Wednesday, November 16, 2016

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! SPARKLER COMICS #1, July 1941 issue (Ecomics Space)

Avid comic book collectors as well as run of the mill comic strip fans are undoubtedly familiar with this particular title in which a vast selection of United Features Syndicate comics got the royal reprint treatment throughout the forties. And for good reason too, for SPARKLER, along with cyster publication TIP TOP, was and remains easy enough to come by in the used comic book market. Not only are they (even to this sorry day) relatively cheap even in NM condition but during a time when such comics as NANCY were hard to come by reprint-wise titles like this most certainly helped satiate out hunger for those long-forgotten strips that only people like ourselves seemed to care about. So when I discovered that Ecomics had reprinted the debut issue of this seminal title you can bet I jumped on it like Elton John on a schoolboy, especially with the vast array of comic strip stars featured on the cover from TARZAN and NANCY to the rather hotcha ELLA CINDERS who will be the subject of a future post believe-you-moi.

Funny thing is that both TARZAN and NANCY are nowhere to be seen anywhere in the book even if their visages are plainly displayed on the cover. CINDERS pops up on two pages, and thankfully it's the early Ella with the nice pageboy-like hair who can even be seen sporting some shapely boobs by this time. Why the others were axed I dunno, but I get the feeling that it may have something to do with copyright laws, or the fact that I'm sure the property owners are still concerned about those strips but hey, ELLA CINDERS has been outta work since the early-sixties and who other'n me remembers who she is anyway!

The big front cover plug spot's devoted to "The Spark Man", a dude who I ain't ever heard of before or since so's I get the impression that he was a superhero created especially for this title in order to cash in on the costumed good guy trend. The most unique thing about this hero is that NOBODY knows who his alter ego is, and that includes YOU dear reader! He could be newspaperman Quill Davis or man-about-town Vic Hall or even concert violinist Omar Kavak! But whoever he is you can be sure of one to the comic heroes that DC and Quality were churning out the Spark Man was one guy who was gonna head straight into superhero oblivion because hey, once you get down to the heart of the nitty-gritty his entire schtick was fehsville. Something tells me that this guy was the inspiration for "Verman" who appeared in a couple of NATIONAL LAMPOON "Rock Bottom" comics.

Now for DA REPRINTS, and they are hokay even if  DANNY DINGLE is grade-z humor and the likes of DYNAMITE DAN and BRONCHO BILL lack the hard-drive of any personal adventure comics fave you can dredge outta your mind. My personal fave rave of this bunch just happens to be the CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS story where the characters from this legendary KATZENJAMMERS knockoff land on an island and tangle with pygmies whose males look like typical old timey comic strip native types and the women Polynesian wowzers! Boggles the genetic brain that's for sure, but then again anyone who watched JUNGLE JIM mooms with South Seas-type natives in Africa would have known this by now.

They may have skimped on the TARZAN and NANCY comics, but the original ads are sure fun to read. I sure could go for a "Frozen Chocolate Shake" bar "with nuts and fruits and chocolate thick"! Now that sounds like something  that would taste good onna hot summer day, and the best part about it is that the confection woulda only cost 'cha a mere two cents in 1941 money which'd mean it'd set ya back a good three bucks today! Sheesh, back then the coin you'd find onna streets sure went a lot farther than it does now, and you can bet that your average pop bottle collecting kid of the day could have a whole lot more fun with the pittance he'd find around town than his descendants these days can!

But sheesh, if they only still had Frozen Chocolate Shakes available!  I get the idea that this particular confection probably went out with Tootsie Roll Fudge and Shake-A-Puddin' and all those other great taste treats from the past that fit into our suburban slob lifestyles a whole lot more than Nutrathin ever could!

In all, this repro ish of SPARKLER was a great blast back to the days when things were a whole lot more funner'n they probably are for kids these days (though I keep forgetting...there are no kids anymore, but small adults waiting to get big!). And the way I look at it is sure, you may had had stern parents and cruel teachers and classmates who were always at your throat and learning disabilities and ugly looks and maybe didn't smell so good, but at least you had comic books like SPARKLER. And really, what else more would you want in life?


Bill S. said...

A character name like "newspaperman Quill Davis" could exist only in the world of comics....

top_cat_james said...

How do you not feature a moniker like DANNY DINGLE on the cover?
(Subtitle: "He's the Berries!").