A Month in the Life of the Comics
6 6

661 posts in this topic

24,856 posts
Actually the entire art to the Powell War Battles # 1 is in the upcoming Heritage auctions here as well as the Elias cover, which leads me to my question: How much of the Harvey art from the time period is still extent. A lot of it has showed up at Heritage over the last few years. What's the story? HarveyDude, Moondog, Adam, anyone?


The Harvey warehouse included lots of comics and vast quanitities of original art -- covers and stories. All the famous horror covers and stories exist. Heritage purchased the remnants of the original art "find" from Alexander galleries and have been gradually selling it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
24,856 posts
I am finally done with the Fs. Whoa, there were a lot of them (even if we abstract from the many Four Colors I listed under F) and there are still a few I am missing -


I won't be able to put up any new entries until mid- to late July. Then I will start up by adding recent acquisitions pre-F listing: All-Famous Crime, Amazing Detective Cases, Bean Bags, Boy Detective, Combat Kelly, Cowboy Western Comics, Cowgirl Romances, Crime Detective Comics and Crime-Fighting Detective.


Then we will go back to the alphabet and cover the Gs which, as of right now, will be G.I. Joe, Gang Busters, Gene Autry, Gene Autry's Champion, Ghost, Girls' Love Stories, Goofy Comics and Great Lover Romances. See you all in July.




gossip.gif We're waiting flowerred.gif

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts
I am finally done with the Fs. Whoa, there were a lot of them (even if we abstract from the many Four Colors I listed under F) and there are still a few I am missing -


I won't be able to put up any new entries until mid- to late July. Then I will start up by adding recent acquisitions pre-F listing: All-Famous Crime, Amazing Detective Cases, Bean Bags, Boy Detective, Combat Kelly, Cowboy Western Comics, Cowgirl Romances, Crime Detective Comics and Crime-Fighting Detective.


Then we will go back to the alphabet and cover the Gs which, as of right now, will be G.I. Joe, Gang Busters, Gene Autry, Gene Autry's Champion, Ghost, Girls' Love Stories, Goofy Comics and Great Lover Romances. See you all in July.




gossip.gif We're waiting flowerred.gif


Been thinking about it. This week I read the G.I. Joe that starts the Gs but it's just not sparking the fire back as there is not much to say about that one. Will get around to it after the Chicago show. In the meantime I create tables that kill other threads about Probabilities and CGC's grading ability.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
24,856 posts

Been thinking about it. This week I read the G.I. Joe that starts the Gs but it's just not sparking the fire back as there is not much to say about that one.


gossip.gif Alter Ego 42 Nov 2004

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts
Been thinking about it. This week I read the G.I. Joe that starts the Gs but it's just not sparking the fire back as there is not much to say about that one.


gossip.gif Alter Ego 42 Nov 2004


Page 18 & 19 thumbsup2.gif Thank you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 69 (or an attempt at redemption from statistical posts)


G.I. Joe # 9 - eBay Purchase





Cover by Norman Saunders

Dear John by ? 6 pgs

G.I. Joe Meets Lilith the Tigress! by ? 7 pgs

Grumpy's Sweetheart by ? 5 pgs

Little Miss Magic! by ? 7 pgs

Ancient Sam by ? 5 pgs

Draft Bait! by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick 7 pgs

The Baby of Company B by ? 7 pgs


Wow, it's amazing how much content gets into a 52 pager! We are familiar with our cover artist as I featured Norm over and over again since we are hitting his prolific period for cover book covers.


As for who G.I. Joe is, he is GI Joe Burch whose adventure generally involve Sgt Mulvaney. There is no relations to the other GI Joe who would be created well over 10 years later. For more information about this feature, let's turn to Herb Rogoff's words as per his interview in AE 42 (let's thank AdamS for reminding us where to find the information):


"Henry Sharp was the first one who drew G.I. Joe, and for some reason, he put a daisy in his helmet. It might have been his cynical touch about how he felt about the war and how ridiculous he thought the whole business was. He made Joe Birch [sic] look like Joe Palooka-ish, with a nice square head and a strong jaw. As with so many other characters, G.I. Joe was really empty. He had nothing. And that's why we came up with all these characters around him: Millie Company [ gossip.gif in this issue and in several stories, it is "Baker" company]. Two issues later, sales went up to 1,600,000 and climbed each month.


[...] they let the whole staff go in 1956, and kept me. [...] they said they were folding their comics division, and the only comics title they were holding on to was G.I. Joe. Then they killed G.I. Joe, not because it wasn't selling. Since we only had this one book, the wholesaler threw it in with a bunch of other publishers' books, and the bundles were getting sent back unopened. [...] So G.I. Joe became a victim of the distribution system."


From AE 26, we get a little more information on G.I. Joe as per Hames Ware and Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. G.I. Joe [...] "was a World War II term popularized by the late war cartoonist Bill Mauldin, though he receives no credit in the comic book. The term had become instantaneously generic, and that same public domain status probably also accounts for the reason why the current G.I. Joe incarnations make no mention of Mr. Mauldin, the creator of the famed "Willie and Joe," or the long-running comic book character of yore."


We also learn that Henry Enoch Sharp's comic career was also entirely spent at Ziff-Davis and particularly on G.I. Joe and that he later left the comic field to enter the television field where "he designed most of the gadgetry for which the [Wild Wild West] show was so well known."


We are of course more familiar with Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick. Their 7 pagers in here is a usual back-up story featuring the Yardbirds, and in fact, while I don't know if it is their first appearance, it is their origin story as we see how our two protagonists cannot escape the draft and are declared fit for service. The Yardbirds even had their own one-shot in the summer of 1952 with this cover (courtesy of the GCD):




According to Mary Smith in Dan DeCarlo, "during the time Dan was working for Marvel, he was also doing freelance for other companies. For Ziff-Davis, Dan drew The Yardbirds as a filler for their G.I. Joe title. He also did Wendy the W.A.F. [...]Pinhead Perkins was another military humor feature Dan worked on, this time for Standard's Joe Yank title (Note: we will see Joe Yank soon). Also for Standard, Dan drew Jetta, a 21st century teenage humor title. For Magazine Enterprises, Dan did The Brain. The Brain was a very intelligent boy who always dreamed up "brainstorms" which tended to cause more problems than they solved!"


First Story Page featuring that Dear John letter




Second Story Page featuring Lilith the Tigress




Fourth Story Splash featuring Little Miss Magic!




Sixth Story Splash featuring the Yardbirds.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
24,856 posts
Good to see you're back in action, Scrooge.


I love this thread!


Great post as always. Nice catch on the backup characters, The Yardbirds. I like the Z-D books (painted covers and all that) but had never noticed that title!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 70


Gangbusters # 26 - Bought from Southern California Comics




Content (IDs courtesy of the GCD):

Cover by Ruben Moreira

The Big Heist by John Lehti 10 pgs

Heroes of the Highway by Curt Swan 6 pgs

The Case of the Dazzling Diamonds by Bernard Baily 4 pgs

Carnival of Crime by John Prentice 10 pgs


The GCD also lists which DC scripters worked on this series: France Herron, Bill Finger, Dave Wood, Alvin Schwartz and others.


Let's first talk about this "Coast-to-Coast Favorite" as per this site :


"Long before Dragnet began changing names to protect the innocent, radio’s top cop program was Gangbusters, which debuted over NBC Radio on July 20, 1935, enjoying a twenty-year run on all four major networks. The influence of Gangbusters continues to be felt even today on popular weekly television programs like America’s Most Wanted.



Photo of Phillips H. Lord


Phillips H. Lord was a successful radio director-producer who was on the hunt for a comeback show. His bread-and-butter, a program called Seth Parker (Parker was a small-town country preacher), had worn out its welcome with audiences as a result of a publicity stunt gone horribly awry; Lord had acquired a schooner and named it after the preacher, which ended up shipwrecked in the South Pacific. Since he had done extremely well with Seth Parker and salvation, Lord decided to try the other side of the coin and do a series on sin—specifically, a hard-hitting crime program focusing on gangsters and the fearless lawmen who bring them to justice, christening the new series G-Men.


G-Men’s stories concentrated on the notorious bad men who were at that time making newspaper headlines: John Dillinger, “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, etc. Lord was able to persuade a reluctant J. Edgar Hoover to cooperate in the making of the program—at first. In time, the famed director of the FBI became dissatisfied and the organization slowly withdrew its participation, causing the show to be cancelled in October 1935. But the series returned in revised form to CBS January 15, 1936 under its new title, Gangbusters—which was now devoted weekly to lesser-known (but just as interesting, if not more so) crime cases.


Two particular aspects of Gangbusters were responsible for the show being so well-remembered today; first, the program’s classic opening, which ushered in the weekly proceedings with a combination of police whistle and sirens, shuffling feet, screeching tires, gunshots and the rat-a-tat of machine guns. This loud and brash cacophony introduced the slang phrase “coming on like gangbusters” to the American lexicon. The show is also remembered for its famous “Gangbusters clues,” a gimmick that appeared at the end of each program in which a national alert for actual criminals would be broadcast, giving listeners detailed descriptions of wanted evildoers. It has been estimated that these “clues” helped nab 110 individuals in the show’s first three years—286 criminals by 1943. This advocacy of encouraging the public to act as informers and bounty hunters continues today on programs like Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted.



Actors re-enacted "by proxy" interviews.


The show generally kicked off with an interview segment, as Lord (the show’s first host) would chat with a local lawman or federal agent who figured heavily in that week’s episode. These individuals were often interviewed “by proxy,” which is a polite euphemism for “an actor playing the role of that lawman or agent.” Later on in the series’ run, Lord turned over the interviewing duties to Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (father of the famed Gulf War Hero), who had achieved national fame as the investigator of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. Schwarzkopf left Gangbusters in 1945 and was replaced by retired New York police commissioner Lewis J. Valentine (who had served as a behind-the-scenes authority since the show’s debut). Valentine’s stint as interviewer was short-lived; he departed in 1946 after being asked by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to oversee the reorganization of the various police departments in postwar Japan."


Aside from appearing in comic book for a very long run, Gangbusters also appeared in Big Little Book




AND the radio show made it to TV; "However, its history on television was short, for unusual reasons.


The format was the same as in the radio version. Action-packed stories on the apprehension of major criminals, taken from "actual police and FBI files," were presented in semi-documentary style. There was no continuing cast, but Phillips H. Lord, creator and writer of the show, appeared each week as narrator. At the end of each telecast, a photo of one of the nation's most-wanted criminals was shown, and anyone having knowledge of his whereabouts was asked to phone the local police, the FBI, or Gangbusters direct. Over the years, the "most-wanted" feature of the radio Gangbusters resulted in the apprehension of several hundred criminals.


Gangbusters premiered on TV in March 1952 , alternating on Thursday nights with Dragnet. Both shows were phenomenally successful, completely overwhelming their competition. In fact, the other three networks virtually gave up trying to compete, and scheduled political-discussion programs opposite them. During the fall of 1952, Gangbusters averaged a 42 rating, garnering virtually all of the audience available in its time slot and ranking number eight among all programs on TV. Nevertheless, it left the air in December - making it probably the highest-rated program ever to be cancelled in the history of television.


The reason for the cancellation appears to be that Gangbusters was never intended to be a full-time TV show, but merely stopgap provided by the sponsor to fill in the weeks when Dragnet wasn't on. Jack Webb even appeared at the end of each telecast to plug the next week's Dragnet episode. Webb could not at first provide a new Dragnet film every week, but when he could, Dragnet (which was even more popular than Gangbusters) went weekly and Gangbusters had to make way."


On the creative side, we already discussed the work of John Lehti in Big Town as well as the work of Bernard Baily. I would like to concentrate today on John Prentice.




"He was born on October 17, 1920 in Whitney Texas. From 1940-1946 he served in the Navy. Having survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he went on to serve on two destroyers through eight major military campaigns.


Having briefly attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, he moved to New York in 1947 where he worked on everything from comic books to magazine covers. Following Alex Raymond's death in 1956, Prentice was chosen to carry on the strip and did so for 43 years. His work on Kirby was awarded the National Cartoonists Society's silver plaque for best story strip three times and Rip Kirby is an honorary member of the honor legion of the New York City police department."


The Toonopedia has a lackluster review of Prentice's 43 years' work on Rip Kirby:


"Rip Kirby debuted on March 4, 1946. World War II was over, and America's military men were re-integrating themselves into civilian life. Rip, an ex-marine, set himself up as a private detective — a calling sure to provide all the hair-raising adventures needed to keep readers coming back.


And they did come back — circulation rose steadily during the strip's first few years — even tho Rip wasn't the kind of private detective they were used to from pulp fiction. This one did more cogitating than fisticuffing, and smoked a leisurely pipe while he did it. He had a frail, balding assistant, Desmond, instead of a two-fisted sidekick. Instead of carrying on with an endless series of female clients, he had a steady girlfriend, Honey Dorian. If that wasn't enough, he even wore glasses! Even Kerry Drake didn't depart so far from the standard.


If Rip was more sophisticated and urbane than the average fictional private eye, that's okay, because he was very successful — both for himself and for the people who wrote, drew and distributed him. Alex Raymond became as famous for Rip as he'd been for his earlier work — and in 1949, he took home a Reuben Award, only the fourth ever given, for it. Financially, too, Raymond was better rewarded than ever before. His success continued for ten years, ending on Sept. 6, 1956, when, at age 46, he wrapped a car around a tree and died instantly.


Fred Dickenson continued to write the strip. To draw it, King Features hired John Prentice, a magazine illustrator with some experience in comic books. In their hands, the strip continued pretty much as it had before. Dickenson's stories were the same as always, and Prentice's style was similar enough to Raymond's to where most readers didn't notice the change. But without Raymond's excellent design sense, it seemed to some that the strip was just coasting.


If that's the case, then it coasted for a long, long time. Even when, as the decades rolled by, story strips in newspapers diminished to near-extinction, Rip Kirby hung on — and Dickenson and Prentice continued to write and draw it. When, in the mid-1980s, Dickenson left the strip for health reasons, Prentice took over that part of the operation as well. Dickenson died shortly after. Tho it never broke out of its original venue (except for a few reprints from small publishers), as a newspaper daily strip, Rip Kirby kept on keepin' on.


But it was unable to survive one more change in personnel. When Prentice retired, Rip Kirby retired too. The character got burned out on the private eye business and announced he was getting out of it. Maybe, he said, he'll do a little teaching, and maybe he'll smell a few roses. But he won't be entertaining newspaper readers anymore. The strip ended June 26, 1999."


Nonetheless, it should be noted that Prentice didn't retire from the strip as he died on May 23, 1999 of cancer. So if he did retire, he never enjoyed retirement. The last Rip Kirby was drawn by Frank Bolle, himself a one-time assistant on the strip from 1970 to 1977, one of a long list of who's who in this industry: Al Williamson, Al McWilliams, Gray Morrow, Neal Adams, Wayne Boring, Tex Blaisdell, Dan Adkins, Ben Oda.






In his younger days, John Prentice worked in comics, specifically:

For Hillman on Bucksin Benson and Airboy Comics (1949-50)

For National, on Gang Busters (1950-56), Young Romance (1951-52), Black Magic (1950-53 et 1974), Mr District Attorney (1952), World’s Finest Comics (1952 and 1966), House of Mistery (1954-57), Frontier Fighters (1955-56), My Greatest Adventure (1955), Fireman Farrel in Showcase in 1956, Tales of the Unexpected (1956-57), Davy Crockett in Frontier Fighters, House of Secrets, ...

In the meantime, he collaborates in the Simon & Kirby studio as well as Ziff-Davis. He would draw Buffalo Bill and Return of Zorro for Dell in 1952 and for Mistery Comics Digest as well as Kid Colt Outlaw for Atlas in 1953. Other credits include Mandrake the Magician for King, Wild Western Roundup for IW, ...


John Lehti's Splash




Curt Swan's Splash




Bernard Baily Page - Notice the story asking readers to try to figure out the end before turning the page.




John Prentice's Splash




P.S.: Before I forget, the OSPG lists Kirby art in this issue. Well... there is none.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 71


Gene Autry Comic # 61 - Doug Sulipa provided




And for this Dell, let's also look at the back cover.





The Devil's Grave by ? 24 pgs

The Fast One (featuring Sheriff Sandy McBane) by ? 6 pgs


Let's start by running down Gene's career rapidly. According to the good people at AC Comics, "The famous and popular Gene Autry was born on a ranch on September 29, 1907 in Tioga, Texas. While working as a railroad telegrapher in 1928, Will Rogers heard Gene sing as advised him to try the entertainment business. It was very good advice. He purchased a mail order guitar for $5.00 and became Hollywood's very first singing cowboy. He first sang on radio in 1928, and then went on to begin his career in films in 1934. He was a top Hollywood box office Western star and appeared in 95 films between 1934 and 1953. He is the only Western star on the list of top 10 box office moneymakers.


After two bit parts in Ken Maynard's movies, Gene made his first film in 1934, which was a serial entitled "Phantom Empire". It had 12 chapters. Next came "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" which set up the format for the next 50 films. Gene said himself that he didn't act well, didn't ride well and didn't sing well, but people liked what he did and he was going to keep on doing it. This determination and his horse Champion and sidekick Smiley Burnette, carried him through and made him a winner.


Gene went into the war in 1942 and served until 1946. He then returned to Republic Pictures to resume his career. When he returned, he was a different man with a different agenda. He wanted a piece of the action. Herbert J. Yates, head of Republic, would have none of that, so Gene began negotiations with Columbia Pictures. In mid 1947, he signed with Columbia, getting what he wanted. He had done 5 pictures with Republic after the war.... heavy with song and light on action. He did 32 very fine films for Columbia which were light on song and heavy with drama.




In 1939 he started the "Melody Ranch" radio show on CBS. On the show he sang songs, presented a dramatization of an action story, and ended the program with more songs. This show was broadcast for 16 years. In 1950, he began "The Gene Autry Show" on television. It was the first series made by a motion picture star to be aired on CBS, and it ran until 1955.


While pursuing these endeavors, he maintained a very active recording career. He recorded more than 635 records between 1929 and 1964. Many were co-written by Gene. He did a lot of records for children that are still favorites today: "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Peter Cottontail" and "Here Comes Santa Claus" (which he co-wrote).


Marketing was a bonanza for the Gene Autry property. There were all kinds of products, one of which was comic books. His comic was first published by Fawcett in 1941, and Dell picked it up at number 11 and ran 121 issues. Number one is the most highly valued Western comic, selling at $7,000.00 + in near mint condition if one could find one for sale.


Besides his entertainment career, he was quite the businessman. He owned several properties, radio stations and in 1960, he became majority owner of the Angels baseball team. He was Chairman of the Board from 1960 until he died in 1998. Sadly, the team never won any pennants during his lifetime, but in October 2002, they won the World Series."


For more things about Gene, one should visit the Autry site. Let me give you some additional information about Gene, in particular (and by now you must have noticed my keen interest in such matters), his military career during WWII.


"When World War II broke out, Gene Autry was determined to join the armed forces and do his part. On July 26, 1942, during a live broadcast of his radio show Melody Ranch and at the Pentagon's request, he was inducted into the Army Air Forces as a Technical Sergeant.


[...] On June 21, 1944 Gene earned his service pilot wings and was promoted to Flight Officer. He was assigned to the 91st Ferrying Squadron of the 555th Army Air Base Unit, Air Transport Command at Love Field. Flight Officer Autry served with this unit from July 1942 to October 1945.




[...] The C-109's were used to haul fuel in the China-Burma-India theatre of operations. Flight Officer Autry made one trip to the CBI theatre via the Azores, North Africa and the Middle East. Enroute to the Azores the plane he was co-piloting had to reverse course to avoid a typhoon, flying five hours back to Newfoundland, where it landed at Gander Bay with one engine out and low on fuel. Fog rolled in and the crew was grounded for two weeks. But they completed their mission.




Also during this period he volunteered his talents as an entertainer for numerous Air Force shows. His weekly radio show Melody Ranch was cut down from its usual half-hour to fifteen minutes and renamed Sergeant Gene Autry.

Gene willingly helped at war bond rallies and recruiting drives, lending his time and talents wherever and whenever it was needed.


At the end of the war, Gene transferred to Special Services at which point he took a USO troupe to the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1946. During the war, Gene was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal."


What is not listed there is that Gene happened to be on the island where the Enola Gay and its squadron flew to deliver the bomb in August 1945 just days before the bombing. His USO tour was not re-scheduled in order to keep the camp routine.


As for Gene in comics, there is more known about his life in comic strips than in comic books. Gene's strip had two runs, one early in the 40's and a later one in the 50's. According to the Comic Strip Project, the line-ups were:


GENE AUTRY RIDES 1940 - 1941

art Till Goodan 40-41

wr Gerald Geraghty 40-41


GENE AUTRY 1952 - 1955

art Pete Alvarado 52

Tom Cooke

Mel Keefer 54-55

wr Phil Evans 52-55

Al Stoffel


Now Al Stoffel did a lot more comic book work as we can trace him working on such diverse Dell series as Roy Rogers (1949-63), Little Lulu de 1953 à 1965 (with Del Connell), Woody Woodpecker (1954-61), Gene Autry (1955-61), Bugs Bunny (1970-78), Treasury of classic tales (Disney’s) (1977-1980).


For the comic book version, we are catching the series after Jesse Marsh's run as Jesse worked on:


Four Color #66 Gene Autry 1945

Four Color #75 Gene Autry 1945

Four Color #93 Gene Autry 1945

Gene Autry #1 through #40 (not #26, 28, 29, 33, 35, or 38) from 1946 to 1950


Of course at the time Marsh was also working on the Tarzan book which he did for Tarzan #1 through #153 or from 1948 to 1965.


It remains I do not know who the artist is in this issue frown.gif


Gene's Story Splash




Gene's Story Page




Gene's Story Page




Gene's Story Next Page




Second Story Splash




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
285 posts
This loud and brash cacophony introduced the slang phrase “coming on like gangbusters” to the American lexicon.



Darn it, Scrooge, I was all ready with this little tidbit but your posts are just too thorough. Christo_pull_hair.gif



I will mention, however, that Universal released a 13-chapter Gang Busters serial in 1942, with Kent Taylor, Robert Armstrong and Ralph Morgan.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 72


Gene Autry's Champion # 5 - Bought at Remember When in Dallas, TX





Cover by Sam Savitt

The Owl Ridge Owlhoots by ? 12 pgs

Champ Comes Through by ? 6 pgs

Champion at the Rodeo by ? 16 pgs


Let's start by discussing our star. As illustrated by Sam Savitt, this is Champion III or TV Champion as seen in this picture with Gene:




Aside from write-ups at the <a href="www.autry.com" target="_blank">Gene Autry site</a>, the folks at the Old Corral give us a more concise run down of the main Champions:


"During a film and TV career that spanned about twenty years, Gene Autry had a variety of horses which were billed as some variation of 'Champion'. And Champ was the only hoss of a western film hero to have a TV series. THE ADVENTURES OF CHAMPION was produced by Autry's Flying A production company, and starred Barry Curtis as Ricky North, Jim Bannon as Uncle Sandy North, Francis McDonald as Will Calhoun, and Ewing Mitchell as Sheriff Powers. The program first aired on the CBS television network, and ran from September, 1955 through February, 1956. There was also a Champion comic book (but Gene's horse wasn't the only one to have a comic series - Roy Rogers' Trigger also had a comic book run)."


[...] below, Gene with the original Champion. This was the horse Gene rode during his glory days from 1935 until he went into the service in 1942. The original Champion came off a ranch in the Ardmore, Oklahoma area, not far from where Gene grew up. He had only three stocking feet, a distinctively shaped head, and a large 'I'd know him anywhere' blaze down his face."



This exact picture is actually hanging on my office wall as an 8 by 10.


Here's a better picture where you can see that the "front right" leg has no stocking. The Original Champion live from circa 1926 to 1943.






"Above is Champion Jr., the second of Gene's fulltime steeds. His distinctive, narrow, well-designed blaze makes him easy to identify. [...] After returning from WW2 service, Autry made a few pictures for Republic before he formed his own production company and moved over to Columbia Pictures. [...] He was Gene's main mount in the years following his return to the movies after WW2. He first appeared in SIOUX CITY SUE (Republic, 1946)." Champion Jr. lived from 1942 to 1977.


Finally today's star is Champion III, the World's Wonder Horse as repeated in the comic itself: "This horse was used in the feature films of the 1950s and for the TV shows, THE GENE AUTRY SHOW and THE ADVENTURES OF CHAMPION." Champion III lived from 1949 to 1990.




Clearly Sam Savitt referenced Champion III in his painting. Savitt has been the subject of an excellent article in lllustration Issue # 4. The article (and the entire issue) is viewable as a free PDF at the Magazine Website as well as here but without the checklist unfortunately. I would recommend anyone to check out Illustration if they haven't done so yet and you can do this at no cost as 5 full issues are viewable for free including the one with the Norman Saunders article. Concerning Sam Savitt's comic book painter career:




"Savitt began his association with the Western Printing and Lithographing Company in 1951 when he was hired to paint a series of Dell Comic book covers beginning with Gene Autry's Champion.


At the same time, Dell was premiering a Hi Yo Silver and Roy Roger's Trigger comics. Savitt was the natural choice for all three assignments. For comic book fans and horse enthusiasts Savitt's covers would prove to be a match made in heaven. It is no wonder that these dramatic covers are collectors' items today. Many an illustrator has been called upon to render horses for Dell Comics, however, Savitt brought a whole other level to his work because he had deep affection for and a profound understanding of these animals. "I know horses and I just sort of reconstruct them on canvas," he once told me. His strong foundation with horses allowed him, in whatever media he chose, to render them as close to being alive and engaged in action as the laws of physics would allow. Savitt knew how a horse would react physically and psychologically in any situation. With his vast store of knowledge, Savitt could create work in which every detail, from horse to rider to equipment, was accurately depicted. Although Ed Marine, editor at Western Printing, provided Savitt with photo references of the tack used by cowboy stars, Savitt also happened to be working for the Miller Harness Company catalog, rendering equine paraphernalia and illustrating horse motifs on draperies, pillowcases and calendars.


The editors at Dell knew they could depend on Savitt to create a vibrant cover painting that would feature a horse in a situation pulsating with action. It made no difference that what the subject was doing and had little or nothing to do with the interior stories, kids were drawn to the covers and bought the comic books by the truckloads.




Savitt, who always free-lanced on his own, never on staff, did two or three painted covers a month simultaneously, averaging 15 a year. He would usually do a pencil sketch to show an editor and had no more than a two-week deadline. "Every week I had to come up with some dramatic situation for the horses to be in," Savitt said. "Sometimes they got pretty farfetched. But the challenge of showing the grace, fire and spirit in each horse as he battled whatever problem each week, was fun." On occasion, Savitt was also asked to submit an interior cover, illustrating some aspect of horsemanship, or a back cover breed portrait.


Savitt was fearless in his approach to illustration. Of special note is the cover of Zane Grey's Stories of the West (number 28 titled "The Gunfighter") and the photo of Savitt himself posing for reference. He wasn't satisfied just painting an outlaw evading capture on a running horse; Savitt painted his subjects running at a foreshortened three-quarter pose and from a bug's eye point of view. Obviously, Savitt could pose himself for reference but he had to come up with the position of the horse out of his head. His expertise with horses was a great advantage when he was asked to paint horses in any situation an art director could suggest. He could render a hunter jumper as masterfully as he could paint a bronc rider. When Western Printing needed a cover for its comic book adaptation of the 1959 MGM mega-movie spectacular Ben-Hur (#1052), they got Savitt to do the honors."




More on Savitt and his comic work and later career in the article referenced above. Sam Savitt died in 2000. Sam Savitt said that "The horse is beauty, strength, rhythm and action. To really know and understand him, to capture his magnificence with pencil or brush, will to me be forever challenging."


First Story Page



Second Story Page



Second Story Page



Third Story Page



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 73


Ghost Comics # 2 - Bought from Southern California Comics





Cover by ?

The Ghost Gallery - I Woke in Terror by ? 7 pgs

The Ghost Gallery - The Four Phantoms by ? 7 pgs

Ghost Squadron - Spies Can't Die by Rafael Astarita 7 pgs

The Ghost Gallery by ? 7 pgs


This is a fiction house, early in this series which lasted for 8 issues as seen from this gallery (borrowed from the GCD), all of which have very attractive covers:




Unfortunately, credits for these stories are limited. Fortunately, I remembered that the Ghost Squadron was referenced on p. 38 in AE 21, The Iger Comics Kingdom issue. It is described as a reprint of an earlier feature done by the Iger shop for Fiction House, specifically, from Wings Comics # 77 - January 1947:




However, the name / description provided in the GCD does not exactly match the story in Ghost 2 so I now question the exact issue attribution.


In the same spirit, I may have found more information had I been able to search the by Story Title (which it does not and I think it should). The Ghost Gallery features could also be reprints but I doubt it as Ghost was Fiction House's entry into the Horror genre.


Nonetheless I was glad for the Astarita ID but then failed miserably while looking for more biographical information. This came as a surprise to me considering how much work Astarita did in the industry. His earliest work and the most referenced dates back to February 1936 with his work on the King Arthur feature that ran in New Comics 3 through 8. After some work for Chesler in the Cocomalt Big Book of Comic, Astarita starts work for Fawcett in early Nickel and Master comics as well as for Fiction House in early Jungle Comics (# 2 and up). Later in 1942, his work appears in Planet, Jumbo and Wings and later yet in Rangers.


This is sadly all I was able to find about this early comic penciller and inker who worked in the early shops of Harry A Chesler and Eisner & Iger and who was also the Art Director for Ned Pines' Standard line of comics in the mid-late 1940's. I would welcome anyone to add to this scant information.


Bud Plant does have some of his later (late 60's and early 70's) sketches for sale such as:






First Story Splash




Second Story Page




Astarita Story Splash




Astarita Story Last Page




Fourth Story Splash




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 74


Girls' Love Stories # 16 - Bought at a Chicago Con from ??





Cover by ? - Note: The Cover is the splash from the last story

My Beloved Enemy by ? 9 pgs

Tragic Bargain by ? 8 pgs

Wake Up and Dream by ? 8 pgs

Secret Love by ? 10 pgs


The book has a full page ad for Secret Hearts on the back cover:




as well as a Table of Content in the inside front cover.




Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any artist ID for this book, even though I am quite certain that some of you with better eyes than mine would be able to pick on some artists' name from looking at the stories. In any event, I decided then to concentrate on DC romances. Here is the list of all Romance books put out DC over the years (with the number of issues they represent):


DC 100 PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR 5(1971) 1 issue

FALLING IN LOVE 1(9-10/55)-143(10-11/73) 143 issues

GIRLS LOVE STORIES 1(8-9/49)-180(11-12/73) 180 issues

GIRLS ROMANCES 1(2-3/50)-160(10/71) 160 issues

HEART THROBS 47(4-5/57)-146(10/72) 100 issues (continued from Quality)

LOVE STORIES 147(11/72)-152(10-11/73) 6 issues

ROMANCE TRAIL 1(7-8/49)-6(5-6/50) 6 issues

SECRET HEARTS 1(9-10/49)-6(7-8/50)- 7(12-1/51-52)-153(7/71) 153 issues

SINISTER HOUSE OF SECRET LOVE 1(10-11/71)-4(4-5/72) 4 issues

SUPER DC GIANT S17(9-10/70), S21(1-2/71) 2 issues

YOUNG LOVE 39(9-10/63)-120(Winter 75-76)-121(10/76)-126(7/77) 88 issues

YOUNG ROMANCE 125(8-9/63)-208(11-12/75) 84 issues (both Young Love and Yound Romance continued from Prize)


for a total of 927 DC Romances out of 5,816 total Romance comics or 16%. (Thanks to Dan Stevenson Romance Comic Index for the information).


What has always impressed me about DC's romance output is the longevity of the titles, as you can see that Girl's Love Stories, Girls' Romances, Secret Hearts and almost Falling in Love broke the 150 issues mark. And the title that they picked up from other publishers also ran over or close to 150 issues.


In their 70 years of publishing, how many other DC titles can claim to have run for as long as 150 issues? Well, thanks to Mike's Master List, here's the list. The list is not organized alphabetically by series title but by the Year in which Issue # 150 was reached:


Detective Comics 150 August 1949

Action Comics 150 November 1950

Adventure Comics 150 March 1950

Blackhawk 150 July 1960

Batman 150 September 1962

Superman 150 January 1962

Strange Adventures 150 March 1963

Wonder Woman 150 November 1964

Flash 150 February 1965

House of Mystery 150 April 1965

Our Army at War 150 January 1965

World's Finest Comics 150 June 1965

Young Romance 150 Oct/Nov 1967

Superboy 150 September 1968

Girls' Love Stories 150 April 1970

Girls' Romances 150 July 1970

Star Spangled War Stories 150 Apr/May 1970

G.I. Combat 150 Oct/Nov 1971

Secret Hearts 150 March 1971

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen 150 June 1972

Love Stories 150 June/July 1973

Unexpected 150 September 1973

Our Fighting Forces 150 Aug/Sept 1974

House of Secrets 150 Feb/Mar 1978

Justice League of America 150 January 1978

Brave and the Bold 150 May 1979

Green Lantern 150 March 1982

Swamp Thing 150 January 1995

Flash 150 July 1999

Superman 150 November 1999

Wonder Woman 150 November 1999

Hellblazer 150 July 2000

Batman:Legends of the Dark Knight 150 February 2002

Green Lantern 150 July 2002


That's a total of 35 different books who made it to 150. We find the original big books, the romance books, the Big War books, Superman's family, the 60's super-hero revival books and their 80's reboot and in great company, we find Hellblazer! Any big surprises to anyone on this list - series missing to your surprise or surprise titles in this list?


First Story Splash




Second Story Splash




Third Story Splash - This art looks familiar...




Fourth Story Last Page - Notice the downbeat ending on this story. The protagonist prefers sacrificing her happiness than wreck her true love's marriage. All other stories in the issue end up with a kiss panel. This here last page makes for a drastic change to end the comic.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
24,856 posts

Astarita was famous for influencing Frazetta. The story goes that he told Frank (when Frank was doing stories for Nedor/Better) that he should learn more about anatomy and gave him an anatomy book. Evidently Frank returned the book the next day, thanking Rafael. Rafael was surprised and Frank explained he stayed up all night to trace out of the book and that was the last anatomy lesson he needed.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
11,047 posts
for a total of 927 DC Romances out of 5,816 total Romance comics or 16%. (Thanks to Dan Stevenson Romance Comic Index for the information).


Where does one find the Dan Stevenson information? Michaelle Nolan is always referencing his work but I'm not sure where to really find the "master list," if it's available.


I know the romance list is on matt-thorn.com.


As for the titles making it to issue 150, poor Lois Lane, so close! Ditto for Warlord.


Great to have this thread back. The info on Gangbusters was terrific and I found the connection the artist felt with horses to be fascinating.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
7,555 posts

Great 150 list, scrooge. Very interesting...didn't realize that there was a 13 year gap there in the modern era before any book was able to pull its own for so long....looks like the ongoing Robin series will be the next to make 150, provided it isn't cancelled this year.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
285 posts

Yes, I like the list, too. I've been wanting to put together a list of titles (from all publishers) that made it to 200.


Hellblazer is now in the 200 club. Wolverine would be as well if they hadn't relaunched the title. Although I'm sure they'll revert to the old numbering at some point (not sure if that should disqualify it from my list or not).




Here's a non-DC book that recently joined the 150 club, which some may find surprising: Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
25,377 posts

# 75


Goofy Comics # 48 - Bought at a Chicago Con.




Content: [Note: This is the last issue of this series]

Goofy Gander & Wally Wolf in The Cave of Winds by ? 16 pgs

Percy Pig in All at Sea by ? 6 pgs

Wally Wolf in Setting up in the World by ? 2 pgs

Lucky Duck in Wild Prodigy by Jack Bradbury 5 pgs


The series is not covered in the GCD. I lucked into the ID through sheer memory as I recalled Alberto Becattini's interview with Jack Bradbury in CBM 103 - June 2003 along with Bradbury's checklist. Memory served me well as the Lucky Duck story is indeed attributed to Jack. It's a great interview as Bradbury sounds very good at 88 but, sadly, he died shortly (May 15th, 2004) after the interview / article. Here's an obit from the Big Cartoon Forum that covers Jack's entire career:


"Animator and prolific comic book artist John Morin "Jack" Bradbury, who worked on features for Walt Disney Studios and shorts for Friz Freleng's unit at Warner Brothers, died Saturday at 89.


Credited variously as "John Bradbury" and "Jack Bradbury" in animated films, he had battled renal failure for months, said comic and cartoon writer-historian Mark Evanier.


He was one of the animators responsible for the segment "The Pastoral Symphony" in 1940's Fantasia. In Pinocchio, released the same year, he is credited for having been responsible for the "Nest and Flowers on Pinocchio's Nose."


Bradbury was also among the animators of Bambi (1942), as well as the Oscar-winning 1938 Disney short Ferdinand The Bull (1938).


At Warner Bros., he animated the Merrie Melodies Jack-Wabbit And The Beanstalk (1943), along with Stage Door Cartoon and Meatless Flyday (both 1944).


Born in Seattle on December 27, 1914, Bradbury joined Disney in 1934 as an uncredited in-betweener on several cartoons, soon becoming a full animator. He had several major scenes in feature projects, including the Pegasus family landing on water in Fantasia, Figaro walking across Gepetto's bed in Pinocchio and the stag fight in Bambi.


After leaving Disney, he embarked on a cartoon in print comics. He drew Bugs Bunny cartoons for a short time at Warner Brothers, joining Western Publishing in 1947 and illustrating Disney comics.


His hundreds of children's books included the famous (and best-selling) Little Golden Books. He also worked on most of the Western Publishing comic books appearing under the Dell and Gold Key imprints.


The main artist in Pluto stories, he drew nearly every Disney character during his career at Western. However, Disney was not the only studio to provide characters for his pen. Bradbury also drew comic stories with Warner Bros. characters (Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig), as well as characters from Walter Lantz (Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken, Oswald the Rabbit, Chilly Willy), MGM (Big Pike and Little Tyke), and Bob Clampett (Beany and Cecil). In addition, he illustrated Professor Putter for Western in the early 1960s.


Bradbury was noted for his funny animal comics, also drawing them for ACG/Creston, Nedor/Standard, Rural Home, DC and A.C.E. Characters included Spencer Spook and Hucky Duck for Ha-Ha Comics, Giggle Comics and others.


Eye problems and personal matters forced Bradbury to curtail his drawing after around 1970, but he continued to work intermittently for the Disney folks, mostly consulting and occasionally drawing for merchandise, especially coloring books."


Being most remembered obviously for his well-recognized work on some of Disney's most famous features, Bradbury did draw over 5,900 pages of comic! The reason Jack moved from Disney to Warner is that Jack participated in the infamous Disney's union strike of 1941 which lead to his dismissal. Before going to work for Warner, Bradbury spent nine months painting Liberty Ships in the shipyards in San Pedro.


Of interest to us today is his beginnings with Sangor / ACG / Standard. Quoting from the CBM interview which included this illo:




"[...] In 1943, one of the animators I knew [...], Gil Turner, introduced me to Jim Davis, a friend for whom he was doing some comic-book work in his spare time. These comic books consisted of animated animal characters, done very much like those we'd been doing at the studios. Ken Hultgren was also working for Davis at that time, at home. Jim represented Sangor Publications (a.k.a. Editorial Art Syndicate or Cinema Comics), a New York concern run by Ben W. Sangor and Richard Hughes which packaged comic-book titles for various publishers, including Creston (a.k.a. American Comics Group), Standard, and National / DC. Sangor and Hughes had their own artists in New York - mainly animators from the Paramount / Famous Studios like Dan Gordon - whereas Jim was in charge of the West Coast branch, buying stories and artwork done by Hollywood animation artists and writers.


[...] We were doing strips for such titles as Ha Ha, Giggle, Coo Coo and Happy, published by the American Comic Group, in which both Sangor and Hughes had an interest, and by Standard, who bought the stories from Sangor.


[...] sometime in 1948, the bottom fell out of the independent comic book business amd our work for Sangor came to a rather abrupt end. Jim Davis had been doing the Fox and Crow comic himself for about three years for DC / National comics, and still had that to do, but the rest of us were now basically out of work. Luckily, Lynn Karp and I were told that Standard Publications wanted us to do some work for them.


[later, Bradbury talks about his transition to Western Publishing (under the Dell imprint) in these terms] Yet the thought of doing work for Western was not too enticing, as I would no longer have the freedom I'd had when working for Sangor. It meant using stories from their story men, plus drawing an eight-panel page (for Sangor we had only six panels per page), and having to bear down and draw all Disney characters. Not to mention the pay, as they offered about $18 a page, drawing and inking - a far cry from the $25 a page we had been getting at Sangor's."


First Story Splash




First Story Page




Second Story Splash




Bradbury Story Splash




Bradbury Story Last Page




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
11,047 posts
Wolverine would be as well if they hadn't relaunched the title. Although I'm sure they'll revert to the old numbering at some point (not sure if that should disqualify it from my list or not).


Those are the kinds of things that drive your friendly neighborhood back issue website crazy. How to list all the recent volumes and renumberings and dual-numberings.



Here's a non-DC book that recently joined the 150 club, which some may find surprising: Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog.


foreheadslap.gif I had no idea.




P.S.--is it some kind of karma thing that Percy Pig et al must die (be cancelled) to create a metaphorical spot for Uncle Scrooge #1?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
6 6