Week 22: Late May Mix

No obvious theme today, just happy it’s hot out and that comic shops are back open (in Ontario at least).

I’m not familiar with Steve Kirkel, but his splash from This Magazine is Haunted #21 (1954) caught my eye.


I love bell bottoms already but Mary Jane Watson makes me love them even more! Love this Ross Andru splash from Marvel Team-Up #15, 1973.

I’ll come out and say something you already know, Jack Kirby was ridiculously good, ridiculously. Great two page panel from The Eternals #6, 1976.

I’m a big Pogo Possum fan, the strip was a forerunner for almost all my favourite strips that came later. Enjoy Walt Kelly’s splash page from Pogo Possum #1, 1949.

I could put up a Russ Heath splash up every week, the man was amazing. Check out this great two-page splash from G. I. Combat #137, 1969.

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1589

23 Comments

  1. I agree Klaus. Walt Kelly is Great. But, see the coloring of this magazine is haunted? spellbinding .
    Kirby still had magic moments in his declining years Walt.
    Good Luck with the Store reopening pal.

  2. Walt Kelly’s work on Dell’s Fairy Tale Parade, 1942-44, is among my favorite work of his. All pre-Pogo. And in the “investment” mode, just getting caught up on your last column, they are ridiculously cheap, even the very first issues. I have two sets, I am proud to say. One was bound by Dell/Western and is Zetta De Voe’s set…she was an employee at Western. The second set I put together and then upgraded over the past, achh, almost 50 years now. I bought several of my first ones from Phil Seuling while I was staying at his place in Brooklyn, probably 1971-1974 or so. They still have his grade and price on them, so they are special to me because Phil was such a good friend (and mentor).

    But another reason to have two sets…Kelly did elaborate borders on the front and back covers, and of course the artwork along the spine side disappears when the comics are bound together.

    https://www.comics.org/series/17255/covers/

    After #9 Fairy Tale Parade became a Four Color title for a few more issues. Still fun, but I think Kelly was gone by then. His early work on Dell’s Animal Comics was also charming, same time as those first Fairy Tale Parades. There’s two archives collections out there with some of the work, one from Craig Yoe and another from Art Spiegelman and his partner, Francoise Mouly. Great all-ages comics.

    And that Heath piece…what an amazing creator. He never compromised: great anatomy, great design, brilliant inking. The archive volume DC Goes to War just came out last week. I snagged a copy from work and took it home for some early reading before I would write my online description. It’s about time DC began collecting this. But it’s silly that they didn’t snag one the the DC War collectors and have them write an incisive introduction. The book from a few years ago, Chris Pedrin’s Big Five, 1994-1995 does cover it well but its long out of print and a bit hard to find, probably was a small run. But it sports a Russ Heath recreation cover done specially for it!

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mycomicshop.com%2Fsearch%3FTID%3D532901&psig=AOvVaw1sb2o9zCxJ7a38jUuyeke_&ust=1590682187623000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCIirp4231OkCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

    Anyway…Russ Heath figures prominately in this new archive, including a graphic novel-length Enemy Ace story by Garth Ennis from 2001, which shows us what our German Ace does, and thinks, as he’s persuaded to defend German skies in WWII. You guys know he was a FIRST World War Ace. The point is, at this point Heath had been drawing comics for FIFTY years and he’s still brilliant. The planes and air battles are superb. And author Garth Ennis really is an exceptional writer. Anyway, this archive begins with Blackhawk’s origin in Military #1, in 1941, and caps off with the Heath story 60 years later.

    In between you get a taste of the best…Heath’s first Haunted Tank story, Kubert Sgt. Rock, Gunner and Sarge, the WWI Enemy Ace, Mlle Marie by Mort Drucker… check it out. I hope DC sells a zillion and does some more war collections. Heath and Kubert did brilliant work in Our Army at War, Star Spangled, and Our Fighting Forces. And the prices on these topped out a while back and have softened a good deal, so you can score good decent copies from the late 1950s through the 1960s (in my world, raw vg/fn or better) for as little as $40- $100, unless they are Rock prototypes.

    Walter, your Kirby and Mary Jane were fun, too. Stan and crew sure did a great job making Mary Jane one of the most memorable, non-powered characters in comics. She always had charm.

    Artist Stephen Kirkel had a very short career, according to GCD. I think of him as a second or third rate Charlton arist, but it looks like he did bits for D.S., Youthful, Fawcett, Comic Media, then ended his career at Charlton, all pre-code, mostly horror. But just 19 credits on Grand Comics Database from 1949 to 1954, then one oddball credit, if believed, for Atlas’ Strange Tales in 1956.

    Then he’s gone from comics, except for reprints. His most memorable work might be for Charlton’ The Thing and This Magazine is Haunted, but maybe someone more versed than I can add to this.

    https://www.comics.org/checklist/name/Steve%20Kirkel/

  3. Bud Plant, thank you for the introduction of Walt Kelly’s work on Dell’s Fairy Tale Parade, 1942-44. Its unbelievable to me.
    Ive two copies of Chris Pedrin’s Big Five, but I think it should include Weird War tales and become the Big 6 😉
    He inspired my collecting of DC ‘s war books. Thanks for the jog down memory lane and the introduction of some , new to me, Dell material
    There’s a Chris Pedrin’s Big Five paperback on Amazon for $85 currently.

  4. Well you just can’t go wrong with either the Kelly or the Heath! Both were amazing creators! The other examples are good as well… and I certainly like those Bronze age renditions of Mary Jane better then many of her iterations by modern artists!

  5. I looked for that Stumbo appearence 20 years ago and it was one of the hottest Harvey’s out there!

  6. Okay fellas, I wasn’t going to contribute this time, but now you’re bringing Stumbo into things and well I just can’t stay away. Dave, aren’t you one of Walter’s friends?
    I digress…
    Although I love Walt Kelly’s stuff this week, the winner for me is Russ Heath. I have always appreciated Heath, but I don’t know if I have ever seen a piece like this from him before. Wow. Crazy good. Anatomy, weight, dynamic and detail are all fantastic.

  7. Is this your way of saying Stumbo and Walt are both giants of the comics industry Chris?

  8. Gerald! You make me laugh. YES! That is exactly what I was getting at. They are absolutely both giants in the comics industry.

  9. My ears were burning so I decided to check out the comments…

    Thanks for all that rich info, I learn so much from your comments, they really add a lot to these posts, thanks again.

  10. Gerald and and Chris, do you recall when Richie Rich was the biggest name in comics from 1972 to 1978? He had 15 to 25 titles…!!!
    Talk about failing to keep the audience wanting more…and my reasoning as to why Harvey comics failed after 30 years of success. They turned a short term gain and made it into a franchise failure. Gotta love some Stumbo the Giant recollection And Walter D insults 😉

  11. Richie Rich memory lane
    Richie Rich
    vol. 1 (Nov. 1960 – Jan. 1991)—254 issues
    vol. 2 (Mar. 1991 – Nov. 1994)—28 issues
    Richie Rich Adventure Digest
    Richie Rich and… (Oct. 1987 – May 1990)—11 issues; each issue had a different guest star whose name became a part of the title for that issue only
    Richie Rich and Billy Bellhops
    Richie Rich and Cadbury (Oct. 1977 – Jan. 1991)—29 issues
    Richie Rich and Casper (Aug. 1974 – Sept. 1982)—45 issues
    Richie Rich and Casper in 3-D
    Richie Rich and Dollar (Sept. 1977 – Aug. 1982)—24 issues
    Richie Rich and Little Dot
    Richie Rich and Gloria (Sept. 1977 – Sept. 1982)—25 issues
    Richie Rich and His Girlfriends (Apr. 1979 – Dec. 1982)—16 issues
    Richie Rich and Jackie Jokers (Nov. 1973 – Dec. 1982)—48 issues
    Richie Rich and New Kids on the Block
    Richie Rich and Professor Keenbean
    Richie Rich and Reggie
    Richie Rich and Timmy Time
    Richie Rich Bank Book (Oct. 1972 – Sept. 1982)—59 issues
    Richie Rich Best of the Years Digest
    Richie Rich Big Book
    Richie Rich Big Bucks
    Richie Rich Billions (Oct. 1974 – Oct. 1982)—48 issues
    Richie Rich Cash (Sept. 1974 – Aug. 1982)—47 issues
    Richie Rich Cash Money
    Richie Rich, Casper, and Wendy
    Richie Rich Diamonds (Aug. 1972 – Aug. 1982)—59 issues
    Richie Rich Digest (Oct. 1986 – Oct. 1994)—42 issues
    Richie Rich Digest Stories (Oct. 1977 – Oct. 1982)—17 issues
    Richie Rich Digest Winners (Dec. 1977 – Sept. 1982)—16 issues
    Richie Rich Dollars and Cents (Aug. 1963 – Aug. 1982)—109 issues
    Richie Rich Fortunes (Sept. 1971 – July 1982)—63 issues
    Richie Rich Gems (Sept. 1974 – Sept. 1982)—43 issues
    Richie Rich Giant Size
    Richie Rich Gold and Silver (Sept. 1975 – Oct. 1982)—42 issues
    Richie Rich Gold Nuggets Digest
    Richie Rich Holiday Digest
    Richie Rich Inventions (Oct. 1977 – Oct. 1982)—26 issues
    Richie Rich Jackpots (Oct. 1972 – Aug. 1982)—58 issues
    Richie Rich Million Dollar Digest
    Richie Rich Millions (Sept. 1961 – Oct. 1982)—113 issues
    Richie Rich Money World (Sept. 1972 – Sept. 1982)—59 issues
    Richie Rich Money World Digest
    Richie Rich Movie Adaptation
    Richie Rich Profits (Oct. 1974 – Sept. 1982)—47 issues
    Richie Rich Relics
    Richie Rich Riches (July 1972 – Aug. 1982)—59 issues
    Richie Rich Success Stories (Nov. 1964 – Sept. 1982)—105 issues
    Richie Rich Summer Bonanza
    Richie Rich Treasure Chest Digest
    Richie Rich Vacation Digest
    Richie Rich Vacation Digest Magazine
    Richie Rich Vacation Digest ’93 Magazine
    Richie Rich Vaults of Mystery (Nov. 1974 – Sept. 1982)—47 issues
    Richie Rich Zillionz (Oct. 1976 – Sept. 1982)—33 issues
    SupeRichie

  12. The only thing I remember about Richie Rich comics back then was having to thumb thru them to find the good comics.

  13. Dave! So first of all, Richie Rich was actually my gateway drug into comics. I used to find them lying around the house and would read them all multiple times. Then, back when mall flea markets were a thing on Sundays (way before Sunday shopping was allowed) we would go for something to do probably, and I would find more Richie Rich comics. Then of course came the comic specialty store. My first experience with that was around 1979, and couldn’t believe how many Richie Rich titles were around. AND of course being outraged that some guy (the comic shop owner) would actually try and charge $2 for an older Richie Rich comic. Insanity!
    Also, do you remember that Richie Rich #1 was also one of the top 10 most expensive comics according to Overstreet around that time? Oh how times have changed…

  14. Wow Chris…good memories. I recall in the seventies ,The city of Collingwood`s Mikes Books store would buy any Richie Rich comic he could get, as they and Archie comics were the big sellers for the families going Camping or cottaging. He paid pretty well too, relative to the then cover price of 35 to 50 cents. In 1979 or 1980 I sold my Cardboard box collection of all titles to the Phoenix book store in Owen Sound for 550$. ( I received 15$ for my Hulk 181 ) I then bought a used AMC Gremlin X with that money 🙂
    I dove it until 1988

  15. Should have bought a Dodge Dart…. would have taken you farther and you would have had enough left to start a new comic collection!

  16. Love the story Dave. And I agree with Gerald. Anything to get that collection going..

  17. Gerald: Old Dodge Darts are in high demand today. They are considered ‘sleeper cars’ – mom and pop cars with a rocket for a motor.

  18. Yup… that slant six was great! Not to get iff the topic of comics… my $250 ‘65 Dart took me to many comic stores in both Colorado and California … once to the famous Cherokee Book Store in Santa Monica! Still have the E.C. Moon Girl #1 I picked up there!

  19. Dave, that Richie Rich list is incredible. I had no idea he was so widespread!

    I was wrapped up in college, getting married, getting Comics and Comix going with my partners, and growing my own mail order & wholesale biz in the seventies. And moving to Grass Vslley where I am now. Didn’t work behind the counter in my own stores…it was a running joke…didn’t sell new comics in my own biz, just books and zines and ug comics.

    But liked those RR stories when I was a kid. My first car…a Dodge van, so we (the San Jose comics guys) could drive to the comic cons the summer I graduated from high School, 1970. Our first Seuling Con. See, it takes little to get me started. Forgive me, guys!

    Were Gremlins EVER hip? Well, I learned to drive in a 3-speed Rambler. My sister took it off to her college and wrecked it.

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