Thursday, July 21, 2011

Early Romance

Thursday story strip day.

I don't like putting up strips from microfiche only. I try to mix them up with stuff I scanned in myself. Which is why I am stuck with a huge amount of Cynthia sunday and daily strips by Irving Novick. So I decided to create a space here, where I can dump them all. It may take a while, but in the end there will be as many samples of this early soap opera strip as I can find.

I went back to see what the first ones were and although I did not find any early dailies the first Snday seem to be from februari the first 1948. They do start in the middel of the story, so it might just be that the papers that are available to me didn't start running these until then. And in Novick's bio it says he drew newspaper strips from 1946, so who knows when Cynthia started. An early 1948 start does seem reasonable, because tat would make this rare ealry soap opera strip a reaction tot the sudden succes of romance comics in late 1947. If it started earlier, it shoudl be noted for being the first and possibly the inspiration for the romantic comic books. But I doubt it.

The art is excellent. I only knew Novick as a (in my view) second rate imitation of Neal Adams on Batman, but when I got interestd in the scouting magazine Boy's Life and it's comic section, I saw how mature his work was in the fifties. Here we see him in the late forties, already at the top of his game. An excellent artist, who never stood in the limelight. Well, who knows. Maybe this will do some good. I hope to place as many of the Cynthia stips here as I can. It will mostly be the Sundays, since on the whole they survive the michrofiche process better and there seem to be more of them. I might even get a good long run going.

I missed one here. Apparently this was a leap year.

Here Alan Holtz' take on it all. Surprisingly he mentions a 1946 start, which makes me curious if Joe Simon read any of this before deciding it was time to start a romance comic.

"The success of the soap opera strip Mary Worth was bound to spawn imitators, and they popped up all over in the 1940s and 50s. Some did well, like Rex Morgan MD and Judge Parker, while others languished. Cynthia, a soaper ostensibly about a career girl, was mostly a copy of Mary Worth with the improvement that instead of an old lady our heroine was a stunning babe. The concept was boffo, but the execution was pretty lame. According to Ron Goulart, the strip was anonymously written by Bert Whitman. The art by Irv Novick was designed to closely ape the look of Ken Ernst's slick style on Mary Worth. The storylines were standard soap opera fodder, although to be fair Whitman did at least try to introduce a little humor into the mix, something rarely seen in other soapers.

Cynthia never caught on and appeared in few papers. For an unsuccessful strip it had a surprisingly long run. The strip started in October 1946 and ran until 11/4/1951, when, in a desperate bid for success the strip was renamed Roger Lincoln, S-Man, and the focus was shifted to adventure and espionage. Irving Novick wisely bailed on this stinker in October 1952, and the strip continued under the guidance of Milton Luros until it finally breathed its last on 8/30/1953."


Daniel C. Parmenter said...

Like you, my early exposure to Irv Novick was on BATMAN. While he certainly drew a "post-Adams" Batman, I really appreciated what he did on it month after month for a pretty decent run of issues. He also did great stuff on The Flash. He was also famously "appropriated" by Roy Lichtenstein.

stan said...

Novick did the Scarlet Avenger for Archie comics but supposedly he did another version for several years as a newspaper strip...also called El Vengador Escarlato...know anything about that one?

stan said...

Whoops, forgot to ad email

EricMontreal22 said...

Wow--I like the art a lot as well, but you definitely can see the influence of the 1940s Saunders/Ernst Mary Worth comics in art and story.