Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stories from the Bible, 1968

(Continued from 1967)

The latest retellings of these stories, begun in June 1966, continue with new 3 more installments of "Joseph", followed by 8 new installments retelling the story of "Moses".  Oddly enough, "Sodom And Gomorrah", skipped earlier, turns up in between therse two.  I wonder if anyone reading these for the first time thought that story took place in between the other two stories?

I've reached the point here where I came in.  My subscription ran from May 1968 to November 1969.  I don't know why it was more than 12 months, but those were the issues we got, based on the episodes of SPACE CONQUERORS!
I read way back when (and collected into a scrapbook).

Meanwhile, I have no way to be sure, but beginning with the May 1968 episode, the art appears to me to be by the team of Curt Swan & Al WilliamsonSwan is most known as "the" SUPERMAN artist from the 60's to the 80's, while Al Williamson did work ranging from EC science-fiction comics in the 50's to King's FLASH GORDON comic-books in the 60's to the STAR WARS newspaper strip in the 80's.  Swan went on record saying Williamson was his favorite inker of his pencils, and 2 other fans beside myself have said these episodes look like they could be their work.

Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by (??)
BOYS' LIFE  /  January 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  February 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  March 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  April 1968
Story by Al Stenzel  /  art by Curt Swan & Al Williamson  (??)
BOYS' LIFE  /  May 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  June 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  July 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  August 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  September 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  October 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  November 1968
BOYS' LIFE  /  December 1968

(Continued in 1969)

Copyright (C) BOY'S LIFE Magazine
Restorations by Henry Kujawa

Read the Bob LeRose page at Wikipedia 
Read about the history of Johnstone & Cushing at the Hogan's Alley site

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stories from the Bible, 1967

(Continued from 1966)

The latest retellings of these stories, begun in June 1966, continue with new versions of "Abraham", "Jacob" and "Joseph".  Plus, as a bonus, the history of the usage of "X" in "Christmas".

It annoys me that since Al Stenzel took over the BOYS' LIFE color comics section, that artists' names VANISHED off this feature. This, at a time when several comic-book publishers were begining to regularly list creator credits.  It's difficult to be certain who worked on the series at this point, but the March 1967 installment, "The Lord Tests Abraham" looks to me like the work of Lou Fine.  I say this because, oddly enough, the way Abraham's left hand is rendered, plus the figure-work on Isaac, both remind me of Gil Kane's work-- except, MUCH, much better, far smoother than anything Kane ever did.  And I've read repeatedly that Kane's biggest influence was always Lou Fine. Fine, of course, DID work for Johnstone & Cushing, and had a lengthy run on SPACE CONQUERORS!  So, why not STORIES FROM THE BIBLE as well?  Plus, the vignette faces in "The Birthright" remind me of some of the faces early-on in Fine's SC run.

On the other hand... when we get to "Joseph In Egypt", and particularly the first installment, the art style changes rather drastically. The rendering is much rougher, cruder, unpolished. I'm reminded of Dick Giordano, or even Klaus Janson, but it seems to me I've seen some work like this in an issue or two of BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY.  It also remnds me a bit of Australian artist Yoroslav Horak, who drew the JAMES BOND 007 newspaper strip for the bul of the 1970's.  Any ideas???

Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by LOU FINE  (??)
BOYS' LIFE  /  January 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  February 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  March 1967
No installment for April 1967

BOYS' LIFE  /  May 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  June 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  July 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  August 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  September 1967
Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by  (??)
BOYS' LIFE  /  October 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  November 1967
BOYS' LIFE  /  December 1967
(Continued in 1968)

Copyright (C) BOY'S LIFE Magazine
Restorations by Henry Kujawa

Read the Bob LeRose page at Wikipedia 
Read about the history of Johnstone & Cushing at the Hogan's Alley site
Read the Lou Fine page at Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stories from the Bible, 1966

(Continued from 1965)

The series was MISSING for 5 months from January-May 1966.  When it returned, it started over at The Beginning... AGAIN!  It looks like the books of Genesis and Exodus must have been the most popular. So far, this was the 5th time these stories had been told in the BOYS' LIFE series.

It seems very apparent to me (and fellow comics fan Steve Thompson) that the series has switched artists during the hiatus. I half-suspected it might be Gray Morrow, but neither of us have been able to positively identify who the new artist here is. Anyone have any ideas?

Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by ??
BOYS' LIFE  /  June 1966
BOYS' LIFE  / July 1966
BOYS' LIFE  /  August 1966
Story by Al Stenzel  /  art by GRAY MORROW  (??) 
BOYS' LIFE  /  September 1966
Story by Al Stenzel  /  art by ??
BOYS' LIFE  /  October 1966
BOYS' LIFE  /  November 1966
BOYS' LIFE  /  December 1966
By the way, I just ran across a discussion on the "Scouter"  message board-- from January 2006-- over whether Stories From The Bible are a proper feature for BOYS' LIFE magazine or not.  Check it out...

Funny enough, just as the BOYS' LIFE Bible series was starting over again "from the beginning", in September 1966 20th Century Fox released Dino DeLaurentis' big-budget all-star epic spectacular film, THE BIBLE ...IN THE BEGINNING, directed by John Huston (who also acted as narrator, the voice of GOD, and, appeared onscreen as Noah !
(Continued in 1967)

Copyright (C) BOY'S LIFE Magazine
THE BIBLE ...In The Beginning poster from MovieGoods.com site
Restorations by Henry Kujawa

Read the Bob LeRose page at Wikipedia 
Read about the history of Johnstone & Cushing at the Hogan's Alley site

Stories from the Bible, 1965

(Continued from 1964)

The newest chronological retelling of the Biblical stories begun with the March 1963 installment continued with 3 more installments of the story of "Moses"... though these had been done much better back in 1958-59 (6 years earlier).

I don't know what was going on, but the entire April 1965 comics section was printed in ONE color ink on lime green paper.  (That's a really cheap way of doing "2-color" printing and only using 1 color of ink.)  Did the budget run low, or were they experimenting to see how it looked / how it would go over with readers?  Fortunately, it only lasted one month.

Additionally, there were no BIBLE installments for January, June or October.

A real surprise here was the return of "The Parables Of Jesus".  They hadn't done any of these since 1956!  2 of these, "The Good Samaritan" and "The Sower", had been done in the series before, but "The Pharisee And The Publican", "The Unmerciful Creditor", "The House On The Rock" and "The Good And The Bad Seed" were all making their BOYS' LIFE debut here!

Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by IRVING NOVICK
BOYS' LIFE  /  February 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  March 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  April 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  May 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  July 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  August 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  September 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  November 1965
BOYS' LIFE  /  December 1965
(Continued in 1966)

Copyright (C) BOY'S LIFE Magazine
Restorations by Henry Kujawa

Read the Bob LeRose page at Wikipedia 
Read about the history of Johnstone & Cushing at the Hogan's Alley site
Read the Irv Novick page at Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stories from the Bible, 1964

(Continued from 1963)

The newest chronological retelling of the Biblical stories begun with the March 1963 installment continued with the stories of "Abraham", "Isaac", "Jacob", "Joseph", "Moses"... and, of course, "The Nativity".

It strikes me that at the rate they kept going back to the beginning of The Old Testament, it looked like they weren't EVER going to get around to telling the story of "Jesus" (The New Testament). Perhaps Al Stenzel was Jewish?  (It seems a fair question.)

I hope no one minds a bit of editorializing on my part here.  I have serious problems with the first 3 episodes this year.  For one, I wonder what kind of god insists on almost making his most loyal servant KILL his only son, just to prove he "fears" him? A friend of mine at work once said, "People who don't trust aren't trustworthy." Further, why on Earth does Jacob coerce his hard-working brother Esau to SELL him his birthright, just because the guy was starving at one point?

Perhaps worse, later on, Jacob AND his mother both conspire together to lie to his father (her husband), on the man's deathbed, so that Jacob will get what rightfully should have been Esau's? I know this are very brief, trimmed-down retellings of these stories, but it sure seems to me there must be something very important missing in each case that I'm just not getting.  Otherwise, it strikes me as just unconscionably rotten behavior. And frankly, with the stories told the way they are here, it would seem they're approving of it.

If one views The Bible as "morality plays", then we should see a point to such awful behavior, that it comes at a terrible cost. Otherwise, what is it teaching anyone who reads them? This was the EXACT complaint lodged at "Crime" comics in the 1950's, that many of them simply portrayed crimes and glorified being a criminal (the very thing director Howard Hawks complained about certain "Pre-Code" films when he made his own film SCARFACE all the way back in 1932). By comparison, if one checks out any "Crime" comics done by Jack Kirby in the late 40's-early 50's, EVERY single one of them shows the criminals coming to a BAD ending. EVERY one.


On the other hand... this new version of "Joseph In Egypt" DOES contain one very important detail the previous several versions were missing. That being, the reason the Captain of the guard's wife LIED to her husband about Joseph and had him thrown in prison, was because she had the HOTS for Joseph and wanted to cheat on her husband with him.  When Joseph refused to betray the man who'd put his trust in him (and commit ADULTERY), she got pissed at his rejection. Boy, that's a really terrific wife that guy had.  (He said, sarcastically.)

Come to think of it, there was a plot twist JUST like that in I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG.  A woman falls for Paul Muni, but when he refuses to marry her, she turns him in to the cops! Boy, that really did HER some good, didn't it?  (He said, sarcastically.)

Story by Al Stenzel  /  Art by IRVING NOVICK
BOYS' LIFE  /  January 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  February 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  March 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  April 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  May 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  June 1964
I double-checked.  For 2 months (July & August), there was no  
STORIES FROM THE BIBLE feature.  Then, when it came back,
it had been CUT in HALF-- just like SPACE CONQUERORS!
had been around 1959.  Don't you HATE when they do that kind of thing?

BOYS' LIFE  /  September 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  October 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  November 1964
BOYS' LIFE  /  December 1964
(Continued in 1965)

Copyright (C) BOY'S LIFE Magazine
Restorations by Henry Kujawa

Read the Bob LeRose page at Wikipedia 
Read about the history of Johnstone & Cushing at the Hogan's Alley site
Read the Irv Novick page at Wikipedia