Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Tuskan Treasure

Thursday Story Strip Day.

I have been lying to you. My love for the work of George Tuska is well known. Especially what he did in the fifties, when he was not forced to do superhero stories or storytelling, but when he did all the other genres in a graphicly pleasin personal variation on the Milt Caniff style. He worked for most of the comapnies, but slowly made the shoft to doing newspaper adventure strips. First he took over Associated Press' Scorchy Smith from A.C. Hollingsworth. After that, he took over Buck Rogers from Murphy Anderson and continued until well in the sixties. For a small period at the end of the fifties, these two even overlapped - or he was so far ahead that they appaered to overlap. Both strips I have shown here - and both times I sais that apparently the ScorchySmith strip did nt have a Sunday version. Eventhough Jerry Bails Who's Who (an undistpensble asset on the web under the name bailsproject) does mention one. I just had never seen or heard from it.

Well, this weekend I ran across it at Google Search. Google Search used to be a free site, where you could search and assess several thousand diffrent newspapers from America, Canad an other countries, some of them well into the 19th century. Unfortunately, Google has stopped adding papers to this resource and they have also disabled the search function (at least for us Europeans). Which means the only way to access what's left by piking a paper and going through it page by page. So this weekend I picked a paper that had it all..

Roy Rogers
Lone Ranger
Gene Autry
Kerry Drake
The Saint
Sherlock Holmes
Johnny Reb
Jett Scott
Mr. Mumbles
Dawn O'Day
Long Sam

As well as most of the better know strips. All through the fifties, they seem to have tried out every new adventure strip that came around. Most of the time, they didn't change their daily line-up. And the scans you can get from Google News aren't the best quality. But at least now I have a resource I can use to add pages to longer better runs I have, so you can at least read the story. I have many samples of Long Sam, ut have been held back to scan and share them, because I have so many holes as well (about one in four). Now I can go and do selected stories in some sort of complete form.

And I have George Tuska's Scorchy Smith. And A.C. Hollingsworth's as well, a veritable treaure of unseen and too often ignored art. Not all of it, unfortunately the one paper that is missing from this selection seems to be the first Tuska Scorchy Sunday and in September 1954 two more papers are missing. In early 1957 the series stops, but from the storyline itself I get the impression that this really is te end - eventhough Jerry Bails mentions 1959 (the year the daily stopped) as a cut-off date. I will check with Alan Holtz' whose long awaited Stripper's Guide will succeed and surpass the already gigantuan effort of Who's Who.

Anyway, after clicking and clipping for quite some time, I am ready to present the firt few stories of Goerge Tuska's Sunday version of Scorchy Smith. These are all the strips from 1954. Tuska started doing the daily in August, but didn't take over the Sunday until a month later. The daily and Sunday sequences had seperate storylines, so Hollingsworth could finish his own Sunday stoy, before Tuska stepped in. Since the Sundays were produced more in advance, this probably translates into a pretty unifrom transfer of duties, by the way.

I will go back and show some of Hollingsworth run as well. Much has been said of Hollingsworth's career in comics, but this is a valuable addition to that career trejectory. Along with that, I have also some of his work as a magazine editor and illustrator. So I guess I will have to throw those two together for a longer article someday.

Hollingsworth, by the way, had taken the soft science fiction angle that Rodlow Willard had introduced into the feature before him and taken it to the hilt. Tuska, who may have written his own stories to fit his own style , downplayed that but didn't ignore it. Insted, he made an easy transition both in the daily and Sunday storylines.

Since I haven't got what I think is the first Tuska Sunday of September 5, I am starting with what I think is the last Holingsworth Sunday - which sadly is the only one I have that I could not reproduce in the original format, so I had to turn it sideways. And of course, these are two tiers. Everything about this feature points towards the fact that here shoudl also be a three tier or at leat a tabloid version. There was a tabloid version of Hollingsworth run and Tuska did a similar deal with the laer Buck Rogers. Maybe someday somewhere one will turn up.

And by the way, if you follow the tag, you will see that I have reproduced Geore Tuska's second daily story. But I still have to go back and find his first daily story, which ran between August and December 1954.

September 5 missing.

September 19 and 26 missing.

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