Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Little Sheep Herder Boy Without A Drum

Saturday Christmas Treat.

Today's Christmas story is part of the regular run of David Crane. David Crane was a religious soap opera strip which was done by the former (and later) comic book artit Win Mortimer. The ungoing storyline concerned the adventures of a very kind and insightful minister in a small american town. It seems like a typical artist/syndicate ploy to get a special niche market. It may even have been sold as a Mary Worth for the Christian crowd. But Mortimer seems to have been genuinly religious. The Sunday strip was not part of the continuety and had a sermon-like quality, ofteh explaining or displaying certain religious symbols as well. All of which doesn't make the strip mre readable. Mortimer was a very good artist, though slightly dull. All this shows in his 1958 Christmas offering, about one of the boys who herd the sheep when Christ was born and [obvious plot spoiler] who gets to see The Lord as a Baby. A tale that has been many times in many forms and I don't know which one was first, but animation lover may see the onection to Don Bluth's similar Disney cartoon from the late sixties.

Nog long after this (about a year) the strip was taken over by Greig Flessel (which is why I came interested in it in the first place), probably because it didn't make enough for Mortimer to contnue. Anyway, with Flessel the strip changed it tone a bit. The Sunday page started featuring the humoreous adventures of the elderly parish vicar (or at least I think it is the vicar), taking on board another small niche - the elderly. I showed som eof his Sundays in color about a year ago. Flessel continued the strip for any years until he took up a strip for Playboy. As hesaid himself, I went for piety to smut in under a year.

But here's Mortmer's Christmas tale. Eventhough I found the strip in two papers, I am missing one or two because it was run on a different page every day and quite hard to assemble.


jhegenbe said...

Thakns for locating and assembling this, Gar.

While I see Win in the early panels as inker... I cannot get it out of my head that the layout is a strange version of Mark Trail.
Could this strip have been farmed out for the holidays?

Ger Apeldoorn said...

That would not be out of the question.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

According to Alan Holtz this sequence was pencilled by Tom Hill, who worked as an assistant on... Mark Trail. Well spotted.

TrekBaroque said...

I was just about to remark on that; this looks almost exactly like Mark Trail!