Exciting yet offensive, like so much in life, About Comics is bringing back the legendary CAPTIAN BILLY’S WHIZ BANG:
Its naughty nature and popularity made it the South Park of its day. Its legend has been kept alive by the musical The Music Man, which points to it as a corruptor of youth. Racy by the standards of its day (and politically incorrect by the standards of ours), few folks today have actually read an issue, but now they’ll get a chance. About Comics is bringing back Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang with a reprint of the February, 1922 issue of this classic magazine.
Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang styled itself as “America’s Magazine of Wit, Humor, and Filosophy.”Published and edited by Captain Billy Fawcett, a veteran of World War I and the Spanish-American War, the digest-sized magazine features lots of jokes, poems, and Captain Billy’s own commentary on the world and his travels therein. From the moment the issue opens by referring to Cuba as “the land of liberty,”you know you’ve opened a time capsule. The editorial railing against Prohibition, the movie gossip pages filled with names like Arbuckle, Pickford, Fairbanks and Von Stroheim, and the casual racism of the humor all paint a picture of a different time.
Why is a comics company reprinting a magazine without any comics? There actually is a comics link. Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang was the foundation of the mighty Fawcett publishing empire, which would include a powerful line of comics. Most notably, it brought us Captain Marvel. And if you think it a coincidence that Captain Marvel was Billy Batson, first appeared in Whiz Comics, where lightning delivered him with a Bang, you’d be wrong.
“But the real reason About Comics is reprinting it,”explains Nat Gertler, publisher of the About Comics line, “is that I always wanted to read a copy, and I figured I was not the only one. Getting your hands on archives of the high-brow magazines of the day like National Geographic or The New Yorker is easy, but popular, earthy magazines like this have not been kept in print nor stored in libraries. So these should sell well to folks interested in pop culture history, to people whose curiosity was raised by The Music Man, and to those around Robbinsdale, Minnesota, where the magazine was published and where they still celebrate Whiz Bang Days every summer.”
About Comics does offer a warning: this facsimile edition is being presented as a historical document. As such, the racist, mysoginistic, anti-Semitic, and otherwise offensive material has all been left intact.
Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang (ISBN: 0-9790750-3-3) is a January 2008 release. This 64-page digest-sized paperback book is priced at $5.99.