Continuing with another group of less known letterers of the 1960s, with valuable research help from Alex Jay. The letterer of this story, Jean Izzo, was the daughter of long-time Marvel letterer Artie Simek, the only example I can recall of a father-daughter lettering connection. Not surprisingly, her work looks at lot like that of her father, but there are appealing creative touches in the title, and I like the way two balloon tails take a sharp angle.Continue reading
The 1960s were a difficult period to find first-time employment at mainstream comics publishers, even the smaller ones like Charlton. There were more opportunities in underground and alternative comics, which I’ve already written about, but even there getting started wasn’t always easy. The first generation of comic book creators was generally still active at publishers like Marvel, DC, Western, and Archie, the market had taken a downturn in the 1950s, and even with some new interest from the Batman TV show, and increasing success for Marvel’s superheroes, comics sales were not encouraging. In fact, many in the business thought comics were on the way out. Pat Boyette was one creator who bucked the trend, as seen above, working mostly for Charlton, but other publishers as well. He did the art and lettering on nearly all his work, and both have a sparse, simple, and accessible style that go well together. In this two-part article I’ll look at his comics and that of other letterers who began in the 1960s, and are perhaps not as well known as some I’ve already written about, at least as letterers. Thanks go to Alex Jay for his invaluable research help, and I’ve pulled from other sources too, which will be linked below.Continue reading
I never found a hardcover edition of the ninth book in the Freddy series, but this 1986 trade paperback works fine, the inside pages are from the original printing. I don’t care for the cover design and art, but you can’t have everything.
This is a fun story about Freddy, the Bean farm duck sisters Alice and Emma, and the adventurous spiders Mr. and Mrs. Webb in a runaway hot air balloon. The plot has a few elements that are a bit hard to swallow: that Mr. Golcher, the balloon owner, would send his balloon up with only talking animals aboard; and that when the gas release valve becomes stuck shut and Freddy has no way to get them down, the balloon balloon owner would then report his property stolen and also demand payment for it from Mr. Bean.
That aside, the balloon ride is entertaining, they meet an eagle on the way who has a little history with Freddy, and when they finally do get the balloon down, things become even more interesting. Freddy finds out he’s a wanted pig, and must use a disguise to get to his friends at the farm and Boomschmidt’s circus to help him out of his troubles, and some police officers are on his tail. Meanwhile, Alice and Emma discover their long-lost Uncle Wesley, who is not quite as brave and wise as they remember. The big finish has elephants in it, and another balloon ride.
Funny and clever, recommended.
I first saw and loved the art and lettering of Steve Parkhouse when he teamed with writer Alan Moore on “The Bojeffries Saga,” which initially appeared in WARRIOR, as seen above, and was later collected as a trade paperback. The art is creative, funny and appealing, and so is Steve’s lettering. By this time, he’d been in comics for a number of years on both sides of the Atlantic.Continue reading
Another fine mystery novel for young readers, this one is full of eccentric and flamboyant characters.
When Lucy Fayerweather’s father comes to take her away from summer camp early with a sad family story about why, Lucy knows he’s up to his usual tricks, and in this case taking her quickly before he has to pay anything. Sure enough, they’re soon with Lucy’s mother and her brother Bob, also pulled from his camp, and their baby sister Bitsy. Fabian Fayerweather’s new play has been canceled, Clara Fayerweather’s antique business has fallen apart, and the family is on the road fleeing from creditors, hoping to stay with Fabian’s sister Aunt Clara in the old family home in rural New England. She had been planning to marry her beau Eustace Wilkes, but he suddenly disappeared a few years ago. Lucy and Fabian’s brother Edward, who has some mental health issues, lives with her.
Aunt Lucy is delighted to welcome them, and the Fayerweathers soon settle in to country life, but Bob is on a private mission to find out what happened to the missing Eustace. Slowly he gathers clues while also enjoying the company of Edward, while Lucy finds friends in some neighbor girls. Another neighbor, Bradley Wilkes, the brother of Eustace, becomes the focus of tricks and torments from Bob and Edward, even while Bob begins to narrow down his search. Things come to a head when Edward blows up Bradley’s front porch, and Bradley makes plans to have him put in an asylum. Can Bob’s detective work save the day?
An excellent read full of warm hearts and sneaky con-artists as well as a cracking good mystery. Recommended.