Saturday Leftover Day.
I first encountered Lou Fine when I read his final comic strip Peter Scratch I the Menommannee Falls Gazette in the early seventies. Later I found out how much of an influence he had been on a lot of artists when he was working with Will Eisner in the early forties. After that, I noticed his advertising work in the later forties and fifties. He had changed his style from one that was influenced by the early work of Alex Raymond to one that was influenced by the later work of Alex Raymond. Oddly enough, I have always been a fan of his later style, more than the 'lyrical' earlier style, which had much to much florishes for me. That may be because of my appreciation with Peter Scratch. Anyway, for many years his work on advertisement strips such as Mr. Coffee Nerves for Postum (shown here) and Sam Spade and Charlie Wild for Wildroot (shown here as well). On the Lambiek website they also state that he also did the Charlie McCarthy ad stripps, but I don't see that. I will include some of them here.
But it was only recently I found out he did another newspaper strip from 1959 to 1962, called Adam ames. Aldam Ames was a beautifully drawn soap opera strip in the tradition of The Heart of Julia Jones. Beautifully drawn and compelling stories, it doesn't surprise me that the good folk at Classic Comics Press (who do the great Julia Joes and Marie Perkins series) were hoping to do a reprint of that strip as well. Alas, the strips would require quite some restoration work and they e-mailed me it would be some time in the future before we see those. Which leaves me free to show you some lesser quality, but still very pretty samples myself.
I am using Stan Jones' compilations of Newspaper Archive strips for that. Stan has been doing what I am doing here privately for some time, collecting runs of intereting strips and making them avaiable to his group of followers. Since he is using the same Newspaper Archive copies I had collected, only more completely, I have no problem using his hard work. Fortunately Adam Ames, a pretty detailed strip, was reprinted laregr than others in some papers, which means the scans here are quite good for this sort of thing. Looking through lots of microfiche material over the last year, I have found that some of the lesser strips seem to have cast themselves in that role by literally delivering less ink than some of the more famous ones. Ray Bailey's Bruce Gentry is quite close in quality to Steve Canyon (which has the same subject and the same drawing style, since Bailey started out as an assitent to Milton Caniff), but it seems to have been made to be reprinted smaller and probably cheaper and that makes it a lesser effort. On the other hand, his later strip Tom Corbett was as big and beautiful as Caniff's strip and went nowhere as well. So you never know.
I have also added some other rare Fine material I found, a signed illustration for a story in american Weekly magazine. This shows his late fifties style quite well. I have two more of those when you follow the Lou Fine link. I am also adding a page for Boy's Life magazine which could be by Fine, but probably isn't. He did work for the Boy Scouts magazine on the Space Conquerors, but all of the samples I have from between 1955 and 1965 are by other artists (with the bulk by George Evans), so I am guessing he did them later in the sixties. This strip is often mentioned as one of his creations, but I am not sure if that is completely right.
The complete first story of Adam Ames ran from July 6 1959 to Oct 26:
I will return to these Charlie McCarthy strips at a later date. There also was another run of them in the early forties, which I still have to scan myself but I do have quite a few. as far as I remember they had a totally different style, much more cartoony. Still, having said that, I don't see Lou Fine's hand in most of these. Maybe the earliest ones from 1944, but he was busy doing The Spirit at that point and that would have taken al his time, surely?
Aug 27 1944:
Dec 17 1944:
Oct 6 1946:
No 17 1946:
Dec 22 1946:
Jan 12 1947:
Feb 2 1947:
Feb 23 1947:
March 16 1947:
March 30 1947:
From American Weekly, March 30 1958:
From Boy's Life, May 1965: