Saturday, January 20, 2018

Big League

Thursday Comic Strip Day.

When I showed the black and white Sunday pages of Henry Lee's Biff Baker a couple of weeks ago, I realized I had to sit down and start scanning my two yera long run of Captain Easy Sundays from the mid forties, by Walt Scott. In 1943 Roy Crane left his strip to start Buz Sawyer - a strip he owned himself in contrast to the NEA owned Easy. Walt Scott had been Crane's assistant so he seeemed like the perfect guy to take over. And I think he did quite well, but (comic) history has not been kind to Scott. I have never read any history of the comics that did not ignore or even badmouth Scott's run. Of course, he had impossible competition. Raoy Crane was a a tremendous artist who influenced many others, from Superman inventor Joe Shuster to Mad and Cracked master John Severin. At the same time Scott picked up the sunday the daily was continued by Leslie Turner, who was not the comic artist Crane was (how could he be), but he may have been one of the most competent artists ever to work in the newspapers. He kept the daily strip sequence at such a high level that is remained a competitor for Crane's own Sawyer. Walt Scott, in contrast, was a solid but somewhat stiff artist. He had also worked as a pitch in artist at Associated Press and would keep doing the occasional assignment and political cartoon for them. After he left Easy in the late forties, he started his own strip Little People, which was also quite stiff but benefited from a more whisical approach. He is rightly remembered for that. To me his strength on Easy is the same as his weekness on all of his work - a great sene of design (sometimes at the cost of the animation of his characters). He also drew very pretty women and as the years on Easy went by, the writers picked up on that.

Here we see a long run of his first year of the strip, at first unsigned but his traits are clearly there. The reason
I felt I had to show this after doing Biff Baker is te fact that the same triats show up in that strip. So either Scott helped out on that strip or Henry Lee assisted him. My guess is the former, by the way.

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