Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Stern Rebuttal

Saturday Leftover Day.

I know I am a bit late, but maybe I will be able to do the regular Sunday post later today and get on track. Today's story is a special treat to all you Kurtzman fans. Harvey Kurtzman's career is pretty well covered, even though there are som unpublished gems out there (some of them on my hard drive, even). One of the more annoying omissions in my collectios, was a story from 1951 that looked like it could have been drawn by Kurtzman, but given the fact that it is unsigned and where it was published, it probably wasn't. Kurtzman had been doing a couple of horror tales for EC in 1950, so that's early enough to have been a direct influence o this story. Some art spotters have credited this story to Charlie Stern, who did had been a class mate of Kurtzman, but there is one problem: he just isn't good enough to produce a story of this quality. Given their involvement in this magazine, their awareness of Kurtzman and EC (as evidenced in their Mad imitation Get Lost!) and the way the wife looks (which is the only non-Kurtzman element in the story) when compared to their later funny work, I'd say this story was drawn as a homage to Kurtzman by Ross Andru and possibly Mike Esposito! There's supposed to be another story like this in the second issue of this title, which the CGD credits to Stern as well and if that's signed I am clearly wrong. Maybe someone can ask Mr. Esposito if he remembers anything.

Mr. Mystery #1:


Daniel Best said...

Ger, I agree with you there. If you look at this image: You'll see that the face on Garlic Man looks very similar to the faces in this strip.

I believe it's Andru & Esposito as well. As soon as I saw that last panel I thought 'Garlic Man'.

Well spotted!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

For those of you, who don't know.... Daniel is the author of the book on Andru and Esposito and runs a mean comics blog from down under at

So do you have Mr. Mystery #2 as well, Danny? Seeing as it was a Andru/Esposito run title for the first few issues...

Booksteve said...

Hmmm....the link doesn't work for me so I can't compare and I hesitate to question you or Daniel but I'm just not seeing it. Were Andru and Esposito really good enough to do this at that early stage? My first thought was Howard Nostrand but same thing. Was he really that good yet with his mimicry skills? Then I saw the hand on the wall in one panel and Bob Powell came to mind. Not pushing that idea. Just saying.

dddegg said...

Stern did more than just attend the same school as Kurtzman, for maybe a year in the late 1940s he was one third of the Charles William Harvey Studio.
Would it be out of the question for him to have had his former studio-mate help him on this project?

nyrdyv said...

Though good work, without a great sense of setting to place the characters in I find the story distracting. Blanking the backgrounds I find to never be a very good idea, in my opinion.


Steven G. Willis

Ger Apeldoorn said...

@ddd: asking his former studio mate t help in 1951 is not out of the wuestion (let's not forget that nothing ever is) but at that time he was already well under way at EC and I doubt he would have had the time or inclination. But my point is: where does the Stern credit come from? He did not work at this company, he worked at St. John. It only comes from the wish this might have some HK involvement and then looking to prove this by saying HK could have assisted Stern is (for want of a better word) selfserving. First find me some Stern work that even remotely looks like this, the way some of the figures do look like Ross Andru's funny style.