A Month in the Life of the Comics
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893applaud-thumb.gif Adam, always ready to WOW the forum with his diverse HG collection. Thank you! (+ I needed a better scan of this book)

 

# 11

 

Battle # 7 - Bought as a VG from Tomorrow's Treasures

 

739575-Battle7s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Cover by Burgos (?)

9512 P.O.W. by Al Hartley 6 pgs

9458 The Sniper by Heath (?) 6 pgs

9597 The Deadly Number 2 pgs Text story

9511 Over the Hill by ? 5 pgs

9502 Cavalry Charge by Joe Maneely 6 pgs

 

Battle ended up being a work-horse title for Atlas as it ran a complete uninterrupted 70 issues from March 1951 to June 1960 (I don't have the dates in mind right now but would that make this title a victim of the distribution debacle that curtailed publishing for Atlas / Marvel? In which case this series could have lasted longer). However, despite its upcoming longevity, this issue is lackluster as you will see from the splashes below. Moreover, the stories don't hook you up either.

 

In my opinion, Hartley is the one with the strongest showing here. I'll concentrate on him by adding a nice non-splash page from his story. As you probably know, this work is a far cry from his Christian Comics work from a couple of decades later. For a reasonable length career overview of Al, please follow this link.

 

A final note, for those paying attention, to point out that by the early 50's Burgos was mostly do "production" work such as laying-out and providing covers for the issues (of course, if I am ever wrong or inaccurate, anyone with more knowledge is allowed to jump in and enlighten us / correct me).

 

Tomorrow, we'll talk / see more Atlas war comics. For today, all we have left is comic art:

 

739575-Battle7Story1s.jpg

739575-Battle7Story1Pages.jpg

 

739575-Battle7Story2s.jpg

 

739575-Battle7Story3s.jpg

 

739575-Battle7Story4s.jpg

739575-Battle7Story4s.jpg.c6cd00e834eb280cc6c3b699b7491600.jpg

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Battle was the only Atlas war title to survive the "implosion" of late '57, though I'm pretty sure it just ran on unused inventory stories from that point until early '59. Kirby came along to give the series a shot in the arm starting with issue 64, but the title must not have performed to expectations, as it was cancelled with issue 70.

 

I suppose Stan and Jack couldn't ignore the success of DC's war stable, though, and got back into action with Sgt. Fury in '63, this time purely in the Mighty Marvel mode.

 

 

 

Edit: I just remembered that Marines in Battle and Navy Combat both lasted into 1958 (post-implosion), presumably to burn off inventory stories which were particular to those branches of service.

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VG+ ~ As usual, full of great insights + you edited your post - Way to go over the call of duty. thumbsup2.gif I was (somewhat) ahead of your checking on the other titles as you will see in today's post.

 

# 12

 

Battle Action # 1 - eBay Purchase

 

740990-BattleAction1s.jpg

 

Contents:

 

9340 The Gold Brick by Joe Maneely 7 pgs

9360 The Steel Coffin by Mac Pakula 5 pgs

9419 The Good Guy by Cal Massey 5 pgs

9559 Bayonet Charge by Paul Reinman 6 pgs

 

I am going to start with yesterday's comments about the survival rate of these Atlas war titles. These were the most numerous in Atlas' line at that time period as Atlas had 12 War, 10 Horror / Mystery, 8 Crime, 6 Romance, 6 Western, 6 Teen, 2 Science Fiction and 2 Misc. titles out. Looking at the war titles gives us a good opportunity to illustrate the 1957 Implosion VG+ mentioned. Graphically, here's the life line of War titles for Atlas:

 

740990-WarTimeline.jpg

 

The first block of lines represents the titles I have to buy (crossed by the blue vertical line = March 1952). You notice that there are two trends at play: either as a title you get cancelled very soon in 1953 (especially if you have a red-baiting / red-hating / spy slant) or you fall prey to the 1957 implosion (except for Battle).

 

The second block of lines represent additional War titles that started later than March in 1952 and their fate is similar. I excluded from the charts the multitude of Navy and Marines titles put out by the company (which VG+ mentioned).

 

For everything you want to know (and more) about the implosion, you'll have to wait until June and read Tom Lammers' article about it in Alter Ego 49 .

 

Notice the black dash in the middle of the lifeline of one book: that's Young Men on the battlefield. Talk about a schizophrenic title: it starts as Cowboy Romance for 3 issues, then becomes Young Men with stories of Danger and Suspense (read fire story, sports, outdoor adventuring) until issue 12, transforms into Young Men on the battlefield (a War book) until issue 20, transmutes into a Hot Rod book until issue 23 and then hosts the failed superhero revival from issue 24 to 28. Whew!

 

As far as the comment about the rebooting of Battle with the addition of Kirby. This attempt is only really full-fledged with issue 65 because 64 has one Kirby story (with a T story code), all others are inventory (M story code). In 65, there are 4 T-code stories (2 Kirby and 2 Sinnott) and only 1 inventory M-code story (Stein story). Note that the revival of 1960 is generally associated with T-code stories. (Thanks to the Timely/Atlas mailing list archive for some of this info).

 

Before I forget, the Maneely story is this book is better than the one in Battle and because I don't know when next I'll have the chance to mention Joe, let me direct you to a short overview of his carreer by Doc. Vassallo here or you can check out Alter Ego 28 for extensive coverage. Doc. Vassallo also maintains a Maneely OA page here that includes 2 complete Two-Gun Kid stories.

 

Oh and yes, here are splash pages and 1 non-splash Maneely page from Battle Action 1. In all this is an enjoyable issue with story lines representative of Atlas War books of the period.

 

740990-BattleActionStory1s.jpg

740990-BattleActionStory1Pages.jpg

 

740990-BattleActionStory2s.jpg

 

740990-BattleActionStory3s.jpg

 

740990-BattleActionStory4s.jpg

740990-BattleActionStory4s.jpg.35314401ccd11d4724f9438aa8762a80.jpg

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# 13

 

Battle Stories # 2 - Bought as a Fine from Terry's Comics

 

742292-BattleStories2s.jpg

 

Content:

 

A Bird of Prey by ? 11 pgs

The Mark of a Hero by ? 9 pgs

A Pill for Pu-Yi by ? 9 pgs

 

Working on putting this thread together is allowing me to go back to some books I haven't had the chance to look at in a while. This one was one of the first 10 I bought. Now that I have read over 200 of these, I can reflect back on the relative quality of books from the period. I have to say that I really enjoyed the first story and found the other two rather tame and by the book.

 

Reading this Fawcett War comic right on the heels of the two Atlas War books I just profiled shows clearly the contrast in their approach to a War comic. Far from the grittiness of war (not grimness as this will be the realm of EC) in an Atlas War book, Fawcett tells us stories of ordinary heroes surrounded by violence that they have no control over and a violence they do not question.

 

The first story (of which I'll show 3 pages) is different. The art is open (very little framing is used). The story uses very little dialogue (reduced really to simply background announcements) but internalize the story of John Drummond through the presence of an observing narrator relaying the protagonist's thoughts and the story emphasizes the nature around the event through the heavy use of sound effects (see the second page in particular). The story ends with only 2 sounds on the last page: the shot and its impact. Very nicely done. We have a writer who understood the medium at work here or possibly a writer / penciller (which would be quite rare for the time period). Anyone can venture a guess as to who this artist is?

 

742292-BattleStories2Story1s.jpg

742292-BattleStories2Story1Pages.jpg

742292-BattleStories2Story1Lasts.jpg

 

742292-BattleStories2Story2s.jpg

 

Pulp Trivia: This was not the first time that Fawcett published a book titled Battle Stories. The company had already published a Battle Stories pulp from 1927 to 1936 (although the title had gone to one issue a year for the last few years). Here are two cover from the series: January 1932 and May 1931.

 

742292-BattleStoriesPulps.jpg

742292-BattleStoriesPulps.jpg.3315b2118c57c5b34b845c9dbfa485e4.jpg

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Art is by Bob Powell (probably with an assistant) -- which explains the quality of the art and story-telling.

 

BTW, keep up the great posts!!!!

 

We are all popcorn.gifpopcorn.gifpopcorn.gifpopcorn.gifpopcorn.gifpopcorn.gif

Edited by adamstrange

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Aha! Adam, thanks for the tip-off. Looking over the pages with my limited ability to ID artists, I'd say in my ignorance that the figure of the feline on the splash page and the curve on the prow of the ship on the next page make me see the Powell in these pages. Could (or anyone else) you tell us what are the clear Powell traits on this story that allowed you to ID the art? That's the kind of knowledge / ability I'd like to improve these days.

 

Also thanks for the kudos.

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Aha! Adam, thanks for the tip-off. Looking over the pages with my limited ability to ID artists, I'd say in my ignorance that the figure of the feline on the splash page and the curve on the prow of the ship on the next page make me see the Powell in these pages. Could (or anyone else) you tell us what are the clear Powell traits on this story that allowed you to ID the art? That's the kind of knowledge / ability I'd like to improve these days.

 

Also thanks for the kudos.

 

I have a naive eye for artists, as opposed to the big-time indexers who can tell you based on the squiggles in the ear of who drew a comic. I look at known samples of an artist (lots and lots of them) again and again to get an idea for what they do. In order to draw a lot of comic pages, artists use the same poses and compositions, as well as specific techniques (squiggles for the ear). I don't know every artist as I don't find everyone interesting enough to study. I kinda like the splash in the 3rd story and I've seen the artist's work elsewhere, but can't recall where. I'm also limited in that I collect high-grade and therefore have fewer samples of some artists than I would like.

 

One thing that stuck out on the Powell pages is the way he draws the thin upper lip in outline, while showing a full face staring at the reader. Other artists will often draw that lip in solid black or not quite as straight across. One problem with id'ing Powell is that he used assistants to turn out large volumes of work, so only some of the work will be his. The curve of the big cat also caught my eye. I can't tell you where in his work I've seen it, but I have. I have a good memory for that kind of stuff. My father, who can't forget a number to save his life, has been always been surprised at what I manage to retain in terms of visual memory.

 

Your're question reminds me, I've always thought it would make for an interesting series to try and describe means of identifying artists. I proposed that to Gary Carter during the hey day of CBM, but it wasn't his thing.

Edited by adamstrange

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In Battle 7, you list a story as probably done by Heath. It's definitely NOT Heath. Heath almost always did his own inking throughout his career. Heath is a very "tight", "stiff" artist who's inks would never be a loose as those. The composition of the lower panels don't ring true to Heath either.

 

The Over the Hill story is reminiscent of Ayers. He usually signed his work at this time (and he also used an assistant during the 50s). Given that the story is unsigned, I can't be all that certain without seeing more pages.

Edited by adamstrange

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Before today's rather short post, I'd like to thank Adam for his insight into Bob Powell's art. This was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I wish that Gary Carter had pursued your suggestion. Maybe he feared this would be impractical a proposal for the mag as, to cover such a topic, it would involve more graphics what with the publication of an artist style reference sheet. I know that most people good at IDing artist keep such reference binders as you suggest. Unfortunately, right now, I only have at most a few stories for a large number of artists; a different problem from yours, where your taste for HG copies limits the amount of books you have (even though, combining your posts in the GA and the SA forums, you' ve been doing well accumulating a good size collection even in HG. Maybe we should talk in 10 - 15 years when I'll have had as much time as you to accumulate books in my low grade collection). Moreover, these people concentrate on select publishers or select genres while I cover them all!

 

Anyway, I'd like for this thread to be the place for people to share such knowledge (because, as much as I like to see HG versions of classic and under-exposed books, what is somewhat missing for me on the boards is more extensive discussion of the art inside the books.)

 

Oh, and as far as the Heath attribution, I wasn't feeling very strongly about it (plus I cheated and had stolen it from somewhere online) especially since I have some signed Heath work from the period to compare this one against. We won't see these examples for a while though as they are in War Adventures and War Comics respectively.

 

# 14

 

The Beyond # 9 - bought as a Fine from Motor City Comics

 

742885-Beyond9s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Horror blown in Glass by? 7 pgs

On the Other Side of Death's door by ? 7 pgs

The Vampire of the Opera by ? 7 pgs

The Face in the Mirror by ? 7 pgs

 

I sure hope that the writers on these stories were not paid much because these stories are very cliché. We go from an art object molded from unholy material taking possession of its creator to death acting as a hitchhiker to a vampire unearthed from a closed room in an opera house to a writer who sells his soul to access his unfinished manuscript. Add to that huhum art and this is a far less enjoyable comic than a good rip-roaring yarn from the old west, let me tell ya pard! For that I'll only post two splashes.

 

742885-Beyond9Story1s.jpg

 

742885-Beyond9Story2s.jpg

 

OTR trivia: The classic story of The Hitchhiker was aired on September 2, 1942 in Suspense narrated by Orson Welles. Anyone interested I can send you a MP3 of the show.

742885-Beyond9Story2s.jpg.2c22193aefacf3059696b2feb2debced.jpg

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Before today's rather short post, I'd like to thank Adam for his insight into Bob Powell's art. This was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I wish that Gary Carter had pursued your suggestion. Maybe he feared this would be impractical a proposal for the mag as, to cover such a topic, it would involve more graphics what with the publication of an artist style reference sheet. I know that most people good at IDing artist keep such reference binders as you suggest. Unfortunately, right now, I only have at most a few stories for a large number of artists; a different problem from yours, where your taste for HG copies limits the amount of books you have (even though, combining your posts in the GA and the SA forums, you' ve been doing well accumulating a good size collection even in HG. Maybe we should talk in 10 - 15 years when I'll have had as much time as you to accumulate books in my low grade collection). Moreover, these people concentrate on select publishers or select genres while I cover them all!

 

Anyway, I'd like for this thread to be the place for people to share such knowledge (because, as much as I like to see HG versions of classic and under-exposed books, what is somewhat missing for me on the boards is more extensive discussion of the art inside the books.)

 

Oh, and as far as the Heath attribution, I wasn't feeling very strongly about it (plus I cheated and had stolen it from somewhere online) especially since I have some signed Heath work from the period to compare this one against. We won't see these examples for a while though as they are in War Adventures and War Comics respectively.

 

# 14

 

The Beyond # 9 - bought as a Fine from Motor City Comics

 

Content:

 

Horror blown in Glass by? 7 pgs

On the Other Side of Death's door by ? 7 pgs

The Vampire of the Opera by ? 7 pgs

The Face in the Mirror by ? 7 pgs

 

I sure hope that the writers on these stories were not paid much because these stories are very cliché. We go from an art object molded from unholy material taking possession of its creator to death acting as a hitchhiker to a vampire unearthed from a closed room in an opera house to a writer who sells his soul to access his unfinished manuscript. Add to that huhum art and this is a far less enjoyable comic than a good rip-roaring yarn from the old west, let me tell ya pard! For that I'll only post two splashes.

 

 

OTR trivia: The classic story of The Hitchhiker was aired on September 2, 1942 in Suspense narrated by Orson Welles. Anyone interested I can send you a MP3 of the show.

 

I couldn't agree with you more about posting on the interior stories. Although I buy HG copies, I have avoided slabbing them so that I can read them. Unfortunately, I can't share them as I don't want to flatten them for the scanner. I've thought about getting some nice "bad" copies of everything -- which I may do one day -- but it takes all my attention and $$$ to keep up with the HG copies.

 

In my case, I specifically seek out books by artists I like so that I have enough examples for identification. I just can't/don't have interest in id'ing everyone. Your comment about building a ref work on each artist is something I hadn't thought of, but is so easy to do with today's scanners and graphics tools. If I had done this I would be able to be more confident about the artist on the Beyond, who I believe is Harry Anderson. He, along with Lou Cameron, did the "good" covers for Ace. I think his work was pointed out in a CBM or Alter Ego as I had no idea who he was prior to that. The cover artist also did the art for the first story.

 

thumbsup2.gif The colors on the Beyond are beautiful!

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# 15

 

Big Town # 14 - Bought as a Fine from Southern California Comics

 

743887-Bigtown14s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Mystery at the Big Town Zoo by John Lehti 6 pgs

The Disappearing Diner by John Lehti 6 pgs

The Accusing Parrot by Irwin Hasen 4 pgs starring Johnny Law

Shadow of the Underworld by John Lehti 8 pgs

 

All threes storyies by John Lehty are Big Town stories and they star Steve Wilson and Lorelei Kilbourne, the main characters on the cover. Big Town has received more coverage than The Beyond we saw yesterday.

 

For one, Michelle Nolan covered the series in her Notebook article Stop the Presses! in CBM 67 (March 1999). Due to her profession, she had a different slant on the stories in Big Town. She also points out that the book started at the same time as the TV show of the same name in 1950 (while the Radio show Big Town itself had been in re-runs since 1948). Most of the feature though concentrates on information about the other media outlets of Big Town.

 

For another in-depth look this time of Big Town, we can turn here where many stories from the long 50 issue run are profiled. Today's issue is an issue in transition to which John Broome (the later principal scripter) already contributes but from which Manny Stallman (later principal artist) is absent.

 

Here's the summary of the lead feature of this issue from the source linked above:

 

"Mystery at the Big Town Zoo (1952). Art: John Lehti. Steve investigates why someone is trying to destroy the gorilla's cage at the Zoo. It had to happen, because this was a DC comic book of the 1950's: somebody had to put a gorilla on the cover! Gorillas on the cover apparently increased comic book sales. The Big Town cover shows a ferocious gorilla escaping from its cage, while Steve is sleuthing at the zoo. Broome subverts this cover in his actual story. While the gorilla in his tale, named Africa, is indeed mighty, he is a sympathetic character, and never escapes from his cage.

 

This is a fairly minor, if likable and good nature story. It shows Broome's fondness for gorillas, which will repeatedly show up in his later work. The tale does not attempt to convey the feel of the zoo as a whole; it is less oriented to Big Town institutions than many other Broome stories.

 

This is one of the earliest stories in which the Illustrated Press' publisher McGrath is named. The publisher had appeared unnamed in Robert Kanigher's "Stand-In for Murder" in the previous issue. McGrath is always a sympathetic character. He is Steve's boss, but treats Steve respectfully. McGrath seems like a traditional looking figure of wealth and power, and is somewhat slow moving and dignified, in contrast with Steve's energy and dynamic talent. I've always suspected that McGrath was born to wealth and social position, unlike Steve: he seems to be a representative of the traditional upper classes. This is not actually stated anywhere in the stories. Rather, it is an impression one gets from the traditional way in which McGrath is dressed, and the way he talks. Upper class figures used to look stuffy and tradition oriented, wearing a lot of three piece suits. McGrath fits in this mold, although he seems decent as well."

 

For a quick look at Lehti's career, you can also look at the Comiclopedia.

 

Here are the splashes to the first two stories:

 

Adam,

I understand you about fearing to scan from your HG copies. No one would! Heck, I am fearful enough when I put my mid-grades on that scanner bed, I can't even begin to imagine what it'd feel like if I had a book in a grade higher than Fine to scan.

 

743887-Bigtown14Story1s.jpg

 

743887-Bigtown14Story2s.jpg

743887-Bigtown14Story2s.jpg.106514a24c8b95f58edf5a712ee004e6.jpg

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Your're question reminds me, I've always thought it would make for an interesting series to try and describe means of identifying artists. I proposed that to Gary Carter during the hey day of CBM, but it wasn't his thing.

 

Adam, think of these boards as your blank slate to write any kind of article you'd like. Seriously, start a thread on this topic, I bet you'd have numerous contributors. There are some real art afficionados here. I for one could spot Vince Colletta's fine line inking style from a mile away, no matter how much I tried to avert my eyes.

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Your're question reminds me, I've always thought it would make for an interesting series to try and describe means of identifying artists. I proposed that to Gary Carter during the hey day of CBM, but it wasn't his thing.

 

Adam, think of these boards as your blank slate to write any kind of article you'd like. Seriously, start a thread on this topic, I bet you'd have numerous contributors. There are some real art afficionados here. I for one could spot Vince Colletta's fine line inking style from a mile away, no matter how much I tried to avert my eyes.

 

Thanks for the invite but I'm spending WAY too much time on the board. If I had to do artist identification, then I'd be making an assertion that I'd have to prove -- and that takes even longer than posting scans. I'd also run into the problem of having so few books that I'm willing to slap on the scanner in order to show examples. I could only be a participant at this point, not a major contributor.

 

The best way to to learn to identify is to stare & stare & stare at the real deal. If you aren't careful, you can learn the short cuts, which can be faked, without having the proper grounding. I knew Heath didn't draw that splash in this thread because Heath would never draw anything that poorly. In the case of the Powell, he isn't the only person do the thin upper lip, but it is fairly frequent in his work, just like Rudy Palais loves to have sweat dripping off the characters in a lot of his horror work in the 50s.

 

They train, or used to train, Secret Service Agents to spot forged bills not by having them examine forgeries, but by spending 6 months studying nothing but legitamate currency. When confronted with forgeries, they just look and feel and smell wrong, even if the agent doesn't initially know why.

 

893naughty-thumb.gif You shouldn't be talking about Mr. Colleta like that. He did a lot of very fine work for Atlas romance -- drawing rings around anything Kirby ever did in that genre, IMHO. That does not, however, excuse him from leaving out details of Kirby's work.

 

Also, here's the other Powell "cat" I was thinking about when identifying Powell as the artist.

 

744592-BobbyB.jpg

744592-BobbyB.jpg.3fc32bfea6052c6e1478b5bdfe6ac322.jpg

Edited by adamstrange

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I like the fifties Colletta work that I've seen, and I'd love to see some more. And I like his inking on Thor, to a certain extent.

 

But erasing details in Jack's pencils... 893naughty-thumb.gif

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# 16

 

Billy the Kid Adventure Magazine # 9 - Bought as a VG from Motor City

 

744881-BillytheKid9s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Killer of Eagles by ? 8 pgs

The Purple Back by ? 7 pgs

The Last Extra by ? 8 pgs

Pot Shot Pete Sheriff of Yucca-Pucca Gulch by H. Kurtzman 5 pgs

 

Not a lot to say about this title really. Once we get to a book from a smaller publisher, the information available (to my knowledge) dries off quickly. Sure, we all know why Toby was created and who worked it (see below) but as far as detailed information on the artists stable, that's scarcer. Internet searches return very little more than dealers' inventories with copies for sale.

 

This issue was edited by Mell Lazarus who went on to work in strips, particularly Momma as listed here.

 

In one of Oddball Factoids, Scott Shaw!, master of trivia, tells us that:

 

"After seeing the success that Harvey Comics experienced with their LI’L ABNER comic book, cartoonist Al Capp decided not to renew Harvey’s license and instead formed his own comic book company, Toby Press, to publish LI’L ABNER and other funnybook titles. One of Capp’s employees was cartoonist Mell (MOMMA, MISS PEACH) Lazarus, who wrote a mainstream novel, THE BOSS IS CRAZY TOO!, in part based on his personal experiences at Toby Press!"

 

I ILLed the book last night. We'll see what the book's like. The subtitle is actually given as: the story of a boy and his dog of a boss. Promising.

 

As you've probably noticed, there is a bonus in this issue with a 5-page gag story by Kurtzman. I'll give you two of them below. If I had to pick a better story of the three Kid stories, The Last Extra would be it as the Kid helps a small newspaper to be delivered. A local baddy wants to prevent its distribution because it reveals the government is selling land cheap and he wants to purchase it before others know about it. He tries to turn the Kid against the newspaper. telling him that the extra is actually revealing the Kid's identity. That's without counting that the Kid was suspiscious of this typical grease-ball.

 

744881-BillytheKid9Story1s.jpg

 

744881-BillytheKid9Story4s.jpg

 

744881-BillytheKid9Story4Pages.jpg

 

P.S.: Adam, thanks for showing the Powell cat. It made my day that I wasn't looney in thinking that Powell's curves in the feline looked familiar.

744881-BillytheKid9Story4Pages.jpg.ad261dedfe9bc573c51e895bb2e31f90.jpg

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# 17

 

Black Diamond Western # 32 - Bought at the Remember When shop in Dallas

 

745952-BlackDiamondWestern32s.jpg

 

Content:

 

The Greedy Paleface by ? 8 pgs

The Sioux Slaughter by Rockwell 8 pgs

The Vicious Cheyenne Episode by ? 8 pgs

 

I have to admit that this masthead (term.?) has to be one of the busiest, ugliest and largest I have seen with its multiple logos and cramping the area for the cover illustration. Now, if only it was limited to the cover but I ahve noticed that Lev Gleason's titles in general are text heavy. I won't show you such an example today because we will see this again before we leave the Bs and I'll show you then how much text they could pack in a panel.

 

For a fairly obscure Western title, it had legs because after taking over from Desperado 1 through 8, Black Diamond Western ran from # 9 to # 60. Online scouring provided this brief summary:

 

"The Black Diamond was Bob Vale, who adopted his masked identity when his family was slain by outlaws. Wielding the typical six-guns and basically indistinguishable from many another masked cowboy (although he had a diamond insignia on his shirt, that was distinctive), the Diamond would leave a playing card of that suit as a calling card, and eventually became an official U.S. Marshal, possibly the only masked one in history. A reader contest gave his horse the name Reliapon."

 

You might remember that I was appalled earlier at the horse's name but this would explain it. If this was the best entry, I doubt I want to hear the rejections.

 

An unidentified Internet source list William Overgard as the Black Diamond creator, whose brief bio the comiclopedia gives as:

 

"William Thomas Overgard found his way to comics through the work of Milton Caniff. Overgard and Caniff started a longtime relationship, starting when Overgard wrote Caniff a fan letter at age twelve. Overgard joined the Navy for two years, but he still sent his artwork to Caniff, who gave him tips and encouragement. After the War, Caniff introduced him to the field, and Overgard started out working for Lev Gleason publishers under Charles Biro. There he cooperated on titles such as 'Daredevil', 'Boy' and the 'Black Diamond' western series. He continued his activities at Western Publishing with 'Jungle Jim' and 'Ben Bowie', among others. In the early 1950s, Bill Overgard ghosted Caniff's 'Steve Canyon' strip for a while.

 

Afterwards, Overgard contributed many comics to syndicates like United Features. In 1952 he was contacted by Publishers Newspaper Syndicate to take over the 'Steve Roper' series. Overgard accepted and he drew the series until 1982, giving it new popularity."

 

The second story is signed by Rockwell (nephew of Norman and also long-time assistant to Caniff). It is in sharp contrast in style from the other stories that are more cartoony while 's is style was more realistic (at least for this story).

 

745952-BlackDiamondWestern32Story1s.jpg

 

745952-BlackDiamondWestern32Story2s.jpg

 

Series trivia: Black Diamond Western is probably only remembered by Wolverton's completists as he had a 3 page feature run in the title from # 16 to # 28 called: Bingbang Buster and His Horse Hedy.

745952-BlackDiamondWestern32Story2s.jpg.76e2bbc13c10568d85c4a45a9cc5d175.jpg

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# 18

 

Blackhawk # 50 - eBay purchase

 

747188-Blackhawk50s.jpg

 

Content

 

The Killer Shark? by Reed Crandall 10 pgs

Chop Chop by Paul Gustavson 4 pgs

The Lost Express! by Bill Ward(?) 7 pgs

The Flying Octopus? by Bill Ward(?) 7 pgs

Note: there is also a 1 page Origin recap (This is a text feature with head shots). This page is "reproduced" here.

 

When it rains it pours as far as Quality artists! Note that the tentative Ward attribution comes from the GCD. In any case, we are looking at a top caliber line-up in this issue. I don't need to mention Crandall further as we will see more of his work later.

 

For an overview of Bill Ward's career, you can follow this link. The page focuses on his comic career more than his pin-up work.

 

More of interest is this page which provides us with a look at the complete history of the group over its decades of existence. In fact for all things Blackhawk, go the main page here.

 

You'll note that, despite Gustavson's use of stereotypical representation of both asians and native americans, the Chop Chop story is some fine cartooning.

 

Now for the innards of this book:

 

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Collection trivia: in spite of the ad-hoc fashion in which I select books in this collection I still manage to encounter "famous" characters like this first appearance of Killer Shark. We already saw the Valkyrie in Airboy. The Batman (which I still need) has an early Catwoman appearance and of course FC 386 is really U$ 1 among others.

747188-Blackhawk50Story2s.jpg.34315a47184023eb7e5ef6af00f093a2.jpg

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Tim: you asked about artist identification earlier, I'll provide an example of kinds of things that I notice. This book isn't from Mar 1952, so I hope folks will forgive me.

 

Here's the cover. See if you can figure out who drew it before scrolling down to see the name.

 

worldsfinest118.jpg

 

Glancing quickly, I assumed it was Curt Swan because he was the main cover artist for Superman around this time. Then I realized that was all wrong.

 

Starting in the LL corner I noticed the puffy arm (bicep) of Batman and knew I was wrong. For comparison look how natural the arms are on all three characters on this cover courtesy GCD:

 

216_4_111.jpg

 

The next thing I noticed was jaw line on Robin -- it curves in a way that looks nice, but isn't natural. This jaw line is sometimes used by this artist. The jaw line on Batman is the very square-jawed line that was almost a house standard for Sprang and Win Mortimer. This is a case where I believe the artist deviated from his own style for the save of consistency.

 

The quality of the art is quite high -- one quick way is to look at how the artist draws hands. The bone and musculature of the hands is quite difficult but when here you see both of Batman's hands beautifully delineated. (There is a flaw in making the first segment too long on Batman's right index finger, but this is in service to the overall design of the cover.) Also with regards to quality, I find the poses and positioning of Batman and Robin to be the best design concept on the cover.

 

The dead give-away to the artist is the Superman figure. The strong cleft in the chin is peculiar the artist as is the long face, ala John Kerry.

 

A more subtle tip is the way that Supe's cape wraps around him an concave fashion -- something that is not natural. I always have the impression of this artist liking a concave line over a straight line. (I definitely get that feeling from Kurtzman!)

 

Here's an example of a Swan cape:

 

216_4_120.jpg

 

The artist is the regular Lois Lane artist, Kurt Schaffenburger.

 

Here's a cover to compare to:

 

1296_4_036.jpg

 

Tim: This took about 45 minutes to write-up and I'm sure it could be articulated more clearly. Was this at all interesting?

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Tim: This took about 45 minutes to write-up and I'm sure it could be articulated more clearly. Was this at all interesting?

 

Nope.

 

 

stooges.gif

 

Good analysis, and I'm sure others can jump in with their examples too. I have to admit I'm not a fan of the 1950s style of DC art, the fat Supermans and Batmans don't do a whole lot for me.

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Tim: This took about 45 minutes to write-up and I'm sure it could be articulated more clearly. Was this at all interesting?

 

893applaud-thumb.gif Love it!

 

Guess-the-Artist is something we haven't done much of on these boards, but something ideally suited to this medium.

 

I did not catch on to it being Schaffenburger until you revealed it, but you're clearly right. thumbsup2.gif I knew it wasn't Swan, but I was leaning towards Moldoff.

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