Saturday, May 28, 2022

Back To The Cole Mine

Saturday Leftover Day. 

A couple of years ago I bought an issue of the American Armed Forces Features newspaper, an independend Sunday newspaper section just for soldiers, which was produced by the Bradbury  Company between 1955 and 1965 (or even later). It was distributed through camp newspapers, who could add their 'own' Asunday comic section this way. Apart from lots of rare goodies, it had a comic strip by Jack Cole that I had never seen before. In 1955 Quality comics had stopped and Cole's biggest succes and claim to fame Plastic Man was discontinued. He made the switch to cartoons and in 1954 and 1955 he published a lot of cartoons under the name Jake, especially in the saucy Humorama digests. He was noticed and picked up by Hugh Hefner, who took him on board as one of the major cartoonists for his new magazine Playbay, where Cole embarked on a second career as a color cartoonist. In the late fifties he was able to sell a newspaper strip called Betsy and Me and effectively started his third career. Millie and Terry seems to be midway between those last two. It looks a bit like the Jake cartoons (though a little bit less sexy) and you can also see some of his later Betsy and Me style. 

Unfortunately I only had one paper and since then I have not been able to find another. But then I was lucky enough to stumble on a university site that had most of the early years of the AAFF newspaper in digital (and black and white) form. I clipped all of them and I have been showing some of it's cartoons, such as those of Jess Benton, Jack O'Brien, Vic Martin, Hank Bergoff and even Mort Drucker. You can look for them in seperate posts. But the greatest find was that Jack Cole did Millie and Terry for at least three years. The sad news is, that the second year was not available on the university site, so I am still looking for those (as well as the others, because I would love to have them all in color).

I have been sitting on this find for quite some time, but here it is. Un unknown Jack Cole strip, that helps explain his growth as an artist from Plastic Man to Betsy and Me. Maybe someone out there can help me get more.

After three years, Millie and Terry was taken over by another artist. There is a period, where it is not clear who did what, but from late 1957 it was taken over by an artist signing Burr Boynansky. This probably is Bill (or William) Boynansky, who has an early credit at the GCD in a December 1941 issue of Stars and Stripes Comics for a page containing six cartoons and later credits for various gag digests in the fifties. Since most of his gags were army related, I think he may have been one of those career army men, who had a sideline of cartoons. I think there were several of those including Art Gates and Jack O'Brien (who also drew for the AAFF). The sample I am showing at the end is from Army and Navy Fun Parade #83 in 1957.


Mike Britt said...

Wow, what a great find! I hope you are able to locate and post more.

Allan Holtz said...

Great discovery Ger! I've been buying these sections for years, and they sure don't turn up very often. Think I've only got a half dozen or so. Mine are later issues, so I never saw the Cole material.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Allan, do you have some of the later ones that have Mort Drucker? I've seen those in color. And how long do you think it went on?

Allan Holtz said...

I'm still trying to organize my collecton so that I can find oddball stuff like these in my archives. I think all of mine are in the 1960s, but can't say for sure since they are like looking for needles in haystacks right now.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

The ones are interesting as well, since they may have Mort Drucker, Henry Boltinoff, Vic Martin and many more.

Stefan said...

Fantastic find Ger!