Jack Cole's "Mantoka"

by Derrick Bostrom

I've loved Jack Cole's work ever since I first saw it -- probably in an old DC Specialor Super Spectacular from back in the seventies. Or perhaps it was in the books by Jules Feiffer or Les Daniels. I've been happily binging on Plastic Man, thanks to 8 volumes devoted to the stretchy supersleuth in the hardbound DC Archive Editions series. But the endless variation on the same theme -- elastic though it is -- tends to get monotonous after a while. Which is why it's been great to see so much space devoted lately to Cole's horror and crime work over at these fine comic book blogs:

Pappy's Golden Age Comics

The Horrors Of It All

Those Fabuleous Fifties

Now that we're in the Golden Age of Golden Age Comics Reprints, Cole's work isn't nearly as hard to see. But in the old days, we had to rely on poor quality reproductions in black and white reprint 'zines, like Ron Goulart's "Comics: The Golden Age," which is where this story come from. I scanned it back in the early days of my introduction to the internet. I had just gotten a scanner -- an HP unit the size of a small truck that cost me a thousand dollars -- and I was enamored of Usenet. My "Mantoka" scans are a part of my fledgling efforts to joint that community.

My original scans look laughable nowadays, optimized as they were for the old low-baud dial-up days of the early 90s, and the low-rez monitors of the day. The latticework of compression artifacts looks like the spidery skin of a dry corpse. Happily, seeing as I apparently throw out nothing, I can still actually put my hands of the box containing the magazine this story appeared in. It's okay -- I should be able to walk upright in a couple of weeks once the muscles in my back have a chance to heal. Meanwhile, enjoy these fresh new scans of this great example of Jack Cole's formative work, originally published in "Funny Pages" #34 (Jan. 1940).

Update: Now you can ignore my black and whites altogether, and enjoy this story in color over at Cole's Comics!