Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The General Principle

Thursday Yet more Advertising Day.

Here is the promised comic strip booklet done for the General Motors Rack service, a series of thousands of informational books and booklets GM produced for their employees. Yes, I know it's a bit ickey and paternal to our taste, but isn't it a great idea that a company would spend some of their dough on stuff like this instead of management training courses and research into how they can make everyone work harder?

Steel! was produced by Johnstone and Cushing in 1954 and as I said, it looks like it's by the same artist as the other stuff I have been showing this week. If that is Lou Fine, he must have been asked to do this especially as he is known to have left J&C in the late forties to work on his own. He is also reported to have worked on their Space Conquerors strip for Boy's Life, but I am not sure in wht period that was. All the ons I have seen are by George Evans with some of the earlier ones probably by Al Stenzel, who was credited for that feature throughout. On Heritage, there is one Space Conquerors original signed by Lou Fine, that's from 1964, which makes it more likely Fine did that at the end of his career rather than in the fiftes.

Charles Pelto from Classic Comic Press was so kind to send some of the samples through to Mr. Starr, who replied quickly: "I don't think I started working for J & C until the 50s The art all looks to be by the same guy and first rate (hard to tell, the pics are so small) so the best guess would be Lou Fine. I never met him so it would be before my time. I don't think I started working for J & C until the 50s." Classic Comic Press publishes the ongoing Complete Heart of Juliet Jones series (three tome now) as well als Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins on Stage (they are up to #8 already). Mr. Starr provides stuning new covers for what is easily the best written strip of it's time. I highly recommend them, as well as the other fine books at CCP. I have added a link for you to follow.

So the mystery stands. I leave it up to you to conclude if the strips I showed here are all by the same artist. They remain som eof the best drawn advertising strips I have ever seen, maybe excluding the GM rack books done by Dan Barry in the late forties. But Ill get to those some other time...

This story is especially impressive to me, since my father worked at a Dutch steel mill (as an accountant) and as a boy I did a company tour very similar to this one. As far as I can remember it's all very accurate and I get the impression these drawings were made from life rather than from photo's.

And here's the Space Conquerors I mentioned:


Smurfswacker said...

I have puzzled over this booklet for a long time but I never reached a conclusion. I'm not familiar enough with Fine's early "straight" art style to know if this is him or not.

However I can confirm that Fine drew "Space Conquerors" in the early 60s when I was in junior high school. I still have a couple of tearsheets of the story your original is from. Of course I didn't know who Lou Fine was back then, but when Fine was replaced with Alden McWilliams I recognized HIM immediately and even wrote the "Boy's Life" editor a fannish, arrogant letter deriding them for crediting McWilliams' work to Al Stenzel. I was a McW fan even back then, you see, as well as an ignorant fanboy.

I don't know when the Space Conquerors feature was terminated, but I remember seeing a much later BL issue (early 70s?) in which the strip was drawn (credited) by Ernesto Colon.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Were the later Space Conqueror stories real stories? What surprised and irritated me in the ones from the fifties, was that they looked and felt like part of a lonegr stor, but when I sat down and read them sequentially, I couldn't make heads or tails out of them. I should really sit down and scan a lot of those, as they (and other work by George Evans) form such a huge (and unknown) part of his career.