Thursday, January 22, 2009

Calling Space Cadet Tom

Thursday Story Day.

I come across a lot of intriguing or special stuff on Most of that I can't share with you until I have sufficient runs of it. Sometimes I hesitate, because I know I have color material of my own that still needs to be scanned in. Still, I have decided to start showing all I have of one of the best Milt Caniff imitators of his generation, Ray Bailey.

Ray Bailey seems to have worked as an assistant to Milt Caniff. If so, that must have been in the early forties, because he struck out on his own quite soon. His adventure strip Bruce Gentry started in march 1945. It ran in the New York Post, or at least it was syndicated by the NY Post Syndicate. It looks a bit like a down market Steve Canyon (with the hero an aviator like Scorchy Smith before him and Steve Canyon after him), which must have hurt it's potential. Still, it was made into a movie serial in 1949 and ran all the way till 1951, when Bailey left the strip to create Space Cadet, a comic strip version of the popular tv and juvenile sf book series. There is a great web page about this seriesm at and I am particulary fond of it, if only because it shows what Milt Cbiff could have done if he had decided to do a space adventure. At some later point, I'll show you some more about the development of Bailey's style, but for now I would like to stick with Tom Corbet. The series was written by notable sf expert Willy Ley, as the promotional piece from 1951 shows. I have several scattered dailies and Sundays, but I the one I am sharing here is a longer run from the end of 1952, less than a year before the strip was folded. Here are the first two weeks, I will continue next thursday, so we can follow the story as well as enjoy the amazing art. I am glad to have found a paper that printed it big enough for these microfiche scans to still be readable. I would show you al three years of the strip if I didn't think it was very suited for a complete reprint book. It's from Field Enterprises Syndicate and I don't know how accessible they are.

Sept 2 1951:

Dec 1/14 1952:

The color on this strip is great as well. Here's a Sunday I scanned myself.

If you go to The Horrors of It All using the link on the right below you will see a much later Ray Bailey story. This is from the seventies, when he had adapted his style to the generic demands of the time, but you'll still see some pure Bailey poses and faces.

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