Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Number 100

Wally Wood's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

As you can see from the number above, this is Pappy's 100th posting!

For this occasion I wanted to bring you something special. I'm showing you a very early comic by Wally Wood and Harry Harrison, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
This comic has an interesting publishing history. I scanned it from my copy of Charlton's This Is Suspense #23, dated February, 1955, the last pre-code issue of that title.

Click on pictures for full-size images.
  The story was reprinted a couple of years earlier, in 1952 by Star Comics as Startling Terror Tales #10, with a cover by L. B. Cole. But the original printing was in 1950 by Fox Publishing in A Star Presentation #3. I don't know of any other one-shot comic book reprinted three times by three different publishers in less than five years.In the 1980s it was reprinted as The 3-D Zone #1, with a 3-D process job by Ray Zone.

Those are the only printings I know of, so this may be its first presentation in cyberspace, the fifth time it has been presented in 56 years.

This is a very fast moving adaptation of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson classic, an examination of the two sides of good and evil. It is a very rushed-looking job, but probably because of the Harrison inking. Harrison bragged once about how fast he could ink with a #7 sable brush, and this appears to be something he did using that big brush. Wood later did work on The Spirit for Will Eisner, and there are some Eisnerish characters and layouts spotted throughout the story. It's far from the best thing Wood or Harrison ever did, but based on the careers they both had later — Harrison as a famous science fiction author and Wood as one of the most revered comic book artists of all — it has a great historical interest.

I haven't read the original Stevenson version of the story for decades, but I remember enough of it to advise you kids, do not use this comic book version as the basis for a book report in your English class.

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