Saturday, April 28, 2007

Number 124

Norman Nodel's The Great Houdini

Illustrator Norman Nodel is most familiar for his work in Classics Illustrated during the 1950s and '60s. He had worked for Classics editor, L. B. Cole, for several years on various types of publications. I think of Nodel as an illustrator because his work for Classics Illustrated had qualities more of illustration--beautiful penwork and somewhat static figure drawing--than they did of comic art. I think the best example of his work is in Classics Illustrated #167, Faust By Goethe.

"The Great Houdini" was a biographical comic book story published by Classics Illustrated in a series called The World Around Us. It was in issue #25, September 1960, titled The Illustrated Story Of Magic.

Recently there's been a renewal of interest in Houdini's death. Was he poisoned or did he die of a ruptured appendix caused by a blow to the stomach as has always been claimed? This World Around Us story mostly focuses on Houdini's career, but doesn't stay away from the reported manner of his death, although it's told in the same matter-of-fact style as the rest of the 11-page biography.

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