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.

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

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Coming On Like Police

This Gangbusters penciller is familiar enough, but the inker isn't anyone I've seen on the title.


And for good reason. "The Cop They Couldn't Lick" isn't from DC's Gangbusters at all but from Quality's Police Comics #102, October 1950. (The last Plastic Man/Spirit issue; this first in a series of miscellaneous police backups got a jump on the switchover in #103 to Ken Shannon, T-Man, and other non-superhero police-type features.)

I actually couldn't tell you who's inking Curt Swan here (or in fact many of the Quality inkers of the period apart from Chuck Cuidera). The writer is Joe Millard. Like Swan's single story (seen so far!) for Atlas, this is the only piece I've found of his at Quality. By the way, compare the date of that Atlas story ("Killer at Large" in Crime Cases #25): November 1950.

Friday, April 17, 2020

From the Burt Frohman Collection

As a writer Burt Frohman (he was an artist earlier) kept records by filing away his comic-book scripts with copies of the issues they were published in. The Who's Who lists some issue numbers like Strange Tales 22 and Uncanny Tales 12 at Atlas; the Grand Comics Database gives the specific stories for those issues--respectively "What Happened on the Moon?" and "Dead End." The info in both the WW and GCD comes from Frank Motler, who cites the actual comics and scripts from the Frohman collection.

ST 22--'Minutes passed into hours...hours into days'; MA 23--'Seconds ticked away into minutes...minutes into hours'

Among the issues listed in the Who's Who are Atlas's Men's Adventures 22 and 23. Going by "What Happened on the Moon?" (first tier) I was able to pick out one of the MA stories. Compare the captions. I couldn't find a story of his in #22, and wonder if his contribution is the text piece, inasmuch as he did them as well as full-length stories and single-page featurettes--see below.

Scripted by Burt Frohman

Men's Adventures


Sep/53 #23  The Wrong Body

The Burt Frohman collection having been sold off, some comics in it have shown up online, and the scripts included are a part of the cachet, so some pages of them are shown too. davet75 has posted purchases on this message board--scroll down to the Hand of Fate cover. The Indian Braves issues are on eBay; the auction for #1 mentions three scripts but only gives photos of  two.

These series are both from Ace. Editor Alan Sulman changed Frohman's titles, and in fact changed the name of the series hero in the first story in Indian Braves from Lone Eagle to Green Arrowhead; Frohman then used that name in the script for #2.

Scripts Seen Online from the
Burt Frohman Collection

The Hand of Fate


Feb/52 #9  It Is Written: I Die Tomorrow!
Apr/     #10  Bride of the Golden Skull

Indian Braves

Mar/51 #1  Trader in Death
The American Indian: His Customs
[and a third piece in the issue]
May/     #2  Retribution for a Renegade
The American Indian: His Customs #3
The Flaming Stallion [TEXT]

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Go-Go Signature Check

For issue #2 of Charlton's mod humor comic Go-Go, the Grand Comics Database gives the writer of the Rotting Stmups and Return to Peculiar Place stories as "Craig Tennis? [as Tennis] (signed)." Which is fine as far as it goes, but the signatures are longer than "Tennis." The Rotting Stumps story is signed "Tennis Senoj" and the Return to Peculiar Place one is signed "Tennis Scarones."

Inasmuch as the only other Craig Tennis credits I know of are on the 1966 graphic novels Christopher Lee's Treasury of Terror (Pyramid) and Dracula (Ballantine), I figured "Senoj" in the first signature and in the "ones" part of the second is the packager of the two books, writer-artist Russ Jones. The third signature here is from DC's Mystery in Space 108 (June/66).

Go-Go 2 page and Russ Jones signatures

I can't see Jones' pencils in these Go-Go stories, so I'd credit him here as a inker. I was going to say co-writer--I would have thought the art on these two stories is completely Henry Scarpelli, the "Scar" part of the second signature although left out of the first. But then I asked myself how the writer would get hold of the art to sign it.

Of the four Scarpelli stories in #1 and 2, there seems to be someone else's pencilling in places at least on the Rotting Stumps story in #1--most notably the faces of the girls in the crowd scenes.

I'm not seeing D. J. Arneson's writing on these early issues. Note that #2's Miss Bikini Luv story is in the past tense, which is not the case in Arneson's stories as "Norm DiPluhm" in the later issues.

New attributions on Charlton's Go-Go #1-2
(underlined = signed)

June/66 The Rotting Stumps p: Henry Scarpelli, and another?

i: Scarpelli
Miss Bikini Luv w: ? (not D. J. Arneson)
Return to Peculiar Place w: ? (not Arneson)

a: Scarpelli
Aug/     The Rotting Stumps w: Craig Tennis

p: Scarpelli  i: Russ Jones
Miss Bikini Luv w: ? (not Arneson)
Return to Peculiar Place w: Tennis

p: Scarpelli  i: Jones

Friday, February 28, 2020

Spy Fighter Written by (Mostly) Robert Bernstein


Spy Fighters 1 'Eaaaa'

Clark Mason, Spy Fighter is a feature at Atlas written, all but two stories, by Robert Bernstein, including the origin in issue 1, "The Snake of Saigon," as seen here (art by George Tuska). The "Eaaaa" was my signal to look for other Bernstein mannerisms among the stories. Remember that he was writing Black Rider for Atlas at the time; there he actually got a number of credit lines thanks to artist Jay Scott Pike.

I can ID a few of the backup stories, ones written by main feature writers Bernstein or Hank Chapman. The one art ID I'll put forth is a story by the "Dinosaur Island" Batman artist, Paul Cooper.

Jumping on the war magazine bandwagon for a while, Clark Mason is in uniform as an Army lieutenant and then a captain, in combat in Korea in #9 through #13.

Clark Mason writers in Spy Fighters

Mar/51–Jul/52 1-9  (all Clark Mason stories) Robert Bernstein
Sep/52 10  P-38 Bernstein
The Vision Hank Chapman
Suicide Flight Bernstein
Nov/     11  (all Clark Mason stories) Bernstein
Jan/53  12  The Silent Death Bernstein
The Strange Enemy Chapman
   Captured! Bernstein
Mar/–Jul/53 13-15 (all Clark Mason stories) Bernstein

Backup stories in Spy Fighters

Sep/51 Deadliest of the Species pencils: Paul Cooper
Nov/     Arsenal for R-Day wr: Bernstein
Mar/52 The Tower of Terror wr: Bernstein
Sep/     10  Secret Weapon wr: Bernstein
Nov/     11  The Destroyer wr: Bernstein
Jan/53  12  The Human Target wr: Chapman

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Morrow After Kirby


Having looked through the Perry Rhodan covers earlier, I didn't make this connection until I was rereading Fantastic Four from the beginning. This Jack Kirby panel is from FF 66 (Sept/67), the first half of the Citadel of Science story that culminated in the revealing of Him. Notice what Gray Morrow used and didn't use in the 1973 A World Gone Mad painting--he incorporated the technician into a shape in the tech.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Oleck and Davis: The Gunsmoke Kid #1 That Never Was


Wyatt Earp 25 Gunsmoke Kid Origin
I would think that the Gunsmoke Kid was meant to be an ongoing series like the Kid from Dodge City and the Kid from Texas. Those two had their own 1957 titles that lasted all of two issues apiece; the Gunsmoke Kid didn't even make it as far as a number one issue before the Atlas Implosion struck. His four stories were printed out of inventory two years later in three of the post-Timely, pre-Marvel company's surviving Western titles.

As I was looking through Gunsmoke Western the last time, only one Jack Oleck backup story jumped out at me, but as I was going through Wyatt Earp I did notice his style on the Gunsmoke Kid story, and a closer look at the others showed he'd written all four. These tiers from the origin in WE 25 give us captions with the typical Oleck narration reflecting as much as reporting on past events.

Although Oleck left Atlas as of the Implosion, Davis would return a few times; as it happens, the cover to Gunsmoke Western 54 is a new Kid Colt/Wyatt Earp one by him.

Gunsmoke Kid
Written by Jack Oleck, art by Jack Davis
in Gunsmoke Western

Sep/59 54  When Gunslingers Meet
Nov/     55  Hired Gun

in Wyatt Earp

Oct/59 25  [Origin of the Gunsmoke Kid]

in Kid Colt

Nov/59 87  Secret Weapon