Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Send In The Comic Artists

Saturday Leftover Day.

Before John Cullen Murphy drew the fifties boxing strip Big Ben Bolt, he was mainly active as a sports illustrator for various magazines. One of his most important clients was Collier's, but I have also seen his work in Boy's Life and other places. This piece, taken from the relatively unknown man's digest 21, is a bit different. For the larger magazines he usually illustrated articles and short stories by others, often not only in line but also in full color. This piece reads as if it is put together by Murphy himself and looks like an early example of comics journalism - very similar to the articles Harvey Kurtzman had some of his artists *such as Paul Coker, Jack Davis and Robert crumb) do for the satirical Help! magazine in the early sixties. A magazine that Joe Sacco knew about when he did his groundbreaking books on Gaza and Bosnia.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Say It Ain't Cole

Friday Comic Book Day.

In the mid to late forties Plastic Man creator reinvested his commitment to his publisher Quality comics. Before that he had given more and more parts of the creation of his strips to other hand, possibly in an effort to produce as many stories as possible. But at a certain point, you can see him returning to Plastic Man, introducing new characters and helping out others to do the same.

Here are two stories I sent to Jack Cole expert Paul Tumey with the question if I was right to see Cole hand in these two stories. Paul replied that he saw why I would say that, but he feels it might just as well have been the work of Cole previous collaborators and style imitators, like Alex Kotzky. Main thing I see it that neither of these stories is by their regular creator. Her Highness, about an old lady running a group of gangsters, was usually done by Gill Fox. here the style is to wild and to lively to be by Fox. The characters expressions, the look of the ladies and the use of oddly shaped panels all remind me of Cole. The second story, Bob and Swab (named for a navy slang expression for a certain sexual combo delivered by some of the ladies they met on their travels) usually is by Klaus Nordling, although Cole is known to do a couple as well. Here we are left inbetween. The figures have Nordling's touches, but the layout and the action is more Cole style.

Either way they are fun stories.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Not Entirely Borthless

Story Strip Day.

Getting these wans't easy. the site I worked from (Fulton History) does not have a proper search function and all the papers are listed one page at the time (which is a pain when you don't know how many pages each edition is or on what page the strips are printed). So what I have is chronological, but spotty.

It is also a rare find. I have never seen this strip anywhere. I do know the artist though. Frank Borth's claim to fame in comic world is the fact that he worked exculsively the Catholic Guild's Treasure Chest series, usually doing a short story in each issue. His style there is hasty and sloppy, but here we see him trying his best to make the story come alive. I would not call the style itself in the school of Caniff, but it is certaily inspired by it. So enjoy it here - I don;t think it is ever going to be collected anywhere. He's not even mentioned on/in Alan Holtz' Stripper's Guide (at least not the blog with samples, though he is in his excellent book)!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Open The Gates

Wednesday Advertising Day.

Art Gates is in my new book on Mad imitators Behaving Madly with quite a spectacular parody of the movie Blackboard Jungle with Glen Ford. It was done in the style of Harvey Kurtzman's Mad magazine parodies and it's very well drawn. At the same time cartoonist Gates was drawing romance comics in a much more realistic style, based on John Prentice's version of Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby. And he was not far away from selling a daily newspaper cartoon about his time in the army. And he had just done a four issue series of Hillbilly comics for Charlton in a style that could be called similar to Mort Drucker's movie parody style, altough Drucker hadn't invented that style yet at that point. All of these things I have shown here before and you can find them by following the link. Tat will also lead you to a series of cartoon style 'sponsored' newspaper strips featuring a Milkman. Recently I came across a longer run of these ad gags, so here they are.