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As was so often the case in his long career, Basil Wolverton often found that Publishers frequently were unsure of how to handle his considerable --if decidedly odd-- talents, and Timely/Marvel's handling of Wolverton's Powerhouse Pepper Comics is a prime example.

Powerhouse Pepper debuted in the first issue of JOKER Comics in April of 1942, and 30 of the next 31 issues featured stories in which Powerhouse appeared, to enough acclaim by fans and readers that the 1st issue of Powerhouse Pepper Comics appeared less than a year later, in 1943. Rather than let Wolverton's brilliance shine from the cover, Timely's editors (Stan Lee among them) covered the issue with a too-generic rendering of the character, which may have dissuaded some of Powerhouse's fans from picking up this seminal issue. Whatever the reason, and despite the stellar work in that first issue, another FIVE YEARS went by before a second issue appeared, with a new logo and the title shortened to simply POWERHOUSE PEPPER #2. This second issue quite correctly featured an illustration by Wolverton himself, with Powerhouse doing the sort of thing he does best, in this instance snapping a table in half with his bare hands.

These next four issues ran bi-monthly through the balance of 1948, with #3 again featuring a Wolverton cover, and #4 featuring an odd image that appears to be a Wolverton penciling or layout, judging by the Wolvertonian damsel and the unique signage, as well as the detailing of the characters in general, but likely inked by other hands or perhaps using a cut-and-paste of other Wolverton imagery around a third-party Powerhouse rendering (an indignity Wolverton would suffer in other instances, by other publishers, as well).

Between the 1st and 2nd issues of his own title, Powerhouse continued to appear in JOKER COMICS as well as GAY COMICS, TESSIE the TYPIST, MILLIE the MODEL, RUSTY, GEORGIE, and reprinted in the many digest sized cheesecake magazines published by one Timely shell-company or another. Some of these "Teen Humor" titles almost seem to feature Wolverton as a filler for the title, when it seems to this modern sensibility that very few people were picking up GEORGIE to read the generic title strip, especially when the hysterically funny Wolverton strip is in the same issue. Pages in these five issues were fleshed out by several single-page strips by Wolverton, appearances of Wolverton's Disk-Eyes The Detective, and generic Timely humor filler strips like Squeeky and Lil' Louie.

POWERHOUSE PEPPER #5, the title's final issue from late in 1948, appeared months after the final appearance of the character in JOKER Comics, in the Spring of 1948.

Several of the stories in the run have been reprinted in various forms, including a black & white fan-reprinting of #1, and a Dutch collection featuring the cover the #3 with assorted Wolverton strips inside, and others, but the Timely run of POWERHOUSE PEPPER COMICS has yet to see the sort of grand reprinting that so many lesser-quality (but more superhero-oriented) Golden Age Timely books have been granted.

5 issues in this volume Add Issue Reverse sort

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