Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Dell Mystery Artist
This artist's individual issues at Dell have gone unidentified—the Who's Who credits him there with "various features," 1961-62. Gerald McCann did the second issue of Bachelor Father; John Tartaglione and other pencillers (perhaps including Hy Eisman, Vince Colletta's 1960-64 ghost penciller), with Colletta inking, took over Barbie and Ken for #3-5.
I must admit that it took me a while to place the artist, but take a good look (click to enlarge). There's more to go by than his style. I name him in the first comment. This isn't his only work for Dell; I'll get to more in another post.
Barbie and Ken is an interesting concept: I take it as all imaginary stories. The fan club girls relate their meetings with Barbie and Ken, but the evidence is that they've made up the stories for entertainment; this way the couple can start over in a new job in each story (for the sake of wearing the different doll outfits). At the end of the first issue, they even get married, but the unknown comic book writer's not stuck with that; no deal with Mephisto is needed to retcon it away. Or are all the stories made up? After one in which, according to its narrator, Barbie and Ken promised to visit the fan club, the couple arrives in the flesh.
This is certainly Mad Men-era; in the first issue, Barbie is an airline stewardess, but Ken is the pilot; Barbie is a nurse, Ken a doctor. From the perspective of fifty years later, it's obvious that Barbie would have made a fine pilot or doctor herself, because the five issues portray her as super-competent at each new job. No "Math is hard" from this Barbie!