Friday, April 03, 2015

Number 1717: Ditko at ACG: the familiar style under the ink

Sal Trapani (1927-1999), an artist who worked for Charlton, Dell and ACG toward the end of that comic book line, would hire ghost artists to pencil his stories, which he would ink. Among others he used his brother-in-law, Dick Giordano, and also his Charlton comrade, Steve Ditko. Trapani’s inking is pretty heavy, and can submerge some pencillers, but not Ditko. I believe Trapani’s work appeared at ACG under his name originally, even with Ditko’s pencils, and then later Ditko got credit. That is at least the way it is credited in this tepid tale, “I Never Had So Much Fun In My Life!” Ditko’s art is what is interesting in the story, which storywise is ACG 101: A wimpish guy with a funny name goes through life as a shlub, then something comes up to make him extraordinary.

[SPOILER ALERT]Does anyone else notice that the football game in which he intercedes is won unfairly, if not illegally? I’m not sure there is an actual rule in football that precludes the supernatural help in a sporting event (otherwise, why would so many athletes be making a public show of praying before or during a game?) but it sure seems unfair to me. I am not an athlete (one of the attributes never ascribed to me would be “athletic”) but when I watch a sporting event I’d rather see a team or athlete lose honestly than win by cheating.[END SPOILER]

From Unknown Worlds #54 (1966):


Ryan Anthony said...

Hey, look, Dr. Strange's cloak makes a cameo on the splash page!

I think Trapani's inking is definitely heavy, even over Ditko. But the story was kind of cute, though I don't know why Hosmer would make Bump the hero, since the little asshole was indirectly responsible for Hosmer's death. And, a lot of people would be upset if they thought Heaven was actually run by green-skinned, sadistic pencil pushers.

That sequence where Hosmer managed to extract the gang boss from his men would have worked really well in a more suspenseful story. All in all, not a waste of time to read.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

I checked "Lafcadio Lee" as I suspected it was a pseudonym (the alliteration..) and found it was a "nom de plume" for Richard E. Hughes. I should have known, for it's a very "Herbie" kind of humor. I actually like the way Trapani inks Ditko's work. Very smooth. I was expecting to see Dormammu in p. 1, but it was the last panel that shocked me: "It's great to be dead!" ??? I was kinda surprised they let it pass. No , they put the blame on Ozzy Osbourne instead. Unfair!

Pappy said...

Ryan, why couldn't "heaven" (or in ACG-speak, "the Unknown") be run by green-skinned, sadistic pencil pushers? Take away green-skins, and it sounds like our mortal existence on Earth.

Pappy said...

J D, I have beat to death the Richard E. Hughes-pseudonyms story over the years, and yes, Lafcadio Lee was one of his little jokes. Lafcadio Hearn was a famous writer of the 19th century.

7f7f3e2a-4856-11e4-900a-bb8e57f8828f said...

The artwork is enjoyable. The story of the life of Hosmer has mild interest. What you caught me up with: the link to the Wikipedia entry on writer Lafcadio Hearn. That was a life rife with material suitable for some bizarre portrayal by underground/independent comic book creators. Geez, Pappy, you keep on educating us. Thanks.

The name Lafcadio amuses me even better than Bump, Podunk or Hosmer.