Friday, September 05, 2008

Spectator Sport

Friday Comic Book Day

Today I am continuing my look at the work of Irv Spector. Next week I will be starting with Spector's masterpice (before he went on to do much good in television cartroons) Coogie. In the mid-forties he did couple of stories for Stan Lee, along with several other new artists that were introduced at that time at Martin Goodman's Timely.

The first story is one I wanted to show last week, but after a computer crash I had to rescan them. It's a Super Rabbit story from the 12th issue of his own title. Super Rabbit was one of the major starts of Timely's funny animal books all through the forties. He started life early in the forties as a secundairy character in several books. All books were anthology books at that time, so this is not a very strange way of doing things. He graduated to a title of his own. Artists working on this series were Al Jaffee and Dave Berg. In fact, the cover for Super Rabbit #12 was probably by Berg, as far as I can see.

I am not quite sure if this, the second story in the book, is drawn by Irv Spector. If it is, it is very probably that he didn't ink it. And as Super Rabbit was a frequent visitor in Timley's animal comics, I am pretty sure the script was not written by the artist, but by one of Timely's many writers (maybe even Stan Lee). I had feeling the art might be by Spector and when his son showed me a couple of other 'assignment' stories (stories about Timely's regular characters) his father probably had drawn, I was ready to take on board the idea he might have actually done this story too. For starters, it is by another artist than many of the other Super Rabbit stories. Certainly those in this book (or the ones before and after that). The art is more lively and the bear character that shows up in it, makes me think Spector was invoved. He had solo stories in the issue of Super Rabbit before and after that, so that might fit in too. Things working against this attribution are the bouncing panels on many of the pages, that I have never seen in any of Spector's other work, the kid characters who don't remind me of anything and the dragon, who doesn't lok like any Spector character I know. Bottom line... it's a great story and I hope Spector was involved.

John K. informs me that this story must by by Harvey Eisenberg, who is best knon for drawing the Tom & Jerry comic books for Dell. He als worked with Joe Barbera on some lesser know strips, which are shown everywhere on the web. I have added a link to Cartoons, model sheets and stuff, where you can see and read more. John K. himself does a great appreciation of Eisenberg's qulities on hisblog, which I shall take to hard (to learn and spot his style better). There is also some information at Eisenberg is noted as an artist who worked for Timely in 1945 at the Timley/Atlas index site Atlas Tales, but this story isn't menioned there. At the Dutch comic artist information site Lambiek he is mentioned to have worked on the Chrlie McCarthy books at Dll as well. I am a big fan of those and will show some later on, though I am curious now if Eisnberg was the sole artist or just one of a group.

I am closing with a couple more of Harvey Kurtzman's work for Timely at the time. Of course he did Hey Look!, which any aspiring cartoonist should see even though the Denis Kitchen collection is long out of print. He also provided a few cartoons for a floating carrtoon page for some of the girlie titles. Most of these were used several times and almost all of them have been noted in Glen Bray's excellent Kurtzman biography (another Kurtzman necessity for the collectors). The last one I am showing somehow escaped Glen's notice. It's from the long running title Miss America, which was more of a girls magazin ein comic form than anything else. They had fashion tips and stories and comics and the occasional cartoon. A special treat for the collectors!

After doing Rusty Kurtzman tried another 'quiet' strip to replace the too outrageous Hey Look. This series, which he wrote himself, was better suited to his talents.


pspector said...

The artwork in the Super Rabbit is great although I have strong doubts about it being Spector. A trusted source tells me it looks a whole lot like Eisenberg -- except for the splash page, which is by another artist.

JohnK said...

It's Harvey Eisenberg.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

It is not unusual for Timely at that time to have a seperate artist for the splash page.

I will research Eisenberg. Din't know he worked for Timely in that period.