Rucker Publications

Here’s one of those strange companies that started to appear towards the end of the WECA period. Its main title was The Weekender. For the first two issues it was known as The Comic Section of Illustrated Weekender News Reviews. The implication of the title was that it was some sort of newspaper or magazine insert but actually the so-called “news section” was included in the comic book itself. This news section was a dozen or so black and white pages of text and photos dealing with popular news items of the day.

Here’s one of those strange companies that started to appear towards the end of the WECA period. Its main title was The Weekender. For the first two issues it was known as The Comic Section of Illustrated Weekender News Reviews. The implication of the title was that it was some sort of newspaper or magazine insert but actually the so-called “news section” was included in the comic book itself. This news section was a dozen or so black and white pages of text and photos dealing with popular news items of the day.

Weekender Vol. 1 No. 1
Weekender Vol. 1 No. 1

 

Zip Comics 45
Zip Comics 45

We know that the cover for the first issue is from Zip Comics 45 and that the covers for issues Vol. 1 No. 4, Vol. 2 No. 1, and Vol. 2 No. 2 are from various Chesler issues along with  much of the paneled contents from those comics.

Weekender Vol. 1 No. 4 and Punch Comics 10
Weekender Vol. 1 No. 4 and Punch Comics 10
Weekender Vol. 2 No. 1 and Dynamic Comics 11
Weekender Vol. 2 No. 1 and Dynamic Comics 11
Weekender Vol. 2 No. 2 and Dynamic Comics 9
Weekender Vol. 2 No. 2 and Dynamic Comics 9

I have no idea where the covers for Weekender Vol. 1 Nos. 2 and 3 are from, but Weekender Vol. 1 No. 2 does have original Canadian black and white content by Ed Shecter and a couple of Mickey Owens and the cover seems to feature one of the inside characters developed by Ed Schecter called Captain Victory, so it is probably original and by Ed Shecter, though it’s unsigned.

Weekender Vol. 1 No. 2 and a Shecter splash from the inside.
Weekender Vol. 1 No. 2 and a Shecter splash from the inside.

Because of this original Canadian material inside, this is the Weekender issue to find. One of the Shecter features is called “Marvo, Espionage Agent” which is the same title of a feature by the same artists in Joke Comics 10 (Sept./Oct. 1943?) but a different story. Jim Finlay was kind enough to provide pics of the Shecter page from his copy of Weekender Vol. 1 No. 2.

Shecter probably created his Bell work in the summer of 1943 when he had just turned 18. After this in the fall of 1944 he did work for Feature Publications’ Lightning Comics and then probably this Weekender work came out in late 1944 or early 1945.

Weekender Vol. 1 No. 3 with its strange cover contains Chesler colour reprints inside. There also seem to be at least three variants of this cover.

Three variants of Weekender Vol. 1 No. 3 (notice the US address stamped on the middle one)
Three variants of Weekender Vol. 1 No. 3 (notice the US address stamped on the middle one)

Later issues of Weekender were published by Super publications, perhaps again for distribution in the UK, though they had no British price indicators on the covers. These issues don’t appear to be numbered and don’t have a date in the indicia. The contents are funny animal and teen stories but I can’t find an American reprint source for them.

Two unnumbered Weekenders by Super Publications
Two unnumbered Weekenders by Super Publications

Connected to the Weekender, because its contents reprint the contents of Weekender Vol. 1 No. 3 is the one-shot issue of Lucky Coyne Comics which has a cover taken from Dynamic Comics 10.

The Super Publications version of Lucky Coyne Comics and Dynamic Comics No.
The Super Publications version of Lucky Coyne Comics and Dynamic Comics No.

There are two versions of this with one in which the indicia say it’s a Rucker Publication and the other where the indicia say it’s a Super Publication. The Super Publications version has an added 6 pence price tag on the front cover where the Rucker version had 10 cents. This probably indicates that the Super version was intended primarily for export to the U.K. and the Rucker version was intended for Canadian distribution. Super Publications seems to be directly connected to Rucker.

There is one of these Rucker/Chesler scrunch ups that is perhaps the hardest to find and that is the one-shot Rocketman issue that uses the cover from Punch Comics 9 (July 1944). Stephen Lipson has kindly provided me with a scan of the copy in his collection.

Rocket Man 1 and Punch Comics 9
Rocket Man 1 and Punch Comics 9

Scooter Comics No. 1 from April 1946 contains original teen and funny animal content. It doesn’t seem to be that hard to find and is one of the handful of WECA books that is listed in Overstreet. There was a follow up No. 2 published by Super Publications. Snuggy Comics seems to be another title by Super Publications that is connected to all these books.

Scooter No. 1 by Rucker and No. 2 by Super Publications
Scooter No. 1 by Rucker and No. 2 by Super Publications

Finally, the other “to get” Rucker issue is the unnumbered United Nations Battle Heroes which contains cover to cover black and white original historic war hero Canadian content. United Nations Battle Heroes also came out with a different cover signed by Harold Bennett under the title United Nations War Heroes and with blank inside covers.

UN Battle Heroes and UN War Heroes (both have the same page content)
UN Battle Heroes and UN War Heroes (both have the same page content)

It contains eight separate feature stories and half of these are signed. All of the signed artists had done work for Bell Features. There was a feature by Gordon C. Smith (who had done a couple of things in Commando Comics), one by Harold Bennett (who did a story in Active Comics 27 at around the same time) and two stories by Mickey Owens. These full, feature stories by Mickey Owens are distinctive because all the work that did for Bell Features was in the form of one page cartoon fillers.

Gordon C. Smith and Harold Bennett splashes from UN Battle Heroes
Gordon C. Smith and Harold Bennett splashes from UN Battle Heroes
The two Mickey Owens splashes from UN Battle Heroes
The two Mickey Owens splashes from UN Battle Heroes

United Nations Battle Heroes has a text ad for The Weekender on its inside back cover and a text ad I’ve reproduced below for an unknown and maybe unreleased title called Comic Crimes but the ad does say “Now! On sale at all newsstands”.

Inside front cover of UN Battle Heroes advertising Current Crimes
Inside front cover of UN Battle Heroes advertising Current Crimes

Perhaps it could be a pulp title given the real crime content that seems unsuited for war period comics, but  I’m not aware that Rucker produced any pulps.

That’s the little that I know about Al Rucker Publications and I certainly welcome any clarification or additional input from anybody.

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Ivan Kocmarek
Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.
Articles: 169

13 Comments

  1. Giving my post a fresh look in the morning, I see that I have mislabeled the Lucky Coyne No. 1 as being the Super Pub. version when it is, in fact, the Rucker version with the Vol. 1 No. 1 in the top left corner instead of the “six pence” price that the Super version has. Also I must make it clear that the “/Red Rube” cover for Weekender Vol. 1 No. 1 is not a reprint of the Zip 45 cover but a re-drawn or even traced version (maybe done by Ed Shecter if you look at the faces of the Japanese soldier and the running nurse. In fact, these two covers would make a great basis for a “spot the differences” contest.

  2. Current Crimes was indeed one of the ‘true crime’ pulp magazines that Al Rucker was publishing circa 1944. Other pulps he put out during that period were titles like Crimes Incorporated, Horror Crime Cases, Now It Can Be Told and
    Startling Crime Cases.
    ~ jim b.

  3. Thanks again for sharing some more valuable information, Jim. The only one of these I’ve seen pictures of is the Startling Crime Cases and there’s no Rucker logo on it. The Canadian pulps demand a lot more investigation than has been done up to til now.

  4. Hey Ivan, your article accidentally refers to “Current Crimes” as “Comic Crimes”. I am legendary for going back into my posts over and over to correct typos and stuff like that. The perils of the deadline.

  5. Right you are Robert. Thanks. I am legendary for not being able to go over material that I’ve written and reveling in it’s [sic] imperfections.

  6. Hi,
    recently came across a copy of weekender that was an insert inside of a parody of a sears and roebeck catalog called Rears and Robust. I was wondering if you had seen other copies inserted into similar issues. You can tell it was inserted in that particular periodical because of the whole in the upper left side of the comic where the string was thread through it.

  7. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for adding a fascinating comment here. I’ve certainly never come across one inserted like that into that parody title. Do you know what year it was, or what particular issue of Weekender? We’d love some further information.
    ~ jim b.

  8. I’m sorry, but I did not record it. It was at a comic book show and the guy wanted a bit too much for it. I do remember seeing another copy of the parody catalog that did not have the insert.

  9. Richard: This is a new one for me as well. I’ll keep an eye out for this parody catalog at future cons. If you come across more information about this in the future, Richard, please let us know.

  10. James: I have no trouble with you sharing cover scans with the Grand Comic Book Data Base as long as you get the details correct and put them in the proper place. I have seen a number of mis-labled scans of Canadian books in the database. As for indexing these books, we are slowly doing this at canadasowncomics.com and have almost a third of all of them done. I think it’s important that this be done on a Canadian site first and then comics.org can use the information there to provide its own indexing.

  11. Thank you very much. Great to know you have such a site for Canadian comics. If you find any errors on GCD please correct. The goal is to be the most accurate place to go so we welcome any fixes.

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