A Month in the Life of the Comics
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I'm not a big fan of Biro as an artist, but I do think he has an fairly unusual knack of telling an entire story in a single image, like this cover to CDNP. It doesn't hurt either that I love the coloring!

 

I agree with your assessment of Fuje -- good artist, not at his best here. Nor, for that matter, is Guardineer. I would not have recognized either artist just based on the pages here.

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Re: Guardineer. While the figures are not easily recognizable as Guardineer's and are not the best on that page, I thought that apart from the first panel on the bottom tier with the character on the right side of the panel blocking the flow, the page layout was rather good and leading the story well (better than Fuje on that first page). Of course, this being a Lev Gleason book, every characters ought to be hunchbacks with all the copy on top of their heads. Considering this I thought Guardineer (being no Krigstein poke2.gif. Sorry couldn't resist but here I remembered your comments about Krigstein fighting Feldstein about copy placement) did okay.

 

Feverishly scanning at this time to put up the Bozo write-up as the book did come in the mail today.

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# 41

 

Bozo # 4 - Donated courtesy of HouseofComics.com. Thank you for this last Dell

 

779151-Bozo4s.jpg

 

Content

 

Inside Cover - 1 page gag

Bozo and the big balloon by ? 15 pgs

Bozo (No title) by ? 15 pgs

Inside Back Cover - 1 page gag

Back Cover - 1 page gag

 

You always get your money's worth with Dell.

 

Now, to admit that all this time when I saw the tagline Bozo The Capitol Clown I thought Capitol as in Washington DC but huhu not so as recorded in the Toonopedia:

 

"Bozo the Clown didn't start out as a cartoon character. He began in a series of book and record sets, designed so kids could listen to a story and read it at the same time — which was not only fun for them, it also helped nurture their reading skills. The first of them was Bozo at the Circus, issued in 1946 by Capitol Records. It was highly innovative, very popular and much imitated, and it made a good deal of money for the character's creator, writer/producer Alan W. Livingston.

 

No, it wasn't Bozo that was highly innovative. He was just a clown, a guy who dresses funny and acts goofy (in fact, the first actor to do his voice and portray him in promotional appearances was Pinto Colvig, who also played Disney's Goofy), and this particular one was in fact designed as a composite of several previous clowns. The innovation was in the format — no such book and record set had ever been made before.

 

The clown rode his innovative format to stardom. In 1949, with his first record still on Billboard magazine's best-selling kids' records chart, Los Angeles TV station KTTV launched a half-hour series titled Bozo's Circus. This series lasted only a year, but it was followed immediately by a 13-episode syndicated version. From there, Bozo went on to a sporadic but persistent presence on TV up to the mid-1950s.

 

Dell Comics experimented with a Bozo the Clown comic book in 1950, devoting Four Color Comics #295 (July) to him. He got a quarterly title of his own a year later, and that series lasted until 1954. Dell ran a second Bozo series 1962-63.

 

In 1956, Larry Harmon (one of several actors who had played Bozo in one venue or another), along with several partners, bought most rights to the character (excluding the recordings that had originally launched him — he got that, and bought out his partners, in 1971), and used him in another innovative concept. All over America, by that time, TV stations were running kids' shows, broadcast live, in which a local actor would do skits, introduce reruns of old theatrical cartoons, and interact with a live audience of local kids. Harmon franchised the concept, using Bozo. By 1959, several stations were running that sort of show, but with the local actor wearing a "Bozo the Clown" costume. Among the more notable actors to play Bozo that way were Willard Scott (who also portrayed Ronald MacDonald and is now a member of the Today Show cast) and Vance Colvig (son of the man who first played Bozo).

 

Among the cartoons shown there were 20 five-minute shorts made in 1958 by Jayark Films, in which Bozo was the star. Harmon did his voice in this series. 84 more were added to the mix in 1959, and another 52 in 1962.

 

By far, the most successful of the franchised Bozos was that of Chicago station WGN, where Bozo was played for more than two decades by Bob Bell. "Bozo" became Bell's nickname, in fact, and he kept it for the rest of his life. It was his version of Bozo that inspired Dan Castellaneta in the creation of Krusty the Clown's voice on The Simpsons. The WGN version introduced several new supporting characters in comedy skits, and some of these found their way into Bozo coloring books in the '60s. The waiting list for seats in the audience grew to ten years, and would have gone higher if the company hadn't stopped accepting them. When it again started taking reservations, five years' worth were snapped up in five hours, with calls being attempted at a peak rate of 120,000 per minute.

 

Meanwhile, one by one, the other Bozo shows were dropping off. By the 1980s, Chicago's was the only one left. Bell retired in 1984 and was succeeded by Joey D'Auria, who kept the role until the show ended. The last episode, titled "Bozo: 40 Years of Fun!", aired on WGN as a prime-time special on July 14, 2001.

 

Bozo will be remembered a very long time, and not just as a slang expression for someone with no brains. (That use preceded the clown, but was undoubtedly made more popular by him.) When we think of fictional characters named Bozo, we don't think of Bozo the Bear or Bozo the Robot, both of which enjoyed modest success in their times. The only one we think of today is Bozo the Clown."

 

Actually, in this story, the more intriguing character is Vance "Pinto" Colvig for whom George Pappas provided an in-depth bio on IMDb so much so that I cannot dare copy all of it here but give you excerpts and let those who wish explore the link. Pinto's career was ecclectic as "[he was] incredibly gifted in music, art and mime, [...] spoke to different generations in different roles: as a child clown playing a squeaky clarinet, as a full-fledged circus clown under the big top, as a newspaper cartoonist, as a film animator, as a mimic and sound effects wizard, and as the voice of dozens of well-known characters on film, records, radio and television."

 

Particularly, after a career as a pioneer animator, "Disney, who was making "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" cartoons, signed Pinto to a contract in 1930. Pinto worked on stories, co-wrote songs such as the lyrics to "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" and was the original voice of animated characters such as Goofy and Pluto, Grumpy and Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and the Practical Pig in "Three Little Pigs." Disney cartoonists copied many of Pinto's facial expressions while drawing animal characters for the cartoons. He left Disney in 1937 following a fallout with Walt and Disney proceeded to reuse his old voice tracks. Meanwhile, Pinto freelanced voices and sound effects for Warner Bros. cartoons, sang for some of the Munchkins during Dorothy's arrival scenes in MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939), and also joined Max Fleischer Studios in Miami, where he did the voice of Gabby in Gulliver's Travels (1939) and the blustering of Bluto in "Popeye the Sailor" cartoons. He returned to Disney in 1941 and continued to freelance for them and on radio programs for others. He was the original Maxwell automobile on Jack Benny's show, the hiccupping horse for Dennis Day, and a variety of voices for "Amos `n Andy." His live radio experience and contacts introduced him to the recording industry. He did several albums before encountering one of his best-known characters, Bozo the Clown."

 

Posthumously, "in 1993, the Walt Disney Company honored Pinto Colvig as a "Disney Legend." On May 28, 2004, he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, Wisconsin." As a side note, when Pinto was inducted in the Clown Hall of Fame, Larry Harmon who had been erroneously inducted as Bozo's creator was taken off the wall.

 

I had the chance to purchase Bozo before and never did and I can vouch that I regret I waited until HoC's kind gift. My reluctance stemmed from the splash panel to the first story that never engaged me to spend the money for the book. See for yourself:

 

779151-Bozo4Story1s.jpg

 

Having read the book this afternoon, I was a fool. The stories are fun adventure type and not slapstick. They work well given the length provided of 15 pages each and the art is pleasant and some times detailed as I will try to show you below. I am actually wishing I'd know the artist on these stories.

 

Bozo, with the aid of the giant balloon is accidentally flown to somewhere in Africa with the robber that was eying the circus take. After some tense moments during the first meeting with the natives, it turns out Bozo and the local Chief are old acquaintances. Moreover, we are shown an industrious side of the local populace as evidence by the coconut monopoly mentioned and the fact that Bozo goes back home in the chief's private plane.

 

779151-Bozo4Story1Page1s.jpg

 

779151-Bozo4Story1Page2s.jpg

 

Second story Splash

 

779151-Bozo4Story2s.jpg

 

Nice page at sea

 

779151-Bozo4Story2Page1s.jpg

 

Nice page in the jungle

 

779151-Bozo4Story2Page2s.jpg

779151-Bozo4Story2Page2s.jpg.8e2e402dbad1a4566f661b5c3f77d311.jpg

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I'm not a big fan of Biro as an artist, but I do think he has an fairly unusual knack of telling an entire story in a single image, like this cover to CDNP. It doesn't hurt either that I love the coloring!

 

I was struck by that cover in particular too. I always get a kick out of the CDNP covers--busy and fun. You'll get something like the arriving cops saying "We've got the xxx gang now!" while the one gang of crooks are saying, "Look out!" and the other gang is saying "Haha!" as they set a runaway flaming car towards the first gang.

 

As for the Bozo, I am amazed to see it on the thread already as it was only sent on Thursday. Kudos to Scrooge, as always. thumbsup2.gif

 

As a child in the 70s my local tv station either had its own Bozo show or knock-off clown. I'm not sure if I was ever in the audience or not but the one thing that really stuck with me was a part every show where the selected child would try to win great prizes by tossing a ball into a bucket. The first one could be dropped straight down then the buckets went out in a line. Pretty easy to win at least four or five prizes no matter how poorly coordinated the child was. Looow budget.

 

The Bozo comics are fun and if Bozo ultimately gives us Krusty the Clown, all the more power to him.

 

Marc

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# 42

 

Crime Exposed # 11 - Bought from Southern California Comics

 

780592-CrimeExposed11s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Too Rotten to Live by Jerry Robinson 7 pgs

Temptation by Jay Scott Pike 5 pgs

One More Haul by Al Eadeh 5 pgs

Member of the Mob by Jack Keller 6 pgs

 

Yet another Atlas crime book with, by now, some of our regulars: Robinson, Keller and some newcomers to this thread: Al Eadeh and Jay Scott Pike.

 

Eadeh has credits for Atlas across literally all genres from mid-1951 to as late as late 1958 (but I did not check if these were inventory stories being milked out or newly produced stories). Considering how particular Al's last name is, he should be easy to find online but no cigar, no information was available.

 

I felt more confident in finding information about J. Scott Pike. After all, Pike has worked steadily for Atlas from a decade from early 1951 to 1960; as well as being recognized for work for other publishers, as evidenced by his board-famous cover for Dolphin that pops up regularly here. Yet, there was a dearth of knowledge on online with this paltry write-up of interest:

 

"When the A. Fox calendar company needed an artist to complete the last two years of Art Frahm's "panties-falling-down" series, they turned to Jay Scott Pike. Among the memorable images he created for Fox are a gas station scene (above right) and, as the last in this important series, a picture set on a construction site entitled Dog Tied (above left).

 

Pike was born in Philadelpheia in 1924. He enrolled at the Art Students League in New York at the age of sixteen and, after service in the Marines, resumed his art studies at the Parsons School of Design, Syracuse University, and the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Besides sexy pin-ups, he has painted award-winning illustrations for magazines and comic books as well as advertisements for major corporate clients like Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, General Mills, Ford, Borden's, and Trans World Airlines.

 

Near the close of his commercial career, Pike turned to painting canvases of sensuous fine-art nudes. His exquisite pencil drawings of nudes first appeared in the Playboy clubs before being published as limited-edition graphics. In recent years, he has accepted many portrait commissions."

 

which does not concentrate on his comic book work. Is Pike still alive? and, if so, I hope he'll soon be a subject of a comic career interview AE style.

 

To round out today's entry, I'll give Atlas crime titles the same treatment their war titles received as regards to their longevity or lack thereof as we will see immediately:

 

Title Month Year Month Year

All True Crime Cases Fall 1947 September 1952

Amazing Detective Cases November 1950 September 1952

Crime Can't Win September 1950 September 1952

Crime Cases August 1950 July 1952

Crime Exposed December 1950 June 1952

Crime Must Lose! October 1950 April 1952

Justice Comics September 1947 March 1955

 

Hopefully the formatting stays. It is striking that most of these titles died around the same time: September 1952. Of these 7 titles, only one survived past the Fall of 1952. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif I am now curious to see if it was the same for other publishers. I don't imagine this is the result of the investigations or of the code disallowing the use of the word crime in a comic title (as it is one similarity of these books) because 1) it doesn't fit the timeline and 2) Atlas continued to publish many horror books at the same time. Interesting.

 

Here are the stories' splashes

 

Robinson

 

780592-CrimeExposed11Story1s.jpg

 

Pike

 

780592-CrimeExposed11Story2s.jpg

 

Eadeh

 

780592-CrimeExposed11Story3s.jpg

 

Keller

 

780592-CrimeExposed11Story4s.jpg

780592-CrimeExposed11Story4s.jpg.cf0f270cbd9f3b892b3d4289f7575075.jpg

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# 43

 

Crime Must Lose # 11 - Bought from Southern California Comics

 

781205-CrimeMustLose11s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Mob Rule by Tony DiPreta 8 pgs

Not Dead Enough by ? 4 pgs

The Man in the Lake by ? 5 pgs

Man Hunt by Jack Keller 6 pgs

 

Yes, another Atlas crime book but let's cheer up as it is the last (at least for now). You'll notice that it is again the same crew on this book: DiPreta and Keller. In all honesty, while Keller wasn't out to wow you (and as Romita, Sr. once said "I could have used the Keller method and put smoke in the panel" when describing a scene a scripter (Stan) packed with a complete battlefield, reflecting that Jack could take shortcuts), he is the most consistent artist in this batch (and his style is clean).

 

However, our focus today is Tony DiPreta who, according to the Comiclopedia, "[w]hile still at school, Tony Di Preta started out as a letterer on Lyman Young's 'Tim Tyler's Luck'. Afterwards, he took art courses at the universities of Columbia and Connecticut. He worked on several series, like 'Doll Man' (1941), 'Airboy' (1943) and 'Daredevil' (from 1942). In 1949 he became an assistant to Lank Leonard on 'Mickey Finn'. After working with Leonard for ten years he took over the 'Joe Palooka' series. Di Preta illustrated this series until the final episode in 1984. The next year he succeeded Marvin Bradley on the daily 'Rex Morgan' comic."

 

Note that since Tony has retired as per this syndicate announcement:

 

"May 25, 2000 - Readers can expect a bold, new look to Rex Morgan, M.D in the weeks to come. After drawing the famous comic strip for more than 15 years, artist Tony DiPreta has decided to retire. Beginning with the June 19 release, the new artist for Rex Morgan, M.D will be Graham Nolan. He will work with writer Woody Wilson on the strip, which is syndicated by King Features to more than 300 newspapers.

 

"Tony DiPreta has done a great job on Rex Morgan. In selecting Graham Nolan to pick up the artist's reins on the strip, I was impressed by how well he captured the crisp, realistic drawing style that first made soap opera strips a daily reading habit for so many fans," says King Features editor-in-chief Jay Kennedy."

 

If you sit down and do the math, Tony's strip longevity can only be praised. You'll note that this makes 25 years on Joe Palooka - 1959 to 1984 and then 16 years on Rex Morgan - 1984 - 2000 when he retired at age 79. So far, I am not counting his prior assist on other strips such as over 15 years on Mickey Finn for a total of 25 + 15 + 16 = 56 years in syndication!

 

Tony's association with Lank Leonard and the Mickey Finn and Joe Palooka strips is recollected in AE 43's interview with Morris Weiss who, after turning down drawing the strip, wrote Joe Palooka for DiPetra from 1961 to 1973.

 

DiPetra Splash

 

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story1s.jpg

 

Unknown Splash

 

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story2s.jpg

 

Unknown Splash (even though I'd been darned if we didn't see this guy here before)

 

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story3s.jpg

 

Keller Splash

 

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story4s.jpg

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story4s.jpg.55cc271c285e5a840595e32be6bbfc73.jpg

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not to hijack or anything, but all the talk about the various artists reminds me of this site i came across a while back. although it's only an inch deep, it's about ten miles wide:

 

http://lambiek.net/artists/index.htm

 

Welcome to the Lambiek Comiclopedia, an illustrated compendium of over 6,000 international comic artists with biographies and artwork examples. If you know of a published comic artist that should be added to the list, please send us more information. Thanks. We hope you enjoy it.

 

all kinds of artists, from Kim Fupz Aakeson to some cat named Zyx.

 

here's an example for you: the Kurt Schaffengerger page.

 

now back to your regularly scheduled Scrooge posts. This thread gets ten gold stars, and I'm not even that much a fan of fifties books, so consider that high praise indeed, sir

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Thanks for the kind words Sal. If I can have every or any comic fan at least to give a looksy at these 50's books, I am happy.

 

I should point out to everyone that the Lambiek site is what I refer to when I say Comiclopedia if I wasn't clear about it before. I try as best I can to cite my sources so as not people to think I plagiarize.

 

As Sal mentions, while not always a thorough resource, it is at times the only source of information about some of the artists whose artwork is displayed in my books.

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I like the Keller page you posted -- as you said very clean.

 

I love the splash on the Man in the Lake story -- classic image!

 

I'm thinking the artist on Not Dead Enough was George Roussos. It looks like his inking - probably his pencilling as well. Any one else with a guess?

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# 44

 

Crime Must Pay the Penalty # 24 - eBay purchase

 

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Strange Fate of Alibi Mike by ? 8 pgs

"This is Big Mouth Speaking!" by ? 7 pgs

Terry Foley - Colossus of Crime by ? 7 pgs

The Nine Lives of King Crown by ? 8 pgs

 

Notice that there is a logic to these write-ups. Yesterday Crime must Lose! and obviously it must be followed that Crime Must Pay the Penalty once it lost.

 

Considering that Ace (or Ace Magazines) published comics for 16 years from 1940 to 1956, I have read (and could find) very little about this outfit. Certainly, the 50's output was not much to recommend as you will see with these pages and few would claim their pre-code horror are a sight to marvel at but if you've kept track of Jon and Adam's posting elsewhere, they put out cool books in the 40's.

 

In contrast to EC's 9 books for this month (one of which we will see tomorrow), Ace had 10:

 

Baffling Mysteries

Beyond

Crime Must Pay the Penalty

Glamorous Romance

Hand of Fate

Love at First Sight

Love Experiences

Real Love

Ten-Story Love

Web of Mystery

 

thereby putting out 4 horror, 1 crime and 5 romance books.

 

For little more about Crime Must Pay the Penalty, you can browse this way where we see that:

 

"Crime Must Pay the Penalty started out by retelling true stories of gangsters and other criminals. These early stories are lurid and terrible. Eventually it moved on to more modern material. The later stories still claim to be based on actual events. This is hard to confirm or deny, but one suspects that the later and better issues are pure fiction.

 

Crime Must Pay the Penalty is a transformed version of the super-hero comic book, Four Favorites. When super-heroes lost their popularity in the later 1940s, many such comics were converted over to genre material, such as Westerns. The first issue of the new crime format continued the numbering of Four Favorites, and was #33 (February 1948). The next (and second) issue was then labeled #2 (June 1948). The new magazine ran through #48 (January 1956). The last two issues simply had the title Penalty. The logo of the comic had long featured the word "Penalty" in vastly bigger letters than the rest of the phrase "Crime Must Pay the", so this is not that much of a change."

 

I would also explore the main page at that site for links to many similar articles across all genres. This is where I gathered a lot of the Big Town material. Also this is where I found the information I just posted in the Comics go to War thread. All well worth a look.

 

Story 1 Splash

 

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24Story1s.jpg

 

Story 2 Splash

 

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24Story2s.jpg

 

Story 3 Page

 

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24Story3Pages.jpg

 

Story 4 Splash

 

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24Story4s.jpg

 

P.S.: Adam, I found an old post in the Atlas group from Doc V. agreeing with your opinion about the Roussos story. It is Roussos, scripted by Carl Wessler.

782942-CrimeMustPaythePenalty24Story4s.jpg.b463fd01790e88df863a5bc1ac8b7831.jpg

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P.S.: Adam, I found an old post in the Atlas group from Doc V. agreeing with your opinion about the Roussos story. It is Roussos, scripted by Carl Wessler.

 

acclaim.gif

 

I feel good about that one because the art looked like it might be familiar but it was only after a bit of contemplation and going on to other threads before it "clicked." I do think that Roussos was a fine inker on Robinson and Meskin but I'm not much of a fan of his art. The Ace art and stories from this time period are non-descript, generic tales. In a year they get much better with Lou Cameron's contributions to their titles.

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# 45

 

Crime Suspenstories # 9 - Bought from Tomorrow's Treasures

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Understudy to a Corpse by Johnny Craig 8 pgs

Medicine by Jack Kamen 7 pgs

Cut! by Jack Davis 6 pgs

A Tree Grows in Borneo by Ghastly Ingels 7pgs

 

It is not easy for me to sit down and plan this one out as so much is known and has been written about EC and its gang and I would only been duplicating common knowledge but I'll try.

 

784059-JohnnyCraig.jpg

 

We'll focus on our cover artist today: Johnny Craig (on far left). Here's where we see the limitation of the Comiclopedia as their entry is this paltry:

 

"Johnny Craig joined EC Comics in 1947 after attending the Art Students League. At first he worked on the Love comics ('Modern Love' - a moon, a girl... Romance); later he did the lead stories on 'The Vault of Horror'. Unlike other E.C. artists, Craig not only drew but also scripted his own stories and soon he was in charge of the whole comic book. His style of artwork was clean and uncluttered, and gave the stories a spine-chilling Hitchcock-style atmosphere. Many of his covers for 'The Vault of Horror' were very controversial at the time.

 

Johnny Craig died 13 September 2001, aged 75."

 

For a more detailed overview of Craig's life, I would recommend jumping over to Mark Evanier's site where he keeps his Craig obit up. Here's an excerpt about Craig and pencilling:

 

"From all accounts, Johnny Craig was a slow, meticulous craftsman. "Jack Davis was our fastest artist and Johnny was our slowest," Bill Gaines once recalled. "This was not to say Johnny also wasn't our best, or one of our best, but we couldn't always get a story out of him for every book and I regretted when we had to go to press without a Craig story in there somewhere."

 

Craig once explained his problem: "I had no formal art training...no art training in any real sense. I learned to draw by trial-and-error, and I continued to work the same way. I was never satisfied by the first version I did, or the second, and often not the third. I'd draw things over and over, roughing them out, correcting them until I got them close to the way I wanted. I usually wasn't satisfied with what I ended up handing in, either, but I had to hand something in."

 

It was frustrating for the EC crew and for Craig himself, but readers loved his work, especially his covers. "He did some of our best covers," Gaines recalled. "Including the infamous severed head cover, which may be the most famous cover ever in comics, and certainly the only one ever to be the focus of an inquiry before the United States Senate."

 

so this would explain that in final analysis, as Evanier again states:

 

"In a career that spanned roughly four decades, Mr. Craig favored us with fewer than 150 stories, most of them no longer than 7 or 8 pages.

 

That such a relatively small body of work has been so influential and well-remembered is testimony to his skill. He was an enormous favorite of virtually everyone who encountered his wonderful, unassuming imagination."

 

Incidentally, Mark Evanier also mention an EC book in yesterday's blog (you might have to scroll down): Foul Play! with a Craig image.

 

784059-foulplay.jpg

 

The book sounds interesting and I'd gladly listen to any opinions about it.

 

On the lighter side,

 

784059-strapana.gif

 

For a few more of these which I couldn't upload here, please go here.

 

Craig Page

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story1Pages.jpg

 

Kamen Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story2s.jpg

 

Davis Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story3s.jpg

 

Ingels Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story4s.jpg

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story4s.jpg.de0515bb9ba8791b8680ea75869ef26b.jpg

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# 40

 

Crime Does Not Pay # 108 - eBay purchase

 

778035-CrimeDoesNotPay108s.jpg

 

And yet another ultra-cool cover! Thanks for continuing to post - awesome stuff!

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# 45

 

Crime Suspenstories # 9 - Bought from Tomorrow's Treasures

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9s.jpg

 

Content:

 

Understudy to a Corpse by Johnny Craig 8 pgs

Medicine by Jack Kamen 7 pgs

Cut! by Jack Davis 6 pgs

A Tree Grows in Borneo by Ghastly Ingels 7pgs

 

It is not easy for me to sit down and plan this one out as so much is known and has been written about EC and its gang and I would only been duplicating common knowledge but I'll try.

 

784059-JohnnyCraig.jpg

 

We'll focus on our cover artist today: Johnny Craig (on far left). Here's where we see the limitation of the Comiclopedia as their entry is this paltry:

 

"Johnny Craig joined EC Comics in 1947 after attending the Art Students League. At first he worked on the Love comics ('Modern Love' - a moon, a girl... Romance); later he did the lead stories on 'The Vault of Horror'. Unlike other E.C. artists, Craig not only drew but also scripted his own stories and soon he was in charge of the whole comic book. His style of artwork was clean and uncluttered, and gave the stories a spine-chilling Hitchcock-style atmosphere. Many of his covers for 'The Vault of Horror' were very controversial at the time.

 

Johnny Craig died 13 September 2001, aged 75."

 

For a more detailed overview of Craig's life, I would recommend jumping over to Mark Evanier's site where he keeps his Craig obit up. Here's an excerpt about Craig and pencilling:

 

"From all accounts, Johnny Craig was a slow, meticulous craftsman. "Jack Davis was our fastest artist and Johnny was our slowest," Bill Gaines once recalled. "This was not to say Johnny also wasn't our best, or one of our best, but we couldn't always get a story out of him for every book and I regretted when we had to go to press without a Craig story in there somewhere."

 

Craig once explained his problem: "I had no formal art training...no art training in any real sense. I learned to draw by trial-and-error, and I continued to work the same way. I was never satisfied by the first version I did, or the second, and often not the third. I'd draw things over and over, roughing them out, correcting them until I got them close to the way I wanted. I usually wasn't satisfied with what I ended up handing in, either, but I had to hand something in."

 

It was frustrating for the EC crew and for Craig himself, but readers loved his work, especially his covers. "He did some of our best covers," Gaines recalled. "Including the infamous severed head cover, which may be the most famous cover ever in comics, and certainly the only one ever to be the focus of an inquiry before the United States Senate."

 

so this would explain that in final analysis, as Evanier again states:

 

"In a career that spanned roughly four decades, Mr. Craig favored us with fewer than 150 stories, most of them no longer than 7 or 8 pages.

 

That such a relatively small body of work has been so influential and well-remembered is testimony to his skill. He was an enormous favorite of virtually everyone who encountered his wonderful, unassuming imagination."

 

Incidentally, Mark Evanier also mention an EC book in yesterday's blog (you might have to scroll down): Foul Play! with a Craig image.

 

784059-foulplay.jpg

 

The book sounds interesting and I'd gladly listen to any opinions about it.

 

On the lighter side,

 

784059-strapana.gif

 

For a few more of these which I couldn't upload here, please go here.

 

Craig Page

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story1Pages.jpg

 

Kamen Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story2s.jpg

 

Davis Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story3s.jpg

 

Ingels Splash

 

784059-CrimeSuspenstories9Story4s.jpg

 

Just looking at this post makes me want to pull out my reprint of CS #9 and read it. I love EC! cloud9.gif

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Scrooge, I allowed myself an extra day to see if I could come up with as much as possible about identifying Roussos but I didn't come up with much that would help out someone new to him.

 

Here are a couple Roussos inked comics:

781205-CrimeMustLose11Story2s.jpg

 

tou10.jpg

 

I believe you mentioned that the TOTU was listed in reference as being Meskin and another as being Roussos. I'm betting that it's Roussos inking and probably Meskin pencilling, although it could Roussos's pencils. Roussos was frequently paired with Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin. When the inker is not a strong pencil artist in his own right, they will often use the styistic devices and poses they've learned from inking someone so often.

 

One thing that tipped me off to Roussos is the shear amount of black in the Atlas page. It's nicely placed, but there's a lot of it. Another indicator were the folds in the man's coat were created with very wide strokes of ink -- and these were not "tidy" but allow you to clearly see the fine lines of the brush at each end of the stroke. Another indicator is first man in the lower right panel. It is a minimalist representation -- very few lines are used to actually draw the face. Meskin was capable of simplicity to the point of creating an abstract design within a single panel and I think Roussos was aping what he had inked in the past. Also, Roussos was very good with noirish effects like the uplit face in the splash page. I'm sure I've seen that kind of stage lighting used by him in other comics.

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Easy post today. Here are the C I still need. Not pictured here is Combat Kelly # 3.

 

785101-CMIAs.jpg

785101-CrusaderMars1s.jpg

785101-CrusaderMars1s.jpg.5b739669b345059c7cb5b10e05b98f3f.jpg

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The strong point of this book is the Norm Saunders cover.

 

786327-CrusaderMars1.jpg

786327-CrusaderMars1.jpg.dc3d5da1cf1c18b9bdeff1479a321820.jpg

Edited by adamstrange

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Thanks Adam, I had never seen as large a scan of this book before nor have I seen it in person. It is up on eBay regularly so it's not that rare but generally since Guide is so high the opening bid is unrealistic. Now that I can see, I like the cover even more. I had never really noticed the caravane of UFOs in the background nor had I ever paid attention to the embossing on the main figure's belt-buckle. Yes, I'll be glad to have it in the collection some day.

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It's a particularly bright copy so that makes it easier to see the details in the cover. The subtle colors of the painting getting lost if the book is yellowed too much.

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# 46

 

Blondie # 16 - Bought from Mile High - Part of the Ronny Garcia Collection

 

786516-Dagwood16s.jpg

 

Content - Let me show you the ToC

 

786516-Dagwood16ToCs.jpg

 

I have already profiled this strip when I showed the Blondie comic. At that time, I concentrated on the history of the strip, referring you its Toonopedia entry and highlighting the strip's creators and contributors over the years. Today, let me talk more (or at least let others talk) about why the strip was and still is popular. Coulton Waugh in his 1947 book The Comics declared it the Number 1 Strip for the following reasons:

 

"Blondie’s eminence over other […] strips is probably due to a few very simple factors:

1. She is prettier and cuter than other strip heroines, yet she’s no sloe-eyed vixen. With all her sex, she’s “good”, and so are the gags.

2. Dagwood is young, which makes the whole marriage more romantic. He may be dumb, but he’s a “good skate.” The fact that he isn’t too strong or clever makes us feel better about ourselves. If a Blondie goes for Dagwood, just think what we rate. If he were Tarzan, we’d be left out.

3. There’s romance in the house. Compared with the back-biting Gumps, or eternally nagging squabbles of Mr. and Mrs. Cute, homy things happen, such as the making of enormous “icebox sandwiches,” following some midnight bout with a teething baby. (They are becoming embedded in the language as “Dagwoods.”)

4. The truth and brightness of the small Bumstead clan also helps, for Baby Dumpling was followed by Cookie, an equally famous toddler, and there is a hilarious dog Daisy, and a raft of hilarious pups.

5. When the boys came home and married, there were millions more Blondies and Dagwoods to experiment with the fascinations and frustrations of life in a cottage built for two or more. These are days when the young husband is apt to roll up his sleeves and help with the dishes, which is exactly what Dagwood would do, or at least what Blondie would expect him to do. This pair reflects the lives of a large group of people at the present time, which is proved by the fact that when newsprint paper was made available after the war, and news comics came into existence, it was “Blondie” which most of the newcomers tried to imitate.

Yes, it’s not a bad strip to have on display as the favorite. It shows that in their hearts people enshrine sweet and normal things: youth, romance, home, and babies yelling for milk."

 

We learn from R.C. Harvey about Baby Dumpling in his Children of the Yellow Kid:

 

"In 1934, the Bumstead had a baby; christened Alexander (after Flash Gordon cartoonist Alex Raymond, who had assisted on Blondie the preceding year), the boy was called Baby Dumpling, and his arrival sparked another leap in circulation. (Tragically, Young's first-born, Wayne, died of jaundice in 1937, in the midst of Baby Dumpling's popularity; a sorrowing Young and his wife took a year-long sabbatical in Europe to recover, while the strip was continued by his assistant, Raymond's brother Jim, who drew the strip until he died in 1981.)"

 

Before moving on today's comics scans, let me show you two older strips depicted in Harvey's book to show you the strip's look evolution:

 

December 7, 1930 (I had to play with the scans to make them, hopefully, readable)

 

786516-BlondieStrip1s.jpg

 

December 5, 1937

 

786516-BlondieStrip2s.jpg

 

First story Splash

 

786516-Dagwood16Story1s.jpg

 

Dagwood doing home repairs

 

786516-Dagwood16PageWorks.jpg

 

Dagwood prepping a Dagwood

 

786516-Dagwood16PageDagwoods.jpg

 

Dream sequence as Dagwood escapes through the laundry chute

 

786516-Dagwood16PageDreams.jpg

786516-Dagwood16PageDreams.jpg.6671e3ea78257459c023717d136bd848.jpg

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