Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Is This Stanley's Work? "Homer Brown," from Henry Aldrich 2, 1950
A potential problem with focusing on one subject so intently, as I do here, is that, after awhile, it becomes inevitable that I'm going to repeat myself--in story choices, commentary, et al. I strive to keep this blog fresh for you, the reader, and for me, the writer.
As well, as I continue to explore the back-waters of the Dell Comics output from 1942 to 1962--prime years for John Stanley, who remained alarmingly prolific for these two decades--I find a certain amount of pieces I'm not 100% sure about.
This story is in that category. It has some tell-tale Stanley-ian touches, both in characterization and technique. It feels like it could be a Thirteen Going on Eighteen story in many ways.
And, because of Bill Williams' elegant cartooning, there are obvious ties to Stanley's Dunc 'n' Loo.
Still... I dunno...read this story and tell me what you think.
The puzzler is that, according to "official" comics history, John Stanley only wrote some of the first issue of the Henry Aldrich comic book. The very best story from that first issue (and, quite honestly, the only one I feel is truly Stanley's work) was posted here awhile back. It is burned into my memory, as it was the last story I posted on my dearly departed, much missed Mac Mini, which kicked the bucket mere hours after that post, which you can see HERE.
I remain optimistic that this piece, from the second issue of Aldrich, may be Stanley's work. The stories in this series vary greatly in narrative quality, even within a single issue. This suggests, to me, that a number of writers worked on this series.
Anyway, here 'tis. See you afterwards...
These elements all suggest John Stanley to me. And, as Bill Williams was a strong enough visual stylist to enforce his own layout concepts on Stanley's writing, the story's slightly offbeat feel mirrors the later Stanley/Williams collaboration on Dunc 'n' Loo and Kookie.
Stanley hadn't yet gotten into the staccato style of writing that would be common in the later 1950s. His Little Lulu stories of 1950 share a similar laid-back vibe to this story.
Well, durnit, I've just about convinced myself that this is John Stanley's work. All the same, I welcome your feedback. What do you think?