Monday Illustration Day.
I am having a lot of fun with the new newspaper website I found. The quality of the scans varies, but they have many of the things I have been looking for for ages. Like this little thing I am showing today. Paul Norris was a remarkable artist with a remarkable career. He worked at DC, where cocreated and drew Aquaman in More Fun. At the same time he signed a contract to work on the PM strip Vic Jordan. He didn't realize it was an exclusive contract, which forced him to leave comics. After Vic Jordan, he did three months on Secret Agent X-9, before being called into the army. In the late forties he was asked to take over the topper to Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim. He did that from 1948 to 1952. Since this was a Sunday only strip, he continued doing comics for DC. Stylistically, Paul Orris was an oddity. While most artists at that time were either inspired by Milton Caniff or Alex Raymond, Norris could do both and his Jungle Jim is an odd mix of both styles. Norris really came into his own with Brick Bradford, which he draw from 1952 to it's end in 1987.
But he did more than that. From various original art sales I knew that somewhere in the late forties he had drawn illustrations for several King Features text serials. I had never come across them and didn't know where to look. The originals didn't give any clues either, because the stories title was always abbreviated. I didn't even know how long these stories would be and how many illustrations there would be to any of them.
Earlier this week I came across one of them in 1948. Turns out they ar short serials, one a week. Most have four or five illustrations, but it could be that there was originally on for every installment (as there is in this sample) and it was left up to the paper to decide if they want to use it. I am still looking to find the starting and end date, but here is one I wanted to share. It is of a special interest, because it was written by Lester Dent, who is best known as the writer of Doc Savage. In the forties he started writing outside of the pulps as well and apparently sold this story separately to King Features. Lester Dent's agent Will Murray mentions this story in this 1996 biography (which is online at www.vintigelibrary.com) of the author he represented after his death in 1959 (and helped reestablish his name). There he says the story was written and sold to King Features in 1947 and probably published between 1947 and 1951, although he couldn't find any appearances. With the advent of the internet I am sure Will will have found it by now. A short search on the title showed me it was published as a non-serialized story in 1950 in the Ottowa Jornal (using only one of Paul Norris' illustrations) as well. I know Will from several Timely Groups and will ask him to comment here.
So, here is the first of several short stories with illustrations by Paul Norris. The ones I have go back to 1947 at least and taking Will Murray's cue I will have to look up to 1951 to see how far they went. I am also curious to see if Paul Norris stayed with them to them end. I do recall seeing some similar illustrations by famous science fiction illustrator Edd Cartier.