Sunday, December 05, 2021

An Apple A Day

Sunday al Williamson Surprise. 

 Western Comics was John Romita's book. Every issue he did thre stories (and later even four). But as with all books, Stan Lee added one non related story to every issue, usually written by himself and drawn by his favorite artists: George Tuska, Don Heck, Joe Maneely or Al Williamson.


Saturday, December 04, 2021

Terry And The Cowboys

Saturday Leftover Day. 

I ama bog fan of Ray Bailey, who worked as an assistant to Milt Caniff in the early forties and went on to do two daily and Sunday newspaper strips of his own; Bruce Gentry in 1945-1950 and Tom Corbett in the early fifties. After that he returned to Caniff (in a way) by becoming the main artist on Dell's Steve Canyon comic book series (it is rumored Caniff still did the heads himself, although it is clear Bailey could do those as well). What I didn't kno, is that he did a lot more at Dell (and later WEstern), who remained his main emplyer well into the sixties, working for such titles as Turok and Boris Karloff Mysteries. I am going to get as many of those pages and stories as possible. Here is one of the earliest, a nice little western he did in 1957. In fact, he contributed two stories to this issue (the last of the series) with John Buscema doing the third. This is the second one, which I found the most impressive of the two. It was another return for Bailey, who had done a Sunday only called Vesta West for the Chicago Tribune syndicate's Comic Book in 1943, while still working for Caniff.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Why Does He Keep Doing It?

Sunday Al Williamson Surprise. Next up is another western by Williamson and Stan Lee. Another twist to the 'the villian is coming to town' trope.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Telling Tales

Saturday Leftover Day. 

Anyone who knows my blog, know I have a special interest in the comic section ads that were produced by the Johnstone and Cushing talent agency. There are no more people left who can talk about the daily working of this company in the forties and early fifties, but those are the yeras that interest me the most. With a roster of talent containing Dik Browne, Gill Fox, Bill Williams, Jack Betts, Craig Flessel, Elmer Wexler, Stan Drake and many others, they oproduced some of the best newspaper comic art in the newspapers. And not only the Sundays. In 1952, not long before he was appraoched to do the family strip Hi and Lois with Mort Walker, Dik Browne did a series of one panel ads for Camels, using the slogan: But Only Time Will Tell... not a very good slogan, because time did tell on the cigarette companies, but if they knew how unhealthy their product was, they certainly didn't tell anyone. 

I have show some of these Dik Browne panels before, some in colour even. But I recently found out that they were used in daily papers as well, which helped me find almost all of them. Running from June 1952 to April 1953 at a rate of two per month, I managed to find almost all of them, even if they are in microfiche format. I have written an article about these and other series done by Dik Browne and Gill Fox in the Harry Haenigson style, which will be published this year in the next issue of Hogan's Alley. On the next few saterdays, I will share more of the material, not all of which could be added to the printed piece.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Under Pressure

 Sunday Al Williamson Surprise.

This week we have another 'extra' story Williamson did for Stan Lee, but not written by him. It apparently was just another one from the stack of scripts on his desk, this time for a post-code horror story. We call them horror, but by then they were just little fantasy stories. Many of them without a scare or a twist. The best you could hope for as a reader was, that they were drawn beautifully and this one certainly fits the bill. Nit only is it full of beautiful sea creatures, the rendering Williamson provided was unseen at the times. He seems to have left the Frazetta inspired illustration style and found a very fancyful way of rendering textures that is completely of the comics. Williamson would reintriduce these tricks when he started inking for Marvel later in life. It is often seen as a coda to his more impressive career as a oenciller and storyteller, but in dloing so he broadened the range of what comic book art could look like, influencing many.

The job numbers in these stories tell us that Williamson was doing them at a high rate. With the huge amount oif books Marvel was publishing, they were using about 200 to 300 stories (and therefore job numbers) every two months. On average Williamson's job numbers (while not published sequentially) indicate he was doing about one every 100, so he may have been working at a rate of one story a week. Some job numbers are so close together, that you can assumed he picked up two stories at once. And in this period he even seems to have picked up the pace, illustrating H-918, J-7, J-12, J-53, J-338, J-381, J-444, J-471 and J-468.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Is That A Snake In Your Pants?

aturday Leftover Day.

For a Dutch Facebook group I am running for the fans of the old Pep and Eppo comics magazines I sometimes take an old comic strip and translate it. I also make an untrsanslated version, which leaves me with some of these 'off-cuts'.