Wednesday, February 16, 2011

King Comic Heroes - part 10 and final

The era of adventure or hero newspaper comic strips ran wild from the 1930's, easily through the 40's, 50's and 60's before being rung to a halt in the 1970's when strips were so tiny in the paper you couldn't tell a decent story or lay out any artwork that made any sense. The reason's the newspaper comics section got smaller are of course mainly economic, but the strips that had their real heyday in the early days had much more competition for reader's entertainment dollar as time went on as well.

For such a brief window of opportunity though, some authentically talented storytellers and artists brought the best of their talents to this rare artform and The King Feature Syndicate corralled an inordinate number of them. Here's the last chapter in this Pioneer Book's special, spotlighting a slew more of them. Roy Crane's "Wash Tubb's & Captain Easy" is easily the most underated strip ever done and it's good too see that in the present, it's getting it's due. Others like Milton Caniff's "Steve Canyon" have long been celebrated commercially and artistically, and as seen here in this blog, Allen Saunders' serialized, decades-long storytelling in strips like Kerry Drake, Rip Kirby and Steve Roper were highlighted in the pages of "Nemo: the Classic Comics Library"'s "Playwrite for Paper Actors" series.

How exciting it must have been to read these cliffhangers as they were originally doled out in daily and weekly installments when current. To run for the next day's newspaper and pull them open to the comics section FIRST to see what has become of your favorite hero since yesterday's hair-raising installment.

Ah, to live in a different time. Simple pleasures that were so elloaborately forged.

Talk to you soon.

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