Saturday, May 11, 2019

Stuck In A Well

Saturday Leftover Day.

I was away to the UK for a week, starting with a visit o Portsmouth Comic Con, where I met Liam Sharp, Christ Weston and Roy Thomas. Great fun and we had a lovely week after that. Chris told me he had a Judge Dredd story in 2000 AD that week, but I could not find the magazine in any of the shops I visited.

I also forgot to program the blog ahead, so my apologies for the lack of postings. To make up for it I have a special treat for you today, the first nine dailies of a proposed Lassie newspaper strip by John Celardo. Celardo started his career in comics, which he drew for a variety of publishers, including Quality, Standard and St. John. In January 1954 he took over the Tarzan strip from Bob Lubbers, which he continued until 1968. When Russ Manning took hi place, he succeeded Joe Kubert on the Tales of the Green Beret and Davey Jones from Sam Leff and Alden McWilliams. From 1983 to 1989 he illustrated Buz Sawyer. Somewhere in between all that, he drew these samples for a Lassie comic strip. my initial though was that these samples were done in the early fifties, when the Lassie tv series was just beginning. But on second thought I think I was wrong. The tv-series didn't start until the fall of 1954, of course and by then Celardo had alresdy snagged Tarzan. The Lassie strip could have been an initiative by the copyright holders, who were also developing the tv show - but in the early years that show (which ran from 1954 to 1973) Lassie was raised on a farm by a young master (which we usually refer to as 'Timmy'), but in 1965 he moved to the US Forest Service, which features in this strip as well. That would make this sample from the late sixties, either when Tarzan was winding down, or when Celardo was looking for new challanges before or concurrently with The Green Beret and Davy Jones.


comicstripfan said...

Excellent detective work, Ger. Arguably, the look of the strip would indicate 1960’s rather than 1950’s. In addition, from page 236 of American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69, the Timeline for 1969 has the note: “April 7 [1969]: A Lassie comic strip by John Celardo begins.” From your comments one cannot infer whether you think the strip was picked up or not. The Timeline, if correct, appears to indicate that it was.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

If it was that would be a surprise to me, but it seems you are right. Thanks for the info. Maybe we should add it to Celrdo's Wikipedia page with the ACBC reference for the facts and my blog for the image.

John Wells said...

I wrote ACBC timeline entry based on this news item in Don and Maggie Thompson's NEWFANGLES #20 (March 1969): "Lassie will have her own comic strip beginning April 7. The strip will be syndicated as a daily by Columbia Features and will feature a wildlife background. John Celardo will write and draw the strip. Lassie is also going to be the brand name of a new line of dog food from the Campbell Soup Co."

Since I completed the book, I've bought Allan Holtz's comic strip guide and I see he doesn't list Lassie. It looks like I was working with bad info on this one. Lassie evidently never made it newspapers despite the announcement. I'm delighted to see these strips regardless.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I am always surprised so few of the syndication packages of new newspaper strip survoved. Evn of the ones that did get sold. In all my years of collection I only saw about five or six of them. But every strip got one.