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


  1. I think you're right about Mastroserio and Giordano on that story. I actually see Giordano inks popping up here and there in a lot of Trapani's work. Take a look at "My Ancestor...the Indian Scout." As I understand it, even though Giordano was an editor at Charlton, he and Trapani were sharing a studio at the time, occasionally with other artists, so a lot of pages were passed back and forth on both their work.

    I suspect what happened with that issue with two Ely/Trapani jobs, one credited to each, was that Hughes knew who'd done the work but just plain didn't want two stories in the same issue credited to the same artist(s) so he credited one on each. He was, after all, the guy who hid behind dozens of pen names so the same name would never get a writing credit twice in the same issue.

    I wonder if Trapani was acting as a kind of agent for guys like Ely and Jenney who could easily get work on their own at Dell and ACG. Maybe he agented all their work for these guys, even the stuff he didn't ink.

    I corresponded with Hughes for a time and need to find those old letters some day. As I recall, he told me that he was not full-time on the ACG comics and would sometimes stop working on them for a month or two at a time to do some other project. As a result, he often had a huge backlog of material and some stories were first published years after they were drawn. So there may have been periods there when he was only actively buying from two or three artists even though a wider range of artists appeared in his books. He told me had "dozens" of unpublished John Force stories and didn't think they'd all ever be printed since sales seemed to go down whenever they ran one. Someone ought to take a look at those since a lot of the GCD credits on them are obviously wrong.

  2. Hi Martin,

    That splash does look like the work of Mastroserio. Another great catch!

  3. Mark, I can agree to seeing some Giordano inking on the Indian Scout story now that you point it out. I can't cite specific issues, but I have noticed Hughes's reluctance to credit the same artist twice--most often when he'd let Ogden Whitney go uncredited on his second story in an issue.

    Nick, thanks.