Thursday, April 15, 2010

Twisting Time Again

Friday Comic Book Day.

Oh, wait. It's Thursday today. Well, I will have to do that tomorrow.

I have never been a big fan of western comics. Even those from Timely/Atlas, my favorite comics company of the fifties, were never interesting enough for me to buy, cheap as they may be compared to the horror books. But lately more and more runs of Timely/Atlas western books have been turning up in the internet and it is from one of those those that I have culled another set of 'fillers'. As all comics in the fifties Timely/Atlas' western books had several short stories in each issue. Toward the end of the fifties more and more books were based around a central character rather than a theme or a subject. But even then, the Timely/Atlas books always had three or four stories with that particular character and one 'filler' story in the same genre. That was true of their character based war comics and of the western books. Some of those filler stories were written by the same writer as the rest of the book, some were rushed off by Stan Lee, who was the editor of the entire line, but always liked to earn a few extra dollars by writing as well. And who was going to say no to him, huh? As I have said, Stan Lee always signed the stories he wrote and almost never wrote any that he didn't sign. But there are a few exceptions, most of which are from 1954 and 1955, when it seems he was still deciding if he should sign them or not. Reading these filler stories is a pleasure fr two reasons, then. For one, Stan Lee used every available artist for them so they represent a very interesting samplng of the artist working in this field in the late fifties. There are even a couple of question marks, such as the artist of the second story here. There are traces of John Tartaglione, Howard Post and Bill Benulis, but not enough to attribute it to any of them. As for the writing, the signed ones are a good base-line for indentifying the story quirks of Stan Lee, which then can be used on the unsigned ones to see if Lee himself could have been involved. The story twist of the first story is one Lee used a lot, the end revealing the hidden identity of one of the characters. But the job number doesn't tie it in with any other story Lee could have written, so this one attribution would be purely speculative.

Rawhide Kid #1 (with art by Bob Forgione from his Jerry Robinson-influenced period, with who he studied in the early fifties):

Rawhide Kid #3:

Rawhide Kid #9 (wth art by what looks like Ed Winiarksi to me):

Rawhide Kid #10 (with art by what looks like Bernard Baily to me):

Rawhide Kid #14 (with art by the great George Tuska):

Rawhide Kid #15 (with art by what looks like Keller to me, eventhough he always signed):

Rawhide Kid #16 (with art by Angelo Torres):


Daniel [] said...

It's a pity that he added that narrative at the end of “The Texas Gunhawk”, but Stan Lee certainly isn't known for subtlety.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

It's not the narrative itself that makes the story clunky, it's the fact he wasn't able to dramatize it. Why not have a picture of the guy looking into the distance on his horse as he rides away, maybe not removing a tear from his eye, but something. Maybe have him show a birthmark similar to the one his son has, he has been trying to hide all through the story under his hat. Hey, I can do this thing too. Hollywood, here I come!