Toni Gay by Norman Nodel
Tony Gay? Butch Dykeman? Say, is somebody kidding with these names? I don't know for sure, but there they are, from this early 1950s story from a comic book called Popular Teenagers. Did those names have the same meanings as we might give them 55 years or so after the comic was published? That I also don't know…although I'm guessing the scriptwriter might have hung out with a hip crowd who used those words to describe a certain group of people years before the words themselves passed into popular usage.
We'll never know because the scriptwriter is unknown and the editor, L. B. Cole, and the artist, Norman Nodel, are all dead. With no way to prove it I think the names might have been a way of playing with the reader.
Toni Gay, in looks--the Bettie Page hairstyle gives it away--and name, seems to be related to an earlier L. B. Cole, creation, Toni Gayle, who appeared in a crime comic called Guns Against Gangsters. A Toni Gayle story appeared in Pappy's #22.
Norman Nodel (real name Nochem Yeshaya) was a very fine illustrator who worked for publisher/editor L. B. Cole for years on various projects, including comics, magazines, and is probably best known for his work in Classics Illustrated. Cole had very high regard for Nodel, and had this to say about him in an article by E. B. Boatner in The Comic Book Price Guide #11, 1980: "Norman Nodel was another extremely talented and much under-publicized illustrator who worked with me at Star [Comics] in 1951. He also illustrated for me at Classics and Dell and on World Rod and Gun [Magazine]. He had an opera quality voice and the God-given hands for illustrating--one of the nicest people you'll ever meet."
Cole was a canny publisher who used reprints and recycled material. The source for this Toni Gay story* is Popular Teenagers #6, published under the Accepted Publications banner and undated, obviously a reprint from an earlier comic book. Knowing that might help explain some of the poor printing on the comic. The story itself, with the exception of the names, is straight out of the Archie-style teenage comics, and its main interest is in Nodel's fine art. In those days he was working in a style more appropriate for comics, rather than a style using fine pen lines he later adopted.
This is the first twofer Pappy's, both of them featuring artist Norman Nodel, posted on the same day. I may do this again sometime in the future depending on circumstances.
Page 1 (252K) / Page 2 (264K) / Page 3 (274K) / Page 4 (255K) / Page 5 (283K) / Page 6 (271K) / Page 7 (268K)
*It was also reprinted in a 1980s comic book, but I've been unable to locate the book in my collection to give you the exact title.