Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Ghost for John Severin

On my posts about Sal Trapani's ghost pencillers, I figured he knew most of them from their working together at Charlton. I suspected the same sort of thing applied with John Severin's finding a ghost for this story from Cracked 70 (Aug/68). "Snow Flake and the Seven Dwarfs" is signed only "Severin" in his handwriting, and only the regular Cracked artists are listed in the masthead. I wondered where he could have known this artist from, and figured it must have been when he was drawing at EC; this penciller was the colorist there.

Cracked 70 Snow Flake

All kidding aside, Marie Severin would have her pencils inked by her brother, with both credited for the first time, a couple of years later at Marvel on Kull the Conqueror. There may be more examples of this ghosting at Cracked, but an awful lot of its issues are hard to come by nowadays.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Curt Swan Crime Story with a Tiny Difference

Curt Swan was a mainstay at DC for some four decades. Along with his superhero and war strips for them in the early Fifties, Curt Swan worked on the company's Gangbusters and other crime features.

Swan art in Crime Cases 25

But this Swan-pencilled story, "Killer at Large," was published in Crime Cases 25 (Nov/50)—from Timely/Atlas/Marvel.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sub-Mariner Artist Draws David Bruce Banner's Lookalike

If at first you don't succeed in identifying an artist on a comic book, keep on looking at other comics, and maybe when you go back to that first one you'll have run across some clue and a light bulb will go on.

Courtship of Eddie's Father 1

The Courtship of Eddie's Father (2 issues, Jan/70 and May/70),  a TV tie-in from Dell, stumped me and others. The best I could come up with was that the artist wasn't Jack Sparling.

In the time since, I IDed the artist on a DC romance story by some girls' faces—


—comparing here from my July 9, 2015 post a page from "Two Hearts on a Tree" in Secret Hearts 121 (July/67) with a tier from Carl Pfeufer's known work on Super Green Beret 1 (June/67) at Milson.

Who was expecting Carl Pfeufer at Dell, 1970? He drew all the stories in the two issues of The Courtship of Eddie's Father; D. J. Arneson wrote them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Suuuuper Realism (Comparatively) on Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson FC 956

Pete Alvarado strayed over from animated-style comics (I associate him best with Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken among the many, many features he did) to pencil, and for all I know ink, the first issue of Dell's Ricky Nelson (Four Color 956, Dec/58) spinning off from the TV sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Russ Manning drew the fourth issue, and in between--who knows?

The best way to recognize an artist's work when he may be trying to match the models in a tie-in is to look at secondary characters--note the soda jerk Sam here. Still, Alvarado's characteristic finger shapes and arm positioning do show up at times on Ricky, as in the first panel here. The silhouette in the final panel is also a giveaway.

Alvarado would do Dell's first three issues of The Three Stooges in a style closer to animation cartooning, even though Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe are as "real" as Ricky Nelson.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Norm DiPluhm: D. J. Arneson

After the nom de plume "Norm DiPluhm" at Charlton was attributed by fans to Steve Skeates, he spent years explaining that it wasn't him.

Rip Jagger's recent post on his blog about DiPluhm's Phantom stories reminded me of who the writer really is—the splash page to "Skyjack" that Rip uses as his illustration has the Ghost Who Walks saying "Great Scot" with one "t" rather than the more common "Great Scott." That and other markers unlike Skeates' identify the writer as D. J. Arneson. (He also wrote as DiPluhm for Go-Go and Abbott and Costello, two titles Skeates worked on, which may help explain those fans' thought processes). This example is from "The Giant Ape of Thawth."

Phantom 34 'Great Scot!'

Phantom stories written by D. J. Arneson
* = credited (as "Norm DiPluhm")


Aug/69 33  The Phantom's Death
Oct/     34  The Cliff Kingdom *

The Giant Ape of Tawth
Feb/70 36  The River That Never Ends *

Very Special Timber *
Apr/     37  Bandar Betrayers *

Skyjack *

Disband the Patrol! *
Jun/     38  The Dying Ground *

The Phantom's New Faith

 The Trap

That's the entirety of Arneson's Phantom stories. On Ghostly Tales here are the stories that jumped out at me in flipping through the entire run for my own indexing; there may be a few more.

Ghostly Tales by Arneson
* = credited (as "DiPluhm")


Oct/67 63  Up on the Mountain
Feb/68 65  The Phantom Crew *
May/     66  Water, Water, Everywhere *
Sept/     68  Yo Ho Ho and a Dead Man's Jest
Nov/     70  Pop Goes Popolos

Friday, April 29, 2016

Working Backwards from the Who's Who--Sam Citron

The Who's Who credits Sam Citron with Girls' Love Stories 1968 at DC. It gives him stories at Gold Key around the same time  in Ripley's Believe It or Not and The Twilight Zone. On the Grand Comics Database the latter stories, uncredited in the comics themselves, have been identified. But possibly the art spotters who paid attention to the weird anthologies at one company didn't cross over to the romance ones at another.

Gilrs' Love Stories 138

That art of Citron's for Girls' Love Stories is on "Don't Leave Me Again" in number 138 (Oct/68). As with the Gold Key stories, he's inking himself here; at ACG three or four years earlier, all his stories (credited in the comics, as per usual at that company), were inked by Pete Costanza or Tom Hickey. This story's splash page has been correctly noted in the GCD as a reprint of the Infantino & Giordano cover.

I spent some time looking though the Sixties DC romance books to see if Citron had any work obscured by inkers, but finally had to admit to myself that the handful I found were by perhaps Werner Roth or Tony Abruzzo. DC did try to homogenize art into a house style at times via the inking.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Carl Memling Suspense Stories

A feature of Charlton's Lawbreakers Suspense Stories and its retitling, Strange Suspense Stories, for awhile was the contest where readers provided a solution to an unfinished story; that synopsis would be scripted and illustrated in a later issue. The odd thing is that Carl Memling scripted five of the solutions but only one of the unfinished story/solution pairs.

SSS 18 Sam Dora's Box

"What Was in Sam Dora's Box?" (art by Steve Ditko) recycles a gimmick from an EC story but the pun in the character's name is what's of interest here; compare with the (better) pun for Memling's story "Appointment with Sam Mara" in Dell's Ghost Stories 4 Oct-Dec/63).

Memling's stories may start in #11, which I haven't seen.

Written by Carl Memling:
Lawbreakers Suspense Stories


May/53 12  Breakout
Murder on Rye
July/      13  Death Raps Twice
Escape from the Noose
Change in Script
Sep/      14  Man Overboard
The Last Drop
Richard Capp's Solution to "Murder on Rye"
Nov/      15  Out of the Frying Pan

Strange Suspense Stories

Mar/54 17  Beautiful Night for Murder
10¢ Worth of Doom
May/     18  What Was in Sam Dora's Box?
Caroline Denver's Solution to "Face to Face"
Dead Right
Jul/      19  All Burnt Up
Aug/     20  The Payoff
Donald Coronado's Solution to "Moment of Decision"
Sep/      21  Mary Lou Wachtel's Solution to..."Prize Package"
Nov/      22  Malcolm Hutcher's Solution to..."The Kill"