Monday, March 02, 2009

Soapy Start

Monday Cartoon Day.

Even though this blog is dedicated to the best of the 1950's strips, there are many series I won't be reprinting here, because they are already available in good collections. Two of the best realistic strips of the fifties are available from Classic Comics Press. The best written realistic strip in my opinio is On Stage with Mary Perkins. CCP has already published five volumes of the early (and best) years of that strip. The last few even have new covers by the Leonard Starr, who apparently is still alive and has lost none of his touch. The other great soap strip of the fifties is The Heart of Juliet Jones, and CCP has just started reprinting those as well. They have one vulome out and apparently it is quite a succes, proving how much interest there is in that strip. I urge you to check out hteir site at To accompany those books, I have an early series of illustrations by Stan Drake, Juliet Jones' artist. Drake is credited with bringing the illustration style to the comics page (together with Alex Raymond and Lou Fine). What we see when we look at this series of illustrations done for the newpaper supplement magazine This Week in 1951 is that he mainly brought his own illuystration style to the comics page. These illustrations have everything we recognize fro his later comic strip success. In the first reprint book, the commentary states that Sylvain Beck 'happened' to come across Drake's work when he recieved a soap script from Al Capp's brother Elliot Caplin. This may be nothing more than a good publicity story, as these samples show that Drake was already doing soap illustrations for King Features (where Beck ran the comics department) a year before Juliet Jones started. It is therefor completely possible that Jones was scripted to fit Drake's style. Still, they are great to look at. I have to confess I didn't read the stories this time. It seems to me that there were several story running consecutively and i may have gotten them the wrong way around.

No comments: