Friday, November 27, 2015

Riss on Gayle and Gayle

The Who's Who credits Pete Riss with Toni Gayle, the fashion model/amateur sleuth, at Premium. Since there are different indexers on different issues in the Grand Comics Database, some of Riss's Toni Gayle stories are IDed (those in Young King Cole and the fifth issue of Guns against Gangsters) and some aren't. The indexer who does ID those stories, citing the Who's Who for Riss, posits Janice Valleau as inker (I have no useful opinion there).

The Who's Who neglects to credit Riss for the spin-off strip, The Gunmaster—Gregory Gayle (Toni's police detective father). For each of Riss's Gunmaster stories in Guns against Gangsters, there's a Toni Gayle story by him in the same issue for comparison.

Pete Riss pencils
in Guns against Gangsters

Sept-Oct/48 v1 #1  The Green-Suit Murders
Nov-Dec/     v1 #2  The Sugar Bowl Murder
Jan-Feb/49 v1 #3  The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Carbine

in Young King Cole

May/48 v3 #10  She Scores Quite a Hit
June/     v3 #11  Mighty Thunder Falls
July/     v3 #12  Redstone Park

in Guns against Gangsters

Sept-Oct/48 v1 #1  Case of the Sacred Cobra
Nov-Dec/     v1 #2  The Case of the Fortunate Fiddle
Jan-Feb/49 v1 #3  The Case of the Fat Thin Man
Mar-Apr/     v1 #4  The Case of the Parisian Strangler
May-June/     v1 #5  She Gets in Dutch

in 4Most

Jan-Feb/49 v8 #1  More Than One Way to Win a Football Game

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Couple of Mickey Spillane's Comics Stories at Timely

Mickey Spillane had plenty of text pages at Timely, but not a single credited comics story. He was one of the group of writers working for Funnies, Inc. supplying strips to a number of publishers, Timely and Novelty being the two getting the longest spans of issues from the shop, I believe.

I hadn't seen a Novelty book until I started looking into the Funnies, Inc. output a few weeks ago, and was pleased to find a number of stories credited to the writers as well as artists on the splash pages. The bottom tier here is from Spillane's Cadet story "Espionage! In the Senate Building!" in Target Vol. 3 #7 (Sept/42).

USA 6, Human Torch 7, Target v3 7--'keed'

The other writers whose stories I've begun to find more of include Ray Gill, Kermit Jaediker, Roy Garn, and George Kapitan. The most noted, of course, is future novelist Spillane. So far I've found all of two stories I'd attribute to him at Timely.

He's known to have worked on the short-lived WWII-centric strip Jap-Buster Johnson, and in fact this story is the origin, "Friendship" from U.S.A. Comics 6 (Dec/42). The Spillaneism I've excerpted in all three tiers is "keed" for "kid"; the "yup" seen here is another one he uses. "Aghrr", seen later in the story, in various hyphenizations is used by a number of the Funnies, Inc. writers, although this is the one time I've seen Spillane use it. It's in the next story in #7, but among other things, Johnson's first name has changed from Doug to Everett, so I don't jump at Spillane for that one.

His one Timely superhero story that I've come across so far is "The Case of the Attempted Dreadnaught Disasters" in Human Torch 7 (Spring/42). A Spillaneism seen later in the story is "Ye gods." This is the point at which Carl Burgos had just stopped writing all the Torch stories he was drawing.

I hope eventually this will lead to Mickey Spillane’s stories elsewhere—for Captain Marvel and such.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Swipe from the Best

"If you're going to swipe, don't be shy about it" seems to be the guiding principal here. Don't use something hidden away in the back pages of some years-ago comic!

Boy Commandos 1, Young Allies 8

The original, the cover of DC's Boy Commandos 1 (Win/42-43) is penciled by Jack Kirby. The swipe, from the story "North Africa—Ahoy!" in Timely's Young Allies 8 (July/43) is in an issue both of whose two feature stories are attributed in the Grand Comics Database to three pencillers (not to mention two inkers), so who knows who did this particular panel?

The moral here might be "At least pay attention to what you're swiping." In moving around and restructuring Kirby's figures, the artist has put Brooklyn's foot on the end of the Rip Carter replacement's leg.

On the subject of swiping from DC, by the way, does anyone know of any specific examples of Superman-to-Captain Marvel swipes in the Forties? Supposedly there were scrapbooks full of them meant to convince a judge that Fawcett might as well have been sending operatives into the DC offices at night with microfilm cameras. In my far more casual perusal I have yet to stumble across any.

Friday, October 23, 2015

One Springboard for Two Stories

As EC's publisher, Bill Gaines would read at home as much as he could to bring in "springboards" to story conferences with editor Al Feldstein. Generally they would take ideas, including some from Gaines's reading, to come up with plots and build new new stories around them. Famously, Ray Bradbury differed with them on the definition of "new" when they hewed too closely to a couple of his stories.

If comic book writers do any reading at all, of course others' ideas may resurface even unconsciously as springboards for scripts. Where is the line crossed into plagiarism?

C. M Kornbluth's story "The Little Black Bag" was published in Astounding Stories, July/50. The situation involves a doctor finding a bag of surgical instruments from the future. I've recognized that situation in two comic book stories that came out a few years later.

MT 134, SSS 36 strange instruments

"Little Black Bag" is from Marvel Tales 134 (May/55); artist Robert Q. Sale, and writer unknown. "The Strange Package" is from Strange Suspense Stories 33 (March/58); art by (of all people, at Charlton) Gene Colan and script by Joe Gill.

Neither follows the Kornbluth story's plot at all closely; that had a grisly ECish ending, and these two stories came out under the Comcs Code. Still, (especially considering the Marvel story's title), it's obvious the writers were familiar with the prose story. I wonder if Edmond Hamilton springboarded it even further into "The Burglar Kit from the Future" in Jimmy Olsen...

As to Joe Gill's style, in "The Strange Package" there's a good example of his joining two sentences with an "and" but no comma in a caption: The hospital was close and he walked through the early, gathering darkness toward it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Binder Records: Timely--Link to Art Lortie's Transcription

Art Lortie has transcribed Otto Binder's pay records, separating them by company. The first list he's posted is Binder's work for Timely, which covered 1941-48. Like William Woolfolk, Binder gave his scripts working titles that in many instances the editors changed. A few times the working title gives away the ending, so you can see the editors' point. At any rate, a number of stories in the records still have to be connected to the ones published.

This is the link:

Comparing Binder's records with Woolfolk's from the same era, it would seem that at Timely each was paid for quite a few more scripts than ended up drawn and published (I'm pretty certain it will prove so with Binder once all the published stories have been IDed). It happened most notably to both men on Captain America and Young Allies.

Millie 15 Hedy de Vine story: 'Sighhhh'

One difference between the two writers' work at Timely is that as it became apparent that the superheroes were destined to fade away for a while, Binder switched over to the teen titles there. This tier is from the Hedy de Vine story "Disguise the Limit" in Millie the Model 15 (Dec/48). I never looked for Binder's work among these stories, but knowing now that he was paid for this one (his title was "Incognito"), I can see the characteristic elongation of "Sighhhh."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Girls' Romances 101-120 Artists

This is Jack Miller's first run on Girls' Romances; he returns after Barbara Friedlander edits the title. I picked this run because much of John Rosenberger's work at this point on DC's romance books gets mistaken for Gene Colan's, and Frank Bolle gets no recognition at all. Nor do Colan and J. Scott Pike get any love for inking themselves. I haven't seen issues 105 and 110. I've left out the reprints that come in toward the end of the run. And I've put aside the question of writers for now.

GR 106 'I'll Be Around' signed by Sachs

Bernard Sachs signs one story here on his own (he does the same on a story in Girls' Love Stories 111 and one in Young Romance 133, also 1965 issues). I'm going to take the signature at face value. His pencils, then, certainly remind you of an earlier Mike Sekowsky's, but in the latter's stories inked by others at this time Sekowsky's style has already become more exuberant.

There's one inker I can track from story to story for whom my best guess is Frank McLaughlin, although he's not known to be at DC this early. And if Art Peddy has any work here, I just can't ID him this late.

In "Too Handsome to Hold" in #104, where a young man happens to look just like actor Richard Chamberlain, I believe Tony Abruzzo rather than penciller Mike Sekowsky draws most of the Chamberlain faces.

Girls' Romances edited by Jack Miller

Jun/64 101  Tears for Sale a: John Rosenberger
Dreamers Love Their Dreams a: Rosenberger
Dear Peter... a: Frank Bolle
Come Back My Heart a: J. Scott Pike
Jul/     102  Something in Common p: Mike Sekowsky  i: Frank   Giacoia? & Joe Giella?
Out of a Dream a: Bolle
The Day My Heart Died p: Tony Abruzzo  i: Giacoia
Sep/      103  Port of Hope a: Bolle
Let's Fall in Love a: Bernard Sachs
Too Late for Tears a: Gene Colan
Oct/      104  A Change of Heart a: Sachs
Tell Him Tonight p: Abruzzo  i: Frank McLaughlin
Too Handsome to Hold p: Sekowsky   i: ?
Jan/65 106  Stand-In for Love a: Bolle
I'll Be Around a: Sachs (signed)
I'll Never Love Again a: Rosenberger
Mar/     107  Come Back to Yesterday p: Werner Roth  i: McLaughlin
The Love I Lost--Twice a: Gil Kane
Alone in Love a: Rosenberger
Apr/     108  I Was the Last to Know p: ?  i: Sachs
Come Home to Heartbreak p: Abruzzo?  i: McLaughlin
Take My Love a: Colan
Jun/     109  Why Would Anyone Love Me? a: Sachs
A Bedtime Story a: Bill Draut
When My Dreams Come True a: Colan
Sep/     111  How to Lose Your Boyfriend without Really Trying a: Rosenberger
He Only Loves Me--When He's Kissing Me a: Colan
Oct/     112  Too Much in Love? p: Roth  i: Bolle
All for the Love of Ronny p: Abruzzo  i: McLaughlin
Give Me Back My Love a: Rosenberger
Dec/     113  If I Ever Love Again--(I'll Keep a Lock on My Heart) a: Rosenberger
I'll Love You Forever p: John Romita  i: ?
Careless Heart--Careless Lips a: Pike
Jan/66 114  Phantom Love a: Colan
Heartbreak Follows Me p: Abruzzo  i: Sachs
Kiss and Tell a: Romita
Mar/     115  Please, Somebody--Love Me a: Rosenberger
Love at Second Sight a: Win Mortimer
Apr/      116  How Can He Love Me Now a: Pike
My Divided Heart p: ?  i: Sachs
June/     117  Girl in Trouble a: Colan
The Wrong Side of Love a: Rosenberger
July/      118  He Couldn't Trust Me a: Rosenberger
Say Goodbye to Love a: Colan
Sep/     119  Love Wasn't Enough for Him a: Colan
One Ticket--to Romance a: Sachs
Ask Me about Love--I'm an Expert p: Dick Giordano  i: Sal Trapani
Oct/      120  Can You Tell Someone to Love You? a: Manny Stallman
Maybe He'll Love Me Tomorrow a: Rosenberger

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dr. Varsag's Experiment 2.1

Plop 12 mole man

The story "Dr. Varsag's Experiment" in DC's Plop! 12 (May/75) loosely adapts a pulp prose story published over 30 years earlier, but not the story with precisely the same title, "Dr. Varsag's Experiment" (Amazing Stories, Jan/40). The basis for the comic-book piece about creating a mole man is "Dr. Varsag's Second Experiment" (Amazing Stories, Aug/43).

Amazing Stories Aug 43 mole man

Both Varsag pulp stories were credited to Craig Ellis, but that pen name covered a different writer on each one (see the ISFDB; I found the info in the 1952 Day Index.). The first is the only SF story that Lee Rogow had published, as far as I know. The second is by David V. Reed. He used the pen name Coram Nobis for his Plop! scripts like the "Dr. Varsag" refry. (The artist is Lee Marrs.)

The first Varsag experiment in Amazing involved giving someone superspeed with mongoose-based injections. Does that sound as if some comics writer lifted it a lot sooner than 1975?