Thursday 28 August 2014

The Familiar Art of Diving

I've been recycling images that I used on the original version of this blog and that gave me the idea for this particular entry. (In some cases you can click for a larger image).

The cover to Underwater Adventure was reused on the Polish book, Dangerous Marine Animals.

 This panel from a Valiant cover feature turned up some years later in a summer special (I'm pretty sure the art is by Geoff Campion).

In the late '60s Valiant ran a Sexton Blake strip based on the TV series starring Laurence Payne. However, instead of commissioning new scripts, they recycled old Maxwell Hawke stories that had appeared in Buster a few years earlier. This meant that Blake's cockney assistant Tinker ended up filling the role originally meant for Hawke's plucky girl companion Jill Adair. Maxwell Hawke artwork by Eric Bradbury, Sexton Blake by Eric Dadswell.

On a slightly different note, I think everyone can see the similarities in these three pieces. The Collier's cover from 1954 is by Bill Baker while the Underwater! film poster, which I think is by Ren Wicks, dates from the following year. Vic Prezio's Eerie cover is from 1969. I'd like to add that I present these comparisons merely out of historical interest. No judgement is given or implied.

 As a bonus, here's a look at Prezio's original artwork (sorry it's not a bigger image).

Finally, I see definite similarities between the diver in this Conoco Oil ad from 1949 (Can't make out the artist's signature I'm afraid)...

... and Ley Kenyon's cover to Under the Red Sea that I featured a few weeks ago.


Friday 22 August 2014

The Furious Art of Diving

A quickie today featuring Marvel's Nick Fury in two covers from 1973, years before he turned into Samuel L. Jackson!

He first appeared in 1963 leading the Howling Commandos in World War Two. This cover is by Dick Ayers and appeared during his ten year run on the title. He was also well known as one of comics legend Jack Kirby's inkers. He died in May this year aged 90.

In 1965 Fury was re-invented as the eye-patch wearing head of spy organisation S.H.I.E.L.D. This particular book was a reprint of the original stories that appeared in Strange Tales.

The second cover is by Jim Steranko who made a name for himself with innovative design and layouts on Captain America, X-Men and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He produced some striking covers for Marvel and is known for his two-volume history of comics looking at the Golden Age of American Comics. He also worked as a designer and conceptual artist on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Marvel introduced a new Nick Fury, based on Jackson, in their Ultimate line which predated the actor playing the character. In the regular Marvel universe the Jackson version is the son of the original Fury.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

The Thirsty Art of Diving

Diving can be thirsty work so here's another selection of ads for various beverages. As always, the Art of Diving advises you to only consume alcohol after you've finished diving.

This Pepsi ad from 1960 was one of a long-running series featuring "The Sociables". (Leif Peng of the Today's Inspiration blog has put together a nice collection of Pepsi ads here.) I don't know who the artist was for this one I'm afraid. (Click on image for larger version).

This ad for LeJon Vermouth dates from 1958.

John Gilroy produced many famous Guiness posters starting in 1930 and continuing until the mid-sixties. Many of them had more than one version as with this example:

Dr Pepper used the same idea of the "drink-as-cylinder" in 1984. I wasn't sure whether or not to include this one but then I thought, "What's the worst that could happen?!" (Click on image for larger version).

We finish with three very different 7-Up ads. Sorry ladies but this one from 1964 says it's the man's mixer!

This striking design is by Bob Peak who started his career in advertising, including work for Pepsi's "The Sociables" series. He's probably best known for his film posters which include Apocalypse Now, The Spy Who Loved Me, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Excalibur, Rollerball and the first five Star Trek films.

Finally we have this late 60s example which I would suggest was inspired by the design of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine.


Monday 4 August 2014

The Art of Ley Kenyon

Today we're looking at the work of diver and artist Ley Kenyon.

A war hero, Bennett Ley Kenyon was one of the prisoners in the infamous Stalag Luft III and was part of the events dramatised in The Great Escape. His artistic skills saw him working as one of the camp forgers producing fake documents. In the absence of any cameras, he also produced six drawings that documented the tunnels. One source claims that the work damaged his eyesight and he wasn't allowed to be one of the escapees, while another says that it was simply that the tunnel was discovered before he could escape. I haven't been able to confirm which is correct but whatever did prevent him escaping almost certainly saved his life.

After the war, in addition to being an artist and author, Kenyon was himself a diver who worked with Cousteau in the 1950s. He wrote and illustrated a number of books including Aqualung Diving (with Werner de Haas, 1956), Collins' Pocket Guide to the Undersea World (1956) and Discovering the Undersea World (1961). His work also graced the covers of other authors' books, including diving pioneer Hans Hass. The cover of Pierre de Latill and Jean Rivoire's Man and the Underwater World features artwork by Kenyon and he is also the diver pictured.


In 1956, the News of the World launched a new comic for boys called Rocket, the Space-Age Weekly. The editorial gave a brief introduction to Kenyon who wrote and drew the adventures of Professor Jack Ransom in full colour on the back page.


The Seabed Citadel introduced us to the professor and his rather impractical looking diving suit. Like many comic-strip adults, he had no hesitation involving children in his adventures, in this case his nephews Tom and Jeff.

Exploring various wrecks, the intrepid trio have a nasty encounter with some Japanese Crabs

before following a strange glow which leads them to - can you guess? - yes that's right, a seabed citadel. In one panel Jeff imparts a little snippet of information about Scorpion Fish

but Kenyon soon abandons any pretence of scientific accuracy when they are attacked by "man-eating" Mantas (or Mantuas as he calls them).

Issue 25 saw the start of a new adventure with rather more practical diving gear but Rocket was cancelled a few weeks later with number 32 being the final issue. The story was cut short and a panel of text told the reader what would have happened.

Ley Kenyon passed away in 1991.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Roll Six for the Art of Diving.

Here's something to keep the divers out there amused during their surface intervals. This game appeared in The Victor Summer Special 1970. Click on the single pages for larger versions. Don't get so caught up in the game that you forget to go diving though!

On the subject of games, this one was based was on the short-lived TV series The Aquanauts. Broadcast during the 1960-61 season, the series starred Keith Larsen and Jeremy Slate as two Californian salvage divers. Ill-health caused Larsen to quit after 14 episodes and he was replaced by future Tarzan star Ron Ely. After a few more episodes the diving was dropped and the series was renamed Malibu Run. The show was unable to compete with the popular western series Wagon Train and didn't survive beyond its single season of 32 episodes.

Finally, here's the box of the 1982 game, Lost Treasure.