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Heroes, Humor and Horror: A History

Comics are an indiginous American art form, and Basil Wolverton was a pioneer in the field, working from the inception to the completion of the first era of the comic book, known as the Golden Age.

Born in Central Point, Oregon on July 9th, 1909; He was on the local vaudeville scene, and at one point had his own radio show. He took his brand of humor to the comics and showcased it in a bigfoot art style that was well suited to the romps his humor characters made through the circus of humanity.

But first, up in space, his heroes were busy dishing out justice to an even freakier assortment of interplanetary villains. Over 250 pages of Spacehawk appeared in Target Comics until 1942, when he switched gears to humor features, the longest stint and yet most underrated works of his comic book career. Powerhouse Pepper dominated this era, popping up in just under 500 pages of various Marvel comics. This ended in 1952 when he started doing horror and science fiction stories, almost 100 pages worth in two years. In 1954 he returned to humor, working for Mad until retiring from comics in 1955.

He went on to write and illustrate The Bible Story and came out of comics retirement in 1973 to do covers for Plop! until his stroke in 1974. He died in Vancouver, Washington, on December 31st, 1978.

© 2007 Gene Gallatin

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