Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tuska Loser

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Last week one of my regular visitors asked about the Scorchy Smith strips by George Tuska. His run on the Associated Press staple from the fortie and fifties is one of the lesser known periods of his career. In the excellent book on his long life in comics it is mentioned but only as a sort of sidenote to his second newspaper strip, Buck Rogers, which he drew from 1959 to well into the fifties. Even I didn't know much about it. I had always assumed these was no Sunday strip to go with the dailies, if only because Tuska continued to do comic book work alongside it. Buck Rogers must have been more work or paid better, because he took a leave from comics while he was doing those. Two years ago I found there had been a Sunday page for the first two years Tuska did Scorchy Smith and I started collecting them. Up to date I have shown all Sundays for the later half of 1954 and all of 1955. The last year, 1956 is still incomplete in my files, but I will get there. As per usual, Tuska started doing the Sundays after the dailies. The lead time for Sundays was always a couple of weeks longer than for dailies and apparently the artist before him (Alvin Hollingsworth) left more of those when he was replaced by Tuska. Tuska started in August 1958 with the dailies. I have shown those from 1955, skipping the first two months. IN the end I wold not mind sharing all of his run on this strip here. I think it is a prime example of applied Caniff influence. Tuska combined the style of the Terry and the Pirates/Steve Canyon arist with the graphic approach of Alex Toth, with whom he worked (and was influenced by) at Standard in the early fifties. I don't think that these will even be collected in a book, so where to find them than here.

One of the reasons I think they won't be collected is the fact that there are no good proofs of them. Getting the stuff in a prinatble form is a larger part of deciding what gets reprinted and what not than you might think. So I was very pleased when I ran across a source that gives very pretty copies from the Scorchy dailies. They probably are from a microfiched source, but they might be good enough to print from. I an starting with the last two months of the strip, if only because there is another story attachted to that. But that will have to week to next week, when I give you the second half.


Rocco Nigro said...

Love this Tuska work!Its all Tuska winner work to me. It would be great to see it collected.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I agree. It's some of his best work. More next Thursday.