Sunday, July 13, 2008
One man's art is another man's drippings...
The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan, a fine character actor, ran for six seasons from 1957 before going off the air in 1963. The other lead in the show was Richard Crenna, an equally good character actor. I didn't watch the show regularly, but I had seen it a few times. I picked up this comic book, Dell Four-Color #1164, in 1960 because I recognized the artwork of Alex Toth. I may have been a kid, but I knew what I liked.
I'm sure I hadn't read this comic book for at least 40 years until I picked it up to scan this story. I was pleased to see some things I wouldn't have noticed as a kid. The art teacher working with the young girl, Hassie, is hot for her, and I got a kick out of the panel where Grampa's index finger is straight up in the air while he proclaims, "He's got no more interest in her soul than a goat!" I wouldn't have caught that bit of symbolism when I was 13. The story also goes after pretentious art gallery owners and the Jackson Pollock "Jack the dripper" school of painting. The title, "Rembrandt McCoy," is misleading, since the plot is about modern art, not an old master.
The horny artist is seen no more while the plot veers off to Grampa's faux painting and how he puts one over on the art establishment. That may have appealed to Toth. Beyond that it reads like the basic plot of a 1950s-early 1960s sitcom, where unlikely plots like that were common.
Finally, and then I'll let you read the story, I really like that Toth's art is done like a storyboard, strict page layout. He does so much with his storytelling abilities, and they elevate this cornpone sitcom plot. The art is also all his: penciling, inking and lettering.
Here are a couple of bonus one-page gags, including the inside back cover in black and white.