Monday, August 02, 2021

Stranger And Stranger

Sunday Al Williamson Treasures. 

I am showing all of the stories Al Williamson did for Timely/Atlas after leaving EC. This may take a while, because I have not yet done ten and there are 150 in total. Some of these stories have been collected in books, but they also represent only a fraction of the total impressive output. Seeing them together is just stupifying. Today's story is interesting, because after giving Williamse a script from the pile (just like he did with every other artist), editor-in-chief Stan Lee decided he wanted to work with Williamson himself. Two years before that he had written the first few issues of the horror title Menace by himself and taken only the best artists for those as well - so it is in character for Stan to have recognized Williamson's talent and wanting to attach it to his own name. 

A few things about that. Aside from the fact that Lee has a reputation among current comic book fans (especially those who idolize Jack Kirby) to say Stan Lee never actually wrote anything or if he did, it was all pllotted by the artist or very bad. In the fifties Stan stayed at home two days from his six day workweek. In that time he wrote about 12 to fifties gags pages and stories every week. Most of them were humor (from his work with Dan DeCarlo in he girl humor titles to the Mad magazine imitation Snafu), but there were horror, romance and war stories as well - plus a load of western stories. As Timely/Atlas expert Michael Vassello discovered, he signed everything he wrote and wrote nothing he didn't sign. His western stories were among his weakest, often consisting of little more than a set-up and a reveal (I mean, the whole twist in thisn story is who the mystery gal turns out to be). It figures that he would like to have Al Williamson as the artistm because he could make even the least interesting opening seem like a western masterwork. 

The one thing Stan did like about westerns, was the way the cowboys talk, His stories are full of western jargon and dialect, as well as contractions and abbreviations to reflect the western drawl. I never saw a lot of tv-westerns from that period, but I reck'n they'd be full-a-that stuff as well, pard'ner. 

Stan signed all of his stories with a specially made stamp. Williamson may have had a stamp of his own, but at the very least he dropped his EC-style signature in a box and replaced it with a more sedate name only line, that fit perfectly with Stan's stamped name.


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