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


  1. Martin,

    One of the reasons you're the best at writer/artist spotting is because you adhere to the statement in your first paragraph, "If more and better evidence leads to a different conclusion, A theory evolves." There are some that go the opposite route: they come to a conclusion and set it in stone. They can never look back, explore new evidence or listen to other conclusions. There are times I've looked at ID's I've made in the past and realized I was wrong, or observed someone else's evidence and realized they were right. What counts is putting the pieces together, not claiming infallibility.

  2. Martin; any ideas on Trapani's "ghost" (I presume he had one) on Metamorpho?

  3. Nick, I have an eye on some other early IDs of mine that need redoing--most notably those of William Woolfolk on Batman and Superman where I gave him credit for more than those that his records show he did. It will take work, but my impression is that it's a single writer who did most of those; I still don't know who.

    Lee, that's still stumping me. Add that to "Rango" and "Family Affair" and others that are making me scratch my head.

  4. Paul Talbot?

  5. Lee, I looked into Paul Talbot as soon as I saw that credit way back in the paper WHO'S WHO, but as far as I recall the only specific story attributed to him is the one Nighthawk, "The Mystery Mail from Defender Dip," and that didn't give enough data to find any others.

    1. Thanks for the prompt reply, Martin.

      Looking at the GCD credits for Superman #65-73 (1950-51) a little earlier I noticed that Joseph Greene is credited with at least one story - #70's "Lois Lane Meets Annie Oakley."

      I guess you have ruled out the mystery writer as being one of the usual suspects: Cameron; Finger; Hamilton; Alvin Schwartz; Binder (probably too early for the latter on Superman, and too late for Cameron)?

      And I presume it is not Broome or Fox, neither of whom as far I know ever wrote Superman.

      I'll go through Bails' list of Superman writers circa 1947-1954 this week and report back here with the details.
      That's assuming he didn't miss one or more authors ...