Friday, March 23, 2012

The Man from UNCLE Affair

on right: Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll), Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn)

Above is a panel from Gold Key's The Man from UNCLE 3, pencilled by George Tuska.

Following up on Mark Evanier's comment about likenesses: although in some cases the license holders insisted on extra work for that fidelity, in other cases the contracts forbade comic books from using likenesses. After the comic book's first two issues, the powers-that-were recognized the popularity of David McCallum's character Illya Kuryakin, and so he and Leo G. Carroll's Alexander Waverly became recognizable in the comics. In those first issues, only Napoleon Solo's face was reinked or redrawn, for the sake of Robert Vaughn's likeness—as in the Tuska panels below, from #2.

panel 1: Solo (Vaughn) and generic Kuryakin; panel 2: Solo (Vaughn) and generic Waverly

On the entire series, it looks to me as if Mike Peppe inked more than the Sekowsky issues attributed to him previously; I'm not sure if #1-2, apart from the Solo faces, were inked by someone other than pencillers Heck and Tuska respectively. (Update: read Mark's comment on this post.)

If Marshall McClintock wrote the Man from UNCLE for Gold Key as the Who's Who says, he didn't do final scripts; they're all by Paul S. Newman or Dick Wood. Wood's are filled with his trademark exclamations such as "Great suffering Hannah." Wood errs in his first script, as many have, by referring to UNCLE as the United Network Command for Law Enforcement—it's the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Man from UNCLE Written by Paul S. Newman

May/65#1 The Explosive Affairp: Don Heck  i: ?
Oct/65#2 The Fortune Cookie Affairp: George Tuska  i: ?

Written by Dick Wood, Inked by Mike Peppe

Nov/65#3 The Deadly Devices Affairp: pg. 1-26 Tuska, pg. 27-32 Heck
Jan/66#4 The Rip Van Solo Affairp: Werner Roth
Mar/66#5 The Ten Little Uncles Affairp: Heck
May/66#6 The Three Blind Mice Affairp: Mike Sekowsky
July/66#7 The Pixilated Puzzle Affairp: Sekowsky
Sept/66#8 The Floating People Affairp: Sekowsky
Nov/66#9 The Spirit of St. Louis Affairp: Sekowsky
Jan/67#10 The Trojan Horse Affairp: Sekowsky
Mar/67#11 The Three-Story Giant Affairp: Sekowsky
May/67#12 The Dead Man's Diary Affairp: Sekowsky
July/67#13 The Flying Clowns Affairp: Sekowsky
Sept/67#14 The Brain Drain Affairp: Sekowsky
Nov/67#15 The Animal Agents Affairp: Tom Gill
Jan/68#16 The Instant Disaster Affairp: Gill
Mar/68#17 The Deadly Visions Affairp: Mike Roy
May/68#18 The Alien Affairp: Roy
July/68#19 The Knight in Shining Armor Affairp: Roy
Oct/68#20 The Deep Freeze Affairp: Roy

The Man from UNCLE stories in #21 and 22 were reprints. #5-8 were reprinted in the British Man from UNCLE World Adventure Library in late 1966.


  1. I'm pretty sure Tuska didn't ink #2 and almost as sure than Heck didn't ink #1. There are places in #1 that look a bit like Heck's own inking but not enough to give him the credit. Both those issues look to me like several folks had a hand in them and not just in redrawing likenesses. Matter of fact, I don't think it was until Sekowsky came along on the book that the faces appear to be largely the work of the main penciler.

    One of the tricky things about identifying Mike Peppe inks is that he was one of those guys who was often involved in team inking. Like Joe Giella and a few others, he turns up for a few pages in a lot of stories mainly inked by Frank Giacoia at Marvel. There are a number of issues of DAREDEVIL penciled by Colan and officially inked by Giacoia that are real team efforts to the point where Giacoia completely disappears, especially on pages with no drawings of the title character. Peppe's in a lot of them, as are others. (Interestingly, Giacoia seems to have gotten very little help on the Kirby stories he inked for Marvel. Joe Giella says he had to badger Frank into letting him ink a few figures once in a Kirby job, just for the experience.)

    One other thing about likenesses. Sometimes, there was a severe problem at Gold Key with getting reference materials on the people you had to draw. Dan Spiegle has all sorts of horror stories about having to illustrate Disney movie adaptations with only one tiny photo of one of the key actors. There were also times when he'd draw faithful likenesses, then the editors would find out they didn't have the right to depict certain actors and Dan would have to go back in and redo the faces to make them LESS accurate.

  2. And Alex Toth couldn't be given a single photo of the Time Machine itself for the movie adaptation.

    Yes, about the best I could come up with on the first two issue's inks was that they looked different than the inks on the same pencillers in #3. I've updated the post with question marks for inking, instead of giving full art credit to Heck and Tuska, on #1 and 2.

  3. Thanks for this page! I've always loved that period of Gold Key Comics artistry! Especially fave TV shows like Man & Girl from U.N.C.L.E. - Ron L. Ottawa, Canada.