Monday, May 14, 2012

Number 1157: The Disappearing Desert

In addition to writing scripts and songs for the successful mid-'40s radio program, Land Of the Lost, Isabel Manning Hewson wrote the scripts for the comic book version, published by EC Comics. The comic book apparently sold well enough to have nine issues between 1946 and 1948. I'm not sure whether it was eventually canceled due to a drop in sales, or because EC founder Maxwell Charles Gaines died in the summer of 1947 and his son, William M. Gaines, took over the company.

As is well known in comics history, Bill Gaines took EC in a whole 'nother direction from that of his father.

Land Of the Lost is a clever and charming radio show/comic book, about a kingdom under the sea where lost things go. In the case of "The Disappearing Desert," it's a pair of Z-ray glasses. Red Lantern is joined by two human children, Isabel and Billy, who use "magic seaweed" to allow them to breathe underwater.

Olive Bailey did a terrific job on the artwork. As far as I know Bailey's only comic book credits are in those nine issues. I'm sorry she didn't do more in the field. As I've mentioned before, Hewson and Bailey may be the only female writing and art team in this era. Go to the labels below this posting and click on "Land Of the Lost" for more stories.

From Land Of the Lost #2, 1946:


DougieD said...

I've long wondered about the word balloon lettering in these old EC comics. It's perfect to the point of looking artificial. I wonder whether it was done with some kind of lettering device or with a typewriter that had a special font.

Pappy said...

DougieD, the lettering is called Leroy Lettering, which you can look up online. It was used mainly in mechanical drawings. There was a service run by Jimmy Wroten that did the lettering (for $2.50 a page, as I recall.) Several publishers used the service, but I think by the mid-'50s it was mostly gone in comics. Leroy was in use in technical and mechanical drawings until computers took over. Here's a picture of the lettering scriber.

rnigma said...

I found an old Leroy kit in its original wooden box at a local Goodwill store last year. It has all the templates and the scriber, but lacks a pen.

Pappy said...

rnigma, the last time I saw a Leroy Lettering set was when I took Mechanical Drawing in junior high school. I think you scored pretty well at Goodwill by finding one. I wouldn't think the pen would be impossible to get if you look around.

I'd like to see someone do a font based on Leroy.

rnigma said...

I took drafting classes in high school (in the '70s) but we never used Leroy kits; we hand lettered, after drawing guide lines with an Ames guide.

Daniel [] said...

Most Leroy scribers can handle a standard technical pen, with its barrel removed (but reservoir left).

I actually have a few Leroy sets, and a variety of templates. I was in fact provoked to start acquiring them by one of Pappy's entries.

I don't know when I might get around to creating a digital font, but I've been thinking of doing just that, and I've the necessary hardware and software.

Pappy said...

Daniel, you do a digital Leroy set font and you will be the darling of the comic book font set. All of those artists dying to do EC-pastiches would love it! I know I would use it just for a variety of things.

The last person I knew who actually used a Leroy set was Dale Broadhurst, who published a series of faux-EC comics in the early '70s during the heyday of the undergrounds. At the time he was a cartographer, drawing maps and using Leroy lettering.