Friday, 16 April 2021

The Art of Action Man Part One

If anyone wants to quibble about the title of this post, I know G.I Joe came first but I'm British and grew up playing with Action Man so that's what I'm going with!

Toy company Hasbro launched the first G.I. Joe action figures (not dolls!) in the USA in 1964. In 1966, Palitoy licenced the concept and launched the range in the UK using the name Action Man (the original G.I. Joe range was made up of the Action Soldier, Action Sailor, Action Marine and Action Pilot). Various diving outfits were made and I'm going to share some of the artwork used on the packaging.



The lovely artwork above was used on the original Action Sailor boxes and also for the Frogman outfit.



The artwork was also used in ads that appeared in boys' comics of the period:




Later releases featured new artwork as seen below:









Special Operations Frogman:



Underwater Explorer:





Underwater Explorer Film Unit:



Look out for part two where I'll share some artwork for the Deep Sea Diver outfit.


Sunday, 4 April 2021

Happy Easter from The Art of Diving

 Strange as it may seem, there doesn't seem to be much easter-themed scuba artwork out there (I know, right?!) so a couple of bunnies is the best I can do!







Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Archie of Diving - Polished Diver and others

 It's been a while since I featured our chums from Riverdale so here's a selection of single and half-pages.

I'm presenting Polished Diver twice because I thought it was interesting to see the different choices made by the colourist(s).

1962:



1968:



Issue 190 of  Archie's Joke Book Magazine (1973) had gags set mostly at the pool or the beach and several featured scuba diving:





In addition to Archie's Joke Book Magazine there was also Jughead's Jokes and Reggie's "Wise Guy" Jokes. These next two gags are from the first issue of the latter (1968) . Pencils by Al Hartley with inks by John D'Agostino.



This final page is from 1987. Pencils by Stan Goldberg with inks by Rudy Lapick. 





Friday, 26 March 2021

Inside the Wide World of Diving

 The diving features in The Wide World didn't always make the front cover but would still have very nice illustrations inside the magazine and I have a small selection to share with you. (Click for larger images).

Mike Noble is one of my favourite comic artists so I recognised his style as soon as I saw this piece:



You can see more of his Wide World illustrations here. I find it interesting that several of them feature a "rougher" style than I would normally associate with him but the one I've posted here looks much closer to his comic work.


This piece was split over two pages:


Thanks to Norman Boyd I can tell you that the artist on these next two pieces, both from the same article, is Cyril Holloway.







This final piece could be by Holloway as well.




Monday, 22 March 2021

The Adventurous Art of Diving - Willard Price Part 1

 I've been waiting to bring you this particular post for several years now. The reason it's taken so long is I was waiting to get hold of one particular edition of  Willard Price's Underwater Adventure. I saw a small picture of the cover on ebay but it turned out the seller had a different edition. I've been checking the site regularly ever since and last week I finally saw a copy for sale and snapped it up! I'm not sure why exactly but this image of the wreck with the tiny divers next to it really grabbed me and I'm delighted to at last have a copy. (Click for a larger image).



There are plenty of copies of later editions but this first UK paperback, published in 1968, seems to be quite rare. The particular cover layout seen here, with the title in a solid block of colour, was only used for a couple of years by Brockhampton Press on their Green Knight imprint. The next cover design had the artwork filling the whole cover and while on series such as Biggles and The Famous Five they kept the same paintings, on Underwater Adventure they decided to go with something new. I guess it's more dramatic but I still prefer the wreck cover.




This edition was around throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s in a couple of different editions but it was only the typeface that changed. In 1985 a new set of covers was commissioned for the series resulting in this final Knight edition.




Underwater Adventure was the third book featuring the adventures of 18-year-old Hal Hunt and his younger brother Roger (aged 13). Their father was animal collector John Hunt and the series begins with the boys taking a year off school to take part in several expeditions for their father. 14 books were published from 1949 to 1980 and Anthony Horowitz and Mark Gatiss are among those who have said they were fans of the series.

Let's take a look at some more covers, beginning with this 1954 US first edition featuring the work of artist Peter Burchard.




I believe this next edition was published by the Children's Book Club in the UK and the jacket illustration was also used as a frontispiece.



Interior illustrations were by Pat Marriott but I'm not sure if she did the cover. Speaking of those illustrations, let's have a look at a few of them...




This last drawing was used on the cover of this New English Library hardback...



This Finnish edition is from 1973...



...while this Spanish edition is from 2005.




A change of publisher in the UK saw this 1993 cover appear...



...which was followed by this edition...



Hal and Roger featured in more underwater exploits in Diving Adventure so look out for a future post on that.



Thursday, 18 March 2021

The Eagle-Eyed Art of Diving

This strip comes from the 1967 Wham! Annual. Eagle-Eye, Junior Spy, the strip that introduced Grimly Feendish (the Rottenest Crook in the World!),  was created by Leo Baxendale but I'm pretty sure this doesn't feature his work. Many artists copied his style and while there's nothing wrong with this piece, to my eyes it lacks the Baxendale magic. (Click for larger images).




Monday, 15 March 2021

WoW! Diving into Danger

World of Wonder was an educational title published by Fleetway/IPC from 1970 - 1975. It replaced Tell Me Why and was ultimately merged with Look and Learn. This article on Jacques Cousteau appeared in issue 225 published in July 1974. Long-time Art of Diving readers may recognise the incident portrayed on the first page. World of Wonder used many of the same artists as Look and Learn but I'm afraid i don't know who was responsible for the artwork seen here. (Click for larger images).