Monday, June 04, 2012

Number 1169: Detective in a cowboy hat

I love this 1940s artwork, inspired by Milton Caniff. I love the brushwork, the thick and thin lines, the dense shadows, thick with india ink. Caniff had many acolytes in comic books, and as I've been told, it was the house style at DC for a time (whether by direct order from management or by artists' choice, I don't know). One of the top artists who worked especially well within that style was Alexander Toth.

This Sierra Smith, Western Detective story from Dale Evans Comics #2 (1948) is a good example.
The story is written by Joe Millard, and it's a fast-paced little tale with a hot air balloon and gangsters and a big Western sky. The story begins on the ground, then goes up in the air, then back down to the ground—with a thud!


Brian Barnes said...

This story should have been called "Sierra Smith, Convenient Detective!"

Another in a long line of manly-man stories (was there really a time that somebody who was being chased by killers went to a detective instead of the cops?) and had so many unbelievable story elements that I was kind of dumb-founded reading it.

Another great work of art, though, again, I'm always amazed by artists that get realistic movement into the panels. Many artists, especially today, create very static compositions.

Pappy said...

Gumba, you've hit on something near and dear to me, the private eye in American literature. I think it has something to do with the lone wolf hero, the guy who survives by his wits and fists, that has been popular in fiction forever. The stories didn't make much logical sense, but they provided a kind of outlaw justice, skirting the boundaries of the law. Sierra Smith makes as much sense as any other comic book where we leave realism out and accept the fantasy, and even if the story doesn't meet a critical standard we have the pretty artwork to look at.