Monday, April 16, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Johnny Stardust

Back to Sponsored Comics on this fine Monday morning, which finds me with a painful sunburn. I went to Tampa on Sunday to listen to Barack Obama make a campaign speech, and stood out in a broiling sun for hours. I tell you this, of course, to rub it in to those of you still shoveling snow up north.

Anywho, here we have Johnny Stardust, a very well-drawn adventure strip by Vernon Rieck. Rieck was obviously one of the many 'toonists under the spell of Caniff, with a little Mel Graff and Alex Toth influence also evident. His only definite syndication credit was when he took over the Oh Diana strip in its last year of publication, but he was listed in E&P for a number of other strips, none of which I've been able to document. Most of these undocumented strips were syndicated by Velerie Productions, a company I know nothing about.

Quite amusing how bad and good it is at the same time. I posted an example of a Swedish sunday page from 1952 in similar style over at my blog. If you want to see what "Jonny Janck" by Jan Ullén looked like check out

/Joakim Gunnarsson
I see some comparison to William Overgard's work on Steve Roper as well. Not tahtb the drawing is in that league, but some of the inking is similarely sketchy.
Veleri Productions was my father's company (VErnon LEroy RIeck) and yes Johnny Stardust is probably his most famous strip.
Hi Kris --
Thanks for posting. Regarding your dad and Veleri Productions, can you help me out on these other strips?

According to E&P he has these credits:

Jennifer (1959-60)
Stories of Real People (1961)
True Adventures (1961)

Where did these appear? I'd like to give your dad his due in my Stripper's Guide listings, but I haven't found these in any newspaper.

Stories of Real People & True Adventures were published as weekly strips in a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) newspaper for kids. I have some and can scan them and email them to you. There are over 100 strips. Vernon was devout and also did some editorial type cartoons addressing School Prayer type social issues.
My father, Vernon Riecks, started out as a cartoonist when he was bedridden as a child with pneumonia. He would draw the stories he heard on the radio, while bedridden. He wrote to Mr Coniff and sent him some drawings. Mr Coniff wrote back and was very encouraging.
Later, Vernon moved to NYC in the 1940's & worked as a cartoonist on his own strips, & as an artist on other's strips. He said it was very hard to make a living.
In the 1950's, he worked at Warner Bros stufios, among other places, & drew multiple Christian cartoons.
Vernon created his own production company, Veleri, which owns all the rights to his original artwork, including Johnny Stardust.
I can upload some of his stuff if you are me at
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