Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Weisbecker and Riss at the Movies

The Missourians

Note the distinctive long, square faces in Fawcett's adaptation of the movie "The Missourians."

Somewhere along the line, Clem Weisbecker and Bob Butts have had some work conflated at early Fifties Fawcett, making it difficult to sort out their stories going by their credits in the Who's Who. I finally took a long look at their credited Forties stories at other companies. I believe I can follow the progression of Clem Weisbecker's style on the Black Hood and such to the Fawcett artist with those distinctive faces.

Butts is given "Copper Canyon" in the Who's Who, which is the main point of confusion here, but the actual penciller is Weisbecker. The style matches that on Jackie Robinson at Fawcett at the same time, which the WW gives to Weisbecker and not Butts.

The other problem with "Copper Canyon" is that it's also been attributed entirely to Sheldon Moldoff. I can accept that Moldoff inked it. "Pioneer Marshall" and "The Missourians" are also supposedly entirely by Moldoff, but the inking on those two doesn't overwhelm the Weisbecker pencils.

The Thundering Trail

In many cases on the Fawcett movie adaptations the inker did a lot of the heavy lifting on likenesses. Some didn't. Thus, Pete Riss's issues vary wildly as far as that "overwhelming the pencils" goes; on "Dakota Lil" you have to look twice to find Riss, but on "The Thundering Trail," as seen here, he's easier to spot (although it's been attributed to Stan Campbell).

movie one-shots at Fawcett

1949 nn  Dakota Lil w: Joe Millard p: Pete Riss
1950 nn  Copper Canyon w: Millard  p: Clem Weisbecker
 i: Sheldon Moldoff
1950 nn  Pioneer Marshall w: Millard  p: Weisbecker
 i: Moldoff?
1950 nn  Powder River Rustlers w: Millard  p: Riss

Fawcett Movie Comic

Apr/51 #10  The Missourians w: Leo Dorfman  p: Weisbecker
 i: Moldoff?
May/     #11  The Thundering Trail w: Dorfman  p: Riss

Motion Picture Comics

Nov/51 #107  Frisco Tornado w: Dorfman  p: Riss


  1. Since you have a handle on Weisbecker, could take a look at another discussion? John Vadeboncoeur Jr. has said that the Hector the Spector and Luke the Spook stories in various Serling books are by Weisbecker. As the basis he takes the similar but more realistic stories in Soldier Comics, which are also contributed to Clem. As far as I can see, they do not resemble Weisbecker's work and are all done by Jess Benton. I come to this conclusion by comparing it to Benton's signed work on Pvt. Gooch in the American Armed Forces Features tabloid. I'd love it if you have a look ( and add your opinion there.

    1. Ger, if I'm right on Weisbecker here, then you're right on Jess Benton. The best evidence is that both artists have stories in Soldier Comics #2. Your artist has "Beware of the Bellybuster" but the guy I'm identifying now as Weisbecker has "No More Noise from Snafu." Two very different styles! Your working from signed Benton strips to ID the "humorous" one convinces me you were correct there to begin with.

  2. Just wanted to say that I am forever appreciative of the work you and Ger do.