Unseen Is Not Unloved
Saturday Rarity Day
Paul Tumey has one of the most interesting comic book blogs on the internet. Well, that is not actually true, he has not one, but two blogs. He has been presenting and describing the work of comic book great Jack Cole for a couple of years on his Cole's Comics blog, covering not only his comic book work, but also a large chunk of his cartoon work in the thirties and forties and at Playboy. Not only does he do a good job at getting all the material together, he also writes about it intelligently, analyzing Jack Cole's many story telling and drawing themes, he also uses what he has learned to identify many unsigned stories by Cole, including even some mid forties Spriit stories that had previously been attributed to Lou Fine or the Eisnet studio. He also cleans up scans and colects them together with commentary. Or at least he has done with the early Midnight stories by Cole. I hope copyright law and his time will allow him to do similar packages for other uncollected Cole series. And may some enterprizing publisher can work with him to collect Cole's many many one-pagers and shorter stories. You can find al that at: http://colescomics.blogspot.com/. And when he had sort of reached the end of Cole's work, he sidestepped and created The Comic Book Attic together with Frank Young. I find most of their subjects not as engaging as the work of Jack Cole, but their writing is so gripping that it is a joy in itself. I honestly believe that their work reached the quality of the famous All in Color For A Dime book that kickstarted non superhero related comic book fandom in the early sixties. You can find that at: http://comicbookattic.blogspot.com/. My only gripe would be that they do not do enough new postings.
Which probably is the reason I missed a post on Cole's Comics in februari 2010 about a 'missing' Jack Cole strip called Millie and Terry, which he did in 1954 after leaving Quality and before he joined Playboy. It took a recent post by Paul about the same army newspaper Sunday section which featured that strip for me to notice. I won't repeat everything about this strip and it's circumstances here, but if you go there besure to read the comments as well. The first one includes a list of the contents of the first few issues of this especially made Sunday section.
After that I went over to Alan Holtz' Stripper's Guide to see if he had mentioned this American Armed Forces Features section and it turned out he did. But his sample had a very dull cover and his plan to search out more of them had not materialized into anything yet. As Alan wrote to me this week, he might know where to find a few more, but that is so far off the beaten track that it is literaly 'on the road to nowhere'.
What interested me especially after seeing a few glimpses of the other strips at Paul's blog, were some of the other gag strips in it. This might be something I could have something to offer to. On the cover of the first few issues is a strip called Gooch by an artist called Jess Benton. Benton is a mostly unknown artist who did a strip called Jasper Jooks for the New York Post in the late forties. The most remarkable thing about this strip was how much aof a close copy it was of Little Abner stilisticly. It was in fact a sort of Li'll Abner in colonial times, but it looks so much like the real thing, that it is hard to imagine Benton was not one of Al Capp's assistants. Still, he is not know to be. The Stripper's Guide has a short run of Jasper Jooks as well, plus some more background information. I have tried to find some samples of this strip on my own, but aborted it when the sampes I found turned out not to be very good. I may have to pick up those efforts again, now that I have seen Gooch, though. Stilisticly it fits one of the other artists I have been looking for.
In another post, I looked at a strip in Sterling's 1955 crime book The Informer. Apart from a lot of work by Mike Sekowsky and even a Howard Nostrand story, it also has a single Mort Moskin story as well as an interesting funny thing called Luke the Sppok or Hector Spector. This story, which I showed together with the Meskin thing some time ago looked to me as if it could have been by Howard Post, although many art spotters disagreed with me. And well, what do you think... the art style of Luke the Spook fits the one of Gooch perfectly.
So, while I dig further into this and hope to get more issues of this specialty paper (which started in 1955, but Alan Holtz' sample is from 1961 and I found a copyright registration for the name from 1966 in the name of the same company that started it, Bradbury), let me show you what I have of Gooch, Luke the Spook and Jasper Jooks. The Gooch photo was donated by Paul Tumey, along with the rest of the paper. I hope to find out more about it and will show that later as well. Because who were the artists involved in this and where did they meet and why does the name Charlton keep popping up?
Exciting, isn't it?