Thursday, 15 November 2018

The Art of Underwater Exploration

Here's a bumper blog entry for you to enjoy.

Ladybird Books are familiar to generations of readers from all over the world. In 1967 they published the tenth book in the "Achievements" series, Underwater Exploration. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find out anything about the artist, B. Knight but he produced some nicely atmospheric paintings. (Click for larger images.)

The first edition that I have doesn't carry the famous Ladybird logo but it was added to later editions.

"In the eternal darkness of the deep, lives plants and animals which man has not yet seen. This book describes man's exploration and achievements in this strange world of the sea."

The strange world of the sea

Divers at work on the Royal George

I like the way the diver on the right is just casually standing there below the cannon being winched up!

Diving dress and equipment

A diver about to start work

Working on a wreck

Here one of the divers seems a little concerned by the one-eyed octopus climbing ominously over the railings!

A diver climbs into a decompression chamber

Diving armour - for work at great depths

Behind you! (I think he'll be okay in his armour!)

Escaping from a submarine

Aqualung divers in action

I hope he's not intending to spear that ray. Bad aqualung diver!

Danger approaches

Here's a situation familiar to long-time Art of Diving followers - Cousteau and Dumas and their encounter with an Oceanic White-tip.

Modern divers working on an ancient wreck

Treasure on the sea bed

A bathysphere descends into the unknown

A jet-propelled diving saucer

And finally, here's the good old SP-350 "Denise", aka Cousteau's Diving Saucer.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Archie of Diving - The Deep Six

Here's a complete six-page Archie story from 1959 to brighten your day. This story originally appeared in issue 135 of Pep Comics, the title in which Archie made his first appearance in 1942. The Deep Six was written by Frank Doyle and pencilled by Harry Lucey with inks and lettering by Terry Szenics. (Click for larger images).

Harry Lucey (1913-1984) graduated from Pratt University in 1935. He worked in a studio with original Archie artist Bob Montana and they both worked for the publisher MLJ. He worked on characters such as The Hangman and Madam Satan.

After serving in the army he spent several years in advertising before returning to MLJ which was now called Archie Comics. He drew some adventure and romance titles, including the detective Sam Hill, but primarily worked on the teen humour books. He was the main artist on the flagship Archie comic from the late fifties until the mid-seventies. He also drew many house ads for the company.

Like Samm Schwartz he had his own distinct style rather than following the Dan DeCarlo house style and he was a master of body language and physical comedy. Artist Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame has named him as an influence. In the late sixties he developed an allergy to graphite and reportedly wore gloves while drawing. In 1976 he abruptly retired after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and died of cancer in 1984.

Fun trivia time: Lucey's sister-in-law Betty had briefly dated Bob Montana and was the inspiration for the character of Betty Cooper.