Friday, December 14, 2012

Poor Man's Wexler

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Over the last couple of years my blog has become more and more of a resource. I keep saying to people: if you are ding somehitng on an artist who worked in the fifties, please have a look at my blog. You may find something you haven't seen yet.

The downside of this is, that to show everything I have to resort to poorer scans every once in a while. I do like to mix it up. My post about Hi and Loid this week had some very poor Google News scans, some very small microfiche scans from NewspaperArchive, some better quality Sundays from NewspaperArchive and some color scans I did myself. Still, the Comicreporter linked to me saying 'these aren't very good scans' and they were probably right.

So here's one that's even worse. I am also late n doing it, so it will be the first post you see for only a very short time. stil, it is a long run of a rarely (or try 'never') seen strip by advertising artist Elmer Wexler. I wish I had more of this and I wish it was in a better condition. I have added one later strip alongside a scan of an original so you can see how much gets lost in these photo scans.

Alan Holtz has more information than me, of course. He has a couple of samples on The Strippers Guide and says:

"When Elmer Wexler got back from the war, he seems to have been rarin' to start up a new comic strip to replace the one he left behind, Vic Jordan. Wexler had gotten in barely five months on the feature, which appeared primarily in Newspaper PM, before he entered the Service for World War II.

On his return, Wexler pretty much took up where he left off. Vic Jordan, his old strip, had been cancelled in 1945 after going through a number of creative hands, but Wexler's new strip, Jon Jason, basically read as if Vic Jordan had come back from the war and was now hunting Nazis more as a hobby.

The series only lasted one year, from February 4 1946 to February 8 of the following year. It was daily-only, as were most Newspaper PM strips, and had about as much success as other strips from that newspaper in syndication -- that is, darn little.

As to the content of the strip, well, I'm perhaps not the best informed source. Although I have a substantial number of strips from the series (about 50), they are from scattered dates. From what I can gather, Jon is a Marine pilot back from the war, and his day job is portrait painter and illustrator for the magazine International Woman. Somehow he seems to continually stumble on hidden Nazis and run off to exotic adventures tracking them down. Late in the series he hooks up with a gorgeous lady reporter, who gets him started on his adventures in a more plausible manner. However, according to Ron Goulart in The Funnies, Jason was a private detective, and of that plot device I see no evidence. But that doesn't mean Goulart has it wrong. See, the thing is, the strip's major failing is that there never seems to be any attempt to recap or bring readers up to speed on the story. Woe to the reader who misses seeing the strip for a few days, or the new reader who would like to jump in. I can well believe that Jason was a private dick in addition to a 'cover' job as an illustrator and I just haven't read any episode in which that comes up."

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