Friday, April 06, 2018

Number 2164: Hoka Hei! American Eagle by John Severin

The late John Severin (1921-2012) was such a prolific comic artist it would be a full time job just collecting his work in comics. He was also a true professional. His editors must have loved him. He did a great job with solid drawing and inking.

I had not seen Severin’s work on American Eagle for Prize Comics Western before I saw scans online. I love his collaboration with Will (then Bill) Elder. As has been noted many times about Severin, he had a love for period costuming and different eras. The Grand Comics Database doesn’t give credit for the script of “Follow the Eagle,” from Prize Comics Western #95 (1952), but it is likely written by Severin’s friend, Colin Dawkins. Dawkins’ career was in advertising. He rose to vice president with the prestigious J. Walter Thompson agency.

The villain of the story is “Black Jack Powers.” An inside joke. Severin’s full name is John Powers Severin. Did Severin draw himself as Black Jack? I’ll leave it to others who knew him, but Black Jack looks like caricatures I’ve seen of him.

A 2011 posting of mine: Severin at Atlas doing Kurtzman-style war stories. Just click on the thumbnail.


Brian Barnes said...

A tight little adventure story that paints all sides as being full of both good and evil. I have no idea how authentic the clothes were, but knowing Severin, they were probably as close as his research could get him.

Severin was a guy just like Davis, worked on time and in all sorts of styles but keep his own style at the front. A true master, nice to see some of his stuff!

Pappy said...

Brian, the clothes look okay to me, after reading my Time-Life books on the Old West. Something I noticed is the Indians aren't white men in makeup, like they were often shown in movies.

For a guy who was as good at drawing comics as anyone who ever put a brush to bristol board, Severin apparently didn't think much of the genre. He illustrated one traditional book for young readers on the Lewis and Clark expedition, but didn't do any more books. I wonder if despite his opinions on comic books he liked the relative freedom of drawing them.