Thursday, December 11, 2008

For Boys Only

Thursday Story Day

On Thursdays, I like to give you something to read. Usually that is some sort of story strip. Today I am showing a couple of Biography strips from Boy's Life, since I was looking through those anyway. The mkst interesting thing about Boy's Life Comic Section is, that they had an amazing line-up of artists, most of whom also had comic strip of their own. They must have paid quite well, to get these people to give at least one day a week of their time.

Although these comic strip biographies are a bit dull, they are very well done and offer more than a chance to see a couple of name artists doing somethng ifferent from their usual work. I would have been glad to get this magazine every month. In fact, I still am. There is a suprise in every issue. Sometimes, it's an illustration by Bernie Krigstein or John Collin Murphy, sometimes just a very well drawn episode of Dik Browne's Tracey Twins. Sometimes it's the ads that grab your attention.

Let's start with a signed page by Leonard Starr. The first years of On Stage With Mary Perkins contain some of the best comic strip storytelling ever done. This page must have been done just before he left Johnstone and Cushing (the ad company that produced this comic section) to try his luck in the newspapers.

From Boy's Life Oct. 1955:

The next page is also signed. The small IN signature in the first panel is short for Irving Novick, a popular Batman artist in the sixties and seventies, who worked in newspaper strips in the early fifties, did a spot of Tarzan and turned up at Johnstone and Cushing in the late fifties where he did a lot of work for Boy's Life, both in the comic section and as a story illustrator. A very solid artist, who deserves to be known as more than the Neal Adams clone he has been held for.

From Boy's Life Aug. 1957:

Next up two pages by former EC artist George Evans. One signed, one a tentative guess by me. Althogh he is primarily known for his work in Graphics Illustrated books in this period, he did a lot of work for Boy's Life as well. In fact, he was the primary artist on Space Conquerers all through the fifties, although it is usually attributed to Lou Fine.

From Boy's Life May. 1957:

From Boy's Life Jan. 1957:

Next, three unknowns. I first thought the Einstein page could be the work of Tom Schreuer. Thefourth panel of The Dead Sea Scrolls has a familiar face, but that doesn't help to indentify the artist. This type of faceswas used by artists as diverse as Bob McCarthy, John Prentice, Morris Weiss and Alden McWiliams. Of allthese McWilliams is the most likely candidate.

From Boy's Life June. 1957:

From Boy's Life Oct. 1957:

Even though Greig Flessel did a lot of work for Boy's Life for a lot of years, only some of it is signed. Here's one.

From Boy's Life Oct.1955:

Finally we come to three pages which seem to be by Tom Schreuer. Only the last one is signed. Schreuer took evening classes at the New York School of Visual Art in the early fifties together with a lot of artist who made a big name for themselves. He started working for Stan Lee at Timely, requesting as many romance stories as possible, as he wanted to get into the glamour illustratioon bussiness. He worked for many years at Johnstone an Cushing before finally deciding he would rather be a television writer, changed his name to Tom Sawyer (a pseudonym he had used earlier in Boy's Life) and went to Hollywood. Since he retired he has been giving some interviews, all of which give short shrift to his work for the Boy Scouts.

From Boy's Life Nov. 1955:

From Boy's Life Jan. 1956:

From Boy's Life June. 1957:

In the early sixties Schreuer also took on Chip Martin, a longrunning black and white ad series for the Bell Telephone company. Later this series was taken over by Neral Aams. Here is a signed sample by Schreuer.

From Boy's Life Nov. 1960:

The next one seems to be by Aams...or is it Schreuer imitating Adams? Or Adams inking Schreuer?

From Boy's Life Nov. 1955:

And what to make of this? Is it by Schreuer? Adams? Lou Fine (who I suspect did do some work on this feature in the late fifties). Was Arens (who signed this and other features in Boy's Life, but didn't seem to do anything onn them) involved? And what was Ed Wexller's role in all this? Maybe someone can get Adams to visit these pages and leave a comment himself. I have more of Chip Martin, so stick around.


Harry Mendryk said...

Tom Scheuer also did at least one piece for Simon and Kirby, "Mother By Proxy" from In Love #2. I had previously misread his signature but your post put me straight. Thanks.

Smurfswacker said...

I think Scheuer was a heavy influence on Neal Adams, but the dramatic camera angles and the hand poses in your unsigned strip look to me more like Adams. It's possible, of course, that they worked together.

I lost my Boys' Life collection long, long ago, but I remember these strips well. I'd love to see some of Evans' "Space Conquerors" strips, especially as they were full-pagers. Lou Fine followed Evans in the 60s, when I read the strip. Later he was replaced by Alden McWilliams. I never saw any SC strips after that.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I agree that it looks more like Adam than anything else. Schreuer did do a lot of them as well, as I will show on Feb 20 2010.