Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Manly Wade Wellman's Captain Marvel Sneak

Captain Marvel Adventures 1 tier--Sivana and henchmen

To expand pictorially on what I mentioned in the last post's comments: in the DC/Fawcett lawsuit in the late Forties, Manly Wade Wellman proved that he was an early Captain Marvel writer, even though he had no credits in the comics, because in Captain Marvel Adventures 1 (1941) he had sneaked in his name in the word balloons.

I've found this mentioned in a number of places, but I haven't found an illustration of the claim. Here are the first lines of each panel's first balloon on the first three pages of CMA 1:

acrostic from first lines of balloons in CMA 1: MANLY MADE TELLMAH
Note that the acrostic actually spells MANLY MADE TELLMAH; his sneak was messed up by editorial rewriting in some panels. I've shown  the first tier of panels above; to make this work, we have to assume that the inset in the second panel was material included in the first panel in the script.

Joe Simon also testified at that trial, as he and Jack Kirby supplied the art. Part of his testimony included the fact that they worked from Fawcett's scripts—and despite that, to this day the writing of CMA 1 has been attributed in places like the DC Archives reprint to Simon.

The point of Wellman's testimony was that he was instructed to copy Superman. But that reads, in the retellings at least, as his being instructed to copy Superman before Fawcett ever first published Captain Marvel—his writing Captain Marvel Adventures 1 showing that he was "in on the beginning" of the character because, you know, #1. That Cap debuted in Whiz Comics a year earlier goes unmentioned.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Woolfolk Records 1947/11

Master Comics 92 cover

Fawcett and Quality are William Woolfolk's known publishers for this month. I don't know who bought the two true-crime stories that he left undescribed in his records; they were paid at two different page rates.

Possibly last month the editors asked Woolfolk for an 11-page Kid Eternity script for Hit Comics, then found they had greater need of a 14-pager when a Kid Eternity issue's deadline loomed.

My Tom Mix ID is purely a guess; this is the closest-matching title in the timeframe of the other Fawcett stories here. I had to get the title from an Ebay auction; if there's an index of Tom Mix Western, I can't find it. The Ebay auction didn't mention the page count.

November 1947 Comic Book Scripts by William Woolfolk

9 pg Captain Marvel Jr.space slavers
"The Space Slavers" Master 92, June/48
Captain Marvel goes blind
"CM's Blindness" Marvel Family 24, June/48
Kid Eternity(added to 11 pg story)
14 "The Hole in the Sky" KE 10, July/48
Captain Marvel Jr.the name of death
"The Name of Death" MF 24, June/48
15 Plastic Manthe man who could walk thru walls
"Penetro, Master of Solids" Police 80, July/48
Captain Marvelthe next step in man's evolution
"CM and the Men of Destiny" CM Advs 86, July/48
Ibisdescent into the Maelstrom
"The Descent into the Maelstrom" Whiz 99, July/48
True Crime[publication unknown]
11 Doll Manthe aerial hearse
"The Doll Man Meets His Deadly Enemy, the Undertaker" Feature 125, Aug/48
13 True Crime[publication unknown]
Captain Marvelthe rumor that wouldn't stop
"The Rumor That Wouldn't Stop" CM Advs 86, July/48
Tom Mixthe idol of outlaws
?? "Mistaken Identity" TM Western 7, July/48
15 Plastic Mangorilla becomes a genius
"Gargantua, the Phi Beta Gorilla" Police 81, Aug/48
Marvel Familyon trial in fake criminal court
"The MF on Trial" MF 25, July/48

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emergency Doctor, Son of Ben Casey?

Emergency Doctor 1 (Sum/63) is a Charlton one-shot in the medical genre of their ongoing series like Nurse Betsy Crane and Three Nurses. The TV show "Ben Casey" was a strong influence, though—so strong that they used Ben Casey's artist.

Emergency Doctor 1

Norman Nodel drew Dell's Ben Casey 1 (June-July/62) through 5 (Mar-Apr/63).

Ben Casey 1

As I said in my Ben Casey post, writer Carl Memling's ambulance sirens go "Rowrrr." When I saw that Nodel had drawn Emergency Doctor and that its sirens went "Rowrrr," my first thought was that Charlton had acquired an unused Ben Casey and had Nodel lightly redraw Vince Edwards' likeness. But the lettering in the Charlton machine style shows that this wasn't a Dell job changed with no more than a few brush strokes.

In fact, the script is by Joe Gill. He uses "Rowrrr" elsewhere for animal roars; by coincidence he uses it for sirens here. Did he rewrite Dell pages, which were then relettered? I don't think so; the number of pages in the issue's two Emergency Doctor stories don't match the fuller-length no-ads Dell standard. More tellingly, Emergency Doctor, along the lines of the nurse books, concentrates on an ongoing doctor-nurse romance that isn't in the Ben Casey comic because it isn't in the TV show.

Speaking of Joe Gill, from what I've seen he did write the vast majority of Charlton stories in the early Sixties. (Carl Wessler had written there in the Fifties, and the newbies like Dave Kaler, Steve Skeates, and so on, would come aboard in the mid-Sixties. I think Pete Morisi was writing his own stories before the mid-Sixties; I don't know Don Segall's tenure.)

One of Gill's stylistic tells is his long introductory blurbs with a number of sentences strung together with conjunctions. It seems counter-productive, when he was getting paid by the page, not by the word, but my theory is that it actually helped him in the long run. Joe Gill has said that he plotted as he typed (at his page rate, he had to). Getting started on the script with a flow-of-consciousness description of the set-up may have been a way of jump-starting the plotting process, to keep his mind a panel or two ahead of his fingers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Writers: Ghost Stories 1-10

This is the first half of the run of new material in Dell's Ghost Stories. These issues are reprinted in order as #21-30. All the dates are shown as quarterly on the comics, so my Nov/62 is short for Sept-Nov/62, and so on.

I see three different writers on Ghost Stories 1; "The Monster of Dread End" and "The Black Stallion" are caption-heavy as anything in spots, but "The Werewolf Wasp" and "The Door" don't use a single caption between them. "The Door" moreover uses no sound effects and even makes do with a number of silent panels. I don't think John Stanley scripted the entire issue.

Ghost Stories 1: The Door--4 out of 6 panels silent

A few years ago, I mistakenly attributed Ghost Stories 2's scripts to Paul S. Newman. His stories appear in the second half of the run.

Ed Robbins drew "Dread End," and two unknown artists did the next two stories in #1. Gerald McCann was artist on "The Black Stallion" and then all stories in issues 2-5; Frank Springer drew #6-10.

The covers on these issues are by a number of painters whom I can't identify.

Ghost Stories 1 Writers

Nov/62#1 The Monster of Dread End...John Stanley
The Werewolf Wasp"GS 1"
The Door..."GS 2"
The Black StallionStanley

Ghost Stories
2-10 Writer: Carl Memling

June/63#2 37 Pounds of Devotion...
Phantom's Best Friend
The Thousand-Year-Old Bug
Portrait of...?
Sept/63#3 An Unforgettable Day
The Day the Soldiers Ran
Blood, Sweat and Fear
When Would Death Come for Daniel Du Prey?
Dec/63#4 To My Killer with Affection
Have I Been Here Before?
The Face in the Picture
Appointment with Sam Mara
Mar/64#5 Pelham's Prediction
Only Pantoro Knew
The Helping Hand
Who Was the Stranger?
June/64#6 Escape Act
The Last deMaudred
The Route to...?
Fight to the Finish
Sept/64#7 Larger Than Life
Blood Will Tell
The Magic Box
The Death Room
Dec/64#8 Piece of the Past
Needed: One Miracle
A Fistfull of Evil
Death and Beyond
Mar/65#9 Smasher of Idols
Beyond the Call of Duty
The Death Bone
The Tale of a Strange Dog
June/65#10 Image of Evil
My Uncle Has Green Leaves
A Terrible Surprise
The Last Laugh

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Woolfolk Records 1947/10

Crack 56 cover
Back to the William Woolfolk records—Marc Svensson, who scanned the pages of Woolfolk's sales notebook thanks to Donna Woolfolk, has consolidated his scans, and so now I can fill in the years that I had skipped, from the late '40s and early '50s. Click the Woolfolk Records label below to see all the previous entries.

Fawcett, Quality, and Timely were the writer's publishers this month. The true crime story I can't track down was paid at the same rate as the Human Torch stories, so might be in a Timely comic.

Bold indicates my additions (Woolfolk didn't enter the publication data of the stories, which is our interest now). Possibly the Timely editors saw the writing on the wall (by 1949 they'd stop publishing the superheroes) and started adjusting scripts to fit any upcoming slots—not only cutting script pages but reworking characters into others. Woolfolk wrote the additional 3 pages of the Kid Eternity script next month.

October 1947 Comic Book Scripts by William Woolfolk

7 pg True Crimeseeress of murder
Ibisglacier man
"The Glacier Man" Whiz 98, June/48
Swing Sissonmaestro of murder
"The Maestro of Murder" Feature 125, Aug/48
15 Captain Triumphgossip columnist
"Gossip Leads to Murder" Crack 56, Aug/48
12 Human Torchyoung prize-fighter
Marvel Familyfamily of the future
"The Family of the Future" MF 24, June/48
11 Kid Eternityhole in the sky
14 "The Hole in the Sky" KE 10, July/48
12 Human Torchgossip columnist
8 as Sub-Mariner"Terror of the Tattler" Blonde Phantom 18, July/48
Captain Marveltime kidnappers
"The Kidnappers" Whiz 98, June/48
Tom Mixthe fighting schoolmarm
"The Fighting Schoolmarm" Wow 67, June/48
12 Human Torchmeets the Gambler
10 "He Gambled on Death" HT 31, July/48
11 Plastic Manmeets the Riverman
"Riverman" PM 12, July/48
10 Human Torchthe Gay Blade
"Gay Blade of Terror" All Winners 1, Aug/48