According to the little counter on the right hand margin of this stie, this is my 100th installment of the Classic Comics Corner. Beginning with Comics on Parade #100, comic books have typically celebrated their 100th issue with some sort of special issue. This week, I’m taking a look at some classic comics that had entertaining 100th issues, while completely ignoring that important milestone.
In some ways, All-Star Western #100 (April-May, 1958) is a very significant issue. After all, this series began all the way back in 1940 with All-Star Comics #1. The Trigger Twins cover story is a lot of fun, as Sheriff Walt’s services are being raffled off for the day. A local outlaw has a plan to keep the Sheriff even busier. Of course, by the end of the story, both brothers are dressed as the sheriff in covert showdown. Carmine Infantino’s pencils are terrific. The Foley of the Fighting Fifth story is decent, as the Lieutenant tries to solve a mystery involving some Ute Indians looking to a geyser as a sign of war. I’m not much of a fan of Howard Sherman’s artwork. The Johnny Thunder story is a good one, with a typical Kanigher mixture of action and humourous exchanges between Sheriff Tane and his son (in both guises).
Next up is Turok, Son of Stone #100 (November, 1975) is another ‘under the radar’ 100th issue. This series began as part of the Four Color series at Dell and survived into the early 80s. In the first story, Turok and Andar debate the merits of setting up a permanent camp. A crazed hermit helps them decide to continue wandering in hopes of finding their way out of the Lost Valley. The second tale is an odd one, as the duo encounter a tribesman named Korr, with a penchant for playing practical jokes. It turns out that he’s not all fun and games, and is trying to get his hands on their flint stones. By the end of the story, the laughter has stopped and Turok starts to lecture Andar anew. I love Paul S. Newman’s scripts, as they are always fun and inventive. Albert Giolitti pencilled at least the first story, but the second one looks slightly different.
Strange Tales #100 (September, 1962) was the final 100% mystery issue of this series. It’s a terrific example of the fun stuff Stan Lee & Co. produced in the Atlas era. The cover story The Man in the Crazy Maze is typical Lee/ Kirby/Ayers awesomeness. It involves a man who comes up with a rather devious plan to lure people into trying out his maze. Of course, just desserts are served. The next story features more Kirby/Ayers artwork, and tells the story of a Castro-like dictator who falls in love with a ray that can created duplicates of him. In the end, it echoes Dr. Seuss’ Too Many Daves. The next story is fun take on the Cold War Space Race, nicely drawn by Don Heck. The Russians fail to heed an American warning and fall victim to some wolves in lamb clothing. Finally, rounding out the Atlas era triumvirate of great artist, Steve Ditko pencils a rather odd tale of a peace loving oak tree, made self-aware by a radioactive blast. All in all, it’s a terrific book that sadly represents the end of an era.
Tarzan had such a long history in comics, that he was still at Dell when Tarzan #100 (January, 1958) was published. I’m more of a painted cover guy, but fan of photo cover will likely love this cover featuring the charismatic Gordon Scott. The first story is terrific, as Tarzan rescues a young boy from some nasty mandrills and helps him in his quest to find a legendary rifle. In the second story, Tarzan and boy rescue a young rhino from a crocodile, and he repays the favours by helping to fend off some hunters. I know that Jesse Marsh has a legion of fans, but I have never been sold on his pencils and the overall ‘look’ he gives to Tarzan. That being said, he is a terrific storyteller. Future Tarzan artist Russ Manning (a personal favourite of mine) provides the art on the Brothers of the Spear back-up.
Finally, I’ll leave off with Patsy & Hedy #100 (June, 1965). Through the 60s, you’ll note Stan Lee constantly claiming that the ‘girls’ comics were among his best sellers. I don’t have any of the data, but it is interesting to see just how many got close to or even surpassed 100 issues, especially at a company with a quick trigger finger (just as Quick Trigger Western). In this issue, the two friendly rivals become roommates. It’s a lot of fun, as I really like Hedy’s constant scheming, but I do find those fashion credits to be distracting. One submission, the femme fatale fashions, come straight out of the pages of Tales of Suspense from a year earlier.
So, there you have it; a few quiet, yet notable 100th issues to add to your collection. Hopefully, there is something for everyone. For more comic book chat, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent.