Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

The Great Comic Book Plague: Final

April 28th, 2008 by Weber


Time to hang this one up . . . Oh, wait.

At JMS Labs, we are very concerned with closure. Usually, it’s body bags and bio-hazard containers, but, hey, closure is closure.

To wit —

The last bit of follow-up to my April 9th post rebutting Varney’s ignore-ist approach to Frederick Wertham:
Varney’s initial post
My rebuttal and his comments
His re-direct
His inquiry and my comment (#5 and #6, respectively)

Though I’ve drafted a careful reply, I’m letting that last thought (#6) stand as my final word.

— Over at The New Republic, Douglas Wolk replies to David Hajdu’s comments regrading Wertham, comics, etc.

— Little did I know that while wrapping up my comments on the whole Wertham blow-up, comics maestro Eddie Campbell (Fate Of The Artist, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard) was doing the same, though he’s done a way better job of following and expounding on the whole pointless mess. Read his posts from April 21st, 22nd, 25th, and 28th. Campbell’s informed analysis is well worth your time.

“God save us from some of these half-arsed historians,” indeed.


Posted in Comics, Editorials | Comments Off on The Great Comic Book Plague: Final

The Great Comic Book Plague: some follow-up

April 10th, 2008 by Weber

“I need this like another . . . Oh, wait.”
“Man, I need this like I need another . . . . Oh, wait.”

Below are a few items relevant to my April 9th post regarding the trouble with ignoring/forgetting the historicity of Frederick Wertham’s crusade against comics.:

—- Varney’s reply to my rebuttal. (I’m still considering a response.)

—- The New Republic’s ultra-cool slide show of ’50s horror comics covers. While only eight in the deck, each is a fine example of the lack of restraint publishers showed during the period. (original link via BoingBoing)

Of particular interest is the cover for Mister Mystery #12 and it’s strong use of the ‘injury-to-eye-motif’, which was a big story element in that era.

I can’t help but wonder if that particular theme/meme helped sell more comics, similar to former DC Editor Julius Schwartz’s maxim that any comic will sell better with a gorilla on its cover.

(image courtesy Greg Hyland over at LethargicLad.com)

Also —- if you’re into the whole Wertham argument, there looks to be the start of a debate between Ten-cent Plague author David Hajdu and pop culturalist and comics/graphic novel theoretician Douglas Wolk.

Click here to read Wolk’s initial volley.

Posted in Comics, Editorials | 6 Comments »

Equal Time: a rebuttal

April 9th, 2008 by Weber

(image courtesy of Dial B for Blog)

(update April 13, 2010: had do disable comments on this because of the massive amounts of spam. If you have something to say about this post or want to add to the discussion, send me an email via the ABOUT page or comment on another post and I’ll transfer it over. Thanks. bjw)

Stopped by The Church Of Shiny Objects blog the other day, just to see what my pal Varney’s been up to.

Chris turns a good phrase, lately in the service of movie reviews, sports commentary, and other pop culture consumables.

In the April 7th entry, Equal Time, Chris briefly discusses a Slate article referencing Dr. Frederick Wertham and the 1954 comic book witch trials as discussed in David Hajdu’s new book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America.

Chris’s notes read fine until the concluding paragraph:

Wertham is well on his way to being utterly forgotten . . . . we should do nothing to slow that course from finishing itself out.

And I’m thinking that’s not such a good idea.


To quote the oft mis-quoted George Santayana: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Never mind the inability to learn one’s history. Deliberately allowing it to be ‘utterly forgotten’ is an even surer ticket to Doomsville.

Why remember Wertham?
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Comics, Editorials | 1 Comment »

Noble Failure #12 (The Last 24-Hour Comic)

December 31st, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #12 (December 2007)


(Click here to view)

01/02/08 UPDATE:

Thanks to Webmaster Mike for creating the link to the final installment of NOBLE FAILURE.

The first part is a self contained story. The last two pages are experiments with the 3-panel dailies usually seen in newspapers. There’s no narrative connection between the two pages.

(That might be an interesting 24-Hour Comic: 24 pages of 3-panel gags that have no narrative thread other than the main character. Could you keep a coherent story out of that many pages and panels?)

Started at 9:00AM 12/30/07
Finished at 04:09AM 12/31/07

Pithy commentary to follow sometime after the new year.

[Having some technical difficulties with the upload: my blog account won’t let me upload files larger than 1.9MB. (NF12 is 2.08MB. So close, and yet so far). Will be asking Webmaster Mike for some assistance a little later — when it’s not 4:30 in the morning. So, yeah, please stand by. ]


Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Comics, Stories, Writing | Comments Off on Noble Failure #12 (The Last 24-Hour Comic)

Noble Failure #11 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

December 17th, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #11 (November 2007)


Noble Failure #11
(click here to download)(1.6MB)

What’s all the hub-bub, Bub?

Only the latest edition of NOBLE FAILURE, my monthly 24-Hour Comic!

(Just because they get done on a monthly basis doesn’t mean they’ve gotten posted in the same month. Lots of excuses I could bore you with, but why bother? You wouldn’t believe half of them anyway.)

Having gained a ton of computer drawing experience with NOBLE FAILURE #9, I decided to take another swing at an on-line comic.

Swing — and a miss!

Issue #11 tops out at 14 pages. There are some surprises in those pages, artistically speaking. The newsmen came out nicely. They don’t look like my usual style, which must mean I’m learning.

So, only one more issue to go. I’ve got a couple of days off in a row this week, so will making my twelfth and final attempt starting late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, depending on the wife and kid.

The final issue will be posted before the end of the year. Count on it!

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 1 Comment »

Noble Failure #10 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

November 30th, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #10 (October 2007)


Noble Failure #10 Halloween Special
(click here to download) (2.16MB)

I’m thinking this is about as close to a 24-Hour Comic as I’m going to get: Twenty-six(!) pages (24 interiors, plus front and back covers) penciled in 15-and-a-half hours. Yee-haw.

Then again with the headaches! What the #@$%*?!?? So instead of pushing myself to the point of illness, I put some finishing touches on the interiors, inked the front cover, and that was that.

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | Comments Off on Noble Failure #10 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

Noble Failure #9, Part V — The Last Of It

November 30th, 2007 by Weber

NF#9: “Big Trouble, Part V”
(Click to download)(867KB)

The final installment of the Mr. Sprinkles saga.

The art was finished back on October 24 but it took this long to get it posted.


Oh, doing the October AND November editions of my 24-Hour Comics, as well as a few other messes, trickbags, and imbroglios — all of which turned out fine. I’ve got a new job and a new car, neither of which I was looking for nor wanted at the time, though things are all working out for the better.

So, read and enjoy these last few pages of Noble Failure #9. Doing the story this way was completely worth it to me. I hope you’ll find the conclusion worth your wait.

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | Comments Off on Noble Failure #9, Part V — The Last Of It

Noble Failure #9, Part IV

October 31st, 2007 by Weber

bad kitty

NF#9: “Big Trouble, Part IV”
(click to download) (948KB)

Mr. Sprinkles finds out what happened to the cat. But what happens to Mr. Sprinkles?

This story is definitely trouble for the fuzzy detective. Big Trouble.

Check back in a week (more or less) for the ending.

And it ain’t a happy one, either.

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 2 Comments »

Noble Failure #9, Part III

October 11th, 2007 by Weber


NF#9: “Big Trouble, Part III”
(click to download)(1.25MB)

Add another ten pages to the story of Mr. Sprinkles’ search for the Little Girl’s vanished cat.

Fuzzy Noir at it’s finest!

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 1 Comment »

Noble Failure #9, Part II

September 30th, 2007 by Weber

NF#9: “Big Trouble, Part II”
(click to download) (521KB)

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 1 Comment »

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