Friday, August 03, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Jet Scott
The New York Herald-Tribune was a great place to read excellent comic strips in the 1950s. Too bad their sales force seemed to have little luck in selling them to other newspapers. Among the delightful strips that appeared in the H-T and were thus doomed to obscurity was Jet Scott.
Writer Sheldon Stark proved his chops as the ghost writer on the Inspector Wade strip, and Jerry Robinson of course had a lot of comic book art under his belt. This proven combination came up with a story about a mysterious CIA operative who worked for the 'Scientifact' office as sort of a troubleshooter. The storylines flirted with science fiction, being set in the near future, but seemed to shy away from anything really exciting in that line. Mr. Scott was too busy with the standard 1950s era bugaboos of stolen nuclear secrets and uncovering double agents.
Stark's scripts were well-written though disappointingly conventional, but Robinson's work, especially on the Sundays, was excellent if perhaps a little cold-blooded. Seems to me Robinson was trying to straddle genres in the art style he adopted. Tempering his more vigorous comic book style, he tried to add more polish by emulating the Rex Morgan/Judge Parker school of soap opera art. The results bridge the gap from realism to surrealism.
Jet Scott debuted on September 28 1953 with a Sunday starting at the end of that first week. It lasted exactly two years, ending with the Sunday of September 25 1955 (the second Sunday reproduced above).
Finally, mu most looke for strip from the fifties. Ever sinc e I saw a daily reprinted in Robinson's excellent history of comic strips (recently reprinted as well) I was curious about this one. When e-bay opened up the possibillities of collecting for out of US fans, I started looking for it but otheer than a couple of sunday, I never got a lot of them. The strip is very well drawn, but I have to add that the later sundays I have are not as good as these two... and the whole doesn't hold a candly (imo) to the work Robinson was doing from 1951 to roughly 1956 for Timely/Atlas. In this period he was also teaching comics to a new generation of artist. After breaking up his partnership with Mort Meskin, he worked on his own for the first time. His comic book work is similarely slick. In fact, the misture between comic book and comic strip styling you see here, is visible in his comic book work as well. If the stories are any good, I'd buy a collection at once. I hope someone will reprint ist sometime.