Among collectors it has long been known that the Dennis the Menace Sunday strip everuone loves so much were completely independantly done by Hank Ketcham's assistants, starting with the great Al Wiseman, who drew the whol ething in a spot on version of Ketcham's style, but maybe more comic booky. He did most of the early comic books as well. So what most people have been calling a Ketcham influence o the work of people such as Jaime Hernandez is in fact an Al Wiseman influence. He knows that too, I think that was even the first time I read about it. Now ketcham was a formidable artisti his own right. He invented an 'open' style of cartooning in the second half of the forties, that inlfuenced a whole generation. I can recommend the first ten years of his panel to anyone and will bet if ou are an artist you will learn something from it. The later years are less exceptional to me, because Ketcham a. started relying more and more on gag writers and he stopped doing new characters. It is the way that he draws the occasional gas station attendant or stuffy shirt along the way, that makes me laugh out loud most times.
As for Al Wiseman himself, he is supposed to have been a cartoonist himself, before he joined Ketcham at the Menace Factory. But what his style as a cartoonist was and how many he did or did not draw, is pretty unknown. I had frankly never seen any of his solo work before I came across this set from 1951.
Turns out the reason we haven't seen any of his cartoon work, is because he didn't sign it. There is a Bernard (B.) Wiseman, who id sign his work and may or may not have been a relative, but that's about it. All I couldn find on the internet is a sample of the solo stories Wiseman did for the Dennis the Menace comic: http://fourcolorshadows.blogspot.nl/2011/06/punky-al-wiseman-1957.html
SO then I run across an issue of the cartoon magazine Zest. It has the usual mix of Al Wenzel, Al Kaufman, et al cartoons, but the real surprising Al here is an Al Wiseman signing the cover. The signature is only half legible on my scan by the way, because of the bad condition of the magazine before I cleaned it up. And on the back, there was another one in black and white. Knowing that, it wasn't hard to see that a number of the unsigned cartoons inside might in fact be by Al Wiseman himself. I scanned a selection of unsigned cartoons, some I think defenitively are by Wiseman, others I am pretty sure aren't. And I have added some commentary.
Zest #69 from 1951. A strangely savoury book of cartoons in a marketplace filed with sleaze. The same company also did Smiles, which I have always associated with Al Wenzel. But who knows, maybe there is more Wiseman in there as well.