Bernard Wiseman’s New Yorker Cartoon Countdown

April 10, 12

Bernard Wiseman Cartoon Countdown Amid the troves of paperbacks dug through this weekend — I found this one from 1959.  New Yorker cartoonist Bernard Wiseman’s Cartoon Countdown.

Pages of single panel spacesuit and weapon gags with great style and commentary on the race for space and the jitters leading up to the Cuban Missile crisis — and the human side of what it might all mean.

Many without any words at all, several with only a few words.

I think it’s a great challenge and a good exercise, to try and get it all together in a single frame and say something funny without words.  These aren’t obtuse either — the kind spoofed on Seinfeld.

You can still find copies around out there too.

I’d love to share some samples here, but the book is too brittle to scan.

Sgt. Ken Hiro – MARS Patrol Frogman Badass

September 01, 11

Mars Patrol FrogmanSgt. Ken Hiro is a MARS Patrol frogman badass.  He’s the one in green leaping over a trench with the Thompson sub-machine gun in the two o’clock position.

Mask mounted on his head, regulator at the ready —  the rocket in the background is primed and ready to launch in a time when space exploration actually mattered to most.

Bald aliens or “baldies” have built a series of undersea colonies and Sgt. Ken Hiro isn’t about to take any lip from a bald genetic non-terrestrial oddity.  He needs to get through the bald purple foot soldiers and wire up some holiday salutes to turn a few colonies into fish sticks.

Who can resist the fashion choices of baldy leaders with names like Technicon Kargin that dress like period Venetian Renaissance actors?

When bald and theatrical were simple shorthands for evil.

MARS patrol baldies

Magnus and the Water Robots

August 31, 11

Robot Fighter Pacifica is a steel domed city built on the Ocean.  A city run by robots with an agenda that doesn’t leave much room for humans.  Magnus usually crushes robots, but here he’s caught in the pronged clutches of a robot built with fan blade feet for propulsion.

Serpents and sharks figure here too. Danger is everywhere.  If you manage to beat the machines, can you beat the upper end of  natural predators?

Can anyone really beat the next predator?

The predator that consumes your ability to wonder.  The predator that eats away the only inner voice that will ever be gifted to you.

The painterly covers of the Gold Keys were true descendents of the best early pulp styles.

How did these covers start to change your worldview as a kid?  Maybe you started to meditate on the fantastic — but this is soon lost.

Break the grip of the robot, serpent and shark wherever you find them.