Friday, 19 April 2013

Connie – FF #93

There's currently a discussion on the Comic Strip Classics mailing list about the SF episodes of Connie, that ran in Famous Funnies.
SF or not, here are the five pages that ran in #93!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Instagram account - check!


Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Comic World 1955

Dana Gabbard is back, and he's got another fascinating discovery to share with you. Enjoy!

Through the assistance of Betty Uyeda at the Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, here is the Holy Grail of Barkdsom (never before posted on the internet!): the May 1955 Fortnight Magazine article "The Comic World" by Charles Beaumont that has the first description in print of Carl Barks as a Disney comic book creator for consumption by the wider world (this followed a 1951 profile in his local newspaper).

It was Michael Barrier is his groundbreaking book Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book that first made wider Barksdom aware of this singular article. I recently asked Barrier how he became aware of it (Fortnight is a fairly obscure magazine, a sort of Time Magazine for California that didn't survive the 1950s). The explanation isn't surprising: "Barks had a copy of the magazine, and I borrowed it to copy the Beaumont article".

Beaumont's familiarity with the ins and outs of Western Publishing was due to his briefly (in collaboration with William Nolan) crafting scripts that resulted in about two dozen published funny animal stories for Western including two Mickey Mouse adventures. And besides Barks several other Western writers and editors are given prominent mention, decades before most of us became familiar with the names Del Connell, Chase Craig and Alice Cobb.

One can sense Beaumont using the article to vent some of his frustrations at the peculiar requirements he encountered in adapting to what he evidently felt were often nonsensical dictums one had to accommodate to successfully sell scripts to Western. Soon after the piece appeared Beaumont moved on to more mature venues for his work as he cracked the slick magazine market for short stories and started his brief but celebrated career as a fantasist whose stories graced such venues as Playboy and The Twilight Zone along with scripting movies such as The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.

It is rather amazing Western cooperated in this almost unprecedented peek behind the curtain of their operation. I say almost because (and I credit David Gerstein via Joe Torcivia first making me aware of this) Western actually published credits in Little Lulu #49 (July 1952) and New Funnies #183 and 184 (May and June 1952). But generally Western didn't reveal the names of its creators outside the pages of its Annual Report and house organ The Westerner. It would only be in 1974 that Western referred to Barks in print in the introductions to the three deluxe Best of Walt Disney Comics volumes reprinting his work.

For more peeks at Fortnight from the same year you can check out scans posted of an article and ads from the August issue on a Disneyland fan blog.

 A pfd of "The Comic World" article can be found by clicking this sentence.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What a Treasure ...

Something I've never seen before.
The back cover to the New Con 1976 program.
Pretty nice!

Drawn by Marty Griem, I suppose?

Monday, 8 April 2013

CANaR #20 & 24

Still hungry for more about Western publishing and Gold Key?
Here's Dana Gabbard with another piece to the golden puzzle. Enjoy!

During the classic era of American comics fandom (circa 1960-1972) Gold Key and Disney comics received very little attention. Comics fandom historian Bill Schelly in an e-mail to me about the era opined "Gold Key was generally treated as a minor, also-ran comic-book publisher by fandom back then, or so it seems to me". That is why it was a big deal to me to recently stumble across the Rocket's Blast Comic Collector (RBCC) piece by Bernie Bubnis of his visit with Gold Key editor Bill Harris (who Michael Barrier informs me is still alive and has had letters published in the fanzine Robin Snyder's History of Comics). I have since discovered that Steve Perrin had articles in RBCC #14 and 15 about Gold key and Magnus Robot Fighter that I hope to soon obtain scans of to pass along to Joakim for posting. Meanwhile here more Gold Key related fandom rarities: 1970s fanzine articles on contemporary Gold Key and Disney comics. These appeared in Comics Arts News and Review (CANAR) published in Canada by John Balge. This somewhat obscure publication featured interviews (mostly by a pre-Cerebus Dave Sim) of a jaw dropping collection of comic book creators. In line with the review part of the title issues 20 and 24 have the above mentioned reviews of Gold Key and Disney comics of the era by Stan Molson. I actually met Molson one year at the San Diego Comic Con while waiting in line (this is back in the Golden Hall days). I recognized his name on his badge from my researching the history of Western Publishing (something I have been informally engaged in for 20+ years) and having read his article on Disney comics. Via a Google search I was able recently to reconnect with Stan and he not only still remembered me but informed me he to this day still attends comics conventions (and that includes not only Comic Con but most recently the Portland Wizard convention and the Seattle Emerald City con -- while in the Pacific Northwest he visited with Michelle Nolan and Bill Schelly, who like Molson are veterans of the classic era of fandom). Molson informs me "I doubt if there’s any easy way of obtaining original CANARs. I think John Balge only printed in very small quantities, maybe 300 or so" Thankfully Molson still had his copies of the issues and scanned the entire issues as they are generally rather short (8 pages each). Regarding the articles Stan avers "Perusing those articles now, it doesn’t look as if the content would currently have much research value, especially in light of some of the more-recent ultra-high quality work by historians like Becattini or Gerstein". I disagree. They reflect the times and how people viewed the Gold Key and Disney comics that were appearing on comic racks and at newsstands. An invaluable time capsule which thankfully are now via Messrs. Molson and Gunnarsson being shared with the world.

CANaR #20 can be found by clicking HERE!
And CANaR #24 can be found by clicking HERE!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Kid Breaks Nut

Andrea Cara just pointed me in the direction of this gem:

Another storyboard from the short Donald's Nephews!
For more boards from that cartoon, just click HERE!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Gold Key 1964

As a follow up the the posts about Western Publishing here's another rarely seen piece.
Again thanks to Dana Gabbard:
"Here is a rare 1964 article by a fan visiting the New York offices of Western Publishing and
interacting with the comics editor of the time,  Bill Harris. It appeared in Rocket's Blast Comic Collector #30. I learned of this when Bernie Bubnis in a letter in one of the last issues of Comics Buyer's Guide mentioned his article. This is another new item never before posted on the internet. My thanks to comics fandom historian Bill Schelly for scanning it so interested fans can see this rarity."