Friday, June 24, 2016

Buried Treasures: Dynamite's "Super-Heroes Confidential"

Doug: Hey, friends -- I'm back with another peek at some wonderful memories from elementary school. Near the beginning of the month I gave you a look at the comic book features found in Smash magazine. Today we're looking at one of Smash's competitors, Dynamite. The latter may be more familiar to several of our readers. But in regard to the comics-related material, I always found myself a bit partial to the content and lay-out of the Smash articles. I particularly enjoyed the villain pages at the conclusion of each reprinted comic adventure. As you'll find below, Dynamite went with a sort of Q&A or FAQ format for their third page. It's OK, and for the novice was probably quite nice. But for the budding comics savant that I was at the ripe old age of 9, those pages were just a wasted opportunity to show some more art.

I'm thinking I may have seen the Captain America feature below before Jack Kirby had come back to the Cap monthly mag. As such, I am sure I thought the Tales of Suspense #63 reprint in this feature was awesome. Man, I did not care for Kirby's Marvel art in the high Bronze Age. I'm still not its biggest fan, although I have warmed to some of it. But this -- this is really exciting, and if memory serves was my introduction to Cap's origin (although I may have seen it on reruns of the Marvel Super-Heroes cartoon -- can't recall).

You can check out the third page for yourself; I'd love to hear some opinions as to its merits, especially as compared to the villains' bios we saw a few weeks ago.

Below is the first DC feature I've shown (so far -- more to come). I'm not sure I'd have identified Carmine Infantino as the artist here. Tough to say if he was at Marvel by this time, and my overall knowledge of DC's Silver Age was certainly lacking in the Bronze Age. As I said above in regard to Kirby's 70s Marvel art, I was also not a fan of Infantino's 70s Marvel work. And, also as I remarked, I have warmed to some of it since. But what really strikes me about the contents of the feature below is the costume on Elongated Man. At this point I'd owned a smattering of Dick Dillin-drawn Justice League of America issues, but had no idea that ol' Ralph Dibney had once worn gray. News to this 4th grader!

The content of the final page for this feature differs from the Cap material above. Opinions on this more focused approach? Is more (above) better?


Edo Bosnar said...

Like I said before, I recall having a few issues of Dynamite back in the day, but I don't remember any of them having this comics-related content (at least not stuff from the big two). So thanks for posting this, Doug, as they're a really interesting bit of pop culture history. And I agree with you that the stuff featured in Smash looks better.

As for Elongated Man's original, and quite drab, duds, I remember first seeing those in one of the reprint digests. However, I think someone did a poor re-coloring job when this was reprinted Dynamite, because EM's original costume as shown in the digests was a light purple with dark blue mask, gloves, boots and belt, rather than gray and greenish gray.

Doug said...

Edo, I guarantee you that when these magazines arrived, I went straight for whatever the comics feature was that month. And with great anticipation. Finding these pages again brought a heaping helping of nostalgia. I am glad you are enjoying them.

More to come!


Humanbelly said...

I think I have the Dynamite Hulk feature at the bottom of a long-box somewhere. It did feature Kirby art from the first issue. . . but they changed the coloring here as well (and the editors made open note of it), making Greenskin, well, GREEN instead of the grey of that first appearance.

Yeah, I think DYNAMITE was offered via the Scholastic Book Club catalog at our school-- never saw SMASH. And didn't Marvel themselves then come up with the very similar PIZZAZZ to try to grab some of that captive milk-money market? Or was that simply a news-stand offering?


Doug said...

HB --

I am almost certain I had one early issue of Pizzazz when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I don't know if it was the first issue, however. And, I cannot recall how I acquired it. Seems to me it was like Smash or Dynamite, but maybe for junior high-aged kids rather than elementary/middle schoolers?


Edo Bosnar said...

Pizzazz came up in the last discussion thread as well. I had a few issues of that, and yes it was aimed at slightly older kids, i.e., teenagers. Lots of movie and TV stuff (including, obviously, features on the Hulk and Spider-man series). I don't recall anything like this, but my memory could simply be spotty. I do recall, though, that it featured a serialized Star Wars comic - don't remember the story at all (and I didn't have every installment anyway), but I think the art was pretty good.

Redartz said...

Think I had a few issues of Dynamite, but they are long gone, along withvall those pld Weekly Readers. But thanks for bringing up the memories, Doug! And speaking of memories, HB- your reference to " milk money" brought out another smile. Used to skimp on milk so I could buy another comic or two. Don't tell my Mom...

Anonymous said...

Hey, cool, I actually have that Captain America issue of Dynamite, although it's completely falling apart. The Captain Cold thing is kinda cool...interesting they'd feature a villain.

Mike Wilson

Humanbelly said...

@ Redartz--- *sigh* 4-cents for a half-pint carton. One at snack. . . one at lunch. The milk supply and distribution process in our elementary school had unbelievable self-created arcana and protocols attached to it. . .

HB (but I digress. . . !)

Graham said...

I had a few of these, including Captain America. I didn't care much about the rest of the magazine, but I liked the Super Hero content. I remember one of the ones I didn't get came with a poster of the featured super hero that issue, but anytime I got one, they weren't the poster subject that month. I think I did end up with a poster of the Hulk, but I had a stack of hip pre-teen posters of puppies and cats and such.

Anonymous said...

"Weekly Readers" there's a phrase I haven't heard in maybe 35 years!
Showing these Smash and Dynamite articles was a great idea. Really enjoying them! Thanks!

Ward Hill Terry said...

This. Dynamite was one of my "gate-way drugs" to super-hero comics! I had this issue with Captain Cold. It took years for me to see him in a Flash comic! Dynamite also schooled me on Luthor, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the Mandarin. There may have been more, but I can recall those particular two-page introductions vividly! Within too short a time Dynamite was producing its own feature of super-powered teens, and I was very disappointed. I wanted to read about the "real" super-heroes! I am pretty sure I still have the 3-D King Kong poster and the Fantastic Four poster, which I defaced with a felt-tip pen! I really regret that now!

johnlindwall said...

I'm late to the party!

I loved Dynamite and was a subscriber even! I remember getting some sweet posters such as Bruce Lee and the FF! I tore them out and proudly displayed them in my room! I remember the magazine having its own monthly comic ... was this Electra-Woman and DynaGirl? This magazine was a product of Jeanette Kahn as I recall. Great stuff!

i may have located a few issues of Pizazz but I do not recall Smash.


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