Thursday, November 04, 2010

North and South - the comic version

Thursday Story Strip Day.

It's 'old friend' week here at the Fabuleous Fifties and I have decided to show you the first few months of Frank Giacoia's gorgeous civil war strip Johnny Reb. In a set of new newspaper strips I recently bought I came across the first installment of this Sunday only strip and that pronpted me to go and look for more of the beginning. I have shown a longer sequence of this strip from 1958 earlier this year, from where it was changed from a illustrated text strip to one with proper speech balloons and dialogue. As you can see from the start of this strip, it also started out as a strip with not one but two storylies, following the lives and adventures of two heroes, one in the Confederate Army and one with the North. This makes the strip very hard to read, but you may want to try anyway. The ratio of selfmade scans to micro-fiche sampes from NewspaperArchive is a little less balanced than I would normally like, but a. the micro-fiche scans are better than any I have seen from this strip until now and b. I thought you might like to read soe of this strip. I have also added three samples of the tabloid version, so you can see what was cut to change it from the tabloid into a three tier half page. Although the tabloid version ahs more art, it seems to me as if the slightly cut three ter version is the one it was intended for, as the text and spacing often seems odd in the tablod version.

With the new strips also came a lot of episodes from the sequences I have already shown (and some from the sequences following that, which I might show later) and I will ad those to the earlier post as soon as I have scanned then in, replacing the balck and white ones there. I will keep you informed as to when that will happen.

Newly added! I have found two more color samples and scanned them in. These are both of the tabloid variety, one of which I already showed in black and white. But look at that other one. The way that figure on the left of the first panel has been partly obscured by the Johnny Reb logo. That shows how much the tabloid must have been based on the half page instead of the other way around.

Also, reading the story again, I was surprised at the gap between the december 9 and the december 16 episode. It seems to me an episode was accidentally skipped (by the syndicate, I would guess). Johnny Reb is taken in to the military headquarters, scared what he will find there. The next episode is announced to be The General and then he is under way in the mext campaign and there is no general to be seen...































6 comments:

Smurfswacker said...

An amazing amount of work went into this strip. Some of the best work I've seen from Frank G. He hardly ever took the easy way out when a crowd was called for: if the scene required a hundred men he drew all 100!

One nice thing about the lousy fiche copies is that they demonstrate how good Giacoia was at staging a scene so its silhouette was immediately readable. A case in point would be that charge which went almost entirely black in the copy. You still know exactly what's going on.

I speculate that the Sunday in which the woman is introduced...the one that says next week's episode is "Panic!"...was pencilled, or at least laid out by Mike Sekowsky.

Peter Bangs said...

Well I'm gobsmacked. I only knew Giacoia as an inker on mostly things like Tuska's Iron Man at Marvel. Why is this not being reprinted in one big sexy volume. It sure as hell deserves it.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Well, maybe if the similar sexy reprint of Jack Kirby's Sky Masters (which has been done in Spanish and is now being considered for an original language version) sells well, the publisher might want to consider a follow up with this, espcially since one of the storylines in late 1957/early 1958 was pencilled by Kirby. If want to see that story in all it's glory, you should follow my tag to my earlier post on this strip and go to the comments, where Rand Hoppe has provided a link to the Jack Kirby Museum, where (for a measly $40 or so) you can join up and see those Sundays and lots more good stuff.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Smurf, I agree about Sekowsky pencelling that Sunday. There are none of his typical poses, but the figures in the first panel of the middle tier do look like his. Since Giacioa seems to have worked in sequences and later di hve Kirby do a complete sequence, I suggest it is possible Sekowsky did all of this three week mini-sequence.

The Seditionist said...

Ger, dunno the numbers, there was a lot of pencilling by others than Frank G. I'd daresay, enough that every strip posted really should be indicated as to who may have penciled it. In addition, Giacoia often collaborated with Joe Giella on the inks so the question is to what extent are the inks al Giacoia's or what? Id this the relative standard of the named artist doing not so much more than primary inks, ghosts doing everything else?

And who was the writer? Never heard!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I always feel that one should look out if an artists reputation doesn't take over the actual crediting, especially on the early episodes of a strip. From what I have seen of Giacoia's early work, the early pages I have shown here are most like his 'personal' style. At least they are consistant with each other and his early work. As I said, Carmine Infantino really had a high opinion of his work, which can't have been formed if he didn't do anything by himself. As far as I can see, the later episodes of this strip, when it was turned into a balloon strip instead of this illustrated text version, is more obviously ghostdrawn - as was Sherlock Holmes, Giacoia's previous strip, which seems completly by Sekowsky (even though much of it is supposed to be by Kane). Together those two give the impression that this may be much closer to (if not actually) the real thing.