Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Western Nighthawk's First Writer

When DC's anthology Western Comics gains a new cover feature with Pow-Wow Smith in #43 (Jan-Feb/1954), Julius Schwartz has become editor. As on his other books he records payments to writers and artists, and he inherits, to some extent, Jack Schiff's payment records for the title; thus there are more extensive Western writer credits in the Grand Comics Database than you might have expected. The surviving records don't, unfortunately, extend all the way back to #1.

Masked and double-identitied Nighthawk took over the slot of the similar Vigilante with #5 (and missed #6). Western 5 came out in the same month as DC's Dale Evans Comics, where writer Joe Millard's best-known DC work, the Sierra Smith back-up strip (not to mention his Dale Evans stories) begins. Millard's run on Nighthawk coincides, as it happens, with Charles Paris's run of pencils and inks on the feature.

Western 5 Nighthawk--'Eeeeow'

The incidence of  "Eeeeow" led me to Millard as the author on these. For another thing, he begins a few balloons per story with "Gulp!", a habit that Gardner Fox and Don Cameron, soon Western's go-to authors, don't have. Millard's exclamatory captions are reminiscent of Otto Binder's.

These are all of Millard's Nighthawk stories. I can see that #13 and 14's are by a single author, although one I can't put a name to; an Alan Brennan is known from the Who's Who to have written Nighthawk in 1950, so take that as you will. In another few issues Cameron and Fox write their first Nighthawks.

Nighthawk in Western Comics
Scripts by Joe Millard
Art by Charles Paris

Sep-Oct/48 #5  The Lair of the Timberwolf
Jan-Feb/49 #7  The Loaded Scales of Justice
Mar-Apr/     #8  Wagon-Wheel War
May-Jun/     #9  The Scattered Clue
Jul-Aug/     #10  Tunnel of Terror
Sep-Oct/     #11  The Terror at Tumble-Down Ranch
Nov-Dec/     #12  One Sheriff Too Many
Jan-Feb/50 #13  There Was a Crooked Man

No comments:

Post a Comment