Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Artist of the First (or Second) Modern Graphic Novel

1950's Mansion of Evil from Fawcett Gold Medal Books is credited only to the scripter, Joseph Millard. The artist is Bud Thompson. The tiers below, from the story "Guilty of Murder" in the final issue of Fawcett's Captain Marvel Jr.--#119, June 1953--show some of the same silhouetted or partially silhouetted figures as in Mansion of Evil.

Mansion of Evil, CMJ 119

The previous guess on the Mansion of Evil art is George Evans--but only on two of the eleven chapters, when the style is the same throughout.


  1. In a 1996 FCA interview with George Evans, the artist recalled Fawcett’s “graphic novel in paperback size.” Evans said: “One day [editor] Roy Ald called and asked if I would take on this project in mid-stream. The artist [Bud Thompson] had a breakdown and couldn’t continue. Most of the work time was gone, but I agreed to try. I drove in to pick up the script and finished pages to try and mimic the style. It was uncanny. There were 17 of so finished pages of classy work, but on the back of each page was even lovelier artwork storytelling. The artist could have had 30 to 35 pages done, and why his testing was so extensive in an unusable form is something I still can’t grasp. But there’s another grim twist: I think I did three or four pages and then was beset with an agonizing abscess where humans sit down. I took the drawing board to maximum height and tried to draw while standing up, but I was in agony. I had to crush Roy Ald with the news that I couldn’t continue and sent the whole thing back via my wife. They had Carl Pfeuffer, artist of Tom Mix and Don Winslow, finish the book. He chose to emulate Alex Raymond’s style, and his stuff was beautiful. Of course, the graphic novel ended up being a hodgepodge of styles, but memory says that it was still a very nice product which was sadly before its time.” –Alter Ego # 104, Aug 2011

  2. Looking again, I can see that yes, Thompson didn't do the entire book--but he did Chapters I-VII, which is over 110 pages out of 190 or so. For the remainder, in my opinion, Pfeufer is sensibly emulating Thompson's tyle and not Raymond's. I wonder if there's one inker on both to help make it look as consistent as it does.