Saturday, October 19, 2019

Men's Oddities

Saturday Leftover Day.

Last week I had to wait until Monday before I had scanned and cleaned everything I wanted to share. Today I have something similar that I was able tom prapare earlier. I am going through my collection of Men's magazines to sell them on eBay. I got them usually for the cartoons, which I shared on this blog. But some have other surprises, like the issue of Jsckpot that was art edited by Howard Post and had a lot of stuff by him, which I showed last week. In other magazines I found illustartions by cartoonists or comic book artists moonlighting, the core subject of this blog (however far I may stray). In te first issue of the late fifties magazine High Life (a cheaply made Playboy wannabe, but with less nude pictorials) I came across a couple of illustrations that interested me because of the illustrators used... and another reason.

The first illustration is by journeyman artist Fran Matera. Matera is not very well known by most fans. He usually work as a ghost artist on other people's newspaper strips. He started out assisting Alfred Andriola on 'Kerry Drake'. In 1948, he took over Dickie Dare (which had been started by Milton Caniff in the thirties) from Colton Waugh and continued it to 1957. It must have been paying very little, because he took ghosting jobs for Darrell McClure's 'Little Annie Rooney' and Marvin Bradley's 'Rex Morgan M.D.', 'Judge Parker' and Nero Wolfe. He also drew several features for Treasure Comics, which may show his own style the most; a sort of sloppy version of the Milt Caniff style with very quick brushwork over what seems to be some very basic pencilling. In the sixties he worked on Apartment 3G and he drew a Bruce Lee strip that was once thought up by Milt Caniff for his friend Noel Sickles. In 1985 he took over Steve Roper and Mike Nomad from Bill Overguard and continued it until december 2004. Again, the reason seems to have been that the readership for that strip had dropped to low for Overguard to continue it and Matera was happy to doing it quicker and cheaper.

In Highlife, he tried out a funny style for this illustration.

But the highlite for me in this issue is the three page Mad imitation style book cover parody. For some reason, most of the men's magazines combined pictures of pretty ladies with satire. Usually in the written form, but if you are lucky you get something like this.

Completely unrelated, except for the fact that it is in the same issue, is this illustration by comic book artist Rudy Palais. Palais had thrived through the fifties, when his wacky art style and way of drawing people fit very well with the blossoming of the horror genre. He worked at many companies, but especially the Harvey horror books - where Bob Powell and Howard Nostrand were doing their own experiments. When the bottom fell out of that market, he normalized his style and started working in the crime genre, mainly the various crime titles of Prize. Most of those have not been recognized, until I and a couple of other contributors to the Grand Comicbook Database started adding credits. Beter known is his work for Gilberton's Classics Illustrated series. After that he jumped to cheapo publisher Charlton and retired from comics in 1969. This is the first and only magazine illustration I have seen of his hand, but he may have done more.


rnigma said...

Matera was known for his work in the Catholic-sponsored "Treasure Chest" comic book.
His taking over "Steve Roper" was around the time William Overgard was doing his own strip, "Rudy."

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Yes, I say Treasure, but that was a Prize title in the forties.