Sunday, August 07, 2022

Martian Law

 Sunday Al WIlliamson Day.

Another Al Williamson story. Or at least, it is noted as being by him. Yet it is not signed and it looks less like his proper style than the ones before this and in the weeks after this. Still, I have no other suggestions and there is enough of his characteristics to make it possible.

Heroes In Action

 Saturday Research Day.

One of the great unforgotten comic strips of the early forties is Vic Jordan, which was written by the pseudonymous Paine and first illustrated by Elmer Wexler for the PM newspaper and distributed by the Field syndicate. In june 1942 the artwork was taken over by Paul Norris, starting his career as a newspaper artist. A year later he was relieved by a David Moneypenny, who was succeded by Bernard Baily in 1944 and 1945. Clipping the Baily period, I saw that just before his arrival in late February 1944, Moneypenny's story was finished  by no one less than former Batman artist Jerry Robinson. He drew (and signed the strip for two full weeks. Of course, my internet friend Alan Holtz had this in his excellent reference guide American Newpaper Comics (although he did not find the two weeks enough to include it in his seperate Robinson list). But I had never seen them and I am guessing neither did you. I clipped them all, including the last week of Moneypenny and the first day of Baily (which I will contonue later). I noticed that Baily changed the lettering from the start. Maybe he was doing it himself or from another location. But Robinson used the same lettering als Moneypenny, making me wonder if he had not had a hand in Moneypenny's last week...

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Not So Shocking Tales

Sunday Al Williamson Surprise. 

Williamson didn't only do westerns. Every once in a while he was lent to the horror devision.


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Art Vs Opinion

Saturday Leftover Day. 

For me Hank Barrow is one of the biggest talents to come out of the Associated Press art department in the thirties. Okay, there was Al Capp. And Noel Sickles. And Milt Caniff. And Mel Graff.  And George Wunder. And Doin Flowers. But they all made their biggest splashes after they left the bullpen. And there was Morris, who took over AP's Scorchy Smith in 1959-61. Barrow was definitvely better than him.

Hank Barrow first became visible, when he took over the daily panel The Gay Thirties from Milt Caniff, who took off to do some adventure strip. But he really came into his own when he started doing political cartoons for the AP pares in the early forties (alongside Noel Sickles). I have a large collection of those cartoons and have shown quite a few through the years (and I am still not done yet scanning). His cartoons were sharp, very well drawn and may have had the best comic strip lettering I have ever seen.

After the war, he took on a weekly feature called Things To Come, about possible future inventions. It was similar to the later Radebaugh feature Closer Than We Think - but funnier. I have shown as many of those as I could lay my hands on as well.

In august 1949 he joined the Omaha World-Herald as a regular political cartoonist. It seems he did not like being told what to draw in the AP bullpen and took the opportunity to strike out on his own. This implies he had been doing AP cartoons after the war as well, although I did not see a lot of them.

Unfortunately, although the art remains as fresh and captivating as ever, on his own his political power was decidedly less. As a conservative man in conservative times, he had very little to atttack. Most of his cartoons are illustrations of popular opinions rather than a specific attack on a point. Like saying the Britsh are descending into socialism (with 'our' money even), without giving specific examples. He also seemed to have a thing about taxes being too high all the time and every december every other cartoon seems to have been about drunk driving accidents around Christmas. But the art is so pretty and sharp. And , as I said, the lettering is a pleasure to behold.

I am not certain yet how long Barrow stayed at the World-Herald. It may even have been until his retirement. I will dive further into this rabbithole and show you some more later.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Trouble With Girls

Sunday Williamson Surprise. Another story signed by Williamson and apparently inked by Ralph Mayo. Not signed by Stan Le and no sign of him having written it.