Friday, January 30, 2015

Mary Marvel's Final Artist at Fawcett

In 1948 Mary Marvel loses her strip in Wow Comics to Tom Mix and even has her own book retitled and taken over by another screen cowboy, Monte Hale. She remains a member of the Marvel Family, of course, and her solo strip continues as a backup in Marvel Family into 1951.

Her final penciller there is Pete Riss. There seem to be a number of inkers—or finishers—some obscuring his style more than others. On this page from "Mary Marvel Fights the Likeness Peril" the woman in green, especially in the middle tier (note her arms), is the best example of Riss's pencils.

Marvel Family 58

There are no Mary Marvel strips in 52, 56, and 59, as those issues' Marvel Family stories are full-length. The Mary story in 51, like the Marvel Family lead, seems to be out of inventory from a number of years earlier.

Mary Marvel in Marvel Family
Penciled by Pete Riss

Jul/50 49  MM and the Adult Children
Aug/     50  MM Battles the Melody of Crime
Nov/     53  MM Battles the Evil Exterminator
Dec/     54  MM Battles the Predatory Plants
Jan/51 55  MM and the Miser of Resources
Mar/     57  MM Battles the Collector of Hate
Apr/     58  MM Fights the Likeness Peril
Jun/     60  MM and the Man Who Killed with Kindness

Friday, January 23, 2015

Superman Writer Woolfolk. But Probably Not the One You Expected.

A quarter of a century ago I IDed a number of William Woolfolk's Superman stories. His records later showed, however, that I'd mistakenly attributed too many stories to him—some from before and some from after he actually worked on the character.

On the earlier stories, it turns out that my Woolfolk ID was just given to the wrong Woolfolk. Compare these panels from "Super-Cowboy" with those from Dorothy Woolfolk's "Hardboiled Heart" in Love Diary in the previous post.

Action 134 'Oh, glory' 'Oh, golly'

In places such as Steranko's History of Comics it's been told that Dorothy was writing Lois Lane stories when William started writing Superman. That made people assume it was around 1946, since that's when the Lois Lane back-up strip in Superman ended. Actually, it was a few years later: she was writing the Superman strip, with a number of Lois-centered stories in the mix (not unlike the other writers, of course; recall that "Lois Lane, Cavegirl" in Action 129 is by Alvin Schwartz). Those Lois Lane back-ups' writers are accounted for: Don Cameron on some, Whitney Ellsworth on others.

This is my first pass on IDing Dorothy Woolfolk's Superman stories in Action; I'm looking over Superman too. The stories I misIDed as William's that fall after his actual run belong to a third hand.

Superman in Action Comics
Scripts by Dorothy Woolfolk

Jun/49 #133  The World's Most Perfect Girl
Jul/      #134  Super-Cowboy
Jan/50  #140  Superman Becomes a Hermit
Apr/     #143  The Bride of Superman
Jun/     #145  Merton Gloop and His Magic Horseshoe
Jul/      #146  The Statues That Came to Life
Nov/     #150  The Secret of the 6 Superman Statues

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dorothy Woolfolk's Early Entries in Love Diary

Since some of Dorothy Woolfolk's Love Diary scripts (in #17-19) were noted in William Woolfolk's records because he'd supplied the plots, I was able to get a handle on her writing style. I've mentioned that one of his pet expressions was "Good glory"; one of hers is "Oh, glory." She uses "Oh" in other expressions like "Oh, golly" and "Oh, (name). Dorothy does use "Good glory" herself once or twice. These panels are from "Hardboiled Heart" in #6.

Love Diary 6 'Oh, glory' and 'Oh, golly'

These are the stories that I'm quite sure of at this point. There are others I might add later when I get an even better handle on her style (in other words, beyond those particular expressions); I have fifteen more stories from #1-10 down with a question mark after her name. From his records we know that William had two stories in #8 and one in #10. There are other writers on the comic; for instance, there's a run of the Prescription for Happiness feature all by the same writer.

UPDATE: I thought I might be retconning Dorothy (Roubicek) Woolfolk's name at this point, but Jake Oster tells me she married William in September 1948.

Love Diary scripts by
Dorothy Woolfolk included in #1-10

Nov/49 #3  Afraid to Love
Not My Decision to Make
Jan/50 #4  I Lied to My Heart
Movie Crazy [SALLY WEEKS]
Mar/     #5  She Wanted My Man [A NURSE CONFESSES]
Stolen Kisses
May/     #6  Love Tyrant
Hardboiled Heart
Too Sure of My Man [SALLY WEEKS]
Oct/     #9  Too Young to Love

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Superman Artist You've Heard Of--Believe Me

"If There Were No Superman" in World's Finest 38 (Jan-Feb/49) seems to have been a stumper as far as IDing the penciller goes. His final World's Finest Boy Commandos, as it happens, was in the previous issue. This is his second Superman story, the first being "The Man Who Bossed Superman" in Superman 51 (Mar-Apr/48); before 1949 is out he'll start contributing the occasional story to Superboy.

World's Finest 38 'If There Were No Superman'

Curt Swan will return to drawing Superman.

The best guess on the penciller for "If There Were No Superman" has been Wayne Boring, with a question mark. That just goes to show how important it is to ignore the inking; in this case Stan Kaye's inks on Swan immediately remind you of his inks on Boring. Try to imagine these panels as if inked by George Klein. One way or the other, you have to look behind the inks for Swan's poses and layouts and a few recognizable facial types. The less you look at Superman himself, where Boring's version is certainly the model, the better. On other pages than these, objects like castles and ships showcase Swan's realistic approach rather than Boring's impressionistic one.

Speaking of inkers obscuring pencillers, that Boy Commandos story in WF 38, "Rip Carter—Fugitive from a Chain Gang," has been attributed to Swan, but its pencils are by another BC artist you've heard of: Jack Kirby.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Golden Age Batman Artist You Never Heard Of

When asked if he drew a number of the Batman stories listed below, Bob Kane said "Yes." He didn't explain why the creator of Batman, using this temporary new style, would be doing a few work-for-hire crime stories for DC a year later in Gang Busters and such. The pencils for those crime back-ups have been variously attributed to Jim Mooney or Charles Paris; evidently they evoked Batman in a way the indexers couldn't put their fingers on.

Dinosaur Island, Crooked Gambler

To be fair, I had some stories on this list (like "Nine Lives Has the Catwoman" in Batman 35) that I removed after a few more looks when I did see Bob Kane's work after all, or the work of various hands. (Maybe some of those Batman stories belong back here; maybe some here don't belong. The crime stories I'm sure of.) Although the inks for 35-36 have been attributed to Ray Burnley, with Jack Burnley's corroboration, I'd suggest there are different inkers on different stories; I won't try to ID them.

Above are tiers from two of the stories I saw in reprint in the Seventies ("Dinosaur Island" and "The Case of the Crooked Gambler"). For years I'd IDed this artist for myself as just the "Dinosaur Island artist." Then finally—last month—I saw a signed story by him at Atlas: "The House That Wasn't There" in Journey into Unknown Worlds 7 (Oct/51). The signature is Paul Cooper. He has other early-Fifties signed stories at Atlas as well as at companies like Youthful. He's not trying to ape Bob Kane at this point.

House That Wasn't There

Paul Cooper at DC:

Jun-Jul/46 35  Dinosaur Island
  Dick Grayson, Author
Aug-Sep/     36  The Penguin's Nest
  Stand-In for Danger
  Sir Batman at King Arthur's Court

Batman in Detective

Nov/46 117  Steeplejack's Showdown (plus cover)
May/47 123  The Dawn Patrol Crimes
Oct/     128  Crimes in Reverse

Batman in World's Finest

May-Jun/47 28  Crime under Glass
Nov-Dec/     31  The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Jan-Feb/48 32  The Man Who Could Not Die
Jul-Aug/     35  Crime by the Book

Perfect Crime Mystery etc. in Mr. District Attorney

Jan-Feb/48 Studio Cop
Jul-Aug/     Border Cop
Sep-Oct/     The Murder with a Million Witnesses

Perfect Crime Mystery etc. in Gang Busters

Aug-Sep/48 The Case of the Crooked Gambler
Oct-Nov/49 12  The Case of the Perfect Alibi

Perfect Crime Mystery in Star Spangled Comics

Mar/49 90  Remote Control Murder

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Trapani and Friends at ACG

Sal Trapani and his ghost pencillers come aboard for ACG's final two years of operation. Bill Ely is his sole ghost there for nine stories as of the 1967-dated issues. Ely's regular assignment at DC, Rip Hunter, ended in late 1965.

My impression is that Rocco Mastroserio penciled the first page of "The Mirror of Mystery"; Dick Giordano certainly did the remaining three. What do you think?

Unknown Worlds 53 Mirror of Mystery

There were six other Ditko/Trapani stories at ACG after "My Ancestor—the Indian Scout," all credited to both artists, so not on these lists of ghosted ones. I daresay that Richard Hughes said "Oh, come on!" to the idea that the readers wouldn't recognize that particular penciller. (For what it's worth, after ghosting the pencils on Nukla 1 at Dell, Giordano gets a signature along with Trapani's on #2 and 4, as does Ditko on #4.)

Adventures into the Unknown

Dec-Jan/67 169  Two Vials from Vidalia p: Bill Ely
Jun-Jul/     173  Miss Hepzibah Takes a Trip p: Ely

Forbidden Worlds

Nov-Dec/65 132  The Mirror of Mystery p: Rocco Mastroserio, Dick Giordano
Jul/67  144  "Click, Click," Went the Machine p: Ely


Mar/67 The Terrible Teen-Agers p: Ely
Apr-May/     Vengeful Spirit p: Ely
Jun-Jul/     Sorry, You've Got the Wrong Ghosts p: Ely
Aug/     You've Got to Relax p: Ely

Unknown Worlds

Feb/66 45  My Ancestor—the Old Indian Scout p: Steve Ditko
Mar/     46  That's My Partner p: Giordano
Mar/67 53  The Haunted Brush p: Ely
Aug/     57  When the Gizmo Blew a Gasket p: Ely

Interestingly enough, there's an ACG story ghosted by rather than for Sal Trapani. The art on the other new story in Unknown Worlds 53 is credited solely to Bob Jenney, but Trapani is inking Jenney's pencils.

Unknown Worlds

Mar/67 53  Ghost Girls Don't Play Football i: Sal Trapani

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Second Try on a Trapani Ghost

Hogan's Heroes 4

Artist- and writer-spotting is more an art than a science, but the more it can be treated like a science, the better. If more and better evidence leads to a different conclusion, a theory evolves.

In other words, I saw (here) Don Perlin-type faces under Sal Trapani's inks on Hogan's Heroes 4. But after finding the same penciller's style under Trapani inks in other comics, with some panels a bit more obvious, I revise my identification. Trapani's ghost penciller here is Bill Ely.

The funny thing is that I was led to this in a Trapani-less Charlton issue. The unsigned first story ("The Witness") in The Many Ghost of Dr. Graves 1 (May/67) was obviously by Ely but didn't seem to match up with the early-Sixties art of his at DC I was accustomed to. My first thought was, "He's using the same ghost penciller as Sal Trapani," and then I applied Occam's razor—it's simpler just to accept Ely as penciller in both instances.

The figures of Colonel Klink falling (especially in panel 3) on this Hogan's Heroes page are the clue to Ely's style here; that style peeks through on the cop in panel 1 of the Superheroes page, and more noticeably in the figure of Dan's father in panel 3.

Superheroes 1

Another penciller (or two) did Superheroes 3 and 4 for Trapani. Ely did more ghosting for him outside Dell, and I'll list those in the next post.

Bill Ely pencils on Hogan's Heroes

Mar/67 Operation Flick Flack

On Superheroes

Jan/67 The Origin of the Fab Four
Apr/     The Clowns
Nutt's Revenge