Thursday, June 07, 2012

Romance Problems And Advice

Friday Comic Book Day.

As my regular followers will know, I have a fondness for the work of Ray Bailey. He started out as an assistant of Miltn Caniff, but I think he was more than that. If you look at his work and at Caniff's work without him, you see he brought a sense of landscapes with him, that really helped set Terry and the Pirates apart. Of course, what Caniff brought to the table himself wasn't bad either. Most importantly a sense of stoy and character and the relation between the two, that Baile never equalled in all his career. Insead he had to work with writers and his work suffered for it. Still, he had a good run with six years of Bruce Gentry and three years of Tom Corbett. After that, he returned to Caniff to do the Steve Canyon comic book series and assorted assignments for different companies after that, but though all of those he remained one of the most illustrative of the Caniff inspired artists.

I had come to his work, through the work of Lee Elias, another great artist who started under Caniff. He is better known than Bailey, first of all because his sf newspaper strip, the Sunday only Beyond Mars was more of a sensation, his covers for the Harvey war and horror titles were unforgettable and when he finally broke free of the Caniff influence in the sixties, he did some pretty inpressive work for the Warren magazines.

He also did stories for some of the Harvey books, mostly the romance and war titles, but there his work is more subdued and often less inspired or at least inpiring. Ray Bailey also worked for Harvey at the sametime. I don't know how he managed to do that, with his newspaper strips going at the same time, but maybe he did them afterward or in between. Infac, the fact that he couldn't have done them plus the fact that his style looks so much like that of Elias, explains why so many of his stories are not recognized or often even credited to Elias. I have mad it a hobby to look for Bailey and Elias stories and try to find out who did what - and leave those findings with the Grand Comicbook Database. Along the way, I have gotten quite a good handle on what differentiates the wo Caniff inspired artist. It's little things like the fact that Bailey very very ofte uses sideviews of his main mail characters that look as if Steve Canyon has walked into the room. On the other hand, he is more illustrative than Caniff and that often shows in the views, as well as the ladies - who sometimes seem to look as if they walked in from another strip. Elias' ladies have a completely different look, all of their own. They are more childlike, with nice round faces and cute noses.

Today I am showing some stories by Bailey and Elias to see if you can spot the difference. They are all from Lars Teglbjaerg's giant selection of original comic book art from Man, to only have a part of what he has collected. He has the original art to Harvey Kurtzman's seminal Korean war story 'If" as well as Mort Meskin's unpublished masterwork 'MacBeth'. Now there is a man to admire.

Having said that, I think his attribution of the first story here as it being by Ray Bailey is wrong. Go ahead and look for yourself and I'll see you at the comments.


jhegenbe said...

lee, ray, ray, lee.


Ger Apeldoorn said...

I was waiting for more people to try, but that would be my guess as well.