Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wizzing Along

Saturday Leftover Day.

Yes, I know. Today's Sunday. But I did today's post yesterday, so let's pretend everything is all right and Blogger is just messing with our heads. Since I am in an audience pleasing mood, let's upload the last of the Sundays I scanned befre my scanner went on the blink. I have added some more stips from Sept and Nov 1966.

May 1 1966:

July 24 1966:

Sept 28-30 1966:

He Ain't Messin'

Sunday Quick Fix.

When I was preparing this post I was struck by the fact how much more exciting these Johnny Quick stories were than every else in Adventure Comics. Superboy seems to have been kept purposedly dull, The Green Arrow by George Papp remains earthbound, Paul Reinman's Aquaman doesn't have any of Reinman's later excitement (in the fifties, before he dulled down again in the sixties), Shining Knight was no beacon, etc. The Johnny Quick splash alone is worth the entrance fee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Real GT

Friday Comic Book Day.

While I was in hospital George Tuska passed away (at a very respectable age). I have been collecting scans of his work for sometime and will try and show some of it in a more complete form at a later date. Tusk was one of the better artists working in the comic book version of the Caniff style. His work for Biro in the forties was very influencial and some of the stuff he did for and with Stan Lee in the early fifties was very good and showed how much of a pure comic book artist he was long before his kills were used by Marvel in the sixties. When he turned to newspaper strips in the late fifties, he was one of the first to simplify the Caniff style into something that could be reprinted and read at a much smaller scale. As such he may have contributed to the shrinking of the realistic comic strip. But is was to darned readable that I can only marvel at his skill. His early work on Secret Agent X-9 deserves much more recognition hat it has been getting and his better know work on Buck Rogers in the early sixties should be seen by those marvelites who only know him as yet another not very satisfactory superhero artist. As for that, he really proved his adaptabillity as an artist when he changed his style in such a way that he did become a very competent superhero artist, ending up doing superheroes for the newspaper page. Here are some quick samples of his work. More later.

For me, Tuska's style in the midfifties is my favorite. A slick and toned down version of the Caniff style, that worked really well on comics and apparently in newspapers as well. His run on Secret Agent X-9 started in 1954 and deserved more attention that it has been getting. From May 1958:

His Buck Rogers was a great sample of balance and design. I have long runs of this strip, which I will share when I have finished doing Tom Corbett:

He did some pretty funny stuff for Joe Simon's Sick in the sixties.Pat of what I like about Tuska's work in the fifties, is his tendency to ad cartooon elements to the Caniff realism. In that regard he is like Will Eisner, Walt Kellly, Albert Uderzo, Ross Andru and all artists I really like from any period. Some of his best stories are the almost satirical things he did for Stan Lee in 1954. For Joe Simon he really acted this out, although it slowly disappeared from his later work:
Give My Regard

Thursday story strip day.

In my article on Mad imitations in Alter Ego #86 I make no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of the work of Bill Overgard. Overgard is one of those Caniff-inspired artists, who could make the comic page swing if he wanted to. For Joe Kubert and Norman Maurer's Whack he did some of the best and spot on comic strip parodies this side of Bill Elder. Soon after doing those he took over the Saint newspaper strip (daily and sunday). The strip was started by Mike Roy, who used lot's of assistants, including Jack Davis in 1950. after Roy, the strip was drawn by an artist I am not familiar with. And then for about six years Overgard took over. Apparently he was recommended for that job by Caniff himself.

Which makes it extra sad that he didn't do a good job of it. This was not the Overgard I loved and admired from Whack. I have many samples from this strip, but I can can be bothered to scan them. I do have a lot of the earlier strips from the late forties, whih I will scan sometime. But for now I have a few Sundays from the period after Overgard. For about a year the strip was drawn by Doug Wildey and he did a great job. Wildey (another Caniff-inspired artist) was mainly working comic books at that point and had not yet gotten hung up about photo realism as much as he would later. In comics h minly did westerns, but here in The Saint he really sines. These are four seperate Sundays, so don't expect to be able to follow the story. My collection if these is spotty, but I would love to read a longer sequence if I could.

May 28 1961:

July 9 1961:

July 16 1961

Aug 6 1961:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Just Can't Stay Silent

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

I said there'd be more. If there is ever going to be a book of the more than 200 Sundays Al Jaffee did of this strip, the toppers should be included. What impresses me is the fact that he did this many (plus about a thousand dailies) he is suddenly catapulted to the pole position of the ten or twenty most creative and imortant cartoonists of his age. It has always bothered me that all Mad artists have sort of disappeared into anonimity because of their association with the magazine. The Not Yet Ready For Prime Time Players all recieved induvidual status as actors and comedians despite their start at SNL. Mad's Maddest Artists were always a group rather than individuals, with Sergio Aragones and Jack Davis possible being the only one to create a name for themself apart from that (by producing twice as much). Compare that to current sometime Mad artists such as Bob Staake.

Maybe my old friend Mike Lynch can think of something to rectify the situation. ow about a huge New York exhibition about Mad artist such as Jaffee, Aragones, Edwing, Martin, King, Berg, Davis, Torres, Drucker, Clarke (what a huge talent he was and mostly ignored outide of Mad) honoring their careers inside and out of Mad.

And man, what I woudn't give to meet the surviving members of that group. For me comic collecting and even my career as a humorist stated with Feldstein's Mad. Oh, oh,oh, let's have Dave Letterman open the exhibition. Heck, he may even pay for it.

July 9 1961

July 16 1961:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tall Jaffee

Monday Cartoon Day.

Slowly resuming scheduling as normal. I have many more color samples of Al Jaffee's marvelous silent gag strip, but I am just as glad to share black and white samples. This strip typifies the early sixties 'modern' cartoon style and sensibillities that are the the core of this blog. I don't think I will stop sharing these until all Sundays and dailies are 'liberated'.