Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who Was That Masked Astronaut?

Thurday Story Strip Day.

I will resume Tom Corbett as soon as I have transferred the next month from my upstairs computer to my portable one (which I use for uploading), but I don't really mind, because I finally will get around to sowing you a realy exciting rarity. Warren Tufts was very well regarded realistic newspaper strip artists, who produced two mojar western strip, both of which have recently been reprinted (or at least partially). His first strip Casey Ruggles, was a more traditional strip and very much worth reading. I have one or two magazines reprinting part of it's early fifties run, including the short period Alex Toth took over while Tufts took a holiday. In the midfifties he ran out of steam or had some trouble with his syndicate, so he decided to create a new strip of his own. This time, it was a Sundy only called Lance, about a much earlier period of American History, before the War of Independence. Artistacly it was a great succes and as the last full page Sunday t be introduced, it frequently rivalled the master of the genre, Prince Valiant. But commerciall, it probably was less of a succes and after a couple of years it was dicontinued (in the early sixties). Tufts took on several different jobs, including doing some satirical work for the Cartoons magazines and switched over to drawing children's comics in a style that bore no resemblance whatsoever to his realistic work. When the work died up (or he got bored with it), he stoped doing comics and devoted his time to his hobby, building and designing airplanes. He was more succesful at that, until he died in an aitplane accident in te seventies (I think). Before he died, he published a great book about his life and his career in comics, in which he revealed that he had done a third, less remmbered strip in betwen his two western efforts.

The Lone Spaceman was designed as a shortlived strip, only to run for half a year or so, while Tufts was developing Lance. It is a satirical space opera strip in a style pretty similar to that of Al Capp, only set in a different arena. I had never seen many samples of this strip (apart from the few that were shown in the book), but what I saw looked very good to me. Unfortunately, the syndicate running Casey Ruggles had another artist contine that strip, so that may have cut ino the number of papers that might otherwise have been tempted to run The Lone Spaceman. But who would buy a strip which was designed to run for less than a year? This month run against a pretty complete run of the daily strip, beginning in January 1955, although I am not quite sure if it might not have started before that (but it does read as if we are pretty near the beginning of the story). I also have a couple of color Sunday samples, which I will try to add next week. The art is the star here, but I think it is nice to read a longer run anyway.

Jan 3/30 1955:

1 comment:

Frank M. Young said...

This is great! I've NEVER seen any examples of "The Lone Spaceman" in over 30 years of searching!

By all means, please post more if you've got 'em! Great to see Warren Tufts trying on an Al Capp-like comical comix style!

Great lettering, too--looks like Wally Wood's EC era lettering.

This blog is somethin' else!