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.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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Klaus
Klaus
4 years ago

Walt Kelly is today’s winner. It’s almost three dimensional-looking.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

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.

Bud Plant
4 years ago

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/

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

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.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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!

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

And also Bud, holy shades of Stumbo the Giant…1st app Hot Stuff # 2…..

comment image

Kinda looks like Walter D. with muscles and friends 😉

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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

Chris O.
Chris O.
4 years ago

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.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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

Chris O.
Chris O.
4 years ago

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

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija
4 years ago

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.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

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 😉

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

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

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

I agree…but the sure sold a lot of books in eight years Gerald

Chris O.
Chris O.
4 years ago

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…

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

I STILL wouldn’t pay $2 for a Richie Rich.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
4 years ago

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

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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

Chris O.
Chris O.
4 years ago

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

Klaus
Klaus
4 years ago

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

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

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!

Bud Plant
4 years ago

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.