I am working my way through The Golden Age Hawkman Archives for the second time. The stories, from Flash Comics #1-22, are all written by Gardner Fox. The first three are illustrated by Dennis Neville, but the volume is notable mostly for the art by Sheldon Moldoff. The first time I read this volume I was struck by how many panels were swiped directly from Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant. This time through (I’ve read many more comic strip reprints since the first time), I’m struck by how many panels were swiped from Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon and Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan as well as Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant (and many others that look like swipes whose source I cannot identify), to the extent I wouldn’t be surprised if virtually every panel was swiped from one source or another.

There is one particular comic book artist who came to prominence in the ‘90s and was notorious for uncredited swipes (you probably know the one I mean), and he was generally ridiculed by fellow professionals and fans alike. OTOH, there is Wally Wood, who once famously said, "Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up." And that’s Wally Wood! The “hot” ‘90s artist is no Wally Wood by any stretch of the imagination, but what about Sheldon Moldoff?

Sheldon Moldoff wrote the introduction to the archive volume, and I tend to take him at his word when he professes the desire to elevate comic book art to the level of comic strip art of the time. In his introduction, he related the story of Al Williamson who, as a boy, lived in South America and had no access to American comic strips. One day his father gave him a copy of Flash Comics, however, and inspired him to become a comic book artist. (This story related by Moldoff how Williamson approached him at a con.) And you know what? Sheldon Moldoff’s art is more distinctive that that of most other artists of the Golden Age. I recall thinking that very thought the first time I read Flash Comics #1 and All-Star Comics #3 (reprinted as “treasury editions”).

It is jarring to me now, though, to go from King Arthur’s Camelot to Flash Gordon’s Mongo to Tarzan’s jungle at the turn of a page.

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Hawkman always was one of AA's better drawn features. If they were going to swipe, might as well be from the best! But there were "swiping scandals" in the '60s and '80s as well, at least what I can remember!

Anyway, Hawkman just looked better than the Flash in those early years. Heck, tell me if the Feathered Fury's chapter in All Star Comics #3 wasn't the best drawn in the entire book which would be the case until Jack Burnley (Superman/Starman) began there!

Unfortunately, the GA edition stops shy of Shiera getting her costume. the reincarnation angle is set up in the very first story, but it's not played up all that often. Shiera doesn't even appear in all the stories.

Similarly, the GA Samdman volume stops a few issues shy of him getting a new "superhero" costume and sidekick. the story picks up in the S&K Sandman volume, but those few missing issues in between drive me nuts if I let myself thing about them.

See, that's fine with me because I always loathed his new costume and was never that wild about Sandy as a character.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Similarly, the GA Samdman volume stops a few issues shy of him getting a new "superhero" costume and sidekick. the story picks up in the S&K Sandman volume, but those few missing issues in between drive me nuts if I let myself thing about them.

“The GA edition stops shy of Shiera getting her costume. “

That’s true, however that story (from Flash Comics #24) has been reprinted (in the 100-Page Super-Spectacular” Superman #252 (which I bought shortly after reading GA Hawkman Archives the first time). There are also a few GA Moldoff Hawman stories in All-Star Archives #0.

“Similarly, the GA Sandman volume stops a few issues shy of him getting a new ‘superhero’ costume and sidekick.”

That’s not exactly true. The archive edition reprints the Sandman stories from Adventure Comics #40-59. Paul Norris did not revamp the character until issue #69, giving him purple and yellow tights, a cape and a sidekick. Simon & Kirby did not take over until #72. The first thing they did was ditch the cape, but the visual stamp they put on the character was not complete until they extended the purple of his mask down past his shoulders, where it stopped mid chest.

So it is actually the stories from issues #60-75 which have not been collected, more than I indicated yesterday. For all intents and purposes, the revamped Sandman was really a new character, as different from the gas mask-wearing version as both versions were from S&K’s 1970’s version.

Here’s something Joe Kubert has to say about Sheldon Mayer (not Moldoff) in his foreword to the Silver Age Hawkman Archives v1: “Shelly was great. He mentored a number of young cartoonists, of which I was one, and I’ll be ever grateful to that editor, cartoonist, cowboy and researcher Shelly Mayer. He taught me the most important lesson a cartoonist must learn. Simply put, a cartoonist is a communicator. A storyteller who uses pictures like a writer uses words.”

It's interesting to note that DC reprinted both the gas-mask Sandman and the purple & yellow Sandman in their books without ever saying that they were the same character, at least until Justice League of America #113!

While the yellow/purple outfit (were all the good ones already taken?) was something that should have stayed at the costume shop in my humble opinion, I had no problem with the basic concept of Sandy as a sidekick.

Yet regardless of who, would a sidekick have worked out if his partner had maintained his cloak and dagger/gas mask attire?

Still think it's a shame there seems to be no (known) plans to celebrate Hawkman's 80th anniversary this year. Considering everything the character's been through since the Crisis on Infinite Earths though, stories in an anniversary special would/could be all over the place. So unless a lot of advance planning went into such an issue...

But are there any other 1940s debuts that aren't being celebrated?

Out of all the other characters that started in Flash Comics #1, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt should at least be acknowledged somehow. Cliff Cornwall and The Whip haven't been seen in ages, so unless Roy Thomas starts writing for DC again, I don't think they'll appear anywhere again any time soon.

There may be TOO MANY 80th Anniversaries happening. With the already coming Flash, Green Lantern, Robin, Joker, Catwoman and the Justice Society, there is, along with Johnny Thunder:

  • Captain Marvel
  • The Spirit
  • Blue Beetle
  • Luthor
  • Hourman
  • Spectre
  • Congo Bill (hey, he had his own movie serial!)

I guess I'm not as "in the loop" as I thought I was Phillip.

Exactly what is planned to acknowledge/celebrate the JSA's 80th anniversary?

Sorry, I meant that they already have 80th Anniversary issues planned for Flash, GL, Robin, Joker and Carwoman. Presumably there will be one for the JSA as well as it isn't the exact anniversary until later in the year,
Lee Houston, Junior said:

I guess I'm not as "in the loop" as I thought I was Phillip.

Exactly what is planned to acknowledge/celebrate the JSA's 80th anniversary?

I'd be surprised if they honored the JSA, which they have dumped over and over again. 

Flash, GL, Robin, Joker and Catwoman are well-known to the "outside world" while the JSA isn't.

Oh! I almost forgot. Regarding the Hawkwoman "origin" story from Flash Comics #24, Carter and Shiera were going to a costume party. Carter wore his Hawkman costume (!) and he made a fully functional (!) set of wings for Shiera so they could have a "couple's" costume. They get separated (of course) and Shiera goes off on her own (of course). She comes to ythe aid of a man and woman and lands not 10 away.

Surprisingly, the man asks, "Those birds fetched you... You couldn't be the Hawkman, could you?" to which Shiera replies, "Er... ah... yes! Why not? Yes, I am." Well, one reason why not is that she's wearing a halter top and is not a "man" by any stretch of the imagination!

Back to Sandman, even Paul Norris was not pleased with his own revamp of the character and praised Simon & Kirby's version. (Apparently there was an order from higher up to make him "more like Batman") Norris added a sidekick and capes but, as far as I lknow (and strongly suspect), it was S&K who played up the "dream" angle. I don't recall the gas-masked version being dream-oriented (sleep-oriented, yes, but drerams?), and as I mentioned yesterday, those first three post-revamp Norris issues have not been reprinted to my knowledge (at least I haven't rerad them).

Started re-reading The Sandman Golden Age Archives, Volume One.

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