Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Golden Age Batman Artist You Never Heard Of

When asked if he drew a number of the Batman stories listed below, Bob Kane said "Yes." He didn't explain why the creator of Batman, using this temporary new style, would be doing a few work-for-hire crime stories for DC a year later in Gang Busters and such. The pencils for those crime back-ups have been variously attributed to Jim Mooney or Charles Paris; evidently they evoked Batman in a way the indexers couldn't put their fingers on.

Dinosaur Island, Crooked Gambler

To be fair, I had some stories on this list (like "Nine Lives Has the Catwoman" in Batman 35) that I removed after a few more looks when I did see Bob Kane's work after all, or the work of various hands. (Maybe some of those Batman stories belong back here; maybe some here don't belong. The crime stories I'm sure of.) Although the inks for 35-36 have been attributed to Ray Burnley, with Jack Burnley's corroboration, I'd suggest there are different inkers on different stories; I won't try to ID them.

Above are tiers from two of the stories I saw in reprint in the Seventies ("Dinosaur Island" and "The Case of the Crooked Gambler"). For years I'd IDed this artist for myself as just the "Dinosaur Island artist." Then finally—last month—I saw a signed story by him at Atlas: "The House That Wasn't There" in Journey into Unknown Worlds 7 (Oct/51). The signature is Paul Cooper. He has other early-Fifties signed stories at Atlas as well as at companies like Youthful. He's not trying to ape Bob Kane at this point.

House That Wasn't There

Paul Cooper at DC:

Jun-Jul/46 35  Dinosaur Island
  Dick Grayson, Author
Aug-Sep/     36  The Penguin's Nest
  Stand-In for Danger
  Sir Batman at King Arthur's Court

Batman in Detective

Nov/46 117  Steeplejack's Showdown (plus cover)
May/47 123  The Dawn Patrol Crimes
Oct/     128  Crimes in Reverse

Batman in World's Finest

May-Jun/47 28  Crime under Glass
Nov-Dec/     31  The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Jan-Feb/48 32  The Man Who Could Not Die
Jul-Aug/     35  Crime by the Book

Perfect Crime Mystery etc. in Mr. District Attorney

Jan-Feb/48 Studio Cop
Jul-Aug/     Border Cop
Sep-Oct/     The Murder with a Million Witnesses

Perfect Crime Mystery etc. in Gang Busters

Aug-Sep/48 The Case of the Crooked Gambler
Oct-Nov/49 12  The Case of the Perfect Alibi

Perfect Crime Mystery in Star Spangled Comics

Mar/49 90  Remote Control Murder

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Trapani and Friends at ACG

Sal Trapani and his ghost pencillers come aboard for ACG's final two years of operation. Bill Ely is his sole ghost there for nine stories as of the 1967-dated issues. Ely's regular assignment at DC, Rip Hunter, ended in late 1965.

My impression is that Rocco Mastroserio penciled the first page of "The Mirror of Mystery"; Dick Giordano certainly did the remaining three. What do you think?

Unknown Worlds 53 Mirror of Mystery

There were six other Ditko/Trapani stories at ACG after "My Ancestor—the Indian Scout," all credited to both artists, so not on these lists of ghosted ones. I daresay that Richard Hughes said "Oh, come on!" to the idea that the readers wouldn't recognize that particular penciller. (For what it's worth, after ghosting the pencils on Nukla 1 at Dell, Giordano gets a signature along with Trapani's on #2 and 4, as does Ditko on #4.)

Adventures into the Unknown

Dec-Jan/67 169  Two Vials from Vidalia p: Bill Ely
Jun-Jul/     173  Miss Hepzibah Takes a Trip p: Ely

Forbidden Worlds

Nov-Dec/65 132  The Mirror of Mystery p: Rocco Mastroserio, Dick Giordano
Jul/67  144  "Click, Click," Went the Machine p: Ely


Mar/67 The Terrible Teen-Agers p: Ely
Apr-May/     Vengeful Spirit p: Ely
Jun-Jul/     Sorry, You've Got the Wrong Ghosts p: Ely
Aug/     You've Got to Relax p: Ely

Unknown Worlds

Feb/66 45  My Ancestor—the Old Indian Scout p: Steve Ditko
Mar/     46  That's My Partner p: Giordano
Mar/67 53  The Haunted Brush p: Ely
Aug/     57  When the Gizmo Blew a Gasket p: Ely

Interestingly enough, there's an ACG story ghosted by rather than for Sal Trapani. The art on the other new story in Unknown Worlds 53 is credited solely to Bob Jenney, but Trapani is inking Jenney's pencils.

Unknown Worlds

Mar/67 53  Ghost Girls Don't Play Football i: Sal Trapani

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Second Try on a Trapani Ghost

Hogan's Heroes 4

Artist- and writer-spotting is more an art than a science, but the more it can be treated like a science, the better. If more and better evidence leads to a different conclusion, a theory evolves.

In other words, I saw (here) Don Perlin-type faces under Sal Trapani's inks on Hogan's Heroes 4. But after finding the same penciller's style under Trapani inks in other comics, with some panels a bit more obvious, I revise my identification. Trapani's ghost penciller here is Bill Ely.

The funny thing is that I was led to this in a Trapani-less Charlton issue. The unsigned first story ("The Witness") in The Many Ghost of Dr. Graves 1 (May/67) was obviously by Ely but didn't seem to match up with the early-Sixties art of his at DC I was accustomed to. My first thought was, "He's using the same ghost penciller as Sal Trapani," and then I applied Occam's razor—it's simpler just to accept Ely as penciller in both instances.

The figures of Colonel Klink falling (especially in panel 3) on this Hogan's Heroes page are the clue to Ely's style here; that style peeks through on the cop in panel 1 of the Superheroes page, and more noticeably in the figure of Dan's father in panel 3.

Superheroes 1

Another penciller (or two) did Superheroes 3 and 4 for Trapani. Ely did more ghosting for him outside Dell, and I'll list those in the next post.

Bill Ely pencils on Hogan's Heroes

Mar/67 Operation Flick Flack

On Superheroes

Jan/67 The Origin of the Fab Four
Apr/     The Clowns
Nutt's Revenge

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not the Two-Gun Kid

Crack Western 72--The Ghost of Grim Gulch

At Quality, Chuck Winter had a four-issue run in Buccaneers, as I posted here. He had twice that in Crack Western on Two-Gun Lil.

On the first four stories I'm taking the Grand Comics Database artist attributions as a start. I think I see three artists among the first four stories (the same one on #64 and 65). Leo Morey is known to have worked on the series, but I can't match him up from his signed stories at ACG a decade later; it may be that he's being inked by other hands here.

Two-Gun Lil in Crack Western

Nov/49 63  She Was Ready w: Joe Millard  a: Charles    Sultan?
Jan/50 64  The Forbidden Star w: ?  a: Leo Morey?
Mar/     65  The Dance Hall of Death w: ?  a: Morey?
May/     66  Even Frontier Terrorists Can Learn w: ?  a: ?
Jul/     67  Two-Gun Lil Votes against Lynch Law w: ?  a: Pete Riss
Sep/     68  Two-Gun Lil Conquers Western Crime w: ?  a: Riss
Nov/     69  Hot-Lead Two-Step w: Millard  a: Chuck Winter
Jan/51 70  The Taming of Big Bat McGrew w: Millard  a: Winter
Mar/     71  A Bargain in Bullets w: Millard  a: Winter
May/     72  The Ghost of Grim Gulch w: Millard  a: Winter
Jul/     73  Six-Guns from the Sky w: Millard  a: Winter
Sep/     74  Gun Trouble in Paradise w: Millard  a: Winter
Nov/     75  The Vultures of Goldhill w: Millard  a: Winter
Jan/52 76  The End of the Owlhoot Trail w: Millard  a: Winter
Mar/     77  A Heart as Big as a House w: ?  a: Pete Morisi
May/     78  Once upon a Time There Were Three Bassett Brothers w: Robert Bernstein  a:   Morisi
Sep/     80  The Murder on Stage w: Bernstein  a: Morisi
Nov/     81  The Target Is Two-Gun Lil w: Bernstein  a: Morisi
Jan/53  82  Target of Hot Lead w: Bernstein  a: Morisi
Mar/     83  The Fiend in Knee Pants w: Bernstein  p: John Forte     i: ?
May/     84  The Kissing Monster w: Bernstein  a: Edmond    Good

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dick Wood at Charlton, 1956

Dick Wood was credited for scripts at Charlton, but that was in 1969. He had a run of Phantom stories just after the company took over the title from King Comics. Those may have been inventory scripts, or Charlton may have hired him for his familiarity with the character; three of his scripts were illustrated by Charlton artists like Jim Aparo. The fourth, the only one drawn there by Bill Lignante, I'd imagine was completed at King and so looks an inventory story on all counts. But to paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I'm here to talk about 1956.

Blue Beetle in Nature Boy 3--'Jumping cats!'

Scanning Charlton's Fifties output for Carl Memling stories, I couldn't help seeing some by Dick Wood; his style is so colorful: "Great suffering Hannah!" or in the case above, "Jumping cats!" I find a handful of his stories, all in the one year. Before anyone asks, I haven't IDed the writer on the four other new Blue Beetle stories of the period, in BB 20 and 21 (June and August, 1955).

Dick Wood 1950s Charlton Scripts

Blue Beetle
in Nature Boy

Mar/56 Unmasked p: Charles Nicholas  i: Sal Trapani

anthology stories:
Out of This World

Aug/56 The Mission from Outer Space a:  Nicholas

Racket Squad in Action

Feb/56 20  The Portrait Racketeers p: Bill Molno  i: Trapani

Strange Suspense Stories

Aug/56 30  Lost Child p: Molno  i: Trapani