Monday, 12 August 2019

Three of a Kind - Rolf Torring

Rolf Torring's Abenteur was a German pulp series originally published from 1930 - 1939. In that time 445 issues were produced. I haven't been able to find out much about the eponymous hero but have seen him compared to Herge's Tintin. The stories are predominantly set in Southeast Asia and India but Africa, China and South America also feature. The main author was Wilhelm Reinhard using the pen-name Hans Warren, a character in the stories. Subsequent authors also used the Warren name. The original editions lacked the full-colour covers seen here which are later reprints. The English titles are via Bing Translator. (Click for larger images).

Das Meer-Ungeheuer  (The Sea Monster)

Piratengold (Pirate Gold) (Original title: Der Haifisch-König (The Shark King)).

Die Tiefe Schweigt (The Depth is Silent) (Original title: Königin Mangaia (Queen Mangaia)).

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Three of a Kind - Umm... Sharks!

As far as I know the only thing these books have in common is that they feature diving and have a shark on the cover but I thought that's good enough for a Three of a Kind  post!

First up is a collection of stories/articles that originally featured in Men's Magazine and Conquest Magazine between 1956 and 1964 (Click for larger image).

Given the source of the contents, it's perhaps surprising that this was published under Pyramid's Willow imprint which was aimed at a juvenile readership. With stories such as Sharkbait Swimmer, Human Torpedoes and Dive or Die they must have been eager to devour this book! I got my information from the excellent Glorious Trash blog and you can read Joe Kenney's full review here.

This 1962 Spanish publication, which translates as Conquests and Mysteries of the Sea, was an album for a set of 128 collectible cards.

The Secret of Shark Reef, published in 1979, was the 30th book in the long-running Three Investigators series. The books were originally billed as "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" and this was the last to feature the famous director before his death in 1980. This edition is actually from 1985 and the silhouette of Hitchcock that previously appeared in the top corner has been replaced by a keyhole.

The artist is Robert Adragna who painted covers for books 29 - 43 (the last in the series) as well as providing artwork for new editions of earlier books. You can read more about Adragna on this website devoted to the American editions of the books.

Sunday, 4 August 2019


Pete the Cat is the star of over 60 books and an Amazon Prime animated series. Pete is the creation of artist James Dean who self-published the first book, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, in 2008. Harper Collins purchased the rights in 2010. The first few books were written by Eric Litwin but the majority are by Dean and his wife Kimberley.

Pete the Cat: Scuba Cat sees Pete going on a diving trip on Captain Joe's boat.

Pete gets excited when Joe tells him he might see a seahorse.

As the book is still available I'm not going to post any more images here. If you want to see how Pete's dive goes, and whether or not he finds a sea horse, you'll just have to buy a copy!

There's also a wealth of Pete merchandise available on his own website.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Know the Art of Diving

The Know the Game series of books first appeared in the 1950s. They were originally published by Educational Productions Ltd with modern editions still available from the publisher Bloomsbury. They were usually produced in association with an official body as in the case of Underwater Swimming where it was the British Sub-Aqua Club.

The author was BSAC First Class Diver George F. Brookes with R.B. Matkin providing the artwork. My edition is from the mid-70s but the book was originally published in 1962. Here's a selection of Mr. Matkin's illustrations:

I'm sure most people could imagine what a check-up with a doctor would be like but Messrs Brookes and Matkin weren't taking any chances!

As it was the 60s of course they used a female to model a wetsuit! I'd imagine was probably copied from a photo. I like the completely natural pose!

You can see a selection of 60s and 70s covers from the Know the Game series here.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Fauna Marina

This lovely box artwork is from a set of figures made by the Spanish company Jecsan. Originally issued in the 1950s, they were initially made of rubber and then later of plastic. (Click for larger images)

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Humorous Art of Diving - Homer

I was tempted to call this "The Homerous Art of Diving" which would have been bad even for me.

From the 40s through to the 60s, Henry Boltinoff produced numerous short filler strips for DC featuring the likes of Casey the CopVarsity Vic, Super-Turtle, Slim, and Shorty. Cap's Hobby Hints was his final strip. Sometimes it seems like they came up with a new character for every strip but many of them did in fact feature more than once. These five Homer strips all appeared, appropriately enough, in various issues of Aquaman. (Click for larger images).

Look out for more Homer and other Boltinoff characters, coming soon to The Art of Diving!

Henry Boltinoff (1914-2001), brother of writer and editor Murray, began working as a cartoonist in his teens with his work appearing in The New York American. He also worked on longer strips for DC in the 40s including Leave it to Binky, Buzzy and Dover & Clover. In 1969 he became the writer on teen-humour comics Date with Debbi and Swing with Scooter. He also worked for Harvey Comics and Fawcett Publications as well as drawing several newspaper strips over the years. From 1960 - 1985 he drew the single-panel cartoon Stoker the Broker which appeared in various financial publications. In 1981 this won him an award from the National Cartoonists Society.

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Art of Diving for Fun

I really like this cover and wish I knew the name of the artist.

Diving for Fun was billed as a "a complete textbook for students, instructors and advanced divers" and was widely used in the 60s and 70s. The book was published by equipment manufacturer Dacor who also used the artwork for promotional purposes.