Friday, December 16, 2011

Early Gill at Timely? Or Too Early?

"Vanishing Oil Tank Cars" is the Human Torch story in All Select Comics 3, Spring/1944.

All Select 3 caption: 'And so Torch and Toro leave Wilbur and his Nazi accomplices to a fate from which there is no return!'

Compare the upper right-hand caption in the Torch section with the one in the same upper right-hand corner on this page of The Hidden Kingdom" in Charlton's Jungle Jim 24, June/1969 (art by Pat Boyette).

Jungle Jim 24 caption: '...And Rowden's plane is thrown into the dive from which there is no return...'

My instinct is to attribute the Torch story to the writer credited on the Jungle Jim one: Joe Gill. Gill is known to have worked at Marvel in the Forties and Fifties, before going to Charlton. The one thing that gives me pause is not knowing when he returned from the service. The Who's Who has him starting at Marvel around 1945, which I don't take as hard and fast, but a story published with a Spring '44 cover date would have to be written in late 1943. Does anybody know when Joe Gill got home from the Pacific?


  1. From Comic Book Artist #9.

    Joe Gill was actually introduced to the world of comics writing by his brother, Ray Gill, and his good friend, and one of the legendary crime novelists of the 20th century, Mickey Spillane.

    "My brother was an editor at Funnies, Inc., an editorial service that packaged comics for publishers," Gill said. "They put Goodman—who became Marvel later—into comics, and did the first [comics] in my brother's office. [Owners] Lloyd and Grace Jacquet were pioneers in comics. Anyway, my brother was an editor there. I met Mickey working as temporary help in a department store and brought him home and he liked it and all of us got along well.

    "After I went to service in the following September, Mickey went into Funnies, because that was a door. He would write a two-page filler for 50¢. It was $1 a page for writing, but 50¢ for a filler—You could get a small story in for 50¢ those days!"

    After a short stint in the military during World War II as a radio operator, the writer returned to Brooklyn. "Mickey and my brother got together and opened a studio. It had to be painted and cleaned, so I helped them. I was going to go back to the Navy as a chief radio operator, but they said 'Don't do that; you're going to be a writer. ' I said 'No!' Anyway, when they got through putting the place together, there was a position for me—a table, a chair, and a typewriter—so that's how I got started."

    Patrick Ford

  2. I just looked up Mickey Spillane's dates at Funnies, and seeing that his first pieces came out in early 1942, the September that Joe Gill went into the Navy would have been 1941, before Pearl Harbor. A "short stint" of up to two years would get Gill back in time to write this Torch story. Thanks, Patrick, for excerpting that interview.

  3. Martin, I can also look up Gill's war service records at, but I'll have to do it the next time I visit the local library which offers that service to library card holders.

    Patrick Ford