Sunday, May 02, 2010

"Culture Corner" is Long Desired Book

The late great Basil Wolverton is out with a new book courtesy of his son Monte. "Culture Corner" is a half-page panel strip that used to appear for years in the pages of Fawcett's "Whiz Comics", original home of the "Shazam!" Captain Marvel. As "Whiz Comics" were always hard to come by for cheap in my lifetime, I have only seen about three examples of this outrageous "advice" strip by Wolverton, that was really designed as filler.

My dad, who read all this stuff as a kid, unwisely didn't keep these books, save for a couple things like "Daisy Handbook" (1948), which had a couple of "Culture Corner" reprints. As a kid, I thought these were the funniest things ever and wanted more, but more were not to come, until now.

Wolverton is probably best known for his creepy-looking but somehow appealing drawings of hideous-looking women. The best places to see his work are in "Li'l Abner" as the winner of the "Lena the Hyena" contest, the cover of "Mad" #11 and its interiors, the interiors of "Mad" #17, and various covers of "Plop!".

The book is great because not only does it reprint all of the existing strips, it reprints the roughs that Wolverton did and a number of strips that were for whatever reason, not inked or published, and only exist in rough form. Wolverton's roughs are almost as good as they were virtually fully realized strips, not notes or stick figures.

And Monte Wolverton is great as he kept all of this stuff. Granted, he is an artist himself, but you know how things go, people toss all sorts of "worthless" stuff out.

Anyway, it's a great book from Fantagraphics, and at $22.99 far cheaper that obtaining about 100 issues of "Whiz Comics" and $300-400 a pop.

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