Friday, July 26, 2013

Rock Of Another Age

Wednesday Advertising Day.

Blockbusters From Oil has been for sale on ebay between $100 and $150 for a couple of years. It is one of the rarer wartime propaganda strips, nicely drawn by Ray Bailey in his early years as Milt Caniff's assistant. It is lettered by Frank Engli, who also lettered Terry and the Pirates, which gives it even more of a Caniff look. It is a very well produced book, with a great cover, so no wonder it can be quite expensive if and when it turns up. On top of that, it seems to m that the work of Bailey is growing in popularity. Ten years ago, he may have been seen as yet another journeyman artist, these days samples of his Tom Corbett strips and Sunday fetch quite good prices and his late forties strip Bruce Gentry always gets picked up before I can get to it, both on ebay and with sellers. So I was quite pleased to be able to finally pick up a copy for $50. I had to fiercely bid against another collector, but I finally won out. Which is good news for everyone, because me only intention was to make this book available online. If the ebay bidder sees this, he can get in touch with me and get the book after all for his highest bid before I beat him. The rest of you can enjoy it here.

Ray Bailey worked as Caniff's assistant, doing backgrounds and possibly inking. It seems he did a lot of work on Miss Lace as well. He certainly is one of the artists whose style resembles that of Caniff the most. So much so, that one can ask how much of Terry and the Pirates is by Caniss and how much is by Bailey. I suspect that Caniff did quite a lot himself, but this book can serve as a nice comparison for Bailey's 'own' style. I thought the subject matter would prohibit him from using one of those standing rocks, he uses in all of his work, right through to the late fifties. He either picked those up from the Raven Dies sequence of Terry or he provided them there as well. And somehow he managed to use them here as well, in the middel of the story. The way he uses the shadows on the rocks, makes them very particular.

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