Friday, December 15, 2017

Number 2142: Man and Hangman

I feel that Bob “Fuge” Fujitani was the Hangman artist. The dark character originated when he stood in for his murdered brother, the Comet, created by Jack Cole. Fujitani’s art has a mood of its own, and in this particular episode from Pep Comics #47 (1944), the drama is heightened by his camera angles and dynamic figure drawing. He worked early on with the Eisner-Iger Shop and you can see the Eisner influence in his inking. At some point he left the shop to work directly for Quality Comics. He worked for many comics publishers over the years, and did a lot of work with Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily comic strip. Over time his style changed from the Eisnerish look of this story to a more illustrative style seen on this cover drawing of the Hangman, which he did in 2002:

According to an interview in Alter Ego #28 (2003), Fujitani joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. but he was kicked our because his father was Japanese. He was also issued a less-than-honorable discharge. When I hear stories like that I have a sense of outrage. I was relieved to read that a few years later, after an appeal, he was given an honorable discharge, which made him eligible for veteran’s benefits.

I am writing this in October, 2017, and the biographies I read online about Fujitani don’t mention whether he is still alive. He was born in 1920, so he will be 98 in 2018. He is one of the very last of the original comic book men who came into the industry in its early days.


Brian Barnes said...

That's incredibly dynamic art for the 40s. The Eisner influence is obvious but there's a lot of Cole in there, too. I like the mix, and I like the close-ups and the skeleton. Well done stuff, and not a bad 40s super-hero story.

Did he really dangle at the end of the noose, though? I mean, I don't want to disparage the gypsy curse ... but ... technically ... I don't know if that counts as a noose!

William Byron said...

Pap, he was announced as a guest for the Baltimore Comic Con this past September and my heart skipped a beat and then he was cancelled. There was gonna be a cancel spotlighting him as well, so I can only presume he is still with us but his health is understandably not up to con appearances.

Gordon Green said...

Bob Fujitani spent most of the 50's and early 60's working in advertising art. By the late 60's he illustrated DOCTOR SOLAR for GOLD KEY COMICS. By then his style had become tight and realistic, far different from his vibrant impressionism of the 40's.

Neil Hansen said...

I really liked Fujitani's slick style that he displayed on Doctor Solar, the Prince Valiant Dell Comics and inks on Dan Barry's Flash Gordon.It's very interesting to see how his art style evolved from the Golden Age doing Hangman and occasionally inking Lou Fine's Black Condor. What a treat to see the Golden Age Archie characters as well.