After taking on the life of Margaret Sanger in Woman Rebel, cartoonist Peter Bagge turns his attention to another trailblazing troublemaker, Zora Neale Hurston. Our critic Etelka Lehoczky says Bagge “has plenty of fun with the most colorful milestones of Hurston’s life, from her psychic visions to her folklore trips to her up-close study of voodoo culture,” though he tends to skip over the more difficult parts of Hurston’s adventurous life.
Above: Have you ever had one of those dreams that you turn up to school and your lead suit turns to transparent glass?
The Chronological Superman 1959: Although there are a few important landmarks in the comics,
such as Supergirl’s debut (In Action Comics vol.1 No.252, May 1959),
it’s the real world where the changes that most affect Superman’s course are
TV’s Superman and the walking, talking, breathing and smirking Man of Steel to
an entire generation of kids, takes his own life on June 16, 1959. The impact this has on an entire generation and their parents cannot be overstated.
Keep in mind that the parents of many of the kids who were addicted to the
Superman TV show had, themselves, grown up listening to the adventures of
Superman on radio or reading his comic book adventures. Attempting to resolve, both intellectually
and emotionally, the sad death of an invulnerable superhero may have had much
to do with the increasingly lurid and complicated conspiracy theories which
surrounded his passing, as it tends to do with any towering figure in the
public consciousness who has died well before their time.
Siegel very quietly returns to the offices at National Periodical.
Obviously, his name wasn’t returned to the masthead – creators still weren’t
credited at DC Comics in 1959 – and it would have been additionally unthinkable
for Jack Liebowitz to give an inch
to the man with whom he’d so often and so bitterly quarreled.
Siegel’s return to DC tends to be portrayed as a humbling
event, with Jerry returning, tail between his legs, whipped into submission.
Siegel’s simmering anger expressed in many late Seventies’ interviews reinforce
the idea, but the fact was that Siegel had – from the start – a contentious and
complicated relationship with Liebowitz (who was, at this time, more involved
with the acquisition of distribution networks than the day-to-day running of
the comic books). More than likely, Siegel was stung but no unhappier with this
arrangement than he was with the original arrangement, and he was back doing
what he was meant to do. Besides, resentful or not, he was going to leave his
mark once again on the character he co-created.
Meanwhile, on the printed page…
indeed debut in May (stealing the thunder of Metallo’s non-comic strip debut in the same issue), and promptly
settles into a recurring series in the back pages of Action Comics. Previous
stabs at giving the Man of Steel a youthful sidekick were always handled
tentatively, but the Girl of Steel is more-or-less locked in from the start
(Even if the editorial team left themselves a way out by having Superman
deposit his cousin at a rural, out-of-the-way orphanage. Had she failed to
catch on, she would’ve probably been left there without any further
Making the rounds, Supergirl meets Krypto in Action Comics vol.1
No.258 (Nov 1959), Jimmy in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen vol.1 No.40 (Oct
1959) and picks up her own snooping love interest, Dick Wilson, in Action Comics
vol.1 No.256 (Sep 1959). Meanwhile, Superboy
meets Oliver Queen in Adventure
Comics vol 1No.258 (Mar 1959), Lois
Lane again in Adventure Comics vol 1
No.261 (Jun 1959), and has a bittersweet run-in with the Legion of Super-Heroes when they make
their second-ever appearance in Adventure
Comics vol 1 No.267 (Dec 1959).
This year seems to start the trend of explaining away every
little question about how Superman’s powers and accoutrements work. Readers
learn the secret of his X-ray-impervious
glasses in Superboy vol.1 No 70 (Jan
1959), are introduced to the complexities of having un-cuttable hair in Superboy
vol.1 No 76 (Oct 1959). These kinds of stories will become a big part of
the Silver Age.
fairly frequently, including as “Kryptonite
Man” in Action Comics vol.1 No.249
(Feb 1959). He also shows up in
Action Comics vol.1 No.257 (Oct 1959), Action Comics vol.1 No.259 (Dec 1959), and World’s Finest Comics vol.1 No.100
(Mar 1959), in which Brainiac also
makes an appearance by way of a flashback. Luthor also appears in World’s Finest Comics vol.1 No.104 (Sept
over to Superman’s world in Action Comics
vol.1 No.254 (Jul 1959), and Bizarro-Lois
in the followup issue, Action Comics
vol.1 No.255 (Aug 1959). Along those lines, Superman and Lois meet another
bizarre, backwards and misshapen duplicate of the Man of Steel – a personal
favorite among the thousands of characters introduced in assorted Superman
titles over the years, The Ugly Superman
(Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane vol.1 No.8,
Let’s talk about love: Lori
Lemaris, Superman’s mermaid sweetheart, debuts in Superman vol.1 No.129 (May 1959), Lois’ sister and Jimmy’s
on-again off-again girlfriend Lucy Lane
appears for the first time in Superman’s
Pal Jimmy Olsen vol.1 No.36 (May 1959), and Pat Boone threatens to get in the middle of the Clark/Lois/Superman
triangle during a guest-appearance in Superman’s
Girlfriend Lois Lane vol.1 No.9 (May 1959).
And now let’s talk about primates: Beppo the Super-Monkey debuts in Superboy vol.1 No 76 (Oct 1959), and Titano the Super-Ape – complete with kryptonite vision – in Superman vol.1 No.127 (Feb 1959).
Mxyztplk is dead,
long live MxyzPTlk! In Superman vol.1
No.131 (Sep 1959), the fifth-dimensional imp receives a name-change and a
sort-of “clip show” detailing his many antics for the audiences who may’ve
missed his last prior appearance in 1956.
Two last, notable events: Jimmy once again dons the
stretchable garb of Elastic Lad in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen vol.1 No.37 (Jun
1959), while Red Kryptonite is
now defined as causing “weird unpredictable effects” in Action
Comics vol.1 No.259 (Dec 1959)
wherein Superman battles Superboy for the lives of Lana and Lois (it’s only a
hallucination, it turns out)…
Bucky getting involved in children's amputee charities and then writing down all those kids stories and getting Steve to draw the pictures and publishing a series of books under 'as told to JB Barnes' and donating all the money to kids who need prostheses.
To set the record straight, Steve was the one who came up with the character of Bucky Bear.
Bucky was the one who created the character of the “Little Punk.”
So it began as just ridiculous made up stories when they were kids, of being pirates and Musketeers in the court of the French king, of daring sword fights and deeds of derring-do. Little Punk and Bucky Bear sailed the seven seas on their ship the White Fang. They were Musketeers off to foil the plots of the wicked Cardinal and save the Queen. They aided the Scarlet Pimpernel in escaping the Terror.
And Steve drew all these, while Bucky wrote out the words, in their mutually owned sketchbook.
Inevitably, once they were older, they still did these things for fun and maybe Steve dreamed that he and Bucky could actually turn their old adventures into an actual book or comic that kids would love to read.
During the war, it became a sort of pet project of theirs - something that they worked on in between the interminable periods of “hurry up and wait” and Steve made Bucky laugh by telling him, “That’s it, that’s how we’re going to get on after the war. You’ll be a famous writer and I’ll be your illustrator.”
“And maybe we’ll outsell those goddamn Captain America comics with me as your kid sidekick.”
Bucky had finished the first story of the Adventures of Little Punk and Bucky Bear, just before that fateful train mission.
It was Peggy, with some help from Howard, who realized how good the book was and had it published.
This was Little Tony Stark’s favorite bedtime story up until he was six years old.
The book became one of those hidden, if well-loved gems for a great many children over the years, although few knew that this book had actually been a collaboration between Captain America and Bucky Barnes.
It wasn’t until more than seventy-odd years later that the sequel to the Adventures of Little Punk and Bucky Bear, as told to JB Barnes and as drawn by SG Rogers, would be published.
It began as a story that Bucky himself would tell sick kids when he and Steve visited the hospital and Steve took along his sketch book to show the pictures. And finally, Bucky wrote it all down, because a little girl named Wendy who had been in a terrible accident that had cost her own left arm, wanted to have the picture book to look at, even if “Cap n’ Bucky” weren’t there to read it to her.
The second adventure of Little Punk and Bucky Bear - which, incidentally, featured their new friends - the Falcon, the Hawk, the Ballerina and the Good Witch - was a great success.
A third book, to feature Little Punk and Bucky Bear’s encounter with the young wizard inventor and his friend the Green Giant who lived in a magical tower, was to follow.