Friday, March 15, 2013

Number 1332: Quick-Draw Maneely at Quick-Trigger Western

Time for us to gather ’round the ol’ campfire for another tale of the Wild West. This story of a fast gun is done by the fastest draw at Atlas Comics, Joe Maneely, who was said to be able to draw and ink six pages a day. Even for a company with artists like Bill Everett, Russ Heath. Al Williamson, John Severin, among others, Maneely was a star. His life ended much too soon, at age 32, in an accident.

I'm also showing the dramatic and poster-like cover for this issue done by John Severin. I'm including the original art, which I took from a scan at Heritage Auctions, where the cover sold for $3220 in 2005.

Severin lived to an old age after producing thousands of pages of richly detailed and glorious comic art in various formats: comic books, black-and-white magazines and humor publications, especially Cracked. We're fortunate to have such a body of work to study. It's too bad that because of his early and tragic demise we don't have thousands more pages from Maneely, an artist I admire every bit as much as Severin.

From Quick-Trigger Western #17 (1957):


Gorgeous Gorgo

I told you about Craig Yoe’s Ditko Monsters: Gorgo! in Pappy's #1285. At that time I based my review on an advance PDF copy of the book. I now have the printed volume in my hands and based on the finished product any praise I gave it at the time you can double. My congrats to Craig and to Clizia Gussoni for producing one of the best looking historic comics volumes I’ve seen.

And that’s just the physical entity, the actual book. The contents are also special: those issues of Charlton’s Gorgo, written by Joe Gill and drawn by Steve Ditko, that attracted me in the early sixties when I bought them from the comic book rack at the local pharmacy. I still have many of those issues of Gorgo in my collection. I am very lucky to have been just the right age for Ditko’s own golden age. It was that period of the late fifties and early sixties, when he was — in my opinion — at his creative peak, and it seemed that every visit to the pharmacy I found more by him, either in Charton or Marvel comics. At the time I didn’t take him for granted, because there would sometimes be that feeling of extreme disappointment when I’d excitedly pick up a copy of Gorgo only to see it wasn’t by Ditko. Yoe has included only those stories by Ditko in this volume, to spare you that same feeling I had fifty years ago.

That’s not to say that sometimes the artwork doesn’t appear a bit rushed, because Ditko had a great work ethic but even he had deadlines and was probably stretched. There is at least one issue, #11, as Craig mentions in his introduction, that appears to have been ghosted in part by Ditko’s studio partner, the fetish artist Eric Stanton. But even rushed and partially ghosted Ditko seems superior to anything else at Charlton at the time. For a youngster reading comics in those days Ditko had the most easily identifiable style of almost anyone but Jack Kirby. It was easy to find his artwork, which made it easy to be a follower and fan.

Yoe makes interesting comments about the movie the comics were based on, and another nostalgic jolt for me, reproduces the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland #11 with Gorgo. (Famous Monsters was another must-have magazine of the era for me).

Part of the fun of Craig and Clizia’s books are the small details, like the covers being lightly textured (like a reptile). They even had fun with the UPC code on the back cover.

As with all of Yoe’s volumes, the book is printed on heavy archival paper, and will outlast us all. It earns my highest recommendation for contents, design and production. You will not be disappointed by this book.

List price is $34.99 (cheap!) but you can find it at a discount if you look around. You can ask your local comic book store to order this book, or if you want to order it directly you can buy it from, Bud Plant, the publisher, IDW, or from Yoe! Books’s own site,

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