Thursday, June 18, 2015

Who Wasn't the Artist on Rang-A-Tang?

Blue Ribbin 1 Rang-A-Tang

The Rang-A-Tang the Wonder Dog story in MLJ's Blue Ribbon Comics 1 (Nov/39) is bylined "By Norman Danberg." In a number of the comics of the time, it can be difficult to tell if the artist or the writer is being credited. Here I'll disagree with the Grand Comics Database; this is the writer.

Norman Danberg could have been a writer-artist like fellow pulp/comic book man Joe Archibald, but I don't think so. Danberg is better known as Norman Daniels; he wrote under many pen names in the pulps, and wrote paperbacks under both his own name and with or under the name of his wife Dorothy Daniels.

The fact that the art on the illos in Blue Ribbon 1's text story,"Death around the Bend," is identical to Rang-A-Tang's doesn't make Danberg that artist either; a so far anonymous artist did both, as well as #2's Rang-A-Tang story and both issue's covers.

In Chesler's Star Rangers 1 (Feb/37) the strip "Ghost Riders" is bylined "By Norman Daniels"; it's not until the third-to-last panel that this story's artist (W. M. Allison, the cover artist) happens to sign his name. The GCD leaves out Allison's credit, but does read this byline as saying Daniels is the writer. The GCD treats Danberg and Daniels as separate people.

One miscredit for Daniels in prose work has lasted some fifty years now; it slipped handily onto the Internet, so it will no doubt last forever. He's supposed to have been one of the writers of Doc Savage.

Will Murray put paid to that in the late Seventies. Somebody who'd seen the Street & Smith payment records had conflated the Laurence Dovovan on them with the better-known Norman Daniels. On you can still see "Laurence Donovan (alias Norman Danberg)". The original fan explanation was that "Danberg wrote his Doc Savage novels under the name Laurence Donovan." Stop and think about that for a moment. The Doc Savage novels were, of course, written under the name Kenneth Robeson! As Murray pointed out when he showed that Donovan was in fact Laurence Donovan, Daniels did write backup stories for the Doc Savage magazine, and did swipe a Lester Dent Doc Savage, Devil on the Moon, for his Avengers (Steed and Tara King) novel Moon Express. That didn't make him a Doc Savage writer.


  1. Who's Who indicates the artist may be Edd Ashe.

  2. I looked into that--Jake Oster pointed it out to me in an email--but the old-fashioned rendering on the first two Rang-A-Tangs just doesn't seem to match up with Ashe's signed work a month or so later on other strips at MLJ.

    Looking up Ashe anew on the Who's Who did lead me to my next post, though.