Thursday, February 15, 2018

Choose Your Lane

Thursday Story Strip Day.

I have been doing this blog for almost ten years now, so bear with me if I sometimes repeat myself. But every once in a while I come across a forgotten gem I had not seen before. The co-called action adventure strip Vic Flint was created in the forties as a sort of low rent (and cheaper because it was part of the NEA package) detective strip, by Ralph Lane similar to Dick Tracy, Dan Dunn and Red Barry. In the fifties it was taken over by Dean Miller, who made it even duller than it already was. The daily strip stopped in 1955, but it continued as a Sunday only for another twelve years. The scripting was taken over by Russ Winterbottom - who also wrote the sf newspaper strip Chris Welkin, which was turned into a Sunday only as well and was drawn by Art Sansom, who also drew Vic Flint from 1962 to 1964. In 1964 the artwork was given to John Lane, Ralph's son, who had become the art director at NEA and basicly worked in a cartoon style. With Winterbottom now writing under the pseudonymn of Henry Bond, the strip was given a makeover and a new title, The Good Guys. The two and a half year run of John Lane is remarkable, to say the least. Artisticly it is not only interesting because Lane rendered it in a half satirical and half realistic style that owes more to the political cartoons of that era than any strip I know, but if you look closely you wil see that Lne had a sense of design that rivals that of Alex Toth. NEA was not the syndicate to turn this oddity into a hit, but the small amout of samples I have (given how long it ran), have convinced me that it deserves a second look. If I only knew where to find more.


7 comments:

alan geez said...

Thanks for posting these, Ger. Wanted to see The Good Guys for years. Don't you think the style is also somewhat like Infantino? I sure hope you find some more.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

To me it looks like the 'realistic' style of cartoonist Howie Post. But as I said, it resembles political cartoon styles more than anything I know from the comics. Plus a wonderful sense of design.

alan geez said...

Howie Post is a good point. As well as the political cartoon style. Very nice style that grows more satirical as it goes on, don't you agree?Are you familiar with Lane' s later comic Ben Swift? I saw samples on Strippers Guide. If you've seen it what we're your thoughts/impressions?

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I saw it. Stylisticly I was not impressed, it was a bit too 'current' for me. As for the subject matter, I think Howie Schneider did it a lot better with his last strip, set at a retirement home.

alan geez said...

Ahhh, I haven't seen that, have you run that?
Thank you for this blog, I love it,
You have taught me so much.

Frank M. Young said...

I disagree with your dismissal of Dean Miller's "Vic Flint" as dull, but I'm grateful for your posting these John Lane strips. The tabloid confirms my suspicion that the strip was produced as a half-page, but I've never seen the strip as anything else but a third. Like "Robin Malone," this iteration of the strip was a real shot in the arm for the mid-60s newspaper pages, and it's too bad that this is so obscure no one would sanely consider doing a book collection.

John Lane's graphics almost get into underground comix style... it's lively work.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Nice to year from you, Frank. Where dod you see your samples?