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Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Number 534


Journeymanny


Manny Stallman was yet another of the journeyman comic book artists whose name usually provokes a "...Manny Who-man?" from comic book fans. Stallman was born in 1927, and was working in comics as a teen.

This "Young Robinhood" splash page from Boy Comics #13 (I showed you the Crimebuster story from the same issue last Sunday) is very crude. It was published in 1943. I estimate it was done when Stallman was 15 or 16 and it looks it.*

But Stallman went on to a career in comics and did a lot of them. He often worked as a team with John Giunta, who inked the really creepy "The King is Dead" in Witches Tales #50. This black and white version came from the 1991 reprint in Silver Scream #2. I'm not sure if Giunta helped Stallman on these other two stories. "Monkey Face" is from Astonishing #26. It's signed "S.L.", which probably doesn't mean Stan Lee, who would never miss a chance to put his full name on anything, but Stallman and an as yet unidentified inker whose name starts with "L." "Swap Shop" is from Marvel Tales #141. Stallman spent his last years in the field doing things like the giveaway Big Boy Comics, the circulation of which put his artwork in front of many more readers than the average comic book.

Stallman died in 1997.

*I can't show you the "Young Robinhood" story because I'm missing the last two pages.















10 comments:

oeconomist.com said...

Many years ago, I read a DC story that used the same basic device as does “Swap Shop” — an aquarium tank that effects exchanges with another world. The story even involved virtually the same gag with the eyeglasses. I forget most of the rest of the details, except that the DC tank was clumsily broken.

darkmark90 said...

Manny also did most of the Raven stories for THUNDER Agents. I'd send you the last 2 pages of Young Robinhood, except at least one is from fiche.

Pappy said...

Now that you mention it, oeconomist, the DC story does sound familiar, and was probably in one of Julius Schwartz's titles, Strange Adventures, maybe?

Darkmark, it's sort of a copout, but I was glad the Young Robinhood story was missing pages because it was drawn so poorly. I used it as an example of Stallman's earliest work, showing how far he came in his career.

The first art I saw by him was Raven and thought it was too different from the other work in the title.

Tamfos said...

This was great, Pap! Where else on the web can you go to find a tribute to the virtually ignored Manny Stallman? So, so cool. Thanks.

But "The King is Dead" really deserves to be singled out here because it is so insane in its conception, and execution. Not haphazard insane, but brilliant insane. The storytelling style right from page one is so odd, so provocative as we piece the tale together with each new antagonist that is introduced. (As an aside, another interesting layer to this gem is that all these men would have the reader believe they are actually the protagonists.) Anyway, this style almost makes it easy to overlook the fact that these men speaking in a "hillbilly" dialect are inappropriately well groomed (hell,one's even wearing a tie!). Wish I knew who wrote this masterpiece.

In conclusion, I'd say that these three murderers really shouldn't be too upset. I mean, the solution to their problem -- which is to say, the way to undo their crime -- is staring them right in the face, yes?

Uncle Ernie said...

As a kid, Stallman's style on the Raven stores he did at Tower was too different from the Superhero art of the day for me to appreciate it. I feel differently about that art now and I'd love to see it again.

Booksteve said...

Everybody I knew (myself included) who saw Stallman's RAVEN pages circa 1967 could have invented the now-ubiquitous term, "WTF?" but I, too, have developed an appreciation of them over the years since.

oeconomist.com said...

The style of the DC story was certainly the same as that of the Schwartz Strange Adventures stuff.

Pappy said...

Looks like I'm outvoted on the Raven stories; I have them around here somewhere and I'll take another look at them.

dennis said...

Stallman did three stories for Warren's Creepy about the time he was doing the work for Tower. They were all good stuff, my favorite being The Invitation. He inked it himself, as he did all his Warren work, and he gave it the full blown spider cross-hatch gothic treatment. Excellent artist. He had a very finely honed ability -- fully equalled only by Kurtzman and Toth, that I can think of -- to create a storyboard style movement from panel to panel so that you're always drawn right into the vortex of his stories.

jesse said...

Manny's younger brother Louis was a songwriter who penned the Perry Como hit "Round and Round"!