Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Number 706

Looks fishy to me

The radio show, Land Of the Lost, created, written and narrated by Isabel Manning Hewson, was on the air from 1943 to 1948. A book based on the show, illustrated by Olive Bailey, was published by Whittlesey House in 1945. Max Gaines licensed the show for Educational Comics in 1946, and hired Ms. Hewson as writer and Ms. Bailey as artist. This may be the only time I can think of during the 1940s that a female writer-artist team had a series.* The comic book went nine issues.

This is the first story from issue #1. As you can see, Bailey had a style which calls to mind an earlier era of storybooks and illustrated children's literature. Hewson's story is whimsical...the Land Of the Lost is the place where all of the lost artifacts of our daily lives go, into the ocean to be kept in storage in Davy Jones locker.

The fish character, Red Lantern, must've made Gaines smile, since it was his All-American Comics line, published by DC Comics, that introduced the popular superhero, Green Lantern.

Land Of the Lost was published until 1948 and then dropped. Max Gaines died in 1947. It's unknown to me whether the comic was canceled because of sales or because Max Gaines' son, Bill, was taking EC in another direction.

*There was Toni Blum, who wrote for the Iger comic book shop. Some of her stories were undoubtedly illustrated by one or more of the female artists in Fiction House comic books. Unlike the Iger shop, the Land Of the Lost connection between writer and artist was touted in the comic books themselves, as you can see by the inside front cover of issue #1.

The next few postings will feature early EC, before the notorious New Trend comics EC is famous for.


Chuck Wells said...

This is a beautifully illustrated read, and I'm not sure that I've ever heard of it before now.

Thanks for posting this one, Pappy.

It's an undiscovered delight!

Tamfos said...

Once again, thanks so much, Pappy. This is a much ignored golden age gem, and it's always great to hear more about the distaff side of a then still young industry.

You see the original art of these stories crop up from time-to-time (Cochran or Heritage, I'm not sure which). Unbelievable that a book illustrator could so easily make the transition to comic storytelling, but she did a hell of a job, didn't she?

Mark Armstrong said...

Thank you for posting this story.

I had read mention of this series previously, and always wondered what it was like.

Pappy said...

I appreciate all your comments.

Until I saw the comics I wasn't sure what this strip was, either. I'm old, just not old enough to remember a radio show from the '40s.

I have some original art pages I lifted from the Heritage Auction site, and may show them sometime in the future.

Peter Bernard said...

Didn't Tarpe Mills have her own comic book published by Timely?

Unca Jeffy said...

Famous Studios did an animated adaptation of this in 1950. I always wondered what the background of this was, it's fairly obvious there was some source material for the short.

I'm not old enough to remember these things either (born in 1963) but I love comic books, classic animation and golden age radio, and still wasn't aware of the radio show or comic book of this...just the short found on a lot of public domain DVD's.

Thanks for solving this minor mystery for us all Pappy!

Oh...the short can be viewed at YouTube at it's not my posting, well worth a look after reading this comic. I'd love to hear the radio show!

James A. Carter said...

You have a wonderful blog, Pappy. I just discovered it and have been going through
your older posts. It’s delightful to find those great old Kirby space stories that I still
believe are some of his best work, and the wonderful Ditko one-shots like the
‘Monster on Bald Mountain” and Kubert’s Tor stories.
Al Williamson, Krenkel and Frazetta give me the same thrill and sense of wonder I had
when I first saw them as a kid. It’s great to see all this stuff again after all these years.
Thanks, Pappy!

Michael Wurl said...

Great post, fascinating comics!

Thanks, Pap!