Friday, November 28, 2014

An Unheralded Sixties Marvel Artist

There are a number of comics at companies like Dell and Tower in the Sixties where Joe Giella shares the inking with Frank Giacoia—most noticeably over Mike Sekowsky's pencils, but with other pencillers as well. The publishers don't give credits to anyone on those stories.

On his work with Giacoia at mid-Sixties Marvel, Giella goes uncredited. Giacoia gets the credit (as "Frank Ray") when inking credit is given; the four girls' titles, Patsy Walker's and Millie the Model's, are the last to switch over to more than just writer and penciller signatures, in 1965.

There are some shake-ups in the art on Patsy Walker and Patsy and Hedy before this: Stan Goldberg and Sol Brodsky pinch-hitting for Al Hartley on pencils, for instance (Brodsky pencils PW 120 and 121 below, but Hartley returns for the others). Inkers such as Chic Stone and Vince Colletta come aboard for a few issues—it took Nick Caputo's ID of Stone on the GCD to place that artist for me on the feature; no problems with recognizing Colletta! I'd agree that the inking on P & H 101 is John Tartaglione's, so it's skipped below.

It looks as if Giella inks the majority of pages on all of these issues save P & H 102. I think I might see a few Giella pages where one close-up face has been inked by Giacoia, whose inks editor Stan Lee was no doubt expecting to see somewhere. Al Hartley's pencils manage to show through Giella's inks, but some of Sol Brodsky's pages might as well be pencilled by Giella himself in the Sheldon Moldoff style; these pages with their Bob Kane hands are from Patsy Walker 121.

Patsy Walker 121

Joe Giella does do some credited inking for Marvel a decade later, and in fact shares the inking credits with Frank Giacioa on Power Man 35 (Sep/76).

Joe Giella and Frank Giacoia inks
on Patsy Walker

Apr/65 120  What Can We Do about Nancy Brown?
Jun/     121  Another Spring, Another City, Another Love
Aug/     122  No Greater Love
Oct/     123  Don't Leave Me, My Love

on Patsy and Hedy

Jun/65 100  When a Girl Becomes...a Woman
Oct/     102  So Much Love, So Few Kisses [mostly Giacoia]
Aug/     103  Love's Finest Hour

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Charlton Crime from Carl Memling

You'd imagine that Charlton's Racket Squad in Action would be the least objectionable of the crime comics, its subject matter being swindles rather than injuries to the eye or Tommy-gun massacres. I'm sure Frederick Wertham considered it a how-to manual, however; and certainly Charlton put out enough other material sitting there smoking and saying, "What are you gonna do? Comics-Code me?"

Walter B. Gibson is listed as assistant editor on issues 1-9. Although so far I've concentrated on finding Carl Memling's stories, it strikes me that Gibson could have written all the stories in #1-7 as well as "The Fake Bond Swindle" in #9.

Carl Memling turns out to be Charlton's main writer from mid-1953 into early 1955 by cover dates. (He’s well-represented in their horror comics too.) There are other writers; in Racket Squad 13, "Malignant Model Agency" and "The Basketball Scandals" are by the same person, whoever that may be. Ken Fitch is known to have written Racket Squad in 1955-56. Joe Gill starts writing for the title in 1956 (it did survive under the Code) and is its sole comics writer by the last issue, #29, in 1958.

Carl Memling Scripts in
Racket Squad in Action

Aug/53 In the Driver's Seat
The Death Notice Racket
Hush Money
The Misery Chiselers
Oct/     Two Fisted Fix
Reverse Twist
Letter Perfect
Jan/54 10  Stamp of Guilt
A Handful of Aces
When Two Thieves Meet
Door to Door Swindle
The Stradivarius Swindle
M-J/    11  Botticelli of the Bangtails
Photo Frame-Up
A-S/     12  Robbery by Appointment
The Ransom Swindle
Refund Artist
Protection Game
O-N/     13  Your Money or Your Face!
Hot Ice
A Case for the Police
Free Pick-Up
Jan/55 14  The Big Freeze
The Double-Talk-Artists
Mar/     15  Limited Edition
Double Trouble

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Ghost in Operation Bikini

"Operation Bikini," a 1963 AIP movie with Frankie Avalon, might sound like a Beach Party movie, but it came out before the first of that series; it was a World War II frogmen story. Until 1946 and the A-bomb tests there inspired a name for the new "atomic" swimsuit style, "Bikini" would have meant only the Pacific atoll. (AIP's publicity department didn't let that bother them for the posters.)

A number of the Movie Classics (and other Dell titles) included among their artists combinations of Vince Colletta, Dick Giordano, Joe Sinnott, John Tartaglione, Frank McLaughlin, Sal Trapani, and various Trapani ghosts. Operation Bikini (Oct/63) most obviously features Colletta's inks on the entire issue.

I can tell myself that I see a few Giordano poses or faces on later pages. That may just be because I expect to see him there, but certainly there were multi-artist jams among this loose group of artists at Dell. His deciding the poses would make those pages his pencils, of course, not inks. On one or two of the later pages I could admit the possibility of pencils by, say, Sinnott.

Most pages' pencils, though, belong to none of that group, it seems to me. Giordano or Sinnott's pencils usually show better through Colletta's inks, overwhelming as the inks are. There's one touch that I don't recall seeing Sinnott or Giordano use that made me consider a particular artist.

Operation Bikini, Daniel Boone 6, AITU 146

I believe the penciller on most of the book, certainly the first part, is Sam Citron. Note the distinctive motion lines around the head of Malone in the second panel of the Dell page. Compare with the same from "Menace of the Renegades" in Quality's Exploits of Daniel Boone 6 (Sept/56).  And see the lines used to indicate not head-swiveling but confusion in "Strange Planet" from ACG's Adventures into the Unknown 146 (Feb/64). On the latter story, Citron's pencils are credited (Pete Costanza is the inker).

At least those various artists' Dells would give indexers something to pore over for half a century—and beyond...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blackhawk Backups 1956

Blackhawk 101 Baron von Richtofen
For their final year publishing comic books, Quality dropped the Chop-Chop reprints in Blackhawk as of #95 and instituted a series of aviation backup stories; "Rescue from the Sky" concerns civilian aviation, but after that they're all military-related.

The art credits are straightforward: Sam Citron on all. He was Quality's artist of choice that year on Robin Hood Tales, and inked others into his look on Exploits of Daniel Boone.

The writers are the Blackhawk writers and, in point of fact, the remaining Quality writers. For what it's worth, the Who's Who lists John Broome, of all people, on 1956 Blackhawk backups, but I can't see him on the any of the three I haven't been able to attribute to Bernstein or Millard.

Blackhawk Backups 1956
Art by Sam Citron

Jan/56 96  Rescue from the Sky w: ?
Feb/    97  War in the Sky w: Joe Millard
Mar/    98  David and Goliath in the Sky w: Millard
Apr/    99  Fear and Flight w: ?
May/    100  The Ghost Plane w: Robert Bernstein
June/    101  The Incredible Exploits of Baron von Richtofen w:  ?
July/    102  Critical Target w: Bernstein
Aug/    103  Fighter for Freedom w: Bernstein
Sept/    104  Caged w: Bernstein
Oct/     105  Winged Menace w: Bernstein
Nov/     106  Sam's Sixth Sense w: Bernstein
Dec/     107  Red Helicopter Ambush w: Bernstein