Thursday Story Strip Day.
Fans of the longrunning Saint strip should pay attention. I have started preparing my exstencive collections of scans of that strip and will be sharing the results over the next xouple of months. From the early fifties until 1959, the strip was drawn and signed by former `Quality artist John Spranger. Then somewhere in late August 1959, at the start of a new story, Spranger's signature disappears from the strip and a new artist takes over. That's where the mystery starts. Not about the identity of the. unsigned artist is. We know this is Bob Lubbers, a prolific artist who had his own strip Long Sam running at the same time. The the manner of the replacement is strange. Normally, when a new atist takes over,it is not at te start of a new story, but more abruptly. You will also see a difference in dates between the Sundays and the dailies, because the Sundays were prduced weeks ahed. Even when the toryline runs from the Sundays into the dailies and back again (as is the case with The Saint), these were often produced weeks apart. When a new artist is introduced at the start of a new story and the Sundays and dailies do this at the same time, it usually indicates a well organized take-over, which often occurs more often with a ghost job. You know, when an artist wants a longer break and has a whole storyline pencilled or done completely by an ouside talent. But in those cases, the signature of the original artist usually remains. Here, Spranger disappears, apparently for good. But when we come to the end of this storyline his signature reappears. For the whole of december 1959, Spranger seems to be back on the strip himself. Bob Lubbers drew the strip in hisown version of Sprangers almost cartoony style , so it is hard to see if he ghosted that last month of 'his' story as well. The only thing that makes him recognizable to me, is the face of the main antagonists in this story. And those remains vaguely in Lubbers style, but that could very well have been a case of Spranger copying Lubber's designs. In January, the strip is taken over by Doug Wildey who quickly imposes his own more realistic style on the strip. But I do see traces of his more realistic style in December as well. In fact, f I had to guess I'd say Wildey might have been ghosting with of for Lubbers before taking over completely. But why does the Spranger signature return? And why assume that Wildey didn't just start when he started signed, which by the way is at the start of a new storyline as well?
Last december I showed the strips for Spetember till November. Today I have all of December and most of January (until Wildey was well set and signing). I am still looking for August 1959 to see what happened there, but if you are interested you can go back and figure out the whole lot for yourself. If not, you can just look at the pretty picures.
Unfortunately, I can't find the strip for January 1, 1960.