Sunday, May 31, 2009

Remember when comics were appreciated by newspapers> When syndicates used to give away christmas stories for free and papers actually used them? And when a news syndicate such as AP had an illustration depatment and did suff like this on important accasions?

From Jan 16/20 1949:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's A Crime

Saturday Leftover Day.

Two more Mort Meskin stories from the fifties. These are earlier than the Dc ones I showed earlier and come from from Justice Traps The Guilty #21 an #35 respectively. Meskin developed this style in the Simon and Kirby edited roamnce books, but really used it to it's best advantage in these crime books. Simon and Kirby bogger and art restorer Harry Mendrick mentioned that Meskin often uses two brushstrokes, where other used one. On reason would probably be that it was quicker, but it also gives his work a looser look, in the same way some artists use dry-brush to make their work les slick and polished and artifical. His heroes often wore a hat and ad a pipe.In the second story he also shows his fondness for striped women's clothing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good War Art

Friday Comic Book Day.

One more Mort Meskin story fom Our Army At War #28.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keeping Secrets

Thursday Story Day.

Four more weeks of Mel Graffs Secret Agent X-9. The last I have of this 1941 run, but it doesn't seem as if I have reched the end of this story yet, so I should go back and get more. Graff's story is all plot and lacks Milt Caniff's great interweaving of plot and character or his trick of using silent panels to lure the reader in. But it still makes for a nice read.

Good Art Territory

Wednesday Advertisement Day.

I wish I had more today, but I wanted to show you this movie ad I got yesterday together with the Kurtzman strip. I have shown more of these type of ads earlier (follow the tag) and had already seen they were for RKO Pictures exclusively. I also assumed they were all done in 1947/48, but this one is from 1946. I have been looking for others inbetween, but couldn't find any. On the earlier ones I had sort of assumed tha the were done by Leonard Starr. If this one is by Starr too, it clearly shows that it is at least a year earlier.

As a bonus I am adding a later film ad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hurray For Harvey Kurtz!

Tuesday Extra.

Today I recieved a stack of sunday pages which had one I had been looking forward too. It was a single page of the New York Herald Tribune, which had the only Silver Linings gag by Harvey Kurtzman I had never seen before.

In 1948 comic genius and later Mad creator Harvey Kurtzman drew a shortlived series of one tier gags for The Sunday Herald Tribune. The Trib did this sort of thing regulary, publishing Sunday only versions of ne cartoon series by some of New Yorks finest cartoon and animation talent who had a ittle time on their hands. Sometimes, this functioned as a try-out such as in the cas of Gil Fox and Selam Diamond's Jeannie, which I showed at the start of this blog and Irv Spector's Coogie. Both were transformed from a weekly one tier into a fullfledges comic strip with the New York Herald Tribune Syndicate. In Jeannie's case, he strip even made it into a daily version, which didn't help the series as such.

Kurtzman drew ilver Linings over a period of four months. He used the humor and style of absurdist humor series Hey Look in the Timel/Atlas teen humor and romance books. The style and the humor of this series was devised for the funny animal line and wasn't really suited for the books they ended up in, but it was too good to discontinue. The complee series was reprinted in Black and White by Denis Kitchen a couple of years ago. If you can lay your hands on this bo, it is still the greatest collection of Kurtzman work ever.

Silver Linings was just as good and maybe even a little more adult. Sadly, there were only nine installments and although some people have wondered if it was ever syndicated and might have appeared outside of the dates known for the Herald Tribune, that seems to have been it.

Early in the nineties I was in Washington and visited the Library of Congress to score some copies. There I found not all, but most of these. After that, Denis Kitchen used six of them for his 2000 book Comic Strip Century. Copies from those pages have appeared at several places on the web, most notably at Still, having recieved this last one makes it possibly for me to present to you for the first time the complete Silver Linings. Some are from microfiche ane is a scan from te Kitchen book, one a scan fom my copy from the Library of Congress and one a scan from the Sunday page I recieved today. If you want to see color versions of the five I copies from microfiche, go to comicrazys. I just wanted to present a different set. I also put the in the order of oublication. Since I have left my Kirtzman Index by Glen Bray in my office upstairs, I will have to add the dates later.

Hey hey hey

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

I may have mentioned before that I am a much bigger fan of the Flintstones strip than the Yogi Bear strip, even though it seems to have been made by the same eam. Maybe it's just those brontosaurus washing machines I like. But since I have a whole stack of Yogi Bears next to my scanner and some people seem to like them so much, here are the first three Yogi Bear Sundays plus their announcement.

Jan 29 1961:

Feb 5 1961:

Feb 5 1961:

Feb 12 1961;

FEB 19 1961:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pre-hysterical Pandemonia!

Monday Extra.

Great news for all Pogo fans! Thomas Buchanan has started a special blog to show all of the Pogo in Pandemonia sequence from 1966 I mentioned a couple of posts earlier. I found his name in the list of visitors, but if he ever decides to contact me, I will give him all my scans and help him make his blog as complete as possible. His almost complete run of this series is mostly tabloid Sundays. I have a couple of three tier Sundays, that have an extra panel, so that might be one way I can help. And I mght also supply a weekly run or two. But the honor is all his. I am just excited to see someone else is crazy enough to spend his time on this.

I have added his site's adress to my links, but here it is directly:
More Than It Seems

Monday Cartoon Day.

Next August Alter Ego #86 will have my long-awaited (by my mom, at least) article about all Mad comic book imitations from the mid-fifties. I had written this article to catalogue my own collection and when Roy thomas got wind of it, he wanted it for his excellent magazine. I rewrote it and made sure it was complte and definite and we decided on a lovely cover homage to Harvey Kurtzman... and the Roy found out I was much too long for one magazine, so he decided to do one 50 pages in #86 and the rest (probably more more pages) in one of the first issues next year. So I need you all t go out and buy Alter Ego #86, so Roy won't be temped to postpone the second part. It is profusely illustrated, as you may have come to expect from me (and Roy, who dded his own comments and a couple of nice comparisons of strips Mad parodied). What I didn't include, were these.

At the start of the article I write a bit about Mad's precursors and stuff that might or might not have influenced Kurtzman in the creation of Mad. One of the things that gets talked about, s the atmosphere of satire that was in the air in the early fifties. College magazines were selling well and Sid Ceasar was doing movie parodies on his Your Show of Shows. Around the same time Kurtzman started Mad, comic artist Lou Cameron did a short-lived satirical newspaper strip called So It Seems. The titles seems to be a parody of the many 'interesting facts' panels that were around, such as Ripley's Believe It Or Not and John Hix Strange As It Seems, but it was more of a 'statement and sample' series, along the lines of those that were later done for the magazine Mad.

Lou Cameron was a journeyman artist who did a lot of work for Classics Illustrated. He also did a lot of horror stories for companies such as Ace and even Atlas Tales (though those were all post-code). This strip ran for about six months in 1952, but I am not sure of the date because the one paper I found that ran it always ran it one to three weeks later dan the date in the strip itself.