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. 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.
Click on the thumbnails for full-size images.