Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scouting for Gold

Monday Cartoon Day.

I think it was Ron Harris who alerted me to the fact that all of Boy's Life is now available on Google Books. I have a large run of issues from the fifties, but scanning stuff from them has always been a large and timeconsuming project I have put off as long as I could. Now with the whole run available, I could finally start showing you some of the rare gems hidden in this longrunning monthly. The comic section of Boy's Scout started appearing in late 1952 and was produced by the comic strip advertising company of Johnstone and Cushing. Or if it wasn't there must have been a connection, because much of the same artists are used. From the start, there is a prominent role for Greig Flessel and many of the feature are signed Alsten or Al Stenzel, although he doesn't seem to have done anything himself. Instead he uses a string of ghost artists, especially on the longrunning (but not continuously) sf strip Space Conquerors. Space Conquerors is best know as being drawn by Lou Fine, but this was only later in his career. In the late fifties, for a long time this was the work of ex EC talent George Evans, who also did a lot of boy scout features for the comic sections. When Flessel got his own newspaper strip David Crane (or at least took it over from it's originator Winslow Mortimer) Irv Novick and Tom Scheuer (later Sawyer) took over. In he magazine, the stories were illustrated by many familiar illustration names, with occasionally a name we know from the comcis, such as Bernie Krigstein or Jerry Robinson. But we'll get there and I'll cover Dik Bowne too. But first we delve into the cartoons that were featured in this magazine. Many people worked for Boy's Life over the years.I have singled out one of my favorites (and my fiend Mike Lynch's): Orlando Busino. I have yet to find his first appearnce, but here is a selection of his work in the early sixties. After that, a few of the others from the same time period. I opened this post with a specialty drawing by nne other than Charles Schulz. I guess everyone wanted to be a boyscout back then.


Smurfswacker said...

Boys' Life flirted briefly with comics (in black and white) before the Johnstone and Cushing sections. They were signed by some guy I never heard of (I plan to go back for a closer look, but I was looking for Space Conquerors and didn't pay much attention).

Johnstone and Cushing definitely produced the BL comic sections. Al Stenzel seems to have been the strips' head writer and to have worked for the magazine, not J&C. When Stenzel died BL ran a big tribute page which identified him as creator/writer of the major BL features (and managed not to mention a single artist). One got the impression Stenzel had done every strip himself!

Years ago, I read somewhere that J&C stopped doing comics while the BL section was still in production, and Stenzel sort of took over the shop. However I haven't found any reference to this on the Web. Maybe other J&C fans can supply further insight.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Thanks for the added info. One of the main pleasures of looking into this material, is trying to work out who came when and did what. On Chip Martin the seque from Scheuer into Adams seems seemless. Or is it just Scheuer taking on more and more of Adams' characteristocs. I hope to find out. And when did Scheuer rrive? Or George Evans, for that matter? Or Irv Novick? And did or did Gill Fox not assist Dik Browne? Later Browne assistant Dick Hodgins was there, too. Did they work together or was that just a coincidence?