Saturday, January 22, 2022

Menace Comes From Mars

Sunday Al Williamson Surprise. 

 Most of the Al Williamson stories I have been showing the last few months seem to have been inked by Gray Morrow rather than Williamson himself. One of the things you can see that from, is how he used borderless panels. This weeks story (another one from one of the fantasy titles, not written by Stan Lee) looks more like Williamson's own work. There seems to be some agreement online that Roy Krenkel helped him with this one, though. I am not enough of an expert to tell, but it doesn't seem unlikely.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Don't Pin Me Down

Saturday Leftover Day. 

Looking around for some stuff, I came across a series of ads that were signed by an artist I did not know. It took me a while to realize the signature said Pineo, which means this series was by Craig Pineo, an artist I wrote about before. He was the artist of the unsold adventure strip Finn Fathom, for which I had bought a syndication package on Ebay. The folded high quality folder contained several Sunday episodes of the proposed strip and even a bio of the writer and the artist. I had never heard of Pineo and did not find if he had ever done any work in comics or comic strips, but the bio did mention that he had done some advertising work (over 50 episodes). These strips are roughly in the same realistic style. I clipped all that I could find. They all appeared in 1951 and even if there were a lot more, they cannot represent all the strips Pineo did in this format. So the search goes on (I have already found two candidates, one based on a similar style and one on a similar but less legible signature). I talked about this with my friend Bas Schuddeboom of the Lambiek Comiclopedia and he used my information to punch up the Pineo entry in that unmissable website - and surprised me by finding out more about Pineo than I ever thought possible. You can see the Lambiek entry here: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/p/pineo_craig.htm and the Finn Fathom folder if you follow the link. I also looked to see if I might have had one of the Purex ads in my leftover uncleaned stack of scsans and indeed: there was a new one, dated februari 1952. A late usage or were there more than I initially thought?

 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Hey, No Problem!

Sunday Al Wlliamson Surprise. While you can find the occasional Al Williamson story for Timely/Atlas on Facebook, this is the only place you can find a new one everyweek. And I will cintunue until I have done all 100+ of them. Most of those stories were westerns and most of the none serial westerns were written by Stan Lee. This isn't and isn't.

 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Browne and Haenigsen 3

Saturday Leftover Day. 

This week the new issue of Hogan's Alley is out, with my article about Harry Haenigson's influence on the artists of the Johnstone and Cushing Agency, especially Dik Brown and Gill Fox. The main 'evidence' for the fact that Haenigson influenced the early style of Dik Browne comes from a series of ads I came across two yers ago that Haenigson did in the late thirties. The style he used in these ads was similar that that of Browne in 1945 and 1946. In the article I speculate about the question if Haenigson still worked for Johnstone and Cushing at that time - he had two comic strips, Penny and Our Bill, and can not have had much time left over. How Browne could have been influenced by a style that was already more than five years old by then, I don't know. Next week I will show some of the Browne ads in this style and in the weeks after that I will also share more of Browne and Fox's later ads, that were more influenced by Penny than this earlier work. And after that I have a surprising run of even earlier Haenigson, that has elements that we see in Browne's much later strip Hägar. Curiouser and curiouser.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Hiding Among The Bushes

Sunday Al Williamson Surprise.

All western fillers were four pages. Every once in a while Stan Lee allowed himself an extra page. Or he let the artist work out the script one page longer. No extra work for him, but I am sure he was paid for it. The artists were happy, too. One more page sold, number of panels the same as if it had been a four page story. Of course, Williamson was someone who could pull it off. Around this time, the coloring seems to have become cheaper as well. Simple colors, more secondary colors instead of prime colors - which make the limited palet seem richer than it was. Some stories were colored only in orange, green and purple. This one at least has some bliue and red.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Catching A Bus

Saturday Leftover Day. 

 

Among my many jobs I do the 'news' pages for the Dutch bi-weekly comic magazine Eppo. In the first issue this year I covered an interesting new find. Dutch comic artist Bert Bus (most famous for continuing the British strip Robot Archie for the Dutch Sjors magazine in the early seventies) illustrated the five part story of Hans Brinker for the British kid's weekly World of Wonder. A few of the originals turned up in the original comic art collection of the Allard Pierson Museum of the Amsterdam University. Curator Jos Waterschoot asked Bas Schuddeboom (curator of the Lambiek Comiclopedia and one of Holland's most noted comic researchers) to explain what the WoW could stand for. This led him to World of Wonder, where I proceeded to find all the episodes shown here. Talking about it, we also came up with a theory how this remarkable piece could have been produced. In the recent biography of John Sanders (long time head of IPC and co-creator of 2000 AD) he found some pages about the collaboration between the British IPC and the Dutch VNU publishing corporations between 1970 and 1975. Together they set up and exchanged several new magazines: the girls comic Tina (which was also sold to France, Germany and a couple more countries), the kids fairytale magazine Disneyland (published both in the UK and in the Netherlands), the toddlers mag Bobo (UK and Netherlands) and a educational science and history magazine for kids, called World of Wonder in the UK and Kijk in the Netherlands. Sanders mentions being asked by the VNU to have all the printing being done by their presses and how that might give problems by the unions. Apparently the union problems were solved, because the indica of World of Wonder give the VNU as the printer.

So this is how we think The Silver Skates came to be. The story of the Dutch boy on silver skates that helped stem the flooding of the dikes is not a Dutch story. It was written in the UK and though heard of in the Netherlands, not a staple of our kid's entertainment. So we think the idea to do an adaptation of the story must have originated with the World of Wonder editors - who, by the way, did all of the contents, which was translated without additions for Kijk. But since there were already contacts between IPC and VNU, why not pick a Dutch illustrator? Bert Bus may have already been know to them through his work on Archie and maybe even the two original comic strips he did for the Dutch Tina, Nancy Drew (1969), illustrated text story written by Carolyn Keene) and Jola and the Space Race (1970, sciencefiction comic strip written by Bus himself). Bert Bus worked on salary for one of the VNU partners, Spaarnestad, so he could he put to work at no extra cost.

Some questions remain, though. We have not yet found this story in the Dutch World of Wonder, Kijk. There is no seperate index of this magazine and we are looking for actual copies. The printing of the magazines was simultaneous, so we know whe have to look at the last few months of 1971.

Bert Bus' two stories for Tina may have been produced in the same way. When Nancy Drew ran, Tina was still completely translated from the English version (which by then may have been pulled into the similar magazine Princess, as was Sander's habit - he often published similar magazines and pulled them together under the title of the most succesful one). Issues of Princess Tina from that period are hard to find, though, actual or digitally. Was Bert Bus the first artist to work directly for Tina or was he translated, just like the rest? And did Bert Bus do more work for IPC through this connection - possibly even for World of Wonder?