I recently finished reading Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent for the first time and found myself in need of a little mental palate-cleansing. I first turned to The Great Comic Book Heroes by Jules Feiffer for the third time... sort of. That book was originally published in 1965, but I always think ot it as a mid-seventies thing because I received my copy for my tenth birthday. The book comprises text in the front, comics in the back. I made a really good effort when I was ten to read through the text, but I felt an almost physical tug from those brightly-colored Golden Age classics pulling me to the back of the book. I tried reading a chapter at a time but, frankly, ending up skimming them more than giving them a deep read. I did read enough of the Superman chapter to realize that Feiffer was pretty much full of $#!t when it came to his philosophy of superheroes (and was dismayed, decades later, when that philosophy was carried over into a popular film) but, apart from that, his book is written with such a joie de vie for comics that it makes a perfect counterpoint to Wertham's bleak Seduction of the Innocent.

The Great Comic Book Heroes was reissued in the early 2Ks (I think it was), but without the comics. I took that opportunity to "re-read it for the first time." But I didn't buy a new edition; I read my HC, in-depth for the first time, but was able to resist the temptation of the comics in the back (which I did read many, many times over in my youth and since). So this was my third time through (or second, depending on your point of view). I enjoyed it immensely, but it is very short and I found myself in need of more "mental palate-cleansing."

That realization led me to All in Color for a Dime, the 1970 collection of fanzine articles edited by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson. Like Seduction of the Innocent, All in Color for a Dime has achieved nigh-legendary status (in certain circles). Also like SOTI, it had been out of print and difficult to obtain for a number of years. When it was reissued in 1997 I snatched it right up... then let it sit on the shelf for 25 years. I read one chapter per day of SOTI and posted my thoughts as I went along. AICFAD comprises eleven essays so, for the next week and a half, I plan to read and post my thoughts on one essay per day.

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I think so.

Irma Kruhl said:


Double post, sorry.  Are we able to delete extraneous posts?

Welcome from me, too. On your own posts there is a tiny x on the right side. Click on it and it will let you delete your post.

8. "The Four-Panelled, Sock-Bang-Powie Saturday Afternoon Screen" by Chris Steinbrunner

This chapter, about Saturday afternoon movie serials, appears to be out of place, but the original intended audience of this book were of the generation which would have grown up entertained by both comic books and movie serials. I have more serials (on VHS and DVD) than the average person (which would be true even if I owned but one). This chapter is a pretty decent overview of the history of the serial, which takes it right up until the dawn of the television age. Then it jumps ahead to the superhero (and superhero-adjacent) cartoons of the '60s. I used to receive a catalog from a company that sold movie serials, and I continued to buy them occasionally right into the 2Ks. (The most recent ones I purchased were Captain Marvel, The Phantom and Terry & the Pirates.) Steinbrunner mentioned many I do not own, but none I have never heard of. (Conspicuous in their absence were Radar Men from the Moon and Manhunt in the African Jungle, two of my favorites.) Yesterday's chapter put me in the mood to read my Golden Age Wonder Woman omnibus, and today's has put me in the mood to watch the first Flash Gordon serial.

"The superhero on the screen may have fallen on lean times, but he dies hard and is not yet to be counted out."

Ah, I see it now. Thank you, Richard!  

Just deleted my extra post. 

Richard Willis said:

Welcome from me, too. On your own posts there is a tiny x on the right side. Click on it and it will let you delete your post.

I only know "Radar Men from the Moon" from its appearances in several early episodes of MST3K.

I was watching the "Buck Rogers" serial on TCM and, God help me, I couldn't stop MST3K-ing it!

I've seen the Flash Gordon serial, never seen the Buck Rogers one.

Philip Portelli said:

I was watching the "Buck Rogers" serial on TCM and, God help me, I couldn't stop MST3K-ing it!

Irma Kruhl said:

This topic has inspired me to dig out my original copy, bought decades ago!  I bought this because I thought this would have info about the Marvel and DC comics I was currently reading. But thre wasn't really much about 1960s comics, it was mostly about what I considered to be old old old irrelevant comics, the Golden Age, an era I was not particularly interested in as a kid.   

Now of course I am very glad I still have my copy, even if it's a little worse for the wear. 

Great book!

I had a very similar experience! The Li'l Capn wanted info about Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie and Tower, not old stuff! But the older Capn appreciates the book a lot more.

I really wanna read Li'l Cap'n Comics and Stories.

Captain Comics said:

Irma Kruhl said:

This topic has inspired me to dig out my original copy, bought decades ago!  I bought this because I thought this would have info about the Marvel and DC comics I was currently reading. But thre wasn't really much about 1960s comics, it was mostly about what I considered to be old old old irrelevant comics, the Golden Age, an era I was not particularly interested in as a kid.   

Now of course I am very glad I still have my copy, even if it's a little worse for the wear. 

Great book!

I had a very similar experience! The Li'l Capn wanted info about Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie and Tower, not old stuff! But the older Capn appreciates the book a lot more.

Even though Buster Crabbe played both roles, Flash Gordon is much better than Buck Rogers.

And Killer Kane is no Ming the Merciless! 

The Baron said:

I've seen the Flash Gordon serial, never seen the Buck Rogers one.

Philip Portelli said:

I was watching the "Buck Rogers" serial on TCM and, God help me, I couldn't stop MST3K-ing it!

Ever read the original Buck Rogers comic strips from the the late 1920's and early 30's?  Holy cats, were those things as racist as all get out!

Philip Portelli said:

Even though Buster Crabbe played both roles, Flash Gordon is much better than Buck Rogers.

And Killer Kane is no Ming the Merciless! 

The Baron said:

I've seen the Flash Gordon serial, never seen the Buck Rogers one.

Philip Portelli said:

I was watching the "Buck Rogers" serial on TCM and, God help me, I couldn't stop MST3K-ing it!

I never had the opportunity though I do have six volumes of the Hermes Press Flash Gordon collections.

Thankfully the Buck serial was toned down. There was even an Asian actor in the cast. Yes, he was dressed silly but they all were! 

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