Tuesday, February 26, 2013

That Strange Feeling That You've Been Here Before

Some of the notable examples of comic book features recycling stories are in The Spirit, the Superman family, and the Marvel western and weird titles. That's not even counting writers redoing stories they did at other companies; I can think of a Jack Oleck story appearing at EC, Harvey, Prize, and DC. The rewrites I speak of are ones instigated by the editors; as Mort Weisinger is supposed to have rationalized it, there's a new audience of kids every five years.

Unusual Tales 41, Black Cat 1st page--dancing around black cat statuette
This pair of stories at Charlton—"The Black Cat" in Unusual Tales 41 (Sept/63) and "The Golden Horse" in Strange Suspense Stories 73 (Jan/65)—came out only a year and a third apart; I don't see the editors not being in on it. The same artist, Rocco Mastroserio, drew both. If there's anything not by the original writer, Joe Gill, in the rewrite, I can't see it. Panel for panel this is the same story, rewritten to fit a different historical period. In both versions a statuette falls and shatters, but in the second it's made of gold, a flubbed detail that shows the speed with which Charton work was done; Gill later told that he couldn't afford to do second drafts at the page rates.

Strange Suspense Stories 73, Golden Horse 1st page--dancing around golden horse statuette


  1. The Iger studio also recycled plots.
    Most of the Ajax/Farrell Phantom Lady storiee were re-drawn Fox Phamtom Lady tales with the pre-Comics Code violence and sexiness toned-down for the Code-approved versions!

    The Chester studio, on the other hand, recycled the same art with new stories
    I found an example of ONE story done THREE times, with three different lead characters...
    Lady Satan: Wild Night at Wild Acres
    Phantom of Marco's Villa
    Ghost of Castle Karloff

  2. Considering how little they were paying to begin with, it seems like pinching the last pennies until they squealed.

  3. So what was the Jack Oleck story you're talking about?

  4. "Has-Been," INCREDIBLE SCIENCE FICTION 31, Sept-Oct/55

    "The Old Man," BLACK MAGIC v.6 #2, Nov-Dec/57

    "The Has-Been," BLACK CAT MYSTIC 62, March/58

    "The Veteran," WEIRD WAR TALES 27, July/74

    I first encountered the BLACK CAT MYSTIC one reprinted in DOUBLE-DARE ADVENTURES 1, Dec/66. I wouldn't be surprised if Oleck had sold another late-Fifties version to Atlas!