom (I hunted everywhere for that issue and could never find it. Thank God for the DC archive collections). When all is said and done, maybe issue #125 really was worth twelve cents.
John Darling – Take 13
posted on January 28, 2016
Posted without comment. Actually, I suppose I just made a comment, didn’t I?