Friday, December 28, 2007
Irv Novick was an artist who produced a staggering amount of work for comics in his lifetime. I didn't appreciate him as much as I should have because he always seemed to be published in comics along with some real hotshots. When I saw his work in DC's war comics he was being published alongside Joe Kubert and Russ Heath.When he did Batman in the early '70s Detective Comics he was alternating issues with Neal Adams. All of those contemporaries were hard acts to follow.
Novick had gone to DC Comics at the invitation of Robert Kanigher, who was writing and editing the war comics. Kanigher had worked with Novick at MLJ Comics in the early 1940s, where he was doing strips like the action-packed Steel Sterling story here, scanned from July, 1943's Zip Comics #38.
Novick died in 2004, and the obituaries I've seen for him are universally respectful of his talent and of his long tenure in the industry.
The "Yehudis" in the story are from a long-running joke by comedian Jerry Colonna on the old Bob Hope radio show. A Yehudi was "a little man who wasn't there," hence the question that became a catchphrase, "Who's Yehudi?" This was also the era of the Gremlins, little guys who sabotaged aircraft used for the war effort. That story is told in Hogan's Alley #15, in "The Trouble With Gremlins, The True Story Of A Never-made Disney Classic," by Jim Korkis.