A Month in the Life of the Comics
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The dream sequence is far wilder than anything I can remember happening to Dagwood. Looks like they were trying to increase the action in the comic to compete against the Sci Fi and superhero comics of the time.

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# 47


Dale Evans # 22 - eBay purchase




Content: (with Credits as per the GCD)


The Challenge of the Cheyenne Princess by Jim McArdle 8 pgs

Sierra Smith in The Double who almost Died by Allen Ulmer 8 pgs

Pal's Last Ride by Jim McArdle 8 pgs




While the official site for Dale Evans and Roy Rogers is here and a biography of Dale is there on the official site. I prefer the Old Corral presentation with its illustrations. The Old Corral text tells us that:


"Frances Octavia Smith was born October 31, 1912 in Texas. But there's a bit of confusion or mystery with this, and I asked Bobby Copeland for some further info. Bobby writes: "although Dale has always claimed, and her mother told her, that she was born Frances Octavia Smith on October 31, her birth certificate lists her birth date as October 30, and her name as Lucille Wood Smith. As a youngster she loved cowboys and her favorite was Tom Mix."


She began her career vocalizing on the radio in the late 1930s as well as being the resident songbird with a couple of big bands ... and she adopted the name of Dale Evans. Dale also had a child and was on her third marriage. Her radio work included a season as the featured vocalist on the popular THE CHASE AND SANBORN HOUR (which starred Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy). She was signed to a contract by 20th Century Fox, but all she got were bit parts, and her contract option wasn't renewed.


Herbert Yates, the boss at Republic Pictures, signed her to a term player contract and these agreements ran from April, 1943 through December, 1947. In her early Republic contract days, Dale got some screen work including IN OLD OKLAHOMA (Republic, 1943), which starred John Wayne.


The story goes that Yates was much impressed with the broadway musical Oklahoma, and made the decision to enhance the Roy Rogers' westerns with lavish musical numbers ... basically a lot of singin' and dancin'. The first film pairing of Roy and Dale was THE COWBOY AND THE SENORITA (Republic, 1944), and their last was PALS OF THE GOLDEN WEST (Republic, 1951). PALS was also Roy's finale at Republic.


Roy and Dale clicked on screen and off. In many of their film collaborations, Dale played a heroine who was feisty, hot-headed, and independent. And quite often during the early reels, she was cantankerous and abusive to poor ol' Roy. She was definitely not the typical sagebrush heroine who had a few lines and was a passive figure in the background. Dale's roles in the Rogers' films were often that of an author, newspaper writer, or the usual "gal/relative from back East who comes West". Some examples of the comedic hijinks and interplay between the two follow:


In SAN FERNANDO VALLEY (Republic, 1944), Roy is almost run over by a car driven by Dale. The pair wind up getting arrested and spend some time behind bars of a prison wagon. And Roy gets Dale to agree to a date, but when he arrives to pick her up, down comes a bucket of water that was set by Dale. In ALONG THE NAVAJO TRAIL (Republic, 1945), Roy has to rescue Dale from a dunking in a lake. In RAINBOW OVER TEXAS (Republic, 1946), Dale gets pitched off a boat, makes it to shore, dons some men's clothing, and hides out in a railroad car where she is found by her idol, radio and recording star Roy Rogers. In ROLL ON TEXAS MOON (Republic, 1946), Dale is in the water again, this time due to a car mishap, and Roy has to rescue her.


Dale and Roy were married on December 31, 1947. Roy's wife Arline (not Arlene with an e) had passed away a year earlier. Dale was married in 1937 and divorced in 1946 from Republic musical director Robert Dale Butts.


From 1944-1951, Roy and Dale appeared together in 29 films --- there was a yearlong break when Dale had a baby. (Want more info on the specific films and film titles in which Dale starred with Roy? Click HERE for the filmography on Roy Rogers, and look under the column marked Leading Lady.)


And when Roy exited Republic in 1951, he and Dale went into television with their THE ROY ROGERS SHOW, and the popular series ran on NBC from 1952-1957 before going into reruns and syndication. Dale also played herself during several years of the radio THE ROY ROGERS SHOW which was broadcast from 1944-1955 on NBC and Mutual (as best I can recall, songstress Pat Friday played Dale during some of the radio show run). Of course, there were all kinds of products carrying Roy and Dale's name and likeness. And they both had comic book series. Dale's movie career lasted about ten years and about 45 films, most of which were for Republic. Of these, 30 were westerns.


In real life, Roy and Dale wrote songs, created their own Museum in Victorville, California, adopted and raised a bunch of children, were most vocal about their Christian beliefs, and supported many charitable causes. But there were some difficult times, including the death of several of their children. Dale is also a prolific author, and probably her most remembered novel is Angel Unaware, the best seller which was about their daughter Robin. Their theme song "Happy Trails to You", was composed by Dale.


Overall, a classy lady ... and a classy couple that were appropriately billed as "The King of the Cowboys" and "Queen of the West".


Dale Evans passed away on February 7, 2001."


Dale's adventures lasted in DC for only 24 issues, all of which are on display here at Mike's Amazing World of DC website. The DC run stopped in 1952 and Dale went on to comic adventures for Dell. It appears contemporaneous (more or less) to the start of their show on NBC and probably a lot of contracts were renegotiated and Dell was willing to pay more.


As for our artists, they were completely unknown to me in the sense I had never even heard their names. Here's what the Internet tells us about


Jim McArdle from the Comic Strip Project:


McArdle, Jim

b. (1899)

st. Fordham Univ., ASL, NAD

staff - Brooklyn Eagle

cs "Dr. Bobbs," 1940-1952

cs "Davy Crockett," 1952-1959

d. Feb. 11, 1960


As per the GCD, his career in comics starts in 1948 with Dale Evans and once the series stops, he moves over and works first in the War books: Star Spangled War Stories and Our Army at War, has quite a bit of Tomahawk work for a series of "The Legend of ..." stories, and occasionally works in Mr. District Attorney, Gang Busters, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected until he dies young at 61. Interestingly, he is of an older generation and apparently came to the comics via the newspaper world.


Allen Ulmer bio found online on here at a gallery site, hence the flavor of this write-up.


"Allen Ulmer (1922 - 1990)


Born and educated in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Allen Ulmer started drawing at an early age. He he has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Art Students League in New York.


After graduating high school he moved to New York , where his talents

earned him almost immediate success in the art field. Mr. Ulmer's

professional career began in the field of Magazine Illustration. Ulmer was soon Illustrating such popular magazine and newspaper features as The Shadow, The Green Hornet, The Saint, Tarzan, and others. These early original illustrations are in some world wide collections.


Mr. Ulmer turned to Fine Arts in the late 1950's. His great love fro realism too him from Oils to Watercolor and Egg Tempera. Many of his paintings are in private collections, Libraries and Educational Institutions. He has had many successful on man shows and won numerous awards for watercolor and tempera mediums.


In the 1960's, after a successful Commercial art career in Illustrating, he turned to fine art. Soon watercolor became his favorite medium, He now devotes his full time to painting. He is a member of the Salmagundi Club and the Huntington Art League


Many of his early illustrations are prized by collections today. He is listed with the best illustrators of his time in the who's who of A.A.S.I."


As per the GCD (if the Al Ulmer credits are for the same artist), Al worked extensively for Holyoke on Catman and Captain Aero comics and also worked for Hillman on Air Fighters, Clue eventually finding his way to DC and Dale Evans. This is a time I wish I had a subscription to the Who's Who so I wouldn't miss some credits between 1944 and 1948.


First Story Splash




Second Story Page




Third Story Spash




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# 48


Daredevil featuring The Little Wise Guys # 84 - Bought from A1 Comics at San Diego






Vicious Cycles by Norman Maurer 9 pgs

Dilly Duncan of Dorset High in Sherlock Duncan by ? 6 pgs

Scarecrow does it again by William Overgard 10 pgs


Ahh, some of our regulars are back. We've seen Overgard in both Black Diamond Western as the creator of the feature and in Boy Comics and Maurer did also the first story in the same Boy Comics.


Let's first talk about The Little Wise Guys. Here's an excerpt from the Toonopedia entry for Daredevil dealing with The Little Wise Guys and how they took over the series:


"Daredevil Comics #13 (October, 1942) introduced The Little Wise Guys, a kid gang along the lines of Gene Byrnes's Reg'lar Fellers or DC Comics' Newsboy Legion. Reader interest in these new supporting characters was kicked up a notch two issues later when one of them, Meatball, was killed off. After that, The Little Wise Guys consisted of Scarecrow, Peewee, Jocko and Curly.


The series continued that way for years, Daredevil and his four quasi-sidekicks. But toward the late '40s, when superheroes fell out of fashion, Daredevil was de-emphasized. As the decade closed, he was generally there just to introduce stories in which The Little Wise Guys were the stars. After the 69th issue (December, 1950), he didn't even do that. Daredevil Comics continued years longer, but Daredevil was no longer a member of the cast. The series ended in 1956, when the publisher left the comic book business."


And here's an excerpt from Bob Rozakis column (located here if you want an extended entry for Daredevil in its hero days):


"Infinitely more significant was the debut of a kid gang called the Little Wise Guys (Pee Wee, Scarecrow, Meatball and Jock) in #13 (October, 1942). The quartet immediately became co-stars in the strip and, in #15's pivotal episode, nearly took over entirely. After Pee Wee was seized by a gang called the Steamrollers, Meatball set out on a desperate mission to rescue him, trudging through falling snow and hiding in frigid waters before he succeeded. Unfortunately, he did so at the cost of his life. Heartsick that Meatball died of pneumonia because of him, Curly of the Steamrollers helped bring his old gang to justice and became one of the Wise Guys from that point onward.


Charles Biro was, as some have noted, the Stan Lee of his era and the Lev Gleason Publications have many of the hallmarks of the Silver Age Marvels, from the intense, humanized characterization of the stories to the immodest twin taglines that sandwiched the Daredevil logo throughout most of the 1940s ("The Comic Magazine That Dared To Be Different" and "The Greatest Name In Comics") to the personal dialogue Biro had with readers in his letter columns.


Norman Maurer, only fourteen when he began working for the Biro/Wood studio, recalled some of his excursions with Biro in an interview in THE COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #575 (1984). "We'd drive around, see a bunch of kids playing stickball (he would pull over, he loved kids, especially boys -- I don't mean that way -- 'cause Charlie was quite a ladies man), and we would pull up and stop the game and say, "I'm Charles Biro and I do DAREDEVIL, and he would sit there for hours talking with those kids. And I think that's why (strictly speculation on my part), he switched DAREDEVIL to a kid's story with kid characters.


"As I say, it's strictly speculation. I think it was a first love. He wanted to do something about kids so he gave DAREDEVIL a bunch of kids and finally the kids took over the story. I can tell you there've been maybe 50 occasions, where I've been with Charlie, when he would pull over, stop the car and get out and start talking to a bunch of kids. They just loved it, they ate it up and he ate it up, too!"


Whatever the reason the Wise Guys took over, the public's appetite for costumed heroes was clearly on the wane. During 1947, the kids had pretty much replaced DD on the covers of the book and, three years later, he exited the series altogether. In issue #69 (December, 1950), he left the U.S. to play bodyguard for a ruler in Eastern nation of Tarkabia. He returns to visit the Wise Guys in #s 79 and 80 during 1951, revealing that "the Air Force is going to call me any day, and I wanted to see you guys before I left."


And that was it for DD. The Little Wise Guys continued in the book bearing his name until #134 (September, 1956). It was, ironically, the same month that DC launched the modern version of the Flash in SHOWCASE #4 and ignited a new wave of popularity for costumed heroes. Poor Bart Hill not only didn't get to share in the revival but also lost the rights to his name when Marvel rolled out blind attorney Matt Murdock as their version of Daredevil in 1964.


Pete Morisi, who'd done work for Lev Gleason in the 1940s, reported in COMIC BOOK ARTIST #9 (2000) that he'd actually attempted to buy the rights to Daredevil in the early 1960s. Gleason gave him his okay but Biro balked, requesting a percentage of future profits. Morisi said no and went on to create a hero of his own for Charlton in a scaled-down version of DD's red and blue costume - Peter Cannon ... Thunderbolt."


Our artist of interest today is Norman Maurer




As usual if there is an unusual connection between our hobby and the world at large it is that information that will be clamored over and over so let's get it out of the way: "Norman Maurer was the son-in-law of one of the Three Stooges. Maurer was married to the former Joan Howard, the daughter of the Stooge’s bowl-haired leader, Moe Howard."


A (very) short biography of Norman states:


"Producer/director Norman Maurer got his start as a comic book illustrator when he was a teen working on such series as The Little Wiseguys and Boy Comics. He also was a ghostwriter for Hank Ketcham on Dennis the Menace and did a series of comic books based on the Three Stooges. Maurer became a producer in 1956 and made a few entries in the Three Stooges' series. He then spent 15 years managing the rambunctious threesome. Maurer became a story editor and writer for Hanna-Barbera in 1975 and later became a cartoon consultant for CBS television."


Norman was also a long time collaborator of Joe Kubert, especially when "[they] first invented 3-D comics for St. John Publishing in 1953. When "Three-Dimension Comics" featuring Mighty Mouse sold a million copies in less than a week (at 25 cents each when most 4-color comics were selling for a dime) the publisher wanted to convert all St. John comics to 3-D in a big hurry. So Joe and Norman hired a bunch of extra artists to convert the flat St. John comics to depth. They all got a case of the "3-DTs" and produced this funny story that appeared in "Whack" 3-D Comics."


And finally, if you want to know more about Joe and Norman correspondance course, refer back to your CBA 3 to know all about the Comic Book Illustrators Instruction Course along with a Kubert interview about the project.


Maurer Story Splash - Notice the editorial comment by Biro, testament to his truthful dedication to children and their welfare




Dilly Duncan Story Splash




Dilly Duncan Page




Overgard Story Splash




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I've heard the Roy Rogers museum is nice outing for the kiddos -- it's received the seal of approval from my nieces and nephew.


It was interesting to see who the artist were. Though, upon seeing their names, it explains why I hadn't recognized them when I leafed through copies of the Dale Evans comics.

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Another excellent post, Scrooge. thumbsup2.gif


Boy, that comics looks like a great read! The art is inventive, especially the night sequence in the Dilly story, and the splashes all provide an intriguing intro their respective stories.

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# 49


Dead-Eye Western v.2 #8 - eBay purchase






Rico's Secret Saddle by George Olesen 6 pgs

The Spiked Gun by ? 7 pgs

The Story of the River by ? 6 pgs

The Silent Draw by ? 5 pgs


I can safely say we are dealing with the obscure Hillman western title today. Even though the series ran from Nov-Dec. 1948 to April-May 1953, it has nothing to call attention to itself (unless you count the fact that Krigstein did some work for the series, but who's counting?) which will be clearly illustrated today as the art is huhumm, pretty much in the vein of the Ace Magazine book of the other day. This is a sign that while there are diamonds in the rough in the third tier publishers books, there is also plenty of rough! We'll come back to Hillman later so let's concentrate on the one artist IDed in this book: George Olesen.




According to the Comiclopedia,


"George Olesen has been drawing since he was at school, doing art for school yearbooks and art magazines. While being a pilot during World War II, he drew a daily cartoon for the Officer's Mess. After the war, Olesen studied at the Pratt Institute, where he majored in illustration. In 1949 started working on the comic book 'Little Beaver'. He also drew the newspaper Sunday page Ozark Ike , created by Ray Gotto, in the mid 1950s. He later went on to NBC TV-news and became the only daily Metropolitan News artist. From 1965, he was also active as an advertising artist. In 1961, Olesen started pencilling Sy Barry's ' Phantom ' Sunday pages. In 1978 he also took on the daily stories."


[NB: I linked to the Ozark Ike Toonopedia entry because Ike had his own comic book for a while as well]


The entry is dated because I think he is no longer doing it since a time after 2000 as currently Paul Ryan is doing the dailies and Graham Nolan is doing the Sundays both on Tony DePaul scripts. I know I read an extensive interview with Sy Barry in the last year but I can't remember where and I wish I did because Sy was bound to have mentioned George as he did assist him for years. Here's the Who's Who of who worked on the Phantom, courtesy of the Comic Strip Project:



art Ray Moore 36-48

asst. Wilson McCoy 42-48

Wilson McCoy 48-60

Bill Lignante 61

Sy Barry 61-95

asst. John Rosenberger (p) 74

asst. Andre LeBlanc

asst. Rich Buckler 80's

asst. Carmine Infantino 1 wk.- 61

asst. Jose Delbo

asst. Don Heck 72-78

(asst. George Roussos)

asst. Bob Forgione

asst. Frank Springer

asst. Joe Giella (p) 72-88

asst. George Oleson [sic] 60-95

asst. Ben Oda (letter)

asst. Milt Snappin (letter)

George Oleson 95--

asst. Keith Williams (i)

asst. Fred Fredricks (i)

wr Lee Falk 36-99

asst.wr. Rod Reed

asst. Alfred Bester 42-45


So we see that George assisted Sy for 35 years before taking over the Sundays for a while and retiring when he was 75 or so as George was born in 1924. Here's another example of a long life in syndication. One of the surprising aspect of doing these write-ups is discovering the real extent and "relationship" of sorts between the comic books and the syndicate strips as we have seen artists weaving in and out of both fields, coming back to comic book when a syndication gig fell through, waiting for the next strip opportunity.


George performed his duties during WWII as a B-24 Pilot in the Pacific as can be seen at this site as well did (either as a pilot or crew member) Robert Altman, Walter Matthau, George McGovern, Jack Palance, Jimmy Stewart and others and Robert Stack, Joe Kennedy, Jr and Tyrone Power were flying the PB4Y.


Olesen Splash




Second Story Splash




Third Story Splash




Fourth Story Splash




P.S.: Adam, yes about the Daredevil. I am starting to develop a new "respect" for the Lev Gleason line after examining their output more closely. The books are well put together: well edited, cleanly illustrated, well crafted stories, production quality is high. Nothing gory but it's ok as it fits my personality better.


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# 50


Detective Comics # 181 - Bought from Titan Comics




Content: (and credits as per GCD)

Win Mortimer Cover

Batman and Robin in The Crimes of the Human Magnet by Jim Mooney 12 pgs

Roy Raymond's Perfect Double by Ruben Moreira 6 pgs

Robotman in The safest Safe in the World by Joe Certa (?) 6 pgs

Pow-Wow Smith, Medecine Man by Leonard Starr 8 pgs


Having all IDs on the art makes this too easy as compared to the next entry where I have no ID on art but because I have appreciated Jon et al.'s posting of early Mooney works in the GA threads, let's put the focus on Jim Mooney.




Jim has done so much over the years it would be difficult to cover his career in depth and so for once the brevity of the Comiclopedia is welcome. It sums Jim's decades long career as follows:


"Jim Mooney's career as a comicbook artist began in the Golden Age of comics, in 1940. Jim started at Ace and then went to Timely Comics where he met Stan Lee for the first time. At Timely he did his first funny animal work. Jim worked as a freelancer since there wasn't a great deal of work for him at Timely. So he started to work at Fiction House where he worked on 'Camilla' and 'Suicide Smith'. Mooney worked for many of the early Golden Age comic book publishers (namely Fox Features, Ace Comics, Quality Comics, Timely Comics, Fiction House and the famous Eisner-Iger Shop).


Jim Mooney had found a professional home at DC Comics where he stayed for the next 22 years, from 1946 until 1968. He left DC when they changed their style and no longer had any work for him. Mooney worked on many of DC's (and Marvel's) top-selling characters, such as 'Spider-Man', 'Superboy', 'Supergirl' and 'Batman'. He then began work on Marvel's Spider-man. He has done continuing work on 'Elvira' for Claypool Comics and inked a retro 'Lady Supreme' story for Awesome Entertainment."


There are several interviews with Jim available online varying in length and depth from the short at the AC website, to the longer here to the longest from CBA 7.


What is nice to see is that Jim's still got it as you can judge from his commission work at this "official site" that carries many samples which I'd encourage you to browse. One of my favorites has to be:




Batman Mooney Page




Moreira Page




Robotman Splash




Pow-Wow Smith Starr Splash




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# 51


Diary Loves # 20 - Bought from Mile High

Subtitled Glimpses into the intimate secrets of girls in love





Winter Queen Carnival by ? 9 pgs

Bad Company by ? 6 pgs

Terror in my Heart by ? 8 pgs

Kiss of Ecstasy by ? 7 pgs


Quite a contrast as far as artist ID. This is one of four Romance titles published by Quality at the time; the other three were HeartThrobs, Love Confessions and Love Letters all of whom I already have. In fact I am only missing Ken Shannon and Marmaduke Mouse to have the 13 Qualitys I need. Reflecting the trend of the times, Quality then had short of 25% of its output covered by the Romance genre.


Diary Loves endured for a while. It started with # 2 in November 1949 (as a continuation of Love Diary #1), lasted through # 31 (April 1953) before morphing into G.I. Sweethearts, the run of which Silver posted in the Shadow of the Atom Age thread. thumbsup2.gif


Diary Loves also happens to have participated in one of the hobby's oddities as it is documented as having been one of the books distributed under the covers of left-over covers to Red Circle # 4 as recounted here and reproduced here as well:




"For anyone who thinks variant-type comic books are something relatively new, think again. Comic book variants have been around since at least the time when DC Comics (then, National) stuck a fifteen cent sticker over the original price of the 1940 World's Fair comic and re-released it for sale.


What I think was one of the most interesting variants ever published was Red Circle No.4 (pictured above). Red Circle was published by Rural Home Publications (also known as Enwil Publications) from January to April of 1945, producing four issues. Each issue in the series contained stories about such characters as "The Pranster", "The Judge", or "Red Riot". But obviously, sometime in the early 1950's, this company discovered they had a LOT of left-over covers around for the 4th. issue. So they re-released the comic, but this time they put all of these covers on some OTHER comic!


Now, other companies had re-released remainer issues before, most notable Fawcett with their Gift Comics in which they bound together various comics with a cover and re-sold them, and even EC did that with a title or two, but each time they'd created a new cover , AND, they'd used their own publications. Enwil wasn't so picky.


They'd just used ANY coverless remainer comics they could find (or maybe even removed the original covers just so they could have coverless books) and reattached their OWN cover back on it. So finding a copy of Red Circle No.4(cover date April,1945) could have just about ANYTHING within it from the early 1950's.


Some of the variations that are known are: Woman Outlaws(published by Fox), Dorothy Lamour (also by Fox), Crime Does Not Pay (Lev Gleason Pub.s), Sabu (Fox as well), Diary Loves (Quality Comics), Love Confessions (also Quality), Young Love (Prize Publications), as well as the above book (that is from my personal collection) which contains Strange Adventures #24 (from 1952, and is a National/DC Comic)."


First Story Splash




Second Story Splash - Bill Ward did work for this title before and after this issue. Just imagine what this slash would have looked had it been assigned to Bill.




Second Story Page - Ouch! Check out that bottom tier left panel. No wonder she rats on him to the police on the next panel!




Third Story Page - Yeah, yeah I know there is a lingerie panel - big deal. I see more skin just watching commercials.




Third Story Page - I prefer her cleaned up for her date anyway




Fourth Story Page




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# 52


Tracy # 49 - Bought from Tomorrow's Treasures




Content: Strip Reprint


Many aspects to cover today as we will look at both the strip and its creator. We are all familiar with Tracy but here's his time and life as per Don Markstein's Toonopedia:


"Steel-eyed and hawk-nosed, with a chin that could slice bologna, Chester Gould's Tracy made his debut on Oct. 4, 1931 — and crime comics were never again the same. Before long, American newspapers were crawling with Tracy knock-offs, including but far from limited to Red Barry, Radio Patrol and Secret Agent X-9.


In the strip's first week, Tracy's girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, is kidnapped and her father murdered. Tracy joins the police as a plainclothes detective, tracks down the killers, and rescues Tess. He then decides to stick with the force. His determination, incorruptible honesty, and well-known willingness to use violence in excess of any that had ever before been seen in comics (devastatingly parodied by Li'l Abner's "ideal", Fearless Fosdick, Al Capp's strip-within-a-strip), combine to carry him quickly to the top of his profession — where he remains to this very day.




It was Captain Joseph Patterson, the Chicago Tribune Syndicate editor who decisively influenced the direction of such diverse strips as Little Orphan Annie and Gasoline Alley, who named the strip (Gould wanted to call it "Plainclothes Tracy"), as well as Tracy's girlfriend. Although he never contributed so much as a single pen stroke to an actual published strip, Patterson's effect on American comics was profound. It's anybody's guess how much a snappy title contributes to a work's success, but the fact that " Tracy" rolls so easily off the tongue certainly didn't hurt.




The Tracy strip quickly became famous for more than just its unflinching use of gunplay. Its villains soon became proverbial for their bizarre deformities. The Blank (1937), Little Face Finney (1941), Pruneface (1943), The Brow (1944), Shakey (1945), Pear Shape (1949) — these are only samples of an endless parade of memorably ugly criminals defeated by Tracy. So recognizable was the Tracy style of villain that when, in 1946, Daffy Duck came up against Jukebox Jaw, Pumpkin Head and Neon Noodle, viewers would have known who was being parodied even if Daffy hadn't done it under the name "Duck Twacy".


The vast majority of those criminals appeared only once, because when Tracy kills 'em, he kills 'em dead.


Another thing Tracy has always been famous for is up-to-date technology. In 1964, he traded in his two-way wrist radio, which had been given to him in 1946 by inventor Diet Smith, for a two-way wrist TV; and in '86 he exchanged the TV for a two-way wrist computer. It was the technological bent that led to what many consider the strip's low point — during most of the 1960s, it was dominated by a magnetically-powered vehicle called the Space Coupe, and the horned people that device brought back from the Moon. Gould seemed to regain balance after Apollo 11, and the strip came back down to Earth. (It is perhaps significant that Gould's two Reuben Awards — 1959 and '77 — neatly flank the "Space Coupe" era, but do not occur within it.)


Tracy made an early and successful transition to comic books. He was the star of Super Comics, which also featured reprints of other Tribune strips, including Terry & the Pirates, The Gumps and Moon Mullins, from its beginning in 1938. Ten years later, he moved out into his own monthly title, still featuring reprints from the newspaper strip. Published first by Dell Comics and then by Harvey, it lasted until 1961. Since then, he has been published sporadically in that venue. In the late 1980s, Blackthorne Publishing undertook to put as much of the Tracy strip as it could into comic books, and before folding, succeeded in reprinting almost all of the pre-Space Coupe material.


Tracy was a radio show from 1935-48, and the character was featured in a series of novels and Big Little Books during that time, as well. He made a leap into movies in 1937, when Ralph Byrd portrayed him in a 15-part serial from Republic Pictures. A long series of B-grade feature films followed, some with Byrd and some starring Morgan Conway as Tracy. They came out regularly for the rest of the 1930s and all through the '40s. A highlight was Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947), in which the eponymous bad guy was played by Boris Karloff. Tracy's screen career came to a close with a 1951-52 TV show, starring Byrd.


In 1960, UPA, the studio that had done Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo, produced a seemingly endless series of five-minute TV cartoons of which Tracy was the titular star. For some reason, he never actually did any police work in these — his role was to assign each case to one of his assistants, who included such ethnically questionable detectives as Joe Jitsu and Go-go Gomez. Famous criminals from the strip, including dead ones, were used as recurring villains in this poorly produced and unfunny series. Tracy got a second shot at animated success in 1971, when he appeared in a few obscure segments on an Archie Saturday morning show, but that went nowhere.


After that, Tracy went back to being just a comics character, until 1990. That was the year Warren Beatty starred in a major motion picture, in which great effort was made to capture both the feel and the look of the strip. Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Madonna played various villains in this film.


In 1995, when the U.S. Postal Service issued its "Comic Strip Classics" series of commemorative stamps, Tracy was right up there with The Katzenjammer Kids, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Barney Google, and the rest of that select crowd.


Chester Gould retired in 1977, and died in 1985. The writing of the strip was taken over by Max Allan Collins, a detective novelist and long-time fan of Gould's work, whose other comics credits include Ms. Tree; and the art by Gould's assistant, Rick Fletcher. Fletcher died in 1983 and the strip was passed on to Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist Locher, who, teamed with writer Michael Kilian, draws it today.


The secret of Tracy's success? Not a great love of civil liberties, to be sure! No, Tracy has always been a tough cop — but an absolutely honest one, and compassionate toward the innocent and helpless. That's the combo that made him popular, and has kept him that way for seven decades."


The current strip's page is located here and also offers several neat galleries including one of villains where we find our protagonist's nemesis from this comic listed: Mumbles. Today's comic reprints are from 1947, a year during which:


"• The closed circuit TV police lineup makes its debut in the comics.

• June 1, Sparkle Plenty, daughter of B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie, is born. Like her parents, Sparkle Plenty is extremely popular with fans. She inspires a line of dolls.

• Junior creates Crimestoppers, a club introduced by Gould to get kids excited about safety. The syndicate receives a flurry of mail from readers asking if they can create local branches of Crimestoppers.

• July 13, Brilliant concocts a miniature ring camera that Tracy wears on his finger.

• December 7, Mumbles, a singer and conman whose nearly incoherent speech becomes endearing. He is deadly!

• Notable villains include: Coffyhead, Gruesome, Mumbles and Hypo."


For the complete strip's timeline, please browse to here.


As for Chester Gould himself, let me quote the biography from the Comic Art & Graffix Library:




"Born in Pawnee, Oklahoma on November 20, 1900 his first commercial illustrations were published in a local paper at age 7. Gould went to Oklahoma A&M from 1919 to 1921 when he decided to move to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, graduating in 1923.


He did his first strip "Fillum Fables" for the Hearst syndicate in 1924 and several others strips including "the Girlfriend" for the Chicago Tribune before he had an idea to create a new type of comic strip lead.


At the time mobsters were kings in Chicago. It was the heyday of Al Capone and these criminals were revered in the press and in public. Gould had seen enough! The public needed heroes to look up to not crooks. So he created a detective to do battle with them. When he showed his square-jawwed trench- coated cop to his publisher, Joseph Patterson, Patterson suggested that he change the name from "Plainclothes Tracy" to " Tracy" and history was written. The first detective hero in the strips, Tracy became a model for a variety of comic strip detectives including "Dan Dunn" and "Red Barry".


From the first the villains that populated Tracy's world were the prototypical super villains of today. These seedy characters were often grotesque fiends whose very image foretold of their heinous crimes and their internal, moral bankruptcy. Stooge Viller, Doc Hump, Boris Arson, the Blank, Littleface Finny, Pruneface, the Mole, BB Eyes and of course the immortal Flattop. So famous were some of these villains that even though they each appeared in only one episode (the Mole returned for a second), they were each indelibly burned into the American psyche. Forty five years after Flattop died drowning in a daring escape from the detective, Gould still received mail from fans. He still stands as an icon of evil.


But the character was not all that Gould contributed to the medium. He created an artistic style all his own that would be copied by dozens of artists over the years. Heavily dependant on huge swathes of black ink, his chiaroscuro extended to the psychic battle of good versus evil. Black ink versus white space was his tool.


The morality of Tracy was inescapable. The Brow in his own attempt to escape Tracy plunges out of a window and is impaled on a flag pole, Boris Arson and his gang are gored by tigers guarding their own hideout, 88 Keys trying to hide in a small hole during a Chicago ice storm is sealed in to suffocate & freeze to death. That was the Gould way of retribution for your crimes against society at large.


The popularity of Tracy did not go unnoticed by many. As early as 1936 he appeared in movies, he had a radio show and toys toys toys. There was not a single piece of merchandising that did not exploit his fame.


But after many years Chet Gould finally decided he had enough and the creative team of Max Allan Collins & Rick Fletcher took over the strip in 1977. Since then Fletcher has been replaced by longtime Gould assistant Locher (Fletcher was also a Gould assistant).


Gould died on May 10, 1985 but his visage of justice lives on in four colors every Sunday somewhere in the world. Thanks Chet."


As for the artistic approach on the strip, here's an excerpt of Couton Waugh's opinion from The Comics:


"[ Tracy] is another of the half-and-halfs; it is based on continued story, but the art work belongs to the earlier cartoon tradition, with a very particular, tight, defined style of its own. Chester Gould does, it is true, use perspective; but he makes no attempt to indicate the play of light and shadow that dances in nature. He takes each form as it comes before him, reduces it to an effective essential, and draws it with a hard, wooden outline. The process does no sound attractive; actually, however, it is extraordinarily effective; it allows Gould to dwell with a kind of passionate insistence on the procession of criminals who knife their way through the strip, and on the minute details connected with their crimes - both of which are presented there with more tang and force than in any other picturing crime we have before us. ... All details, however, lead to the great pictorial feature of the strip, the heads of the criminals; for the strip's tight style reveals them to the reader with all they dager souls unsheathed. Perhaps never have more horrible faces been conceived; compounded of folds and sinister deformities, they are diagrams, severe lines drawn around a black mouth or pouched eye slits. This master physiognomist is at his keenest when faced with such a problem as that of a man, with his jaws locked tight, who had previously been in freckled, rubicund health; whose very name of Laffy, points up the terror of the change. Once Laffy had fat jowls, which swayed with his mirth, but these are replaced by long, parched, drawn lines, and his eyes are dead, staring buttons filled with death."


On to our visit with Mumbles who despite his apparent demise would return in 1955 only to die for good, drowned in a lake.










P.S.: Every time I read this story with Mumbles, it reminds me of the "heavy" in Paul Grist's series Kane (even though Grist plays on the same concept of muddled speech but achieves the same effect via creative spelling).


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An excellent quartet of posts, Scrooge.


I was most surprised by how much I like the some of the art in the Quality romance comic. The first splash page was particularly nice. I'm no help on the artist ID, however.


I was not at all familiar with the Red Circle reprints. Something similar occurred in the 40s with Blazing Comics. They have a very ecumenical approach as to which company's contents were contained within an issue.

Edited by adamstrange

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# 53


Dinky Duck # 2 - Bought from Tomorrow's Treasures





Three multi-pagers starring Dinky Duck

Many 1 page gags with the usual TerryToons gang


As per usual, the Toonopedia is a marvelous resource and we learn there that:


"By the late 1930s, Disney was having great success with irascible but entertaining Donald Duck and Warner Bros. was starting to do the same with irascible but entertaining Daffy Duck. Terrytoons responded with Dinky Duck but though they got the species and the surname right, they missed the "irascible" part. Dinky was so non-irascible, he was downright cute.


Dinky Duck made his debut in The Orphan Duck, which was directed by Connie Rasinski and released October 6, 1939. Terrytoons, never an innovator, was finally starting to experiment with color by then, but this was a black & white cartoon. Dinky made four more appearances during the next three years, all by Rasinski and only one, The Lucky Ducky (1940), in color. He was such a minor character that when, in 1942, Marvel Comics licensed the studio's properties for comic books, Dinky wasn't even included.


In fact, the character disappeared from animation that same year, though he was picked up again in 1946. Nine more Dinky Duck cartoons (all in color) were released between then and 1953, all directed by Rasinski, Eddie Donnelly or Mannie Davis. The three were career Terrytoons men, and among them directed a large majority of the studio's releases over a period of about 20 years. Dinky's voice was provided by Paul Frees, also the voice of Ludwig von Drake, Crow (of The Fox & the Crow) and Rocky & Bullwinkle's Boris Badenov.


[scanned from "Of Mice and Magic" by Leonard Maltin, here's an ad for the Terrytoons featuring our Dinky Duck next to his more famous studio stars]




After that, hard times befell all the established Terrytoons characters. Founder Paul Terry retired, selling his studio to CBS. The new owner installed hotshot young Gene Deitch, straight from UPA Studio and Gerald McBoing-Boing, as creative director. Under Deitch, even stars like Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle went out of production, replaced by Tom Terrific, Silly Sidney and other 1950s-style characters.


But a couple of years later, a few of the old characters started peeking out again. In 1957, Dinky appeared in It's a Living, directed by Win Hoskins. Hoskins was not one of the old Terrytoons regulars, and this fifteenth and final Dinky Duck cartoon was radically different in style from any that had gone before. The character then went out of production for good, as the studio moved on into bold, new directions such as Deputy Dawg, Hector Heathcote and others equally memorable.


Even while the old characters were going out of production, they were getting new exposure on TV, as CBS exploited its Terrytoons properties to the hilt. During this period, they were licensed by a couple of minor comic book companies, St. John and Pines, where Dinky (a regular on The Heckle & Jeckle Show in the late '50s) finally made it into print. He was published in his own comic from 1951-58, 19 issues in all. He also appeared in the back pages of a few Dell and Gold Key comics during the early 1960s.


Dinky Duck was last seen in on local TV stations, which ran him as part of a package that also contained Gandy Goose, The Mighty Heroes and other Terrytoons characters. Even there, however, he faded into complete obscurity around the late 1980s."


Let me present to you the title screen to that original 1939 Dinky Duck cartoon:




followed by his complete cartoonography:


The Orphan Duck (1939)

Much Ado About Nothing (1940)

The Lucky Duck (1940)

Welcome Little Stranger (1941)

Life With Fido (1942)

Dinky Finds A Home (1946)

The Beauty Shop (1950)

Flat Foot Fledgling (1952)

Foolish Duckling (1952)

Sink Or Swim (1952)

Wise Quacks (1953)

Featherweight Champ (1953)

The Orphan Egg (1953)

The Timid Scarecrow (1953)

It's A Living (1957)


showing that the early 50s were a busy time for our duck.


Let me concentrate the scans on one particular story: The Joking [#@$%!!!]. The art you'll see even though crude is quite wild. If you pay attention to the next few pages, you'll notice how the artist plays with props such as the bag of tricks and with the way the toons interact with the readers off camera. I chose these words carefully since the story reads like a series of gags rather than a true story and has a story-board feel overall. Is this the case of a studio artist making a few more bucks on the side?








Also, here's a one pager with Sourpuss to give you a flavor of the rest of the book.




Finally, in keeping with the George Olesen coverage as a B-24 pilot, here's a picture of the Dinky Duck B-24.




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# 54


Doll Man # 38 - Bought at last year's Chicago Con




Content: [Art ID courtesy of the GCD]

Cover by Bill Quackenbush

Doll Man in The Druid Death by Chic Stone (?) 10 pgs

Torchy in The Sea Cruise Gig by Gill Fox 5 pgs

Doll Man in House of Vampires by Chic Stone (?) 8 pgs

Doll Man in The Voodoo Master by Chic Stone (?) 7 pgs


Even though I was tempted to cite the Toonopedia again here, I have found another source for a short article on the career of Doll Man from Steve Stiles at his website. The title of the piece is A Big Little Star, Quality Comics' Doll Man - A look at "The World's Mightiest Mite."


"His name was Darrell Dane and, by an immense effort of will, this easy-going research scientist could compress his molecular structure until he transformed himself into a miniature human being, all of six inches in height. It doesn't sound like a very promising premise for a super-hero, one of the crowd that could "bend steel with his bare hands" and out-race a speeding bullet, but Doll Man outlasted most of his fellow super-heroic crime fighters, stretching out his career for 14 years, debuting before another vertically-challenged crime fighter, National Comics' Al Pratt (The Atom) by a few months and DC's Atom (Ray Palmer) by 22 years.


Darrel got his start as a "half-pint" (his words) in Quality Comics' Feature Comics #27 (December 1939), a comic so rare that collector's prices range from $300 to ten times that amount for a copy in good condition. And small wonder, considering that Doll Man got his start scripted by Will (The Spirit) Eisner and illustrated by Lou Fine.


Will Eisner's story has been retold in the comics press many times, but Lou Fine may be unfamiliar to some, having passed on in 1971. Born in Brooklyn in 1915, like many another artist, the young man learned to draw as the result of a long illness - in his case polio. After joining the Eisner-Jerry Iger shop, he won immediate praise from his contemporaries for his exquisite draftsmanship and ability to accurately portray the human body in motion.


Prolific and creative, his work appeared in Fiction House's Jumbo and Sheena Comics as well as Quality's Smash, Hit, Uncle Sam, Police, and Blackhawk Comics, and Fine is perhaps best known for a character of his own creation, The Ray (Smash Comics #14 - #22). Fine's art on Doll Man ensured the new feature's success, propelling "The World's Mightiest Mite" to stardom and a magazine of his own. Of Fine, who often drew under the pen name "E. Lectron," Eisner has said that the artist was "the epitome of the honest draftsman. His work was in the style of the old classic heroic painters and sculptors." After his tenure in comics Fine left the field and spent the next 25 years as a commercial artist and magazine illustrator.


Doll Man graduated to his own series and eventually a sidekick, Doll Girl. All in all, Quality Comics was a fitting place for Fine and lived up to its name. Founded by Everett M. "Busy" Arnold in 1939, the new imprint line launched Feature Comics #21 (formerly Feature Funnies, purchased from Harry "A" Chesler) in June 1939, which was followed by Smash Comics (August 1939) and Crack Comics (May 1940). By 1944 the company had expanded to ten titles. Thanks to Arnold's good reputation as a fair publisher who paid good rates, the company had little trouble attracting the cream of the industry. In addition to Eisner and Fine, other creators to work for Quality were Reed Crandall (Blackhawk) and Jack Cole (Plastic Man).


Like many other comics publishers on the dawn of the Golden Age (1940), "Busy" Arnold wanted as many super heroes as he could get. Eisner obliged by coming up with the Doll Man concept, a costume design, and an origin story for Fine to begin with.


Some have said that Eisner's inspiration for his diminutive character might have been the Lilliputians from Max Fleischer's 1939 feature-length cartoon Gulliver's Travels. Unlike Jonathan Swift's characters, born that size, Eisner's Darrell Dane acquired his new stature by ingesting some chemicals in order to rescue his girlfriend, Martha Roberts. Able to expand or contract by an act of will, Dane had the advantage of stealth, able to hide in pockets, purses, and even pie pans. As for transportation, the scientist relied on roller skates, car bumpers, and birds (during wartime the patriotic Dane frequently traveled via an American Bald Eagle).


Later Dane acquired a small "Dollplane,"(disguised as a model airplane in his study) and towards the end of his long comic book career, he came to depend on a canine steed, Elmo the Wonder Dog. Martha Roberts, Darrell's fiancée and a resistance fighter during the war years, was regularly featured in the series as his research assistant, and eventually took the shrinking formula herself, becoming Doll Girl in December 1951. She helped Dane tackle villains like the Vulture, the Undertaker, the Phantom Duelist, the Phantom Killer, Tom Thumb, and the Black Gondolier (who made his getaways in a gondola).


Doll Man survived longer than many other superheroes, until 1953. After Fine left Doll Man, other artists handled the character, including Mort Leav, John Cassone (who drew the first issue of Doll Man), John Spranger, and Al Bryant. Most agree that the only artist who measured up to Fine's work on the feature was Reed Crandall, who also worked on Blackhawk (turning the comic into a classic collector's item, with some issues valued at as much as $2600) and later went on to become a leading artist for more highly collectible titles at E.C. Comics. Crandall drew Doll Man for a year, from 1942 to 1943, and the series' writer Bill Woolfolk commented that Crandall was "the out-and-out best artist I knew at the time. I don't know anybody who drew more dimensional figures with more realism than he did."


The world's smallest super hero enjoyed a 10-year, 112 issue run in Feature Comics, which folded in October 1949. His comic, Doll Man, was finally discontinued in 1953, after 47 issues. The diminutive Darrell Dane had outlasted Captain America, Flash, Green Lantern, the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and a host of other powerhouses, perhaps proving the old adage, "great things come in small packages."


As for the artist feature today, we are going to concentrate on the tentative ID of Chic Stone (Gill Fox has been interviewed many times and we may yet run into his work again). If anyway can help confirm the art ID, please chime in. According to the Comiclopedia,


"Chic Stone (4/1/1923 - 2000, USA) had his apprenticeship in the Eisner-Iger studios in the late 1930s. He worked for Fawcett's 'Captain Marvel' in the early 1940s and then worked for most of the major comic book agencies. He was an inker of Jack Kirby's work for many years, and he did such titles as 'Fantastic Four', 'X-Men' and 'Thor'. He left the comics field during the 1950s and became the art director of such magazines as True Experience and The American Salesman. He also worked for the Gray Advertising Agency and the Filmack Studios, doing storyboards for commercials. During the 1980s, he drew a comics with the several 'Archie' characters, such as 'Mr. Weatherbee'."


I think it is unfortunate that Chic left us this early in life. I wish he'd been subject to a career-covering interview with Jim Amash (but who knows, maybe he was and Roy is still sitting on it. Does anyone knows if Chic was interviewed in the CJ at length beyond his work on Kirby?)


Final question: Who in blazes is this Bill Quackenbush IDed as the cover artist?


First Story Splash




Torchy Story Splash




Third Story Splash - Note how our discussion in another thread about the change in content in the Plastic Man book during this time period is actually endemic of the Quality line as the three Doll Man stories reflect pre-code horror proclivities in story lines from the mystical with the Druids, the magical with these Vampires and the fantastic with the next story on Voodoo.




Fourth Story Splash




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# 55


Eerie # 5 - eBay purchase




Content: [Art ID from a message on the Timely / Atlas mailing list]

Cover - Wally Wood

I painted only Terror! by Doug Wildey, inked by Vince Alascia 6 pgs (also listed in this Misc. 50's Wildey work Index

Master of the Cats by ? 6 pgs

The Knife of Jack the Ripper! by Edwin Goldfarb and Bob Baer (signed) 6 pgs

Operation Horror! by ? 6 pgs


Skywald would reprint a lot of the Avon Eerie stories as you can judge by this <a href=" http://www.enjolrasworld.com/Richard%20Arndt/The%20Complete%20Skywald%20Checklist.htm]reprint</a> list.


Thankfully for me, Ed(win) Goldfarb has been a recent subject of discussion on the Timely / Atlas mailing list (as a continuation of a discussion of Edmond Good who share the same 4 initial EdGo). In addition to his Atlas work, his other publisher work was listed including this Eerie 5 story inked by Bob Baer. Goldfarb tended not to sign his work unless he was inked by Baer (remember Ayers versus Ayers only signatures). Included was attribution for the other story to Doug Wildey with Vince Alascia on inks.


Let's concentrate on Doug Wildey for today. The Comiclopedia tells us that:


"Doug Wildey was born on May 2, 1922 in Yonkers, New York. He taught himself to draw. In 1949 he had his first professional publication, 'Buffalo Bill', and in the following ten years he freelanced for a variety of comic book publishers. From 1954 until 1957, he made 'The Outlaw Kid', which became a popular feature. After that series, he drew 'The Saint' newspaper strip until 1962. Wildey then started producing several animated series for television: 'Planet of the Apes', 'Jana of the Jungle', and 'Godzilla', among others. His most famous cartoon was the adventure series 'Jonny Quest'. In the 1970s he returned to comic books, where he worked on the strips 'Eddie Race', 'Jonah Hex', 'Sgt. Rock' and his own western, 'Rio'."


Let's hear from Ken Quattro about his early career (I'll cut the coverage at 1960, you can read more if you follow the link):


"He's been described as independent, outspoken, irascible and sometimes "blunt to the point of rudeness," so it should come as no surprise that Doug Wildey also took great pride in the fact that he was a self-taught artist. The Yonkers, New York native learned his art as many did, by studying the masters of the adventure comic strips form: Foster, Caniff, Raymond and Sickles.


Like most able-bodied young American men of his generation, Wildey served in the military during World War II. It was while he was stationed at Barber's Point Naval Air in Hawaii that Wildey began his art career with his brief service as the cartoonist on the base paper. Wildey became a professional with the work he did for Street and Smith publications. In his official, hand-written bio, which he prepared for the 1965 National Cartoonist Society Album, Wildey states that he started with Street and Smith in 19471. That date may have been an error on his part, since his earliest substantiated work was 1949. Various sources name Buffalo Bill Picture Stories #1 (June-July, 1949) as his first work. However, further research has located an earlier comic, Top Secret #9 (May-June, 1949), with Wildey art. This comic carries a house ad for the upcoming Buffalo Bill comic on its inside front cover, lending credence to its earlier appearance.


Wildey's work on this first story,"Queen in Jeopardy", was nondescript and bears the crudeness typical of a young artist. The queen of the title bears a passing resemblance to Caniff's Dragon Lady, while the tilted angle of the splash may be a nod in Eisner's direction.


However, Wildey seems more at ease drawing Westerns in the Buffalo Bill comic. For the first time, he gets to illustrate a genre that he would return to throughout his career. Wildey's amateurish artwork in the two stories he illustrates in this comic benefits greatly from the enthusiastic pacing of the action taking place in the panels. And whatever his human anatomy lacked, his representation of horses was solid and assured.


Perhaps since he was already in his late-20's when he began drawing professionally, Wildey's art improved quickly. By 1953, when he drew this story in Daring Love #17 (April, 1953), Wildey had refined his human characterizations dramatically, to the point that he was illustrating stories based on actual persons. Ralph Flanagan, a real-life bandleader of the time, was the hero of the story. Wildey draws a credible likeness of Flanagan, based upon the photo displayed on the comic's cover. Wildey was known for his huge "morgue" file of photo references. He became so adept at depicting actual people, that it becomes an ancillary enjoyment trying to identify the celebrities cameo appearances in his artwork.


One bit of information about this story in Daring Love #17 that makes it unique, is that Wildey apparently did not ink it. It is somewhat amazing, but with few exceptions, Wildey inked virtually every page that he penciled. There is one notable exception to this that will be discussed later on, but it is a telling commentary on his commitment to his art that he generally crafted the entire work.


Wildey made the rounds of the 1950's comic publishers: Fawcett, Cross, Master, St. John, Youthful, etc. Indeed, he once recollected that he worked for every publisher except E.C., "the good one." 2


The bulk of Wildey's early artwork, prior to 1960, was for Atlas, the predecessor to Marvel Comics. He began work there in 1954 and illustrated virtually every genre they then published: fantasy, horror, crime, romance, and especially, Westerns. Most noteworthy of his work in this genre was his take on the classic Western anti-hero, The Outlaw Kid. In concept, it was typical of all the Stan Lee-created Kids (Colt, Rawhide, Two-Gun, Ringo, etc.). What set it apart was Wildey's art. Remembering it later, with tongue-in-cheek, Wildey stated, "…all I did was take every cornball singing cowboy movie that I'd ever seen and take one piece of equipment off each of these cowboys and put them on the guy."3 Whatever the inspiration, The Outlaw Kid was a monthly opportunity for Wildey to hone and develop his burgeoning art skills.


Using Outlaw Kid #11 (May, 1956) as an example of his work well into the series, the influence of cinema on his work is evident. Though he may have had this influence all along, now it is readily apparent, with panels staged like film scenes. The characters have a realistic, illustrative look to them, and the celebrity cameos begin to appear. Most significantly, his artwork finally had the consistent luster of professionalism. Wildey varied his inking from the fine stroke of an etching, to the bold use of solid blacks to attain dramatic chiaroscuro effects.


Unfortunately, the muddy printing process used in these comics obscures the beauty of the original art. A representative page of original art, from Wyatt Earp #28 (April, 1960), contains a virtual primer of early Wildey artwork. A Gary Cooper look-alike dominates the top left panel, the striking blacks of the night scenes, the almost-delicate pen strokes and brushwork. And, of course, could he ever draw horses.


In 1952, Wildey moved his family (wife Ellen and daughters Debbie and Lee) west to Tucson, Arizona. Apparently, this move had some effect upon his artwork. In a recent email to me, artist Ayers noted that Wildey's Western backgrounds were generally of the American Southwest. Further, Ayers revealed the previously mentioned exception to Wildey's go-it-alone approach to art.


The New York Herald Tribune Syndicate offered Wildey the opportunity, in 1959, to take over "The Saint" comic strip drawing duties from Bob Lubbers. Apparently, the speed required of producing both a daily and Sunday strip, as well as some comic book work, proved to be too much for Wildey. As Ayers wrote," Doug had me ink some of his "The Saint" daily strips back in "58 or "59. We'd meet in a local parking lot to trade penciled strips and inked strips."


Now onto the art. Let's start with the inside cover acting as a ToC




Wildey / Alascia Splash




Second Story Splash




Goldfarb / Baer Splash




Goldfarb / Baer Page




Fourth Story Splash




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# 56


Ellery Queen # 1 - eBay purchase





Cover by Norman Saunders

The Corpse that killed! by ? 10 pgs

The Chain-letter Murders by ? 14 pgs

Slippery Slim in The Hopeless Diamond by ? 3 pgs


We've already discussed Norm Saunders and his comic work. While we can't discuss the artists for these stories, let me fill the entry with first an overview of Ellery Queen as a series and then everything (and more) you wanted to know about Ellery Queen's incarnations in funny books.


First from this site some pertinent excerpts about Ellery Queen:




"Ellery Queen is the pen name of cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee who had originally been named Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky, respectively. Under the name Ellery Queen, they wrote a series of novels, short stories and radio plays in which mysteries are solved by a character named Ellery Queen who writes mysteries about a detective named Ellery Queen. Typically, Frederic Dannay plotted the EQ books, and Manfred Lee wrote them from Dannay's outline. Over the years a number of other writers wrote novels under the Queen name, generally with some collaboration by Manfred Lee. Except for the series of juvenile mysteries written as by Ellery Queen, Jr., I found these novels to be of inferior quality and won't discuss any of them here. Frederick Dannay founded and for many years edited Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, encouraging many new writers who were published for the first time in EQMM. He also was a prominent mystery anthologist.


The first Ellery Queen mystery was The Roman Hat Mystery (1929). It was written as an entry in a contest sponsored by a publisher. It won Dannay and Lee first place, but the promised prize was not forthcoming. Its subsequent publication, however, started them on a long and profitable career. This novel introduces their series detective, Ellery Queen, the intellectual son of Inspector Richard Queen, the NYPDs top investigator. Ellery is a pince-nez wearing, young man of athletic build but with the manner of an aesthete. At times he can be a quite irritating stuffed shirt, but the relationship between the younger and elder Queen is appealing and was one of the strengths of the series, and about the only part that made its way into the various movies portraying Ellery Queen. The influence of S. S. Van Dine is clear in this and the other early EQ novels.


[...] The most critically praised of the EQ novels is Calamity Town (1942). The character of EQ, as presented in this novel, had undergone considerable development from the earliest novels in which he was presented as an emotionally detached "pure reasoner." He had become more fallible and more emotionally involved with the people he met in his cases. In this novel more than any other, he agonizes over the consequences of his investigations and he suffers personal emotional loss. I would never suggest that Dannay and Lee had achieved the sort of characterization to be found in the writings of a novelist such as Ann Tyler or Donna Tartt, but for mysteries of their era Calamity Town is a surprisingly sophisticated novel of setting and character.


No longer the dilletante dabbler of the first novels, EQ is portrayed in Calamity Town as a serious writer committed to honing his skills. Because his next novel will be set in a typical small town, city-dwelling EQ plans to live incognito (as "Ellery Smith") in such a town for the next six months, while researching the setting and producing s first draft of his novel. Thus, the town of Wrightsville, New York, makes the first of its appearances in an EQ story. The portrait of Wrightsville is vivid and has depth, making it a virtual character in this and the subsequent Wrightsville stories.




Dannay and Lee, writing under the name Barnaby Ross, created a new detective in The Tragedy of X (1932), The Tragedy of Y (1932), The Tragedy of Z (1933), and Drury Lane's Last Case (1933). Their new detective, retired Shakespearean actor Drury Lane, like Ellery Queen (or Philo Vance) before him, is an amateur detective of genius who works closely with the police. None of the four is one of my favorites. I had high expectations for The Tragedy of X, which presents a challenging puzzle with a man murdered on a crowded streetcar, yet no witness can tell the police anything useful about the who or how of the crime. But I found the story to be boring and the solution improbable. I got only a few chapters into The Tragedy of Y before giving it up as a waste of time. I have been told that the last two are the best, but that doesn't impress me as saying much, so I have never read them."


You will find more at the site, including the synopsis of significant books in the series.


Another source provides us with a complete play by play of the history of Ellery Queen in our medium stopping the coverage at the 60's for our purposes (Note: Scans of covers are available at the referenced site). I bolded the reference to the Ziff Davis version.


"In a sense, the few Ellery Queen comics that were published compliment the radioseries the most. It was the 40s that saw the bloom of this medium. At first glance perfect fit for the detective stories. But alas a truly successful product never reached the audiences. Lee and Dannay provided material for a series of Ellery Queen comic books.But the precise extent of this remains speculation. Ellery Queen probably first appeared in nine four-page comic, an adaptation of the radioscript "The Secret Partner" (08-27-39) in The Gulf Funny Weekly Issue 366 dated April 26, 1940, distributed by gas stations on successive Sundays during May and June of 1940. Nowadays rare and as one may think expensive! In this series clues were 'given away' rather than concealing them by placing a star in the panel containing the all important clue. It is also during this time (April) Gulf Oil assumed sponsorship of the radioshow. Each week's episode was flanked by an advertisement for the CBS radio show. "The Adventure of the Secret Partner" concluded with the June 28,1940 issue (N°374). Artists and writer are unknown, it's clearly not done by the regular crew possibly Bill Ely. We said 'probably first' because in those days it was common to distribute a comic well before it's cover date to guarantee more time on the shelves. Around the same time Ellery made it into another comic...


Edited by Architecht

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# 57


Exciting Romances # 7 - bought from Doug Sulipa






Korean Girl by ? 11 pgs

The Show-Off by ? 8 pgs

A Last Betrayal by ? 10 pgs


To be frank, there is next to nothing exciting about Exciting Romances but undaunted let me pad this entry in bullet point format:


* compared to other comics profiled, these stories are given more time to develop and build as we get 3 stories of 8 or more pages for a strong % of story to pages.


* often I played the What Could Have Been game. OS states that there is some Powell art in issues after this one and some Swayze art in issues before this one. Oh, what could have been!


* the series sported mostly photo covers and one of the cover features was none other than Zorro on the cover of Issue # 12 as you can check here and if you go to the main page you'll know everything Guy Williams there is.


* if you were curious of how many of these have been CGCed, well the answer is none BUT there are for the entire series 3 9.4s (# 1, 9 and 11), 2 9.2s (# 6 and 8), 1 9.0 (# 1) and 1 6.5 (yet another # 1).[Thanks to Greg a.k.a. ValiantMan for making my searches easy as evidenced here]


* The title ran for a total of 12 issue from 1949 to Jan. 1953 accounting for about 0.2% of all Romance comics published. This data is courtesy of my Romance reference page as provided by Dan Stevenson who counts 1,856 Romance comics published.


On to the pages, with a slight detour by the Inside Cover advertising nicely another Fawcett Romance title: Romantic Story (Tape isn't Resto right!)




First Story Splash


Let me transcribe one of the dialogs: "You were lonely, Tom ... away from home, don't you see? That's why you turned to her! But she's out of our lives! I made her see she was an intruder ... that she didn't belong here!" Strong sentiment expressed here.




First Story Page


Let me transcribe one of the dialogs: "I am grateful she did! All has turned out well after all! You kept your promise to my father, Tom! Now, I shall go to school here and learn! One day I shall return to my land... young people will be needed to help!"


Now this wouldn't have struck me had I not already focused on Fawcett's editorial stance in the War books. The same sentiments are expressed in this Romance comic in the line. This is a reflection of the attention to detail and outlook of this outfit. These tidbits are a nice payoff to putting the thread together.




Second Story Splash - Urrgh - First the lettering is awful and then this artist canNOT draw a person in clothing. I won't show you the rest of the pages but every one looks like they are walking around wearing tents in a windstorm.




Third Story Splash




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Keep 'em comin'! Love those horror themed Dollman splashes,and that Ellery Queen cover is aces!

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Thanks for the encouragement rjpb.


Here are the few Ds I still need. I already have all the Es.




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Keep 'em coming, Scrooge! Nice job !!! thumbsup2.gif

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Nice job on the the D's, Scrooge!


Great writeups. You find something of interest to say about even the pedestrian issues.


Marc acclaim.gif

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