Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stronger Than Usual

Saturday Leftover Day.

For the last two weeks I have been taking the Friday and Saturday to show you a couple of fun horror stories in two issues of Stan Lee's Adventures Into Weird Worlds from 1952 and 1953. The amount of quality in the art and the amount of fun in the stories by themselves should be enough to kill the myth that outside of EC all of the comics of the fifties was a wasteland of mediocracy. And I am not even yet showing work by Russ Heath, Gene Colan, Joe Maneely or any of the other greats working for Timely/Atlas at the same time.

Of all the stories in Adventures Into Weird Worlds #21, that of John Forte is the weakest. Forte was not a very inspiring (or inspired) artist. He is like the Jack Kamen of Timely/Atlas, a stilted draftsman, who could be used well in the right story but never could elevate a poor story into something it was not. I am showing this sample here, because he too seems to have been asked by Stan Lee to put a little bit more crosshatching into his work. Or maybe this is the one example of the aforementioned Matthew Fox actually doing the inking for Forte. in fact, the Timely/Atlas website Atlas Tales thinks so too. As for the art, Forte delivers his usual stilted figures, but there are a couple of touches that make this story out of the ordinary. First there is the funny features of the communist hero's face. It seems to have been designed for the casual reader to 'guess' the end of the story to be that he himself is actually an alien - which he turns out not to be. Also, stimulated by the writer (which, I am sorry to say could be yet another unsigned Stan Lee script - this time close to a run of signed job numbers by the man himself) he does some terrific silent story telling on the last tier of the third page and the first tier of the fourth page. He even uses what I call a 'flaoting head panel., which is a storytelling device used to compress time (like a montage sequence in the movies) which is usually only used by the most experienced comic book artists. All in all not a bad worst story of the book and as far as I am concerned yet another example that Comics Can Be Fun.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mel Brooks Would Have Been Proud

Friday Comic Book day.

Sam Kweskin is best remembered for his moving and sensitive portrayal of concentration camp horrors in City of Slaves in Battle Field #9 (1953), but here he shows a less serious side of his talent in a fun story about Hitler, the devil and other dictators. There are some people who find humor the opposite of seriousness, but for me they are two sides of the same coin and this funny send-up of De Führer expresses just as much emotion as the somber images of prisoners behind a barb wire fence. The anti-communist twist is a bit much, but very telling for it's time and it is all done tongue in cheek anyway. The real hero here is Sam Kweskin's art, as far as I am concerned and it it yet another sample of how Comics Can be Fun. And may I remind you that all of the samples used so far come from two simple issues of one title, Adventures Into Weird Worlds.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ex Marks The Art Spotter

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Ken Quattro once told me that later in the run, the Chicago comic book series Mr. Ex by Ben Whitman was actually drawn by Bernard Baily. When that would have been I don't know, but Baily also took over Vic Jordan for a short period in 1943.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Toni Award

Wednesday Advertising Day.

For a long time I have been thinking that these wide smiling girls were an indication of Lou Fine drawing a comic strip ad. But lately I have been finding some outside of the period that Fine was actually working in advertising. Anyway, this one from 1948 does fit the boll. Click the link to compare it to Fine's other advertising work to see for yourself.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sock It To 'Em

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

When Tony DiPreta first took over Joe Palooka from Moe Leff (whio had started out as Ham Fisher's assistant and had taken over the strip in the early fifties), he showed much more of his own unique style. I like these early years (but not enough to set aside the time to scan the long run I have - mainly because I am already scanning four other strips from that aprticular paper and want to get on with it). But here are a couple of stray ones, I came across.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Five Pretty Ladies And A Couple Of Stupid Guys

Monday Cartoon Day.

Some very early cartoons by George Crenshaw, before he was influenced by Hank Ketcham (for whom he ended up working years later). Only in the last ones you can see the artist he would become.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tropical Dreams

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Today's Mort Meskin story from Black Magic #18 looks a bit different than usually. Maybe the island location stopped him from doing his usual 'man in the city' shots. But I also see the first traces of his move to a more sophisticated style, maybe brought on by his forst efforts to find work at DC. I don't know if he did some of the inking himself. I could also be that he pencilled more detailed than normal and had George Roussos handle the inking.