Saturday, July 31, 2010

Andy Panda in "The Isle of Mechanical Men"

The relative anonymity of Dan Gormley is a mystery. His work for Dell’s Four Color, as this story exemplifies, was stunning – very round and bouncy. "The Isle of Mechanical Men" comes from Four Color No. 280, June 1950.

Gormley worked for Dell through the 1940’s and 50’s, often drawing Walter Lantz characters. He drew many Disney covers and worked with John Stanley on the Nancy comics. After the age of Eisenhower, he went off the radar. His whereabouts, whether living or shed of this mortal coil, is unknown. There exits one photograph of Gormley – a short man with a thinning, high widow’s peak and a strong, roman nose; wearing short-sleeves and tie (held in place by a tie clip). He is smiling in the photo, hands on hips, looking down and off camera. Is this not the foundation of legend?

Monday, July 26, 2010

TOM & JERRY COMICS No. 148, November 1956

I am unable to hazard even a guess as to who the artists are for any of these stories or cover, but the artwork is certainly worth the temporal light of a post.

This may be as good a time as any for me to express how much I love and miss old-school, hand lettering. Isn't it a beautiful thing? With regard to artist identification, my only thought is that many of Tom’s expressions in these pages are so precisely similar to expressions used in the famous MGM Cartoons. Perhaps a moonlighting animator? Postscript: We have a winner! Pal, Gary Brown, supplies artist identification for the Tom & Jerry stories as the great Harvey Eisenberg! See comments. -- Mykal

I am most regretful about not being able to identify the artist for this Barney Bear story. I love the way the “human people” are drawn in this one, and the brushwork throughout is very robust and confident. Postscript: Wow, what an informative post this has been for me! New friend, Luca Boschi, has provided the artist for this story: It's Cecil Surry! See comments. Thanks, Luca!

This ad is from the inside back-cover. If any ad, anywhere, conveys “1956” with any more perfection than this one, I haven’t seen it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

POPEYE No. 49, July-September 1959

Bud Sagendorf began working for Popeye creator, E. C. Segar, while still a teenager. After Segar’s death in 1938, Sagendorf worked on Popeye merchandising and Popeye comic books - finally taking over Thimble Theater (Popeye’s home strip) in 1959. He continued to contribute to the strip until his death in 1994. This great cover for Dell, and all the following art and stories, are fine examples of Sagendorf’s comic book work.

I won’t hedge. Among the many artists that have drawn the squinty-eyed sailor over the years, Bud Sagendorf is my favorite. I even prefer Sagendorf's Popeye over (deep breath) Segar’s original. Sagendorf’s drawing was always very relaxed and fluid with a fun-o-meter reading off the charts. His stories, while lacking Segar’s sense of the cosmically absurd; had a sharp, character driven humor that was completely unique. And, not for nothing, he drew the best Brutus ever.

To wrap things up, here’s one of those great Dell B&W inside covers (also by Sagendorf); and a really beautiful ad for Daisy Air Rifles from the back cover.

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