Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kirby and Company's Alarming Tales

Jack Kirby's place in comics history is assured by other accomplishments; but in addition he came up with possibly the Platonic ideal of comic book story titles:

Alarming Tales 1--'The Fourth Dimension Is a Many Splattered Thing'

In this Alarming Tales list, note the scripters switched around (from what you might expect from the artwork) on the first two stories in #3.

There were two single-page text stories in each issue (#1's were Black Cat stories); I've entered here only the ones whose author I could tell; Jack Oleck's captions style (Almost, ___...; In the end, ___....) is so distinctive that it's carried through into prose, which is not at all always the case.

There seem to be a number of inkers on the different Kirby stories, or even on diferent pages. Some of the GCD's art attributions on other stories to people like Bob Brown (or, on "12,000 to 1," Jack Kirby) I can say are wrong, but I can't supply a better guess. Reed Crandall had nothing to do with "The Strange Power of Gary Ford," and here I can give the artist's name: Norman Nodel.

I would agree with the GCD indexers that the covers of #1-4 are mostly the work of editor Joe Simon, even if some Kirby material got used in them. When the title returned after a hiatus, like Simon's other Harvey titles at the time, John Severin did the covers to #5 and 6. And Simon did the intro pages to #1-4 (Bob Powell drew #5's and Bernard Baily #6's).

UPDATE: Robin Snyder sent along the Carl Wessler scripting credits, from Wessler's account books (kept like William Woolfolk's). I still see Bob Powell's writing style, as in The Man in Black and Henry Brewster, on "The Monster from 1977 A.D."; I suppose he massaged Wessler's script. The same thing happened with Wessler, Jack Oleck, and Otto Binder at EC for awhile, as Al Feldstein rewrote their scripts into his style at first.

Alarming Tales
Harvey Comics

Sep/57 The Cadmus Seed w: Jack Kirby  p: Kirby
Logan's Next Life w: Kirby  p: Kirby
The Fourth Dimension Is a Many Splattered Thing w: Kirby  p: Kirby
The Last Enemy w: Kirby  p: Kirby
Donnegan's Daffy Chair w: Kirby  p: Kirby
Nov/    Hole in the Wall w: Kirby  p: Kirby
The Hero w: Jack Oleck  a: ?
The Big Hunt w: Kirby  p: Kirby
The Fireballs w: Kirby  p: Kirby
The Traitor [text] w: Oleck
I Want to Be a Man w: Kirby  p: Kirby
Jan/58 This World Is Ours! w: Oleck  p: Kirby
They Walked on Water w: Kirby  a: Doug Wildey
Get Lost! w: ?  a: Ernie Schroeder
The Strange One w: Oleck  a: Wildey
Larsen's Lens [text] w: Oleck
The Man Who Never Lived w: Oleck  a: Wildey
Mar/    Forbidden Journey w: Kirby  p: Kirby
Secret Weapon w: Oleck  a: Wildey
The Monster from 1977 A.D. w: Carl Wessler & Bob Powell
 a: Powell
The End of a Sinister Man w: Wessler  a: Wildey
The Feast of the Rag Dolls w: ?  a: Wildey [pg 1 by another artist]
Sept/    Half Man-Half What w: Dick Wood  a: Matt Baker
Defeat w: ?  a: Paul Reinman
My Robot Plants w: ?  a: Fred Kida
The Fountain of Age w: Wood  a: Wildey
12,000 to 1 w: ?  a: ?
Nov/    Ambassador from Venus w: Wood  a: Bernard Baily
Moon Descent w: ?  a: Reinman
Who Knows? w: ?  a: ?
The Emotion Maker w: Wood  a: Kida
King of the Ants w: Wood  a: Al Williamson & Angelo Torres
The Strange Power of Gary Ford w: Wessler  a: Norman Nodel

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Woolfolk Records Update 6

Captain Aero 24 cover
These are stories mostly from Fawcett and Orbit whose publication data I wasn't able to add in boldface in my original posts of these months transcribed from William Woolfolk's script sales records. The Captain Aero is from Holyoke's Continental imprint. Some page counts were changed by the time the stories were drawn.

darkmark's comment on my Woolfolk Update 2 correctly posited "Swamp of Death" as this Captain Midnight story, although he hadn't the issue itself at the time; he since got it and uploaded it at the Digital Comic Museum. He found the iron mask Monte Hale story too. I had entered the gold rush Monte Hale story as "The Great Gold Strike" in issue 40, but that was published long before this one was written. UPDATING THE UPDATE: I'd reverted my bad guess at the story to the possible comic book titles and month here--I was close--but darkmark since found the specific story.

In the January 1945 records Woolfolk described only a few of his stories; I found this undescribed Captain Aero in Woolfolk's style—"Good glory!"—with a likely month's cover date. January 1947 was one of the three later months where he didn't describe any of the stories. But Howard Keltner's Index reminded me that in this timeframe there were no Sergeant Twilight stories for half a year after Captain Midnight 55, so I checked its story's style; it's Woolfolk's. It's under a CM logo but called "A Sergeant Twilight Story" above the title.

On the CMJ story notation I read Woolfolk's "phone" as "plane" (I think anyone would have) and transcribed it that way in the original post; but it was the editors' changing 4 dimensions to 5 that made the likely story difficult to track down with the Grand Comics Database search engine. Note that the story languished in the production process a good year or so longer than it should have, and ended up two pages shorter than the script called for.

The Wanted 16 stories' final titles I didn't get correct until I saw the comic book itself (in a scan). The GCD listed both of issue 18's 2-pagers as comics stories, but one turns out to be a text piece, so this untitled piece Woolfolk wrote right after longer stories for 18, the one that he calls a feature and not fiction (see 16's listing), has to be this one.

I found the Rocky Lane story listed by looking outside the GCD—at the MyComicsShop site.

January 1945

8 pg  Captain Aero "Bombs, Balloons and the Barnstorming Blonde" Capt Aero 24, Nov/45
April 1945

Captain Midnight Casey James in swamp
"Swamp of Death" Capt Midnight 39, Apr/46
January 1947

Sergeant Twilight "Kilroy Was There" Capt Midnight 55, Sept/47

September 1947

Captain Marvel Junior 4th dimensional phone
7  "The 5th Dimensional Phone" CMJ 77, Sept/49

May 1948

15  The Musical Murders a mad pianist
"The Musical Demon" Wanted 16, Nov/48
10  Double for Death playwright becomes character he writes about
"Double for Destiny" Wanted 16, Nov/48
fiction "What Happened to the Cyclops?" [text] Wanted 16, Nov/48
August 1948

Wanted feature "Wanted: Be on the Lookout for Walter Joseph Landreth" Wanted 18, Feb/49
January 1950

Rocky Lane Rocky Lane's bodyguard
"RL and His Bodyguard" RL Western 17, Sept/50
February 1950

Monte Hale fake gold rush to raise price of beef
"MH Battles the Great Hunger" Western Hero 94, Sept/50
July 1950

Monte Hale man in the iron mask
"MH Battles the Human Fort" MH Western 58, Mar/51

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Exploits of Daniel Boone

Exploits of Daniel Boone 2 splash, 'Duel at Dawn'

When I first looked at Quality's Exploits of Daniel Boone, I could see that the covers were by Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera, and that the writers were the company's mainstays in its final year, Joe Millard and "Q" (whom I now know is Robert Bernstein). I could find John Forte's work on some of the back-up stories, but on the Boone stories themselves I had no idea of the artist.

When I looked at the title again after IDing artists on G.I. Combat, I knew who drew Daniel Boone: Sam Citron. His style at Quality matched up with credited work at ACG in the Sixties.

But when I took a third look, I realized that the artist ID wasn't quite so simple after all. The Boone stories' art in all six issues looked similar because of the inking. The layout of the figures in some stories, though, was more awkward than Citron's usual work.

The penciller on most of issues 3-5 I'd come to recognize on other Quality features like T-Man, and Fawcett's Monte Hale; fittingly enough, Edmond Good was the first artist on DC's frontiersman series, Tomahawk. At times his figures look like Bob Kane's filtered through Sheldon Moldoff's ghosting; usually it's the hand placement that tells, but see the full figure of the farmer in the second panel here from "Master of Magic." The first two stories in issue 5 look different enough that I'd give a very tentative guess at John Daly's pencils.

UPDATE: I thought "War to the Finish" in #6 might be drawn by John Rosenberger, but I believe now that it's by Harry Anderson.

Daniel Boone 4 'Master of Magic'

Exploits of Daniel Boone

Nov/55 Doom at the Stake w: Joe Millard  a: Sam Citron
Raid in the Scioto w: Millard  a: Citron
Assault on Boonesborough w: Millard  a: Citron
 Jan/56 The Ghost of Dan'l Boone w: Millard  a: Citron
Duel at Dawn w: Millard  a: Citron
Web of the White Savage w: Millard  a Citron
 Mar/    Island of Doom w: Millard  p: Ed Good  i: Citron
Rescue from the Redskins w: Millard  p: Good  i: Citron
The Honor of Daniel Boone w: Millard  p: Good  i: Citron
 May/    Master of Magic w: Millard  p: Good  i: Citron
Rendezvous with Disaster w: Millard  p: Good  i: Citron
The Pilgrims from Pennsylvania w: Millard  p: Good  i: Citron
 July/    Treaty of Doom w: Robert Bernstein  p: ?
 i: Citron
The Cunning of Blackfish w: Bernstein p: ?  i: Citron
Mission of Peril w: Bernstein  p: Good  i: Citron
 Sept/    Menace of the Renegades w: Bernstein  a: Citron
Through the Indian Wall w: Bernstein  a: Citron
Desperate Mission w: Bernstein  a: Citron

Miscellaneous Frontier Stories in
Exploits of Daniel Boone

Nov/55 How the Cheyennes First Got Guns w: Millard  a: John Forte
 Jan/56 Rain of Fire w: Millard  a: Forte
 Mar/    The Wizard of the Water w: Millard  a: Citron
 May/    Sons of Courage w: Millard  a: Forte
 July/    Four-Footed Menace w: Bernstein  a: ?
 Sept/    War to the Finish w: Bernstein
 a: Harry Anderson

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Woolfolk Records 1950/07

William Woolfolk's stories are split between publishers Fawcett and Orbit in July.

Again, the 2 pages of "Dorothy's love story" for Dorothy Woolfolk constitute a plot, not script pages; the record-book entries for similar pieces a few months later add that detail.

UPDATE: darkmark found the Monte Hale sacred arrow story, and when I went to enter it I found a better match for the iron mask story (in the following issue of Western Hero) than darkmark's earlier suggestion made from the data available at that time.

Wanted 33 cover--The Web of Crime

July 1950 Comic Book Scripts by William Woolfolk

7 pg  Captain Marvel Jr. menace of medicine man
"CMJ Fights the Menace of the Medicine Man" CMJ 94, Feb/51
Wild Bill Pecos Nuggets Nugent's feud
"WPB Combats the Killin' Cappers" The Westerner 31, Dec/50
Captain Marvel Jr. the demon fencer
"CMJ Battles the Demon Fencer" CMJ 95, Mar/51
11  Wild Bill Pecos ghost town raiders
"Ghost Town Raiders" The Westerner 31, Dec/50
Monte Hale sacred arrow in stone
"The Guardian of the Arrow" Western Hero 100, Mar/51
Calamity Kate return of the Gaucho Kid
"The Return of the Gaucho Kid" The Westerner 31, Dec/50
10  Citadel of Crime gangster organizes his home town for crime
"Citadel of Crime" Wanted 33, Jan/51
Dead Man's Witness a horse provides clue to capture killer
"Dead Man's Witness" Wanted 32, Dec/50
Dorothy's love story Love Diary
Monte Hale man in the iron mask
"The Man with the Iron Mask" Western Hero 101, Apr/51
Web of Crime take the first step and there's no way out of crime
"Web of Crime" Wanted 33, Jan/51
Ibis a lost Roman galley looking for Cleopatra
"Ibis and the Twist in Time" Whiz 131, Mar/51

Friday, May 3, 2013

George Ziel's Two Comic Book Covers

George Ziel was a cover artist for the paperbacks; by the early Seventies the genre he was called upon most often to illustrate was Gothic romance.

He painted the covers of DC's first Gothic comic book, Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 1 (Sept-Oct/71), and one more, Sinister House of Secret Love 3 (Feb-Mar/72).

Dark Mansion 1 and Sinister House 3 covers
Lynn Monroe's Ziel checklist includes those comic book covers, as well as the Paperback Library cover (The House of Terror, as it happens) with the same figure of the candle-holding woman used on Sinister House 3.

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.