Monday, December 26, 2011

Tower's Peanut Butter Story Writer

In The Comic Reader 198 (Jan/82), Mike Tiefenbacher says that Ralph Reese "definitely wrote the famous 'peanut butter' Dynamo story ('Bad Day for Leonard Brown')." In Comic Interview 133 (1994), Dan Adkins mentions to Lou Mougin a "story about peanut butter or something" as being written by Reese. The Tower Comics checklist in Comic Book Artist 14 (Jan/01) credits the "Bad Day for Leonard Brown" script in Dynamo 3 to Reese.

The only problem is that the story in which Dynamo is buried in peanut butter (at a PB factory) is "Once upon a Time..."—the Weed story in Dynamo 4, drawn by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood (Chic Stone drew "Bad Day").

Dynamo 4 'Once upon a Time...'panels: Dynamo 'trapped by a ton of molten peanut butter'

I had to work pretty much from scratch at identifying Ralph Reese's writing style, since I didn't know which of those two to start from; but then finding a couple of Marvel stories crediting him as writer/artist helped. (With "fooey," "h'lo," and "woops" among the expressions tying together a group of Tower stories, I found "woops" in one of Reese's Marvel stories.) The peanut butter/bad day problem solved itself when I saw that he wrote both stories, among more than twenty at Tower.

Stories in Dynamo Written by Ralph Reese

Aug/66#1 A Day in the Life of DynamoDynamo
Oct/66#2 The Priceless CounterfeitDynamo
Mar/67#3 Bad Day for Leonard BrownDynamo
The Feats of SamsonDynamo
Honeymoon or High Noon?Dynamo
Weed vs. THUNDERWeed
June/67#4 The Secret Word Is...Dynamo
Dynamo's Day OffDynamo
The Weakest Man in the WorldDynamo
Once upon a Time...Weed

Stories in THUNDER Agents Written by Reese

Oct/66#9 Corporal Dynamo, U.S.A.Dynamo
Nov/66#10 Operation ArmageddonDynamo
June/67#13 The Black HelmetTHUNDER Agents
Sept/67#15 Hail to the ChiefDynamo
Dig We MustWeed
Oct/67#16 Dream of DoomDynamo
The End of the THUNDER Agents?THUNDER Agents
Dec/67#17 Return of the HyenaDynamo
Weed Out WestWeed
Put Them All Together, They Spell SPIDERDynamo
Sept/68#18 Dynamo and the Amazing Mr. MekDynamo
Secret of the Abominable SnowmenDynamo
Nov/68#19 Half an Hour of PowerDynamo
All-Girl GangDynamo

These are not necessarily every story Ralph Reese wrote for Tower; I'm still looking at a few in 1966 that I haven't yet convinced myself on. ("Corporal Dynamo" and "Operation Armageddon" just squeaked onto this list; "The Hyena" in Dynamo 2 didn't.)

Reese uses the names of Wood assistants Battersby, Brand, Coleman, Pearson, and Reese for some walk-on characters.


  1. Kind of fitting that the infamous Weed peanut butter story should be one of Reese's pieces.

  2. Hey Martin,

    FYI, we at the GCD received notice from a Twitter poster that Ralph Reese claims he did not write T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents June/67 #13 The Black Helmet. It is claimed he said Wally Wood did the plot and probably wrote it too.

    I know this is several years down the line, but I wonder if you think that might be true or not.

    -Ray Bottorff Jr

    1. Ray, at this point, with my old lists of writers' characteristics in storage and with Ralph Reese's one I haven't recreated, looking at The Black Helmet again didn't set off any memories of why I added it to others I credited him with. As far as Wally Wood's writing goes, I find it harder to be definite about him than anyone else. Since he seems to have added sound effects and such to other writer's scripts when as artist he lettered them, he muddied the waters. (Of course that doesn’t apply to this Tuska-drawn story). So I'll fearlessly straddle the fence--I don't know.