Saturday, October 3, 2015

Girls' Romances 101-120 Artists

This is Jack Miller's first run on Girls' Romances; he returns after Barbara Friedlander edits the title. I picked this run because much of John Rosenberger's work at this point on DC's romance books gets mistaken for Gene Colan's, and Frank Bolle gets no recognition at all. Nor do Colan and J. Scott Pike get any love for inking themselves. I haven't seen issues 105 and 110. I've left out the reprints that come in toward the end of the run. And I've put aside the question of writers for now.

GR 106 'I'll Be Around' signed by Sachs

Bernard Sachs signs one story here on his own (he does the same on a story in Girls' Love Stories 111 and one in Young Romance 133, also 1965 issues). I'm going to take the signature at face value. His pencils, then, certainly remind you of an earlier Mike Sekowsky's, but in the latter's stories inked by others at this time Sekowsky's style has already become more exuberant.

There's one inker I can track from story to story for whom my best guess is Frank McLaughlin, although he's not known to be at DC this early. And if Art Peddy has any work here, I just can't ID him this late.

In "Too Handsome to Hold" in #104, where a young man happens to look just like actor Richard Chamberlain, I believe Tony Abruzzo rather than penciller Mike Sekowsky draws most of the Chamberlain faces.

Girls' Romances edited by Jack Miller

Jun/64 101  Tears for Sale a: John Rosenberger
Dreamers Love Their Dreams a: Rosenberger
Dear Peter... a: Frank Bolle
Come Back My Heart a: J. Scott Pike
Jul/     102  Something in Common p: Mike Sekowsky  i: Frank   Giacoia? & Joe Giella?
Out of a Dream a: Bolle
The Day My Heart Died p: Tony Abruzzo  i: Giacoia
Sep/      103  Port of Hope a: Bolle
Let's Fall in Love a: Bernard Sachs
Too Late for Tears a: Gene Colan
Oct/      104  A Change of Heart a: Sachs
Tell Him Tonight p: Abruzzo  i: Frank McLaughlin
Too Handsome to Hold p: Sekowsky   i: ?
Jan/65 106  Stand-In for Love a: Bolle
I'll Be Around a: Sachs (signed)
I'll Never Love Again a: Rosenberger
Mar/     107  Come Back to Yesterday p: Werner Roth  i: McLaughlin
The Love I Lost--Twice a: Gil Kane
Alone in Love a: Rosenberger
Apr/     108  I Was the Last to Know p: ?  i: Sachs
Come Home to Heartbreak p: Abruzzo?  i: McLaughlin
Take My Love a: Colan
Jun/     109  Why Would Anyone Love Me? a: Sachs
A Bedtime Story a: Bill Draut
When My Dreams Come True a: Colan
Sep/     111  How to Lose Your Boyfriend without Really Trying a: Rosenberger
He Only Loves Me--When He's Kissing Me a: Colan
Oct/     112  Too Much in Love? p: Roth  i: Bolle
All for the Love of Ronny p: Abruzzo  i: McLaughlin
Give Me Back My Love a: Rosenberger
Dec/     113  If I Ever Love Again--(I'll Keep a Lock on My Heart) a: Rosenberger
I'll Love You Forever p: John Romita  i: ?
Careless Heart--Careless Lips a: Pike
Jan/66 114  Phantom Love a: Colan
Heartbreak Follows Me p: Abruzzo  i: Sachs
Kiss and Tell a: Romita
Mar/     115  Please, Somebody--Love Me a: Rosenberger
Love at Second Sight a: Win Mortimer
Apr/      116  How Can He Love Me Now a: Pike
My Divided Heart p: ?  i: Sachs
June/     117  Girl in Trouble a: Colan
The Wrong Side of Love a: Rosenberger
July/      118  He Couldn't Trust Me a: Rosenberger
Say Goodbye to Love a: Colan
Sep/     119  Love Wasn't Enough for Him a: Colan
One Ticket--to Romance a: Sachs
Ask Me about Love--I'm an Expert p: Dick Giordano  i: Sal Trapani
Oct/      120  Can You Tell Someone to Love You? a: Manny Stallman
Maybe He'll Love Me Tomorrow a: Rosenberger

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dr. Varsag's Experiment 2.1

Plop 12 mole man

The story "Dr. Varsag's Experiment" in DC's Plop! 12 (May/75) loosely adapts a pulp prose story published over 30 years earlier, but not the story with precisely the same title, "Dr. Varsag's Experiment" (Amazing Stories, Jan/40). The basis for the comic-book piece about creating a mole man is "Dr. Varsag's Second Experiment" (Amazing Stories, Aug/43).

Amazing Stories Aug 43 mole man

Both Varsag pulp stories were credited to Craig Ellis, but that pen name covered a different writer on each one (see the ISFDB; I found the info in the 1952 Day Index.). The first is the only SF story that Lee Rogow had published, as far as I know. The second is by David V. Reed. He used the pen name Coram Nobis for his Plop! scripts like the "Dr. Varsag" refry. (The artist is Lee Marrs.)

The first Varsag experiment in Amazing involved giving someone superspeed with mongoose-based injections. Does that sound as if some comics writer lifted it a lot sooner than 1975?

Friday, September 18, 2015

A 70s Marvel Artist's First Stories at Timely (UPDATE: Well, One of Them)

All True Crime Cases 35

In 1948-49 as Timely started moving away from superheroes, their new crime and horror books had talky scripts and bland art; many of the artists have gone unidentified for the better part of seventy years, and may never be known.

Among the artists are some just starting out, who haven't developed the styles we recognize from the Marvel Age. Dr. Michael J. Vassallo has tracked Gene Colan's Timely work, for instance, to the artist's first stories, by working backwards month by month from his earliest signed work later in the Fifties—Colan's style is just the tiniest bit different a month before, and just a tiny bit more different the month before that, until at last it would be just about unrecognizable around 1948 if one didn't follow it step by step through the increments of change.

But Don Perlin's style seems to have sprung forth fully grown, as if from the brow of Zeus. This page is from "He Dreamt of Doom." So far I've looked at only the first two years of the crime books; they're something of a chore to go through before the scripts and arts become more appealing.

The Grand Comics Database has Perlin doing two one-page pieces in Western Winners 6 (Aug/49), but there I must confess I can't see him. When most of the artists start signing their work, Perlin does too; for instance, he has a story in Marvel Tales 110 (Dec/52) signed with inker Abe Simons.

UPDATE: Per Doc V.'s comment, I've dropped the other two stories ("Her Night of Peril" in Lawbreakers Always Lose 8 and "The Witch's Son" in Marvel Tales 96) that I'd listed here originally. I let myself see something Perlinesque in one or two panels in those, but I think "He Dreamt of Doom" shows Perlin in every panel.

early Don Perlin at Timely:
All True Crime Cases

Sept/49 35  He Dreamt of Doom

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Star Spangled War Writers Before Kanigher

Star Spangled War Stories was the one DC war comic not edited by Robert Kanigher at the start, so there are no records extant for its first issues' writers and artists. Reportedly it was Murray Boltinoff, solo, behind the indicia's editing credit to Whitney Ellsworth.

SSWS 9 Sad Sack Squad--

This page from "The Sad Sack Squad" in #9 provides four or five clues to Jack Miller. In some other SSWS stories he uses a sound effect he doesn't need that much in mystery or superhero scripts: Peeow for the sound of a shell. As usual, there are other stories in this run that I'm only half-convinced could be Miller's or Herron's; maybe on another pass I'll be better sure of some and add to the list.

Kanigher takes over editing with issue 13. The one story whose writer is not on his records, "Gen. Hunger" in #19, evidently is inventory from Boltinoff. The art is by Howard Sherman, who had a couple of stories in the earliest issues of SSWS but none that I can think of otherwise in the Kanigher books.

Early Star Spangled War Stories writers

Nov/52 #3  "Hundred-Mission" Mitchell Jack Miller
Booby-Trap Ed Herron
Dec/     #4  Buy Your Way Out Herron
Jan/53 #5  Take Hill 21--Or Else! Herron
Combat Cowboy Miller
Feb/     #6  Operation Davy Jones Herron
Mar/    #7  The Rookie Ranger Miller
Apr/     #8  I Was a Hollywood Soldier Miller
May/     #9  The Sad Sack Squad Miller
Diary of a Dogface Miller
Double Trouble Miller
Jun/     #10  The G.I. and the Gambler Miller
The Last Bullet Miller
Jul/     #11  The Flag and the Fort Miller
The Fighting Hick Miller
The Girl They Left Behind Miller
Mar/54 #19  Gen. Hunger Miller

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Dinosaur Island Artist on Sub-Mariner

The "Dinosaur Island" artist (1946-48 at DC), Paul Cooper, works on Sub-Mariner at Timely before moving over to Batman. He has more than one inker here (possibly one of them is himself—who knows?). The figure poses are the better way to find Cooper's pencils when close-ups of faces show more of the inker's style.

There are a few other stories from this period that I've spent days considering and finally decided to leave off the list, and it's the inking that's made it hard to tell.

For what it's worth, in every story below, the final panel closes as you see in "Horror Island"—with "End", rather than "The End" as in the other features in these issues.

Paul Cooper pencils on Sub-Mariner
in Marvel Mystery Comics

Sep/45 66  Sub-Mariner vs. the Murderous "Zako"
Nov/     67  The Lost Soldier

in Human Torch

Fall/45 20  The Carnival Murders
Win/46 21  Murder in Blackout

in All Winners

Sum/45 16  The Fabulous Racket

in All Select

Sum/46 10  Horror Island

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Final Siegel & Shuster Story

ME's Funnyman in 1948 was bylined Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; I myself can't see any Shuster work there. If he did, for instance, any layouts, they're overwhelmed by finishes that look like full art by the likes of John Sikela.

The GCD inexplicably attributes "You Can't Escape" in Atlas's Adventures into Terror 6 (Oct/51) to Joe Shuster when it isn't by him. His signed work at Charlton in the mid-Fifties is ghosted by Bill Molno. Attributions to Shuster on crime at St. John in the same time period are back-formations from the Charlton work; those St. John stories are drawn by Molno.

Shuster did have work at St. John, though. Their Approved Comics reprinted Ziff-Davis features, but issue 2 (March/54), Invisible Boy, is evidently inventory. The Who's Who puts Jerry Siegel's Invisible Boy scripting at Z-D, where he was an editor, and attributes the feature at St. John to Paul S. Newman. As far as I can tell, the scripter on the book is indeed Siegel.

I have no idea who drew the issue's three other stories, although the style feels familiar. But the art on the first one, "The Secret Formula," is by Joe Shuster; his style hasn't morphed into something dramatically different from the early Superboy stories. This, not those Charlton stories, would be his final work in comic books, and unlike the Superboy feature, teamed him one last time with Jerry Siegel.

Invisible Boy in Approved Comics 2

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Schaffenberger Romance at DC

GLS 178 Where the Action Is

I'm surprised Kurt Schaffenberger didn't do much more romance at DC than these stories (there are issues I haven't seen yet, so maybe there are a few). He does have a credited story later, in Young Love 124 (Mar/77).

Evidently others aren't expecting him there either, because his pencils on these two stories have gone unidentified. Nobody's made a guess on "Look before You Love;" and "Where the Action Is" (as seen above) has been attributed to Jay Scott Pike on pencils. Up to a point you can say "Vince Colletta" to explain it, but there's plenty of credited Schaffenberger/Colletta art on the superhero books in the Seventies for comparison; also for comparison, the story before "Where the Action Is" in GLS 178, "Play with Fire," is indeed (as attributed) Pike/Colletta.

Kurt Schaffenberger pencils on DC romance:

Falling in Love

Oct/72 137  Look before You Love w: Jack Oleck  i: Vince Colletta

Girl's Love Stories

Jul-Aug/73 178  Where the Action Is i: Colletta