Friday, August 02, 2013

Barry Important Person

Friday Comic Book Day.

If there is one artist who deserves a major retrospective and reevaluation, it is Dan Bary. Unfortunately most of his best comic book work was for DC and not even for the supergero titles. Since all of their reprint books are hero-based, we don't have to hold our breath for it.

In the next few weeks I will show one of the last series he contributed to. Barry had already shown his aptness for crime stories in his work for Gleason and some of the other DC crime titles (some of which I have shown earlier). In late 1950 DC bought the rights to the longrunning radio show Big Town (at the same time it became a tv series). The first three issues each had three stories by Dan Barry. After hat he started doing the Flash Gordon daily strip to immediate and huge succes. From the fourth issue others took over his place and the book continued until the late sixties (which is only slightly longer than the tv series). Dan brother Sy remained as one of the mian inkers, conserving the lok. But the look was also kept, because the powers that be at DC had decided that the Dan Barry/Alex Toth look was to be the DC house style and for more than ten years it was. Only in a watered down way, of course. Beacuse, as good as people like Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane were, they (and others with a less similar style, like Gene Colan) forcing them to create a knock-off style didn't get the best out of them, in my opinion. Also, one of the sad side-effects is, that in hindsight for a very long time, the work of Dan Barry himself looked less original than it was, with everyone copying his tricks. It's now, only years later, that we can see that on top of those tricks (or rather somewhere behind it) he really had a great sense of staging and storytelling. Over the next few weeks I'll be showing these Big Town stories.

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