Saturday, August 10, 2013

Missing credits in Marvel's humor and soap-opera comics

One area of comic’s research that is lacking are credits on Marvel’s Soap Opera and humor line of the 1960's and early 1970's. There are many gaps on titles such as Millie the Model, Modeling with Millie, Patsy Walker, Patsy and Hedy, Chili  and others. While Stan Lee began providing a credit box on the splash pages of his superhero and westerns they included the inker and letterer along with the writer and artist (beginning with Fantastic Four # 9, December 1962). Lee continued the policy of ‘signatures” in the romance and humor strips, so they often remained with the credit reading  “ by Stan Lee and Stan G.” (Goldberg), or “by Stan Lee and Al Hartley”. The role of the inker (and letterer) was often left out, and it is assumed by many that Goldberg and Hartley inked their own work. This is often not the case, particularly with Stan Goldberg. In his interview with Jim Amash in Alter Ego # 18, Oct 2002, Goldberg explained:

“George (Klein) inked some of my work, as did Frank Giacoia, John Tartaglione, Paul Reinman, Sol Brodsky, Vinnie Colletta and anybody else who was around. Al Hartley inked me on Patsy Walker….”

Since I currently only own a handful of these comics in my collection I’ve been unable to correct many interior stories for the GCD, although I have viewed many of the covers and provided information there. With the assistance of that walking encyclopedia of Timely-Atlas lore, Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, I’ve been able to pore through many of his comics (and borrow some), although he too does not have a complete collection of the 1960s-1970s titles. Nevertheless, I’m adding credits to the GCD with info culled from Michael, and will continue to do so whenever I can in the future.

I thought it would be interesting to show a few examples of the various inkers that have worked on the teen humor-soap titles, some mentioned by Stan G, as well as a few others, with a few surprises along the way.

Patsy Walker #117, October 1964. Stan Goldberg pencils ?; Vince Colletta inks, Sam Rosen letters and likely Stan G. colors as well. Image from the GCD.

In the case above it's pretty easy to distinguish the soft, feathery inks of Vince Colletta over what I believe is Stan Goldberg pencils. Although Al Hartley pencilled many Patsy's, Stan G. filled in from time to time as well. Colletta could be seen that month inking the cover and interior of Daredevil # 4 and the "Tales of Asgard" strip in Journey into Mystery.

"Patsy's Graduation Day", Patsy and Hedy # 95, August 1964. Stan Lee's stories for the soap opera titles sometimes informed his later superhero work. Patsy and Hedy graduated high school thirteen months before Peter Parker, with the two questioning if they should go on to college or begin a career. It's interesting that Stan did not go the standard rout, avoiding concerns about marriage and parenting, as was usually the case in this period. Sometime later Patsy's boyfriend Buzz became a soldier in Vietnam who came back wounded, storylines that rarely found their way into the more "adult" superhero fare. While the title page only reads "Stan Lee and Al Hartley", the inking is by Chic Stone. While his ink line is not as distinctive as it is on Kirby's work (which was concurrent with FF # 29 and Journey into Mystery # 107), there are some tell-tale signs, such as his inking on hair and clothing. Letters by the prolific Artie Simek.

An early Roy Thomas script. While there is a credit box on the splash page, it reads "Edited by Stan Lee; Written by Roy T.; Art by Stan G." Inking here is by Sol Brodsky. Sol's inking has a very clean, crisp look, evident in the faces of the figures in panel one, as well as the clothing in panel four. While Sol's main function in this period was in production, he also wrote scripts for the girl titles on occasion, as well as pencilled and inked strips on westerns as well. From Modeling with Millie # 45, February 1965. The cover to this issue features a Millie face by Jack Kirby, for the story behind that read my earlier blog post here:

Frank Giacoia adds his attractive brush to Stan Goldberg's pencils, with Sam Rosen letters and likely Stan G's coloring as well. Roy Thomas authored the story featuring the Gears, a rock group who are referred to on the cover as "cooler than the Beatles and kookier than the Kinks!" Roy confirmed that he wrote the cover copy, which I surmised, since I doubted Stan would know who the Kinks were! From Millie the Model # 135, February, 1966.

In "Cherleading, Millie Style" John Tartaglione provides the inks. The lines on Millie's cheek in panel four is indicative of Tartaglione's style. Mr. T was then inking Sgt. Fury, Daredevil and X-Men. Script credited to Denny O'Neil (as Denny O.) Stan G. pencils and likely colors, with lettering by Morrie Kuramoto. From Millie the Model # 146, February 1967.  

 Bill Williams penciled a few Millie stories in 1967, although he drew many strips over the years for Dell, including Henry Aldrich. When I first saw Williams art I though it was actually the work of Tom Sutton, whose style bears some similarities to Williams (Sutton began working for Marvel in 1967). Williams is credited on the splash, along with writer Gary Friedrich, but the inking is by an old Timely-Atlas veteran, George Klein. While there is not a lot to go by in this story, I noticed his ink line, specifically on clothing and hair. Lettering looks like it may be by another newcomer to Marvel in '67, John Verpoorten, who initially did a little drawing, lettering, inking and became Marvel's production man. "Someday, My Playboy Will Come" from Millie the Model # 151, July 1967. The cover, incidentally, is by Ogden Whitney, who worked for Marvel for a short spell, drawing a Shield story, a run of Two-Gun Kid stories and a few Millie covers.

While I struggled to discern Klein's distinctive inking traits in the first story, since, like a few other inkers, pretty much traced over the pencils, I was surprised to discover that the third story actually had a Klein inking credit! (uncredited lettering by Morrie Kuramoto). As noted, this was a rarity and may have been added accidentally, since Klein was still working for DC in 1967. It would be a year or so later when Klein's inking graced the superhero line, over artists such as Gene Colan, John Buscema and Jack Kirby, and fine work it was.

Mike Esposito's inking is usually easy to identify. He has a very light line as evidenced on the faces, clothing and hair on this page. Esposito was also inking the "Iron-Man" and "Hulk" strips this month. Stan Goldberg pencils?; writer unknown (there were no credits in this final issue of Patsy Walker, # 124, December 1965, although its likely either Al Hartley, who wrote many of the previous issues, or Denny O'Neil, Gary Friedrich or Sol Brodsky wrote the story; Roy Thomas told me he didn't script this issue, but did write the final issue of Patsy and Hedy). Patsy was likely replaced on the schedule by Fantasy Masterpieces, which debuted the following month) but it is worth noting that the fashions are credited to one Tara Jean Thomas, of Jackson, Mo. Roy's sister!

I'm not entirely sure of the inker on this story, although it reminds me to some degree of George Roussos. It doesn't look like he had any concurrent work for Marvel at the time, but its possible he helped out occasionally. From Patsy and Hedy # 105, June 1966. Denny O'Neil story; Stan Goldberg pencils; Sam Rosen letters.

Splash page to Chili # 8, December 1969 

The mid-1960's were not kind to Marvel's soap opera line. The long running Patsy Walker was the first to get the ax; the final issue was # 124, December 1965. Patsy and Hedy continued a while longer, until # 110, February 1967. Modeling with Millie followed four months later, with # 54, June, 1967. They were replaced on the schedule with the likes of Ghost Rider and Not Brand Echh. The flagship title, Millie the Model, survived, although the October 1967 issue (#154) instituted a change. 

With soap opera dramatics floundering, Publisher Martin Goodman likely ordered Stan to follow in the footsteps of the popular Archie line. This was actually a return to Millie's original humor format, and it apparently sold well enough, since it was followed by similar product in early 1969 (April and May dated comics) Mad About Millie and Chili. Marvel continued to issue similar new and reprint material into the early 1970's. Stan Goldberg, was quite comfortable returning to the bigfoot style, although inkers continued to remain anonymous. Chili # 8, Dec 1969, has a Stan Lee and Stan G. byline, although I'm certain it was inked by none other than Bill Everett.    

As noted earlier, the simpler styled art in these stories does not leave lots of room for an inker to add many flourishes. Still, there are little touches that I thought would be interesting to point out. The sharp lines in the sky-line and building, as well as the shadow on the street was something I've seen in other Everett inked strips.

Everett also appears to have inked the second story, "When the Joint Starts Jumping!" The final panels figure on the lower left has distinctive inking on the shirt.


Everett likely inked three out of the four stories in this issue. The last story, "The Livin' End!" features little touches on the taxi and point to Everett's contribution. Throughout the issue there are several signs that Everett was the inker, including his way of inking hair. 

While this is only a small sampling of the many uncredited inkers that worked during Marvel's prime period I hope to discover more in the years head. I'll be sure to report more such discoveries in future blog posts.

With an "Officer Joe Bolton" tip of the hat (it's an inside joke!) to Doc V, aka Michael J. Vassallo, fellow Yancy Streeter and one of the shining lights of comics fandom.        


Kid said...

Another great post, Nick. You don't do them often enough.

Barry Pearl said...

I love it that you go from Monsters on the Prowl to Patsy Walker without blinking an eye.

Ps I put some pictures of you up n Facebook.

Tony Isabella said...

Fascinating detective work, Nick. Nicely deduced.

Nick Caputo said...


I always appreciate the kind words. I should have more Patsy and co. related minutia later this week,


You never know what's going to wind up on my blog because I rarely know! And if you and Mike put anymore photos of me on Facebook you'll be responsible for closing it down!


I'm glad you enjoy my posts. I'll try to keep investigating.