Thursday, December 18, 2014

Out Of The Way!

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

The first time I saw Jay Irving's funny little policeman he was called Potsy. It was one of the not syndicated Sunday only strips that were done especially for the New York News. A charming half page strip with hentle jokes about a pudgy policeman. I liked it, but it was never scanworthy. Next to some of the other Sunday ony strips for that paper (like Gill Fox' Bumper To Bumper, which is why I bought those sections) it was a bit tame and oldfashioned. Recently I came across an earlier version of the strip, which was done in the late forties as another Sunday only not syndicated strip for the New York Herald Tribune. The Tribune at that time was a little more ambitious than the News was a decade later. Not a tabloid, it gave a full half page to such noteworthy strips as Irv Spector's Coogy, Gill Fox and Selma Diamond's Jeanie, the superb Harvey Kurtzman one tiers Silver Linings and Jay Irving's Willie Doodle. Willie Doodle was a precursor to Potsy and himself a continuation of the policeman cartoons Irving had been doing for Clliers ever since the thirties.

This time I was impressed. Taking into account that no strip has ever suffered from being seen in three tiers, I find this incarnation has all the charm and gentle humor of the ater version, but the drawing also impresses with great style and especially rythm. The gags are better when they are built up this way and the whole thing is just gorgeous.

The March 1947 gag is especially interesting to comic collectors. Stan Lee used the exact same gag for a short story in one of his horror quickies in Astonishing #17, drawn by George Roussos. I am not suggesting Stan Lee took the gag from Irving. They could both have thught of it independently if 'What do you think you are doing? Holding up the building?" is an actual New York saying. Or they could oth have gotting it from the same gag book.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some Of A Gun

Monday Cartoon Day.

Every once in a while I like to show some of the week long illustrated crime stories that were sydicated by King Features in the late forties. The two main illustrators on these wer Paul Norris and Edd carrtier, both formidable draftsmen. Frank Gruber's The Murder Gun was first published in the crime pulp Clues Detective stories with illustrations by Orban. For the daily serialisation in 1948 Paul Norris provided the illustrations. Or at least, that's what I think. Although he did a single illustration for each day on the other stories I have seen, in this paper only his picture for the first day was used. At least you get a gag panel by Bill Holman for it in return.

Monday, December 15, 2014

To (Kir)by Or Not To (Kir)by

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Today we have a very special treat for all you Mort Meskin lovers. It's a Mort Meskin story that has not yet been listed on the Mort Meskin checklist. As I have been saying, the Digital Comics Muzeum has been puting up lots of Simon and Kirby books in the Prize Spotlight Month. Many of these come from the annotated copies of Jim Vandeboncoeur, arguably the best art identifyer out there. He'll certainly tell you so himself. But the title is deserved. In the days when collecting was still affordable (although a lot harder without the internet) he amassed many comics, especially from the lesser appreciated companies, which at the time included Prize. He used those book to create the first list of comic book credits with James Ware and because they had so much to compare it to (and backed their research up with visits to artists, asking them what they worked on and whio they knew worked with them) most of these identifications still stand.

One of the books recently uploaded from Jim's collection (with one of his identification cards) has a story he identifies as being drawn by Mort Meskin, that wasn't named as such in a larger forum yet. It is fro Headine #28 and it is indeed an oddity. First have a look and then we'll talk.

First of all, Mort Meskin is not supposed to be at Prize at this time of his career. In 1946/47 when this stoy probably was drwn, he was finiahing up a great career at DC, drawing The Vigilante. This had brought him together with James Robinson, who helped him with some stories. They became a partnership and together went out to look for work. This did bring them to Prize eventually, where they did a couple of stories for Young Love, published in 1948. But they also took on two titles and other work at Standard and their schedule must have beem pretty full, there. So why Mort Meskin would do a story like this for Jack Kirby and Joe Simon is a mystery. All of the work he did was with James Robinson, so why go out and do soething on his own? Especially when it is clearly a try-out, like this.

Because that's the second point I want to make. Some commentors on the Digital Comic Museum were doubting if Jim's attribution of Mort Meskin was correct. It looks like Meskin, but it parts of it look like Jack Kirby's work as well. Now at some points in his career, Jack Kirby tried to increase his output by 'jumpstarting' other artists with either thumbnails or drawing alternate story pages. This looks like ne of those jobs, where Jack kirby drew some parts of some pages and no pages of some of the other pages. It is those other pages we can clearly see Mort Meskin. But I suspect he is there as an inker on the other ages as well. Now it could be that Meskin was merely mimicking Jack Kirby for his first job for the illustrous duo. But I agree with the commenters that some of the faces look just too much like Kirby to me just imitation or swipes. To further complicate things, it seems that Mort Meskin may not have nked all of the story himself. At that point Jack Kirby drew all his pencils is sharp lines without shadows. Those pencils were then inked very loyaly (almost traced) by someone at the studio (maybe even by Joe Simon himself). After which Kirby himself (or when he wasn't avialable anyone else at the studio) added the blacks. Mort Meskin was capable of doing such tight pencils as well and it seems the same process was followed here. If you look at the first page, it also sems to me that he added the blacks to all the pages, even the ones that may or may not have been pencilled by Kirby.

Now you go through my collection of early Meskin and Kirby material to make up your own mind.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday Leftover Day.

Two more Bruce Gentry Sundays from Arnoud I replaced and one new one I din't have before.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gentry Does It

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Last summer I shared all of my 1946 Sundays of Bruce Genty. This prompted feelow dutch collector Arnoud to send me all he has. we exchanged material for this year and the others after it. One of the things he send me was this early Sunday I haven't got yet. I recplaced it in the original post and am showing it here as well. As soon as I have sorted out what we have for the rest of 1945 I will also run that, including a whole lot of dailies he has.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tell Them Groucho Sent This

Wednesday advertising Day.

I love comic strip movie ads or comic strips ads using movies to sell their products. I had never seen this one before, though. It doesn't eem to have been part of a series, either. Just a one-off in August 1947.


Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

Last Saturday I showed a large run of Gus Magers Hawkshaw the Detetive from the forties. Today I have a couple of selfscanned sampled of the earlier version from 1913. I have added the one I showed Saturday (seeing how much work they are to put together). More to come, after all the stiching is done.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Let's Explore Some More

Monday Cartoon Day.

Ever since I did a huge post on the middle years of Let's Explore Your Mind (which I believe were illustrated by Richard Doxsee), I have been clipping samples here and there. Like these three. What do you think the answer to the third one was..?

Light Offence

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Another random Meskin story from Headline #62. The lightness of the inking suggests that this may be a solo job. I think it compares nicely to the stuff he was doing with Jerry Robinson only a few years before that.