- I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org). As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton. I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times. I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me? My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored. Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.
Friday, October 13, 2017
FATMAN The Human Flying Saucer # 1
Fatman, The Human Flying Saucer was a delightfully odd comic book that ran for a mere three issues in 1967. The book's publisher was the equally short-lived Lightning Comics, an outfit whose entire published output was a grand total of five comic books (the three issues of Fatman and two issues of Tod Holton, Super Green Beret). The line was birthed in the comic-book feeding frenzy of 1966 Batmania, and died with that fad as well. A third Lightning Comics title--Captain Shazam--was announced but never published (and presumably never completed). That third name was intriguing, though, since it conjured an image of the best-selling superhero character of the Golden Age of comics in the 1940s: the original Captain Marvel, whose magic word SHAZAM! gave young Billy Batson the fantastic powers of the World's Mightiest Mortal.
But even without Captain Shazam, Lightning already had a direct connection to Captain Marvel already: Fatman was created by veteran writer Otto Binder and artist C.C. Beck; Beck was the very first Captain Marvel artist, and Binder was one of the most-beloved among Cap writers. Binder and Beck hadn't worked together since Cap's publisher Fawcett Comics succumbed to the dual pressure of declining sales and lawsuits from DC Comics (which claimed that Captain Marvel was a swipe of Superman) and pulled its comics line in the mid '50s. Reunited for this new Lightning book, Binder and Beck essentially created three more issues of a more corpulent Captain Marvel's adventures.
However, Fatman was not a copy of Captain Marvel, and certainly not an imitation of Superman. As Fatman, wealthy raconteur Van Crawford wore a costume patterned after Captain Marvel's, and Beck's visual style was unmistakeable. Binder, in turn, brought a familiar energy and general wackiness that called to mind his earlier work on Fawcett's Big Red Cheese. But Fatman was not Captain Marvel. His only real super power was his ability to turn into a flying saucer; otherwise, he relied on his wits and his weight to see justice done. Nonetheless, Fatman's comic book exploits are undiscovered treasures, and a real treat for Captain Marvel fans like me.
Fatman is now presumed to be in the public domain. So please enjoy these adventures from his first issue, cover-dated April 1967. Heavenly Hamburgers! Make way for Fatman, The Human Flying Saucer # 1.
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Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-Op, Ray Paul, Circe Link & Christian Nesmith, Vegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie Flowers, The Slapbacks, P. Hux, Irene Peña, Michael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave Merritt, The Rubinoos, Stepford Knives, The Grip Weeds, Popdudes, Ronnie Dark, The Flashcubes,Chris von Sneidern, The Bottle Kids, 1.4.5., The Smithereens, Paul Collins' Beat, The Hit Squad, The Rulers, The Legal Matters, Maura & the Bright Lights, Lisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here.
Boppin' fans! Wanna see more of the mighty Fatman? Lemme know!