Saturday, October 3, 2020

Open the Door Six Times, Then Two More

Funny Stuff 25, Animal Antics 49 'Open de door'

In my skimming the 1950s DC funny animal titles, a couple of stories with reused scripts jumped out at me, because the originals were so distinctive--they were part of a comic book with a running gag throughout the different strips in the issue.

All the strips in Funny Stuff 25 (Sept/47) are untitled stories. At the end of the first Dodo and the Frog story, the Frog is stuck in the Dodo's closet yelling "Open de door, Dodo!"

("Open the Door, Richard" was a vaudeville routine whose song verion was released as a record in 1946 and got on the Billboard charts in 1947.)

Then in the 3 Mouseketeers story a house is seen in one panel's background with "Open da door, Dodo" coming from it; likewise in the Henry the Laffing Hyena story a similar balloon is making its way under a door. (These could be editorial emendations.) Blackie Bear in his story interacts with the Frog in the closet; so does J. Rufus Lion in his. There's a Dodo and the Frog half-pager with the Frog still in there, and finally the second D&F story gives the situation a punchline.

In Animal Antics 49 (Mar-Apr/54) the Nip and Chip story refries the first of FS 25's D&F stories--never getting to the actual punchline of the entire Frog-in-the-closet saga. Interestingly enough, there's a cameo at Nip's home: the Dodo. The Raccoon Kids story "Boom!" refries the earlier Blackie Bear story, but the house in this version remains the Dodo's--and he's the one in the closet this time. The Professor from the Nutsy Squirrel strip plays the same role in both the Blackie and Raccoon Kids versions.

I don't know who wrote the Funny Stuff stories, and the refries are pretty much that person's work transcribed, but from the tales about editor Larry Nadle, he may well have vouchered DC checks for himself for the "new" scripts.

reworking earlier scripts

Mar-Apr/54 49  (NIP AND CHIP)
        from FUNNY STUFF 25 1st Dodo and the Frog story

        from FUNNY STUFF 25 Blackie Bear story

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Rawhide Kid and Wyatt Earp and a Couple of Writers

Here are two Atlas western hero writer's lists--taking up not too much space since there's only one writer on each before Stan Lee takes over (and in fact his Rawhide Kid is the completely new version started with Jack Kirby a couple of years after this one is cancelled). This isn't too surprising; in 1954-58, Joe Gill has ended up the sole Kid Colt writer pre-Lee.

Wyatt Earp 5 'My name's Annie Mozee'

"The Day Marshal Earp Met Annie Oakley" in WE 5 (July/56) guest-stars the Atlas version of Annie from her own comic book--her 1955-56 feature being written solely by Hank Chapman. To bring her a little more in line with the historical Annie and thus further the conceit that this Wyatt Earp comic is "based upon the facts and legends from the career of the amazing life of Wyatt Earp," this is the only time her real name is mentioned.

scripts by Don Rico

Mar/55-Sep/57 1-16  all Rawhide Kid scripts

Rawhide Kid script by Rico

Dec/58  20  The Last Outlaw

scripts by Hank Chapman

Nov/55-Feb/58  1-15  all Wyatt Earp scripts

Wyatt Earp script by Chapman

Jan/56  47  The Lion of Tombstone

Wyatt Earp scripts by Chapman

Jun/56  35  The Terror of Tombstone
Aug/     36  Apaches on the Warpath
Jan/58  44  Apache Trouble

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy and Mr. Bozo

Both of Dell's titles from Larry Harmon cartoons, after the first issues, are done by the same so far unidentified writer and artist on all the comics stories, including one-pagers and backups. Compare the titles of these stories from the second issue of each: Bozo the Clown #2 (April-June/63), and Laurel and Hardy #2, (March-May/63).

Bozo 2 Double-Trouble Flubble Bubble, L&H 2 Flip-Flop Tip-Top Secret

I don't recognize the styles from anything else at Dell--or in fact anywhere--so I suggest that the material was supplied by Larry Harmon's production company.

The first issues Dell evidently did in-house. Tony Tallarico, who had nothing to do with issues 2-4, did the art on Bozo #1--and as happened only occasionally at this point, without Bill Fraccio pencils.

Paul C. Ignizio has cited Laurel and Hardy as one of the titles he wrote for Dell, along with Car 54, Where Are You? and The Twist. If L&H #1 was indeed the only issue done at Dell, it's the one most likely to be his. A point of similarity that jumps out between L&H #1 and Car 54 #3 (Oct/62) is Indians who say "I/Me scalpum!" (I'm still looking over Car 54--I don't think Ignizio wrote every issue.)

(* = single page)

May-June/62 #1  Facts About Clowns [TEXT] * p, i: Tony Tallarico
    Circus to the Moon p, i: Tallarico
    The Chimp That Made a Monkey Out of Bozo
p, i: Tallarico
    The Worm That Had the Strangest Tale
p, i: Tallarico
    The Clown in Show Business [TEXT] *
p, i: Tallarico
    Make Up and Costumes of Clowns [TEXT] *
p, i: Tallarico


(* = single page)

Aug-Oct/62 #1  A Record Lunch * w: Paul C. Ignizio
    The Tourists w: Ignizio
    Bell of the Brawl * w: Ignizio
    Hair and There * w: Ignizio

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Paul Gustavson Flits By on Plastic Man

The best place to look in order to identify an artist on a series story is not in the continuing characters, who are expected to be on-model, but with one-time walk-ons. An example is Curt Swan's earliest Superman stories, where Superman himself is comparatively cartoonish in physique to match the contemporary artists' version, but the crowd scene folks are afforded more of Swan's trademark realism.

So here in Plastic Man #41, as Paul Gustavson appears for one issue (except for the Woozy solo story, pencilled by Jack Cole), Plas and Woozy look much as they do every issue, but the gangster that Plas replaces in the page from "Beast," especially in the last panel, and the Rajah in the tier from "Red Wreckers," best show the Gustavson style to me.

Plastic Man 41

It would be a lot easier to tell apart the pencillers if the inking weren't imposing a rather muddy house style on everything. The scripts are by Joe Millard.

Plastic Man Pencilled by Paul Gustavson

May/53 41  The Beast with the Bloody Claws
The Bounding Bandit
The Red Wreckers of Rangistan

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Kid Colt: The Rest of the Stories

In his 1947 tome Secrets Behind the Comics Stan Lee shows the script layout in use at Timely--panel descriptions down the left-hand side of the page, captions/dialogue down the right hand. It seems like extra work for the writer--figuring out the spacing needed to match up the panels in the two columns--but certainly it would make it easier for the artist and letterer to focus on only what each needs.

It would also make it easier for the editor if he wants to keep the panel descriptions from the original writer but for whatever reason get a second writer to replace the text. According to his records, Paul S. Newman sold "His Brother's Keeper" in Wild Western #8 to Timely. But from the style, Ernie Hart wrote it. I would figure Newman's left-hand side of the script was used and then Hart did a replacement right-hand side. (Occasionally Timely bought scripts for ongoing strips that weren't even "salvaged" like this--a good ten Captain Americas from William Woolfolk, per his records, were paid for but then never published.)

WW 8, TTA 47 'We pick up the trail again'

Here's what makes me assign the final script of "His Brother's Keeper" to Hart: "We pick up the trail again" in that story and then in the Ant-Man story "Music to Scream By" in Tales to Astonish 47 (Sep/63), credited as H. E. Huntley. I'd be a touch less than 100% certain only if I ever ran across Newman using the authorial "we" anywhere.

UPDATE: Robin Snyder tells me he's deleting "His Brother's Keeper" from the Newman bibliography, as Paul S. Newman's earliest credits were reconstructed based on having the books in his files (for most of Newman's career, commencing soon after, his records contain much more corroborating material). "He advised me to delete any credit if there was the slightest doubt that it was his. He was aware that some writers also kept records and he preferred to give up any credit if he or I thought it possible he was mistaken."

Kid Colt writers in All Western Winners

Win/48-Apr/49 2-4  Kid Colt stories E. H. Hart

in Western Winners

June/-Aug/49 5-6  Kid Colt stories Hart

in Best Western

June/-Aug/49 58-59  Kid Colt stories Hart

in Wild Western

Nov/48-Jan/49 4-5  Kid Colt stories Hart
May/     The Curse of the Chinese Idol Hart (credited in sneak)
July/     His Brother's Keeper plot: Paul S. Newman
dialogue: Hart
Oct/     The End of the Trail Hart
Feb/-Aug/52 20-23  Kid Colt stories Leon Lazarus
Oct/     24  Whip Savage [2 parts] Hart
Dec/52-Sep/53 25-29  Kid Colt stories [2 each, 25-26] Lazarus
Oct/     30  Justice in His Holsters Hart
Dec/53-Sep/57 31-57  Kid Colt stories Joe Gill

in Two-Gun Kid

Nov/49 10  The Hunter and the Hunted Hart
June/54 14  [The New Deputy] Gill
Aug/     15  The New Sheriff Lazarus
Sep/54-Feb/55 16-21  Kid Colt stories Gill

in Two Gun Western

Aug/51-June/52 9-14  Kid Colt stories Lazarus

in Black Rider

Jan/-Mar/55 26-27  Kid Colt stories Gill

Monday, June 15, 2020

Joe Shuster Makes an Appearance

Popular Romance 6 Joe Shuster

After Joe Shuster's last work on Superman and Superboy in 1946, his next comic book appearance that I was aware of was the first Invisible Boy story published by St. John in 1954 (then Bill Molno ghosted for him at Charlton in 1954-55). Here between those appearances is a story and a featurette at Standard. This is Shuster's only work in the run of Popular Romance, but not having the complete collection of Standard romance books (for now, at least, with my Internet access limited in the pandemic) I wonder if he may have some work in other titles there around 1950. Whereas the inks on Invisible Boy remind me of those on some Superman stories, the inks here certainly don't.

Joe Shuster pencils in
Popular Romance

Mar/50 A Song in My Heart
Nora's Notes

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Pre-Lee K.C. Big Three

Kic Colt 1 'I'll cut ya ta doll-rags'

A month or so ago darkmark asked if I could put a name to the Kid Colt writer who used "I'll cut ya ta doll-rags" in a handful of stories--it's in the Kid's first appearance, in KC 1, as seen here. I couldn't then, but as I've pored over the early Kid Colt, I found that writer--he has a sneak along with artist Russ Heath in a newspaper in the story in Wild Western 7 (May/49). (WW and a number of other titles contain enough Kid Colt stories for yet another post after this one devoted to his own title.)

Ernie Hart (he signed himself E.H. Hart in the Forties) doesn't use the doll-rags expression in that particular story, but it matches up with the style I'd found for many of the early ones. There are a few stories in Kid Colt Outlaw that I can't convince myself yet are Hart's--for instance, "The Giant of the Badlands" in #4 is the only one to use "Sufferin' coyotes"; "Death Waits in the Shadows" in #8 is the only one to use past-tense captions throughout.

The next major writer on the character, Leon Lazarus, is easy to spot when he uses expressions like "By Judas" and "'Sta la vista" but when he doesn't, his style and Joe Gill's are rather similar. However, Lazarus tends to call Kid Colt "the outlaw" in captions whereas Gill generally calls him "the Kid."

As in Gunsmoke Western, when KCO returned after the Atlas Implosion there were enough Joe Gill stories on hand to fill two more issues (75 and 76) before Stan Lee had to take over writing the strip.

Carl Wessler is credited in the Who's Who with stories in 1957 for Kid Colt as well as The Kid from Dodge City, The Kid from Texas, Kid Slade, and the Outlaw Kid, but I believe his stories will turn out to be non-series Western backups in those characters' titles. UPDATE: Robin Snyder tells me that per Wessler's records, he had one story in this title: "This Man Is Wanted," the backup in #76 (Jan/58).

Kid Colt Outlaw writers

Aug/-Dec/48 1-3  all Kid Colt stories E. H. Hart
Feb/49 Six-Gun Deadline Hart
Fight or Crawl, Outlaw Hart
Bushwhacker's Boomerang Hart
May/-Nov/      5-7  all Kid Colt stories except text Hart
Feb/50 Ambush in Lone Valley Hart
May/     The Man from Nowhere Leon Lazarus
The Meanest Man in the World Hart
A Matter of Pride Lazarus
Secret of the Hidden Mine Lazarus
The Gun-Shy Sheriff Lazarus
July/     10  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Oct/     11  Captured by Comanches Lazarus
Jan/51-Aug/53 12-29  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Sep/     30  [The Young Outlaw] Joe Gill
[Mission of Vengeance] Lazarus
[The Sword of Vengeance] Lazarus
Oct/     31  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Dec/     32  [A Dangerous Woman] Gill
[Peaceful Valley] Gill
Death Rides the Stage Lazarus
Jan/54–Jan/58 33-76  all Kid Colt stories Gill