Friday, February 23, 2018

Forgotten Books: THE MURDER OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN by Rick Geary (2005)

Back in the day, I was an avid reader of underground comics: Mr. Natural, Zap, Slow Death, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, et al. So I’m naturally predisposed to like Rick Geary’s The Murder of Abraham Lincoln, which I can best describe as an underground history book.

My words will be brief on this one, because no amount of telling can convey what this one is really like. I’ll provide a few sample pages so you can see for yourself. I will say, though, that Geary takes us back in time like no history book can. He does a great job of introducing us to John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators, and to Lincoln and the people around him. He lays out the events leading up to the assassination, the killing itself, and the aftermath in dramatic fashion, and raises intriguing questions about many mysteries yet unanswered. There was a LOT of stuff here I didn’t know.

And if you like this one as much as I did, you’ll want to check out Rick Geary’s other picto-histories, which include one on Jack the Ripper, one about the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, and one about Lizzie Borden. My thanks to Mr. David Laurence Wilson for turning me on to his work.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

INTRODUCING TORCHY by Bill Ward (1946)

This is Torchy's first comic book appearance, from Doll Man Quarterly #8, Spring 1946, uploaded to comicbookplus by Henry Peters (thanks Henry!). Art and story by Bill Ward, who created the character for an Army newspaper strip in 1944.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

MIGHTY MOUSE PLAYHOUSE: A Fight to the Finish (1947)

Here's one of the best Mighty Mouse classics, with the Mouse of Tomorrow saving Pearl Pureheart from Oil Can Harry. Be sure to hiss and cheer at the appropriate moments.

Original art by Art Bartch

Friday, February 16, 2018

Forgotten Books: SHILOH by James Reasoner (1999)

The illustrious author
Book 2 of the Civil War Battle series introduces us to Coriolanus Troilus Brannon, the middle brother of the Brannon clan, and is mostly about him. Cory begins the story as a seedy, sotten, no-account wharf rat, despondent for having failed in his plans to make it big in the West. The West (to a Virginian) is New Madrid, MO, on the Mississippi River. As our story progresses, Cory becomes a riverboatman, finds self-respect, earns friends, learns to fight, finds courage and meets his lady love. And just when things are really looking up for him, the war comes rolling in and hands him a fistful of woe.
The author's illustrious ancestor, Gen. J.M. Reasoner, C.S.A.. Remarkable resemblance, ain't it?
The author's illustrious ancestor, General J.M.
Reasoner, C.S.A.. Remarkable resemblance, ain't it?

On his way to an appointment with destiny at the Battle of Shiloh, Cory in involved in the engagements at Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson. One of the coolest battle scenes involves two Southern riverboats equipped with 18-pounders versus a squadron of Union gunboats, some of them ironclads.

Cory begins the fight at Shiloh as an infantryman and finishes riding with Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry, and even manages to save Forrest's life. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (or in this case, farm) Titus Brannon is drowning his sorrows in moonshine. He has seemingly lost the rich girl of his dreams and is sliding downhill so fast he might as well be on a skateboard. Brother Mac is chasing  a ghost horse (not really, but that's how he thinks of it), Sister Cordelia is being her sweet, moralistic self, and Mother Abigail is showing signs of regret for having banished her eldest son Will. Will is having his own troubles in the Federal army. His fellow officers look down their aristocratic noses at him, and his sergeant (a guy he routinely arrested for drunkenness in his previous life as a sheriff), can't keep his hands off the bottle.

There's plenty of great storytelling here (360 pages worth), and I'm looking forward to the next volume (of ten!), Antietam.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

BILL CRIDER SINGS with The Next Edition (2010-11)