Thursday, May 06, 2010


Thursday Story Strip Day (sort of).

Today I am forgoing the usual story strip day to show you something I downloaded yesterday. In the past few years I have become quite acurate at spotting artists. Under the tutalage of Doc Vassallo over at the Timely/Atlas Yahoo Group, I have learned to spot the ticks and peculiarities that identify one artist from the other. Because this early incarnation of Marvel used so many different artists, I have quite a few in my repertoir and recently I have started being able to identify particular poses of ways of choreographing action as well. A Jack Kirby punch is totally different from a Bob Powell punch, for instance. But I have also been able to identify some of George Tuska's typical poses, as well as Mike Sekowsky's faces, Joe Sinnott's grins and Gene Colan's swagger. Handy, if the work of the artist is buried beneath that of a different inker.

Yesterday, when I was looking through sme new comics I had downloaded, I came across an interesting give-away book, that caught my eye. The one tier strip, represented here, was one of many 'commercial' comics that were made in the forties and fifties (and beyond), some of which used name artists, others slumming illustrators or even artists specialized in the genre.

As soon as I saw this strip, it struck me I knew this artist. But to identify which one it was, I had to look a second time. You know what, I'll let you see for yourself and will return with my guess after that.

The first thing that struck me, was the thin inking line. I know only a few artists using such lines. Only two names came to me, Pete Tumlinson and Dick Rockwell. But neither of those fit the bill. It also struck me that this is quite a good artist. Many of these commercial comics are not realy very interesting, but here we have someone who knows what he is doing. The poses of the cahracters are all very strong and clear. If anything, this work reminded me of the stuff done for Gleason's crime comics. Not my best area of expertise. If have ben known to miss Bob Fujitani and others from that group. They all have a vague Milt Caniff influence, watered down but still there, which shows in this work as well.

Then, looking at the face of the guy eaing on tier 7, I thought I knew. This looked like the work of Bernie Krigstein. It all fit. The faces of the girls, the grouping of the characters. This had to be by Bernie Krigstein, done somewhere in the early fifties. Not an artist who had worked at Gleason, but at least te Caniff connection had clicked something in my mind. I had my mystery artist.

Except that on the tird look I found a signature on page two and it is not Krigstein's but Fred Kida's. Fred Kida was an artist who worked at Gleason in the forties, did some work for Stan Lee in the fifties and apparently helped Bob Fujitani in the late fifties with his work on Judge Wright.

So what was your guess?


Anonymous said...

Honestly, I was not able to guess. However, the comics reminded me and Blondie and Dagwood. Thank you for your information, I really enjoyed it.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Mike Lynch picked up the final clue. In the last panel it says 'prepared by Charles Biro for the United States Treasury through the National Cartoonist Society as a public service' in the last panel. Charles Biro was the main artist and writer for Gleason, which explains why he used Fred Kida. Mike, do you think the NCS has kept records of this sort of thing? In the late fifties Stan Lee proposed and worked on a prject for Unicef, which never came to anything. I'd love to see any aditional correspondence about that.