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Leslie Turner, Roy Crane, Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Leslie TurnerI think it’s hard to take over a comic book or comic strip from a creator whose work is so ingrained in the original. Like Fantastic Four after Jack Kirby or Amazing Spider-Man post-Ditko, or American Flagg! after Howard Chaykin. It can be done, of course, and it’s done all the time since, with few exceptions (Calvin And Hobbes and Peanuts to name just two), keeping the property alive is advantageous to the rightsholder.

Leslie Turner was one of those takeover guys. With Roy Crane’s blessing to his former assistant, Turner took over Captain Easy (formerly known as Wash Tubbs) when Crane left to create Buz Sawyer in 1943. Turner did a pretty good imitation Crane, and even stuck with the Craftint technique that Crane pioneered on the good Captain.

Click to continue reading Leslie Turner, Roy Crane, Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy


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Roy Crane, Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy and Buz Sawyer

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Interviews, Independent

Roy CraneIt’s easy to toss around the word “genius,” especially when it comes to comics. We all have our favorites and we all like to think ours are the great ones. But one look at Roy Crane’s work and anyone can see that he definitely was worthy of the “genius” tag.

Crane created two great adventure classics, Wash Tubbs (which later became Captain Easy) and Buz Sawyer, with Wash being called the first true newspaper adventure strip. He’s been dead for 30 plus years, but looking through his strip work, you can see his influence in comics from Milton Caniff to Alex Toth to Howard Chaykin. Even the modern strip, Rip Haywire by Dan Thompson shows a Crane influence as does Randy Reynaldo’s Rob Hanes.

And in a classic Comics Journal interview, Art Spiegelman calls Crane an influence on Jack Kirby.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Roy Crane wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Crane on Crane:

Click to continue reading Roy Crane, Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy and Buz Sawyer


Gus Arriola and Gordo

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Gus ArriolaI never got to read Gordo when it was syndicated - it never ran in any papers in my area when I was a kid. It was always a strip that I read about, instead of actually reading. That changed as I got older and got to read longer runs of of it. It deserves all the praise it gets for its gentle humor and its brilliant design. You can read comics on the all day long, but it’s one panel at a time. To appreciate the craftsmanship of a Gordo strip, you need to take in the whole thing. The guy was just great, and he deserved a much wider audience and he deserves to be read and experienced still today. With comics in this Golden Age period of archival reprint heaven - c’mon, even Gasoline Alley is getting collected - Gordo should be right there with everyone else. (I’m looking at you, Dean Mullaney)!

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Gus wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Gus on Gus and Gordo:

Click to continue reading Gus Arriola and Gordo


Robert G. Baldwin: Rupe and Freddy

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Rupe 1Freddy is another one of those “forgotten” comic strips that ran for quite a long time, 1956-1980 and then disappeared. If you don’t know to look for it, you might never find it.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Rupe wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Rupe on Rupe and Freddy: “Although I sign my work ‘Rupe,’ my real name is Robert G. Baldwin, and I was born in Washington, DC. I’m fifty years old, and I have five children, ages 11 to 22. Four boys and one girl. Frequently the family gathers around my finished work for discussion and, I hope, for a good laugh.

Click to continue reading Robert G. Baldwin: Rupe and Freddy


Ed Dodd and Mark Trail

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Ed DoddMark Trail is probably the longest-surviving strip of its kind, and maybe the only one of its kind. Part adventure strip, part mystery, part Animal Planet and with plots so simple they make the Hardy Boys seem like James Ellroy. Here’s an easy way to solve any current Mark Trail mystery: The guys with the weird facial hair that travel by small plane are guilty, especially if they’re brothers or cousins.

Still, I’m fascinated that it’s survived long enough to be a legacy strip, carried on by another generation of cartoonists, Jack Elrod. One of my favorite websites, the Comics Curmudgeon regularly pokes Mark Trail and snuffs out his campfire of adventure.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Ed Dodd (or someone credited as such) wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Dodd on Dodd:

Click to continue reading Ed Dodd and Mark Trail


Jules Feiffer and Danny Fingeroth

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Jules FeifferI met Jules Feiffer once at a party some years ago. He seemed uncomfortable (long before meeting me, thank goodness), but friendly and talkative, if that makes any sense. I can’t say we really had a conversation or that he’d remember I was even there - the best I could do was to mumble out that I was a big fan. I read his work in The Village Voice for a number of years when I used to commute into Manhattan, his book The Great Comic Book Heroes was one of my early Rosetta Stones for comics and I’ve probably seen his animated short Munro as many times as I’ve seen What’s Opera, Doc?

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Jules Feiffer wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Feiffer on Feiffer:

Click to continue reading Jules Feiffer and Danny Fingeroth


Hal Foster and Prince Valiant

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Prince ValiantI get tired of hearing about Mozart. Yeah, he’s a genius and he started composing music when he was 5-years-old. I get it, fine, blah, blah, blah. You know who else is brilliant? Harold “Hal” Foster, the critically-acclaimed creator-writer-artist on Prince Valiant. He created his most famous and enduring work when he was 45-years-old. Malcolm Gladwell, take note.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Hal Foster wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Foster on Foster:

Click to continue reading Hal Foster and Prince Valiant


Buford Tune and Dotty Dripple

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Buford TuneBuford Tune appears to be one of the forgotten cartoonists of the mid-20th Century, even though he had a comic strip that ran for nearly 30 years. I’d never heard of him or his strip which made this article about him all the more fascinating.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Tune sang about his own work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Now, here’s Tune on key:

Click to continue reading Buford Tune and Dotty Dripple


Mell Lazarus and Miss Peach

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Mell LazarusSomeone should biographize Mell Lazarus, who is still alive and—coming up on 83—still working. For a long time, he had two daily nationally syndicated comic strips, Miss Peach and Momma. He wrote a humorous novel based on his experience working for Al Capp (creator of Li’l Abner), he worked for Al Capp and was an active presence in the New York cartoon scene. Oh the stories he could probably tell. I hope he’s secretly putting them all in a book.

Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, this Lazarus piece is pulled from a 1964 oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.

Here’s Mell talking about how he does it:

Click to continue reading Mell Lazarus and Miss Peach


Bud Sagendorf: Popeye and Segar

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Bud SagendorfForrest “Bud” Sagendorf was E.C. Segar’s young assistant on in the 1930s. When Segar died in 1938, King Features Syndicate considered Sagendorf too young to take over the comic strip. Instead, they put him to work in the bullpen where he worked on the Popeye comic books until 1958, when King decided to hand the strip over to him.
Continuing my little series, here’s what Sagendorf had to say about his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette. Newspaper comic strip writers and artists wrote about themselves and their work (or if they didn’t then their syndicate wrote it for them).

Here’s a previous entry in William Overgard.

And here’s the one on Fred Toole, the guy who wrote some absolutely tremendous Dennis the Menace comic books.

Here’s Sagendorf writing about himself:

Click to continue reading Bud Sagendorf: Popeye and Segar


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