Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jeanie in a bottle

Continuing my look at the work of Gill Fox, I had a look to see if any originals of that series were sold through Heritage Auctions. A year ago or so, they sent all their regular customers a mail explaining they were going to make their auctions costs higher to to maintain their archive section. These huge searchable archives of high resolution scans of all the original art hey have sold are a godsent to all comic art researchers. To my surprise they did not just have a few copies of Jeanie art, but long complete runs spread over 50 lots. The other surprising thing is, for how little most of these sold. Often they did nog fetch more than $50 to $80 for five dailies and around the same amount for the sundays. Whoever bought those, got a great bargain. All I had to do was download every single piece and rearrange them in chronological order. Unfortunately, Heritage sometimes does not include a scan of every piece of art, probably to protect the original owners of the material from an illegal reprinting. Still, I have about 150 single pieces, which I will show over the next couple of weeks. In most cases it is enough to try and read the story. In the months and august and september, it's even almost complete. I also found a couple of sunday pages in my own collection, which I will ad at the appropriate points.

All I know about Jeanie comes from Allan Holtz' excellent Stripper's Guide blog. He writes that Jeannie started life as a 'filler' strip of the same type as Bumper to Bumper. After a couple of months it was decided to expand the strip to a regular daily and sunday run. As such he drew it fom April 1952 and to March 1953. After that someone called Leon Win took over in a similar style for another six months.

This informations explains a couple of things about the originals the people at Heritage didn't notice. There are three types of originals in their archives - sundays, dailies and a couple they call dailies, but they are at least one panel longer. All of those are from 1951 rather than 1952 or 1953 and some of them are numbered. There are usually two or three tiers taped together and they all have a large Sunday-type logo instead of the smaller daily logo of the others. I first thought they could be early try-outs for the syndicate, before it was decided to go to a smaller format. After that, I thought they could be misplaced top tiers of a sunday. But Alan's information suggests that these are the 'filler' strips, done before the series became a regular in 1952. They were used on the sunday page when they had to combine a three tier half page strip with a two tier ad. And as I suggested earlier on Bumper to Bumper, they were drawn by the artist in batches of two or three. If you look closely, you'll see on top of one of the three tier ones 'please cut strips for coloring' or something like that. I like the inking style of these earliest ones best. When the strip had to be done daily, Fox changed the look to a slightly lighter style.

Here are all of them. And as can be expected, they are all single gags. The first two are numbered #2 and #3 and the last nine are from 1952.

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Here's another one in color from februari 1952:

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