Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Writer "Q" Gets a Name

In my Ken Shannon and G.I. Combat posts I identified one writer only as "Q"—I could see his style in story after story in Quality's last couple of years, but I couldn't put a name to him. He wasn't any of the writers listed in the Who's Who as working there; for all I knew, he never worked anyplace else and would remain unknown.

I found him at Atlas in the early Fifties. Robert Bernstein had a number of Black Rider stories signed for him by artist Jay Scott Pike. Bernstein scripted more Atlas stories at the time, but uncredited.

"Q" stands out at Quality by so many captions precise as to time: Ten minutes later..., Twenty minutes later.... Exclamations like "Iiieeee," "Eeiii," and "Urghh" distinguish his scripts from, say, Joe Millard's or Dick Wood's there at mid-Fifties Quality. These are details that jumped out at me when at last I read those Black Rider stories.

The problem is that these scripts don't sound much like Bernstein's half a decade later at Archie with the Fly and Jaguar, sat DC with the Superman family, or even at Marvel with Thor, Iron Man, and the Human Torch. His captions Moments after..., when the other writers use Moments later..., don't show up in the earlier stuff.

Writers' styles can change over the years, but my methodology depends on their not changing completely. I felt better about my IDing "Q" as Bernstein when I found a few of his later quirks sprinkled through these stories. One difference between Bernstein and Otto Binder on Superman: Binder uses "Omigosh" only; Bernstein uses "Migosh" as well. "Q" uses "Migosh." The clues that led me years ago to Bernstein on Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Congorilla were certain sound effects used on Superman, the Archie Adventure heroes, and the Marvel heroes. Pwanng connects this Two-Gun Lil story from Crack Western 83 (March/53) with the Aquaman story from Adventure 260 (May/59).

Crack Western 83 and Adventure 260 panels with sound effect Pwanng

The Who's Who has Robert Bernstein working at Fawcett, strips unknown; I hope I can track him down there eventually, too.


  1. Don't forget to update your entry for DOLL MAN #44!

  2. Done--and I added the Bernstein scripts label there now that he's in more than one post.