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.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

The Explanatory Art of Diving

One of the most famous boys' comics published in the UK was the Eagle which first appeared in April 1950. Part of its mission was to educate as well as entertain and one early feature was Professor Brittain Explains which debuted in the first issue (this example from issue five). The artist was John Spencer Croft but I'm afraid I haven't been able to find out anything about him.

(Click for larger image)

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Art of Driving

Something a little different today - a scuba-diving car! This vintage AMT kit was relaunched in recent years by Round2 models and can be easily found online if you fancy picking one up.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

The Scuba Maneuver!

The  Scuba Manoeuvre Maneuver! (I think it's best if we gloss over the spelling) appeared in issue 75 of Binky from DC. Originally called Leave it to Binky until issue 71, Binky was apparently the first DC character to be launched directly in his own comic. First appearing in 1948, I think it's safe to say the character was inspired by the success of Archie and came at a time when the popularity of superheroes was on the wane. Following issue 60 in 1958 the comic went on a ten-year hiatus before being revived in 1968. During this revival the title sold well enough to warrant a spin-off called Binky's Buddies which lasted for 12 issues. The series was cancelled again with issue 81 in 1971 although issue 82 was published as a one-off in 1977.

I'm pretty sure this story was drawn by Henry Scarpelli. If anyone can confirm this one way or the other please let me know.

(Click for larger images)

Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Art of Dining

There's not a lot I can say about today's item. It's a plate. From the Bahamas.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Three of a Kind - When Eight Bells Toll

Just a quick one today. I haven't done a "Three of a Kind" post for a while so here's three covers from popular thriller writer Alistair Maclean's When Eight Bells Toll. Originally published in 1966 it marked his return to writing after a three-year break during which he was running the famous Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor.

(Click for larger images).

First we have the US first edition...

This Companion Book Club edition was also published in 1966. It just goes to show that you don't necessarily need full colour to produce an effective cover.

I really like this final example by artist Vernon Hayles. Melbourne-based publisher Colorgravure Publications produced this Readers Book Club edition in 1968.

Hayles  was born in England but moved to Australia after World War Two. He worked for K.G. Murray as a cartoonist and illustrator on Man magazine where he created the trademark character Wilbur. He also worked on the company's comics line including Man Out of Space and the Climax range (stop sniggering at the back!). In 1952 he joined the Melbourne Herald as an editorial and gag cartoonist.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Guardian of the Reef

Today's comic strip comes from the 1960 Express Super Colour Annual and features some early work by one of the great British comic artists whose work has spanned seven decades! This early example is very different from the style that most fans are familiar with so I won't name him until you've looked at the strip. See if you can guess who it is!

John M. Burns (1938- ) began his career working for Junior Express and School Friend in the mid-1950s. His body of work is far too big to list here but I'll give you some of the highlights:

Wrath of the Gods - Boys' World/Eagle and Boy's World
Kelpie the Boy Wizard - Wham!
The Seekers - Daily Sketch
Space Family Robinson - Lady Penelope
Catch or Kill/Front Page - TV Century 21
Countdown - Countdown
UFO/Mission: Impossible - TV Action
Danielle - Evening News
The Tomorrow People/Space: 1999/The Bionic Woman/Buck Rogers - Look-in
George and Lynne - The Sun
Modesty Blaise - Evening Standard
Eartha - News of the World Sunday Magazine
The Fists of Danny Pike - Eagle
Jane - Daily Mirror
The Tripods - Beeb
Dan Dare - Eagle
Judge Dredd - 2000AD/Judge Dredd Megazine
Nikolai Dante - 2000AD
Sable and Fortune (Marvel)
Jane Eyre/Wuthering Heights - (Classical Comics)

And that's just scratching the surface!

Thanks to Colin from the John M. Burns Art  Facebook group for the scans of Guardian of the Reef.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Kalkitos - Frogmen and Sunken Treasure

Letraset weren't the only company providing kids with rub-down fun in the 1970s. Gillette in Italy also produced a range of transfers called Kalkitos and they produced at least two sets with an underwater theme.

I haven't managed to find a copy of Undersea World yet but you can see it on the Action Transfers site. I was able to acquire Frogmen and Sunken Treasure to share with you so without further ado here it is:

(Click for larger images).

Once again I've used Photoshop to virtually rub-down the transfers!

I shall be keeping an eye on eBay so hopefully this won't be the last post on the subject.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Zany Art of Diving

The success of the humour magazine Mad inevitably led to other publishers attempting to cash-in. Some went on to have quite lengthy runs but Zany was not one of them, lasting just four issues in 1958/59.

The first issue included a three-page look at skin diving for which The Grand Comics Database names Carl Burgos (1916 - 1984) as the probable artist.

Burgos drew the Human Torch in Timely's Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. After completing his military service he moved into advertising although he still worked on a freelance basis for Timely's successor Atlas (which ultimately became Marvel). He drew a handful of stories for Stan Lee at Marvel including one featuring the second Human Torch, Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four. In the early 70s he edited a range of horror magazines for Myron Fass' Eerie Publications.

Archie Comics' entry into the more offbeat humour market was Archie's Madhouse (sometimes formatted as Mad House), the original home of  Sabrina the Teen-age Witch. In issue 35 they took a look at the hazards of skin diving.

The artist was Bill Kresse (1933 - 2014) who, in addition to Archie Comics, worked for various humour magazines including Cracked and Sick. After studying at New York's High School of Art and Design he started working for the Terrytoons animation studio. He later spent some time designing conveyor belt systems before joining the art department of Associated Press.

In 1968 he teamed up with Rolf Ahlsen to create a Sunday strip about a building superintendent. "Super" Duper appeared in New York's Daily news for over five years. They also created a short-lived strip about a dog called Scratch for which they used the joint pseudonym Krahlsen. In 1972 he became a regular guest on The Everything Show, a Saturday evening programme for kids hosted by a young Irene "Fame" Cara. He continued to work into his later years and contributed a series of badges for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

As a final treat today, here's the cover to issue 28.

I've seen both Bob White and Samm Schwartz suggested as possibilities for this cover which features the square-headed Ches of Madhouse regulars Les 'n' Ches. Why does he have a square head I hear you ask? Well there you take me into deeper waters I'm afraid (no pun intended!)

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Live and Let Dive - The Book Covers

I think it's fair to say that, unlike Thunderball, the average person wouldn't associate Live and Let Die with scuba diving. This is no doubt because it doesn't feature in the film version. It does however feature in the novel and also the newspaper strip adaptation as seen in a previous blog entry.

Some early editions of the book put the underwater aspects front and centre as you can see from the examples below.

(Click for larger images).

Let's begin with the American first edition which was published in 1955 and featured a much more interesting cover than the text-only UK version. In the novel 007 becomes involved because Mr. Big is suspected of smuggling 17th Century gold coins which are believed to be pirate treasure. Later in the story Bond has an encounter with an octopus which explains the other elements of the cover design.

Some readers were already familiar with the story because Bluebook magazine had featured an abridged version of the novel in their May1954 edition, just a few weeks after the book had been published in the UK. Artist John Walters painted this wraparound cover, showing Bond's barracuda encounter, as well as providing an interior illustration.

In 1956 Swedish readers were treated to this simple but striking cover on their first edition.

The underwater aspects of the story were largely ignored by publishers through the 60s and 70s but in 1982 the James Bond Classic Library produced this stunning cover:

This simple but effective design from the Folio Society appeared in 2007.

And finally, this Estonian edition was published in 2008.