Saturday, September 29, 2012

Of Mice and Mensch: Woody The Exterminator, from New Funnies 115, September 1946

One of the small rewards of Dell Comics scholarship is in spotting the myriad in-jokes and self-references in which the creators indulged themselves.

The writers and artists of Oskar Lebeck's Western Publishing staff delighted in putting one another's names--and caricatures--all over their comic-book stories.

These references, given the general lack of documentation available at present, have become the only way we have to determine who's who in the Western world.

Michael Barrier has been exploring this phenomenon in his on-going research for an upcoming book on Lebeck and his genial comics empire--a book I can't wait to read.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Naughty Nurses and Disillusioned Drunks: Stories from Linda Lark, Registered Nurse 2, 1961

PLEASE NOTE: With this post, I'm trying a new way to distribute the comics material on this blog. Please see the notice at the bottom of this post.

The text is full of spoilers, and is intended to be read after you've read the comics material discussed therein.

Please let me know if you like this new format--thanks! Look for this typographical roadsign at the bottom of this post:


After he left Little Lulu, John Stanley attempted to create several new comic-book series for his then-foundering publisher, Dell Comics.

His old alma mater, Western Publications, had split from being the packager of Dell's best-selling comic magazines. They formed Gold Key Comics, and swiftly went downhill (in terms of quality) and uphill (in terms of sales and success).

For reasons yet unknown, Stanley chose to leave Western and produce new material for the struggling, rebuilt-from-scratch Dell imprint.

Stripped of their long-running licensed titles and characters, the new Dell scrambled to get something distinctive on the highly competitive comic book market.