Monday, September 29, 2014

Hot Stuff, Stumbo the Giant and the worst comic-book villain of all time

Lately I find myself absolutely obsessed with old "Hot Stuff" comic books. Yes, the little red devil in a diaper, the guy you see on all kinds of bad tattoos and almost nowhere else these days. I know it seems silly, but the Hot Stuff stories (usually written and drawn by the late Howie Post) are full of great wordplay and absolutely amazing cartooning. I can't get enough of them.

But "Hot Stuff" wasn't just about Hot Stuff. Each issue also features a truly charming "Stumbo the Giant" story by another late cartoonist, Warren Kremer. I love the "Stumbo" stories and they deserve a massive, comprehensive book collection. Kremer's artwork is a wonder to behold. His lines are full of life and style and Stumbo, who's all heart, is one of the all-time great comic-book characters. 

Once in a while, Stumbo faced off against the guy you see above, Dr. Cesspool, probably the ugliest and worst-named villain to ever appear in a kid's comic. Luckily the dude was a pretty incompetent mad scientist. In one particular episode (from an issue of "Devil Kids" that I picked up at last week's Rose City Comic Con), he gave first Stumbo and then a volcano a fake case of the measles (yes, you read that right). Obviously, things did not work out the way he had planned.

Dr. Cesspool may be a silly and kinda stupid mad scientist, but the story was drawn with style and genius. I plan on tracking down more "Hot Stuff" issues in the future.