Saturday, July 04, 2015

Fun Berg

Friday Comic Book Day.

Still looking for Maurice de Bevere's comic book work from his stay in New York in the late forties. In an early interview with the Lucky Luke creator in Les Cahier des Bandes Dessinees, "Morris' (as he is known and famous in Europe) told that he did indeed stay in New York for six years. I had previously suggested that he must have returned home betwen his know stay in the late forties and his published children's book (in the Owl Book series) in 1954, but apparently he remained in new York even after his friends had left for Europe and continued drawing Lucky Luke for Spirou by mail (often drawing on two sides of the page to save postage). I always quoted his family from a later interview saying he was asked by Harvey Kurtzman (whom he met and befriended) to join him in Mad. In this earlier interview he says he was asked to joing him in anotehr new adventure, a magazine of war stories. This can only have been either Two Fisted Tales or Frontline Combat. De Bevere didn't join, because he felt it was not his genre. He also mentiones to have been there at the creation of Mad a year later, was nothing about nbeing asked to join that. Of course, he does repeat the quote from the other interview, that he worked in comics off and on during those years, but he doesn't mention if he did so in a cartoon style (like Lucky Luke) or in a realistic style. If it was the latter, recognizing it will be hard.

Still, I am goinf through as many cowboy books as I can and that is how I came across this little gem, a comedy filler by Dave Berg, very much in the style of Kurtzman's Potshot Pete (for Toby) and the unsold one-pager by Bill Elder shown in the Chicken Fat book compiled from odds and ends of his files by his son in law Gary Vandenberg.

Apart from that there were interesting pages from Joe Maneely and Gene Colan in the same books.


Diego Cordoba said...

I think it's impossible to find any 50s American work by Morris. Goscinny was also there at the same time. Have you found anything by him? I know Kurtzman prepared the American version of Goscinny and Uderzo's Oumpa-pah, which was meant for the American market, and was even lettered, if I remember correctly, by Frank Engli. But as to find any of their American work, remains a mystery…

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I have actually delved quite deep into this, Diego. Goscinny was there in the late forties and he did some children's book work with Kurtzman for Kunen as well as a book of his own (which I have). He left for France in the ealry fifties and there is a farwell caroon in Greg Sandowsky's book on Kurtzman from Fantagraphics, I think. This is what originally made me believe that Morros could not have possibly stayed all the time until his published book for Owl in 1954. Buy in this older interview I did find him saying that he was there all the time. Even though, after having met Goscinny at Kurtzman (at the urging of Jijé, who knew Kurtzman and thought the two should meet), Goscinny was now writing Lucky Luke. So apparently, Goscinny wrote Lucky Luke in France, sent the scripts to the US and Morris sent the pages back (apart maybe from the couple of times that Goscinny went back to the US, for instance to do two French Cartoon collections). Other finds along the way: Jijé did a short story for DC, which was discovered a couple of years ago. And I have postulated elswhere that I think that either Goscinny influenced Kurtzman in doing his 'satement and sample' pieces for Varsity in 1948/49 or he was so impressed that they influenced them in doing Les Dingodossiers (he said he was influenced by Kurtzman's Mad, although Kurtzman never did that sort of articles for Mad, only Feldstein did). If you look at Morris' children's book for Owl, you'll immediately recognize his style. likewise, the Jijé story was in an issue of Romance Trail I do not have, but if I had it I certainly would have recognized it, so easy to spot is Jijé's style. Morris' realistic style is harder to spot, but very singular as well. I believe that I would recognize his pencilwork (although not his inking) if I saw it.