Tuesday 29 June 2021

Two of a Kind - Bill Bryan

Author and playwright Willard Manus is probably best known for his 1966 novel Mott the Hoople. Record producer Guy Stevens read the book while in prison for a drugs offence and later persuaded a newly-signed band to adopt the book's title as their name.

A few years earlier, Manus had written a pair of what would now be called "Young Adult" novels featuring the adventures of skin-diver Bill Bryan. Sea Treasure was published in 1961 and was illustrated by Lee J. Ames.

The Mystery of the Flooded Mine followed in 1964, with illustrations by James Dwyer.

Lee Judah Ames (1921-2011) worked as an advertising artist, fine artist, cartoonist, designer, animation in-betweener, illustrator, and as an artist-in residence at Doubleday. He's best known for his Draw 50... series of instructional books (Draw 50 Dogs, Draw 50 People, Draw 50 Boats etc.)

I haven't been able to find out much about James Dwyer (1898-?) but he appears to have had an extensive career working in book and magazine illustration.

Thursday 17 June 2021

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Bonus Blaise!

 Just a quick one today. I wasn't expecting to post any new Modesty Blaise material but the latest issue of Sweden's Agent X9 features the story Dossier on Pluto and comes with this lovely cover artwork.

Rip Kirby also seems to be getting in on the underwater action. I've previously featured one of his stories on the blog and look out for another one coming soon.

Sunday 13 June 2021

I'm gonna get you sucker!

 Following on from this 2014 post, here's another selection of octopus encounters with the occasional squid thrown in at no extra charge!


1960s. Art by Ángel Mora.

1970s. I'm not sure if this one is also by Mora.

1969 (or 2069 according to the cover date on TV21!). Art by Frank Bellamy.

1961. Art by Russ Heath with wash effects by colourist Jack Adler.

Part of me wishes octopuses really did have eyes like this fella! Date and artist unknown.

1956. Art by Frank Soltesz.

1963. Possibly drawn by Al Smith.

1954 (?) English title: Beneath the 12-Mile Reef.

1962. From the feature page It Really Happened in Valiant. Art by Graham Coton.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

The Archie of Diving - Secrets of the Deep Part Two

 Welcome back Archie fans!

Writer Dick Malmgren was clearly ignorant about Moray Eels. Not only are they not electric, I've never seen a bright red one either! Of course, so-called "Electric Eels" aren't actually eels at all but are in fact a type of Knifefish. I'm not sure how our bad guy, in his lovely stealth yellow wetsuit managed to capture and transport the specimen in the story without getting a shock himself!

Stan Goldberg (1932-2014), aka "Stan G", was just 16 when he began working for Marvel's predecessor Timely Comics in 1949. He worked in the colouring department under future Archie colleague Jon D'Agostino. Within a couple of years he was the department manager as Timely became Atlas Comics. He also drew some stories for Atlas' horror comics and attended evening classes at the School of Visual Arts.

In 1958 he went freelance but continued colouring as Atlas became Marvel Comics. He worked with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to create the colour designs for the likes of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four. He also worked as the artist on humour books such as Kathy and Millie the Model, adopting the style established by Dan DeCarlo. He also drew in a more dramatic style when Millie became a romance book for several years. He stopped working for Marvel in 1969 and spent three years working on DC's teen humour titles.

Around this time he also began his long association with Archie Comics, once again adopting the house-style established by Dan DeCarlo. He worked across the companies range of titles, eventually becoming the main artist on their flagship comic Archie. He drew the Archie Sunday strip from 1975 - 1980 and also drew the Archie/Marvel crossover Archie Meets The Punisher. His final work for Archie appeared in 2010 and he then worked on graphic novels featuring Nancy Drew and The Three Stooges. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Gold Key Award from the National Cartoonist Society. He died following a stroke at the age of 82.

Charles "Chic" Stone (1923-2000) studied at the School of Industrial Art and, like Stan Goldberg, he was just 16 years old when he broke into comics. He initially apprenticed at the Eisner and Iger Studio before going on to work for Fawcett (Captain Marvel), Lev Gleason (Boy Comics) and Timely (Blonde Phantom and others). During the 1950s he worked as an art director for magazines, worked in advertising and produced storyboards for TV commercials.

In the 1960s he returned to comics, initially working for AGC and DC. He then moved to Marvel where his work included inking Jack Kirby on Fantastic Four, The Avengers and Journey into Mystery (Thor). Towards the end of the decade he began freelancing for DC again, pencilling the occasional Batman story as Bob Kane, and also worked for the short-lived Tower Comics. In the 70s and 80s he worked for Archie Comics on their Red Circle and Archie Adventure Series lines as well as the humour titles. He continued to work into the 1990s producing commissions in the classic Kirby-Stone style.

Monday 7 June 2021

The Archie of Diving - Secrets of the Deep Part One

 Although most 20th century Archie comics were humorous in nature, they did publish some titles where the gang had adventures and even grappled with moral issues. One of these titles was Archie at Riverdale High which was published for 113 issues from 1972 - 1986. This story appeared in issue 101 which was on sale in December 1985. It has subsequently been reprinted in various Archie digest magazines.

(Click for larger images).

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion where I'll also talk about artists Stan Goldberg and Chic Stone.

Thursday 3 June 2021

WoW! If You Meet a Shark...

 Here's another feature from the educational title World of Wonder. If anyone recognises the artist's signature on the interior piece please let me know. (Click for larger images).