Friday, February 3, 2012

Time for Comics

Let us break up the long sad string of obituaries we've been documenting and mourning here and move on to something much lighter: free comic books.

The Digital Comics Museum is a great place to spend time getting lost in the public domain world of vintage comic books.

You don't have to love superhero tales, as the world of mainstream comics prior to the 1960s hosted any number of topics having little or nothing to do with boy scouts from other planets or deranged millionaires deciding to rid their cities of crime.

There are plenty of hero titles, but some are war stories or Old West glories. Horror and suspense/mystery titles abound, as well as quite a few jungle-adventure serials.

Other titles embrace the "comics" aspect in the traditional Sunday comics sense, where the punchline and the sight gag rule.

The romance titles from publishers such as Charlton, Prize and Ace can be quite fun too. Some dare to document genuine romantic problems facing women and men, others go scandalous and some, as in issue 70 of "Young Romance" from Prize go the romance novel route.

And the previously mentioned Charlton Comics hosted a number of now legendary artists and writers at a time when they were just trying to get started in the industry. The cover of Charlton's "The Thing!"  (issue 14) was done by Steve Ditko before he was Steve Ditko. [What? -- ed.]

Either way, you get an army of grotesque bat-men attacking terrified humans as a group of ancient Egyptians give chase. Neat!

Dig in and have fun. It's free.