Saturday, April 28, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Hub Capps

Here's Hub Capps, the story of a good-hearted hot rod kid. This one's a pretty good read, and the art is quite nice, too. The strip is credited to Jay Howard, which I'm assuming is a pen-name. This name was one of my clues, wrong as it turned out, that Norman Maurer was running the show at Family Comics, since he was married into the Three Stooges Howard family, and I seem to recall he used the Howard name occasionally on his work.

I don't know who the artist is, but the art certainly does look familiar. I feel like I ought to be able to ID the artist just on the strength of panel three of the second strip. I know I've seen faces drawn that way many times. I can't put my finger on it, but I keep thinking that this is an art style that I used to see in the old Charlton comic books a lot. Hopefully one of you folks can supply an ID.

Oh, and sorry about the selection of strips here. I didn't realize until posting this that I'd scanned two strips that hardly have any appearance by the star of the strip.

Hub Capps originals were sold by Lowery galeries. Or maybe still are, I don't know how many they have already sold. They do seem to have had a lot.

I might have been pushing you toward Maurer. For me, this strip was one of the arguments. It seems like Maurer's Timely cowboy work from the late fifties to me. agrees that this is by Maurer. -- Art Lortie
Hi Allan,

Yes, that is Norman Maurer's work on "Hub Capps". This strip was one of his many enterprises after leaving his partnership with Joe Kubert. Maurer did a little work for several comic book companies in the late Fifties, but primarily applied his time to managing the Three Stooges and working on various film projects. And as you suspected, the name "Jay Howard" is a pseudonym, comprised of the first initial of his son Jeffery and his wife Joan's maiden name, Howard (she was Moe's daughter).

By the way, I happen to own the original artwork to the first "Hub Capps" strip, which is the top one you scanned. I've uploaded a scan to my ftp space at: Take care.

Ken Quattro
Glad that everyone seems to be in agreement that this is Maurer, but I just can't see the same artist producing both this strip and Happy Days 1969. This art, while serviceable, is to my mind far inferior and stylistically contrary to the transcendent work on Happy Days. Was Maurer really so flexible that he could work in two such contrary styles??

Just so you can see another example of Maurer's artwork, here is a scan from the 1953 "Three Stooges" comic book series:
Hi Ken -
Thanks for posting that page. Looks to me to be yet another style adopted by Maurer. Was this guy known for his multiple art personalities or is this simply a case of a guy who would sign his name to work by others?

While I can't say for certain that Maurer never signed his name to a ghosted strip, I do know that he was a talented artist in his own right. As he matured, Maurer's style became more polished (the Stooges example I posted was from 1953). I believe it was a matter of his being more comfortable in his 'humorous' style. The "Hub Capps" strip was in his more 'realistic' style. "Happy Days 1969" is obviously Maurer adopting a sleeker 'space age' style in keeping with the feature's subject matter. Furthermore, while I can see him using two styles and names to give the impression that two artists drew the two strips, I don't understand why he would sign his own name to the one that was ghosted and use a pseudonym on the one he drew himself.
A Boys Life article in 1949 credits this strip to Tom Ward
Hi Anon --
That would be something different the Boys Life article is referring to, since Sponsored Comics is from 1959, not 1949.

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Friday, April 27, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Blooper Brown

Blooper Brown is by Andy Sprague, who has a syndication credit on the strip Honeybelle that had a respectable seven year run (1947-53). Looking at these Blooper Brown strips and the Doc Pipps strips from a few days ago, I have to revise my Henry Boltinoff ID on those as being more likely to be Andy Sprague. Of course, having everyone tell me I was wrong about Boltinoff helps some...

If possible, could you post samples of "Honeybelle" after you finish your Sponsored Comics run on Stripper's Guide?, who get most of their information of the internet (as you know) picked another original from and added the information that Sprague was an assistant of Zack Mosley on Smilin' Jack.
A bit more googling gave me this as well: The Penn Sate collection has these originals of Andy

- 673 ""Any Ice Today, Lady?"-Iceman asks naughty girl at door" "watercolor on paper, 8.5x11"

- 651 "Honeybelle" and Aunt Ginger "watercolor on paper, 13.75x16.5"

- 757 Self Portrait "ink on paper, 2x2"

- 418 Turtle sleeping between hole and golf ball
"watercolor on wooden tile, 15x15"

Which suggest to me he may have done some cartooning as well. The name seems familar.

Looking for Honeybelle at Who's Who I also came across two strips I'd love to hear and see more about at a later point - totaly not related to this.

art Marvin Stein 65-68
wr Bud Wexler 65-68

I'd love to see Marvin Stein's later work on this. I though he had stopped doing comics at that point.

art Carl Hubbell 49-50
Paul Reinman 50-51
wr Renny McEvoy 49-51

The missing link for Paul Reinman's artistic development. Do you know what papers that could be in or how I would find out?
Hi Ger -
You'll find Merrie Chase, an excellent strip, running in the Columbus Dispatch, the Lowell Sun, the Tampa Times among others.

Say do you Honeybelle comics, if so then can you tell me what comic strip shows Honeybelle cossack dancing in what newspaper?
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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Peachie Keen

Now that we seem to have confirmation that Sponsored Comics was a Zeke Zekley operation, I guess it's about time I showed his contribution to the section. Here Zeke adopts a style somewhat different than his McManus ghosting style. Excellent stuff, but I must admit that his McManus-derived style, with the thinner line, is my preference.

The Peachie Keen strip was another of those that were advertised in 1960 as a standalone feature.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Joshua Trust

As promised, here's the second entry from Russ Manning to appear in Family Comics, Joshua Trust. This western is a much better showcase for Manning's graphic skills, but oddly enough, he chose this one to pen pseudonymously as Cash Orcutt.

To follow up on yesterday's discussion, I contacted R.C. Harvey and he has this to say:

Zeke's operation was Sponsored Comics, but that, it seems to me, was the name of the company he ran. The quasi-Sunday comics section he manufactured was called, simply, "Comics." The issue I have at hand (dated October 4-6, 1985) has strips by David Gantz ("Don Q"), frank Johnson, Dick Hodgins, Cass Herbert (looks like Ponytail stuff to me), Mutts (ha) by Greg Gilger, Orlando Busino, Frank Hill, Gill Fox, and some others. But no Norman Maurer, not that he'd be a contributor to his own publication---but why not? Anyhow, it's not called Family Comics.
So now we have another confirmation that Zekley was behind Sponsored Comics, but Harvey is talking about a section from 1985, not 1959. Does anyone know anything else about this much later Sponsored production?

My Father, Vernon Rieck was a prolific cartoonist from the 40's, 50's and early 60's. He worked at Disney studios, as well as syndicating his strip Johnny Stardust. He also created strips under his pen name Veleri (an eponymous acronym)as well as ghosted on other strips. He loved drawing and was versatile in style, format, and content. He drew a long running Christian strip, as well as the strip "Jennifer". He had a few other pen names as well.
Kris, I'd like to include your father Vernon Rieck in the Christian Comics Pioneers website at but would need to have a bit more info and a photo for the bio. You can contact me (Alec Stevens) through the above site, or via my Calvary Comics website or through this blogger form. Best regards, Alec
Alec, I'd be honored to include info about Vernon on your website, and will contact u directly. Thanks!
Kris, you can write to me at That would be the best contact. Thanks! Alec
Haven't heard from you yet, Kris, but hope to.

Alec Stevens
I was so pleased that Zeke chose 2 of my strips for inclusion. I only have a copy of his promotion piece that I cherish. It never took off in the 80's and I still do my art. The other strip was BONKERS which can still be seen at my website with MUTTS.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Doc Pipps

Here's Doc Pipps by Andy Hickok. My guess is that this is actually Henry Boltinoff working undercover. What say you?

I received a pair of messages today that I'll pass along. From Alberto Becattini:

Just a quick note on "Laura Good". Whereas I don't know who Veleri
was, I do know that the feature was inked by Ellis Eringer, an artist
who also inked Donald Duck syndicated strips and quite a lot of Disney
Comics produced by the Disney Studio for foreign consumption in 1963-
68. Another thing I seem to remember is that Zeke Zekley was involved in
the production of Family Comics, along with George McManus's brother,
whose first name I can't recall at the moment. Zekley was Geo.
McManus's assistant/ghost on "Bringing Up Father" for decades (circa

And from Bob Foster:

Zeke Zekeley, famous for his art on Bringing Up Father, was the man behind Sponsored Comics. He had an office in Beverly Hills, and that may be the address for the office you're talking about. Zeke knew a lot of cartoonists and artists in the animation business. A lot of those artists also did comic books and strips. The art that looks like Al Wiseman may, in fact, be that of Lee Holley (Ponytail) who worked in animation before becoming an assistant for Ketcham. Norman Maurer also worked in animation. The animation business is comprised of many names familiar to both animation buffs and comic strip fans alike. Such overlap includes Russ Manning, Willie Ito, Iwao Takamoto, Bob Singer, Norman Maurer, Lee Holley, Mike Ahrens, Moe Gollub, Tom Warkentin, Bill Lignante, Mel Keefer, Alex Toth, Dan Speigle, to name a few that come to mind.

McManus' brother was Charles. Zekley was certainly in Beverly Hills, and did contribute to the section (his contribution has yet to be shown on the blog), so it's definitely a possibility. I tried to interview Zekley once but was politely but firmly told no by his handlers, the guys who were selling his art. I think R.C. Harvey said once that he was going to, or did, interview him. I'll check in with Harv. As for Lee Holley, unless he had vastly differing styles up his sleeve there's no way he was responsible for Happy Days 1969. Thanks very much to both of you for your insights!


I see no sign of Boltinoff here and his style usually is very recognizable. Bob Foster's list is very interesting and may hold the names we are looking for. Mike Ahrens also worked for Boy's Life, didn't he? Moe Gollub worked as a cartoonist. I just glanced over hios name today looking for some old Hart cartoons.

Oh and if you are in contact with Bob Foster... does he remember giving a set of copies of Alex Toth army strip Jon Fury to dutch Disney artist Michel Nadorp? Maybe he wants to share them with you as well...
"Henry Boltinoff all the way!" that's what I thought before I read your comments.

Or Chelly Myer. No, forget I said that.

BTW, what is a elderly Dale Evens doing in that Laura Good strip?

A quick google resulted into finding this original...
I first didnt think it was Boltinoff as there were a variety of surface things (like the circles under the eyes) that didnt ring Botinoff -- but
yes that Kid's profile is classic Boltinoff....
case of Boltinoff trying to disguise his style? pencils only? a good imitator?

and I agree, that other strip isnt Lee Holley (or even Frank Hill).

oh, could some of these guys worked on the Wham-O comic book?
I'm no art IDer, but I gotta take Ger's side here. The close-up profile of the kid is the only sorta Boltinoff I see at all. The triangular noses, the hands and fingers, and even the same kid, but in the background, with his pie-slice-shaped mouth shout NotBoltinoff to me.
Hi. My father was a cartoonist in the 1940's-1963. Before he was able to get his own comic strips published, he worked for many other publishers of famous comic strips like Mary Worth, Dick Tracy etc. He always said that if an artist wanted to earn a living, an artist had to learn to mimic the style of successful artists.
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Monday, April 23, 2007


Sponsored Comics: Laura Good

Here we go with one of the highlights of the Family Comics section. Laura Good is just a straight steal on Mary Worth, but the cartoonist is none other than the great Russ Manning. Manning, of course, is universally revered for his fantastic work on the Tarzan and Star Wars strips, not to mention the great comic book series Magnus Robot Fighter (one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures).

Anybody know who this Veleri person is that gets a credit on the first strip?

If you're disappointed to see Manning working on such a pedestrian offering, hold on because we haven't seen the last of him in this section!

The same "Veleri" credited in Strickler's E&P book for a 1958 comic entitled "Jonathon"?

And has anyone ever found out who the "Yang" that assisted and signed Warkentin's "Star Trek" in 1980 was?
I like it. His style is a bit more cartoony than the stuff he did for Gold Key. So which installments did you pick here? The first and the last? How long did each story run? Did the last issue stop mid-run or was the series cut off?
DD - according to Art Lortie, Yang was an office boy who occasionally was pressed into service to letter and ink backgrounds. No full name known.

Ger - on most of these strips I've been showing first and last from my run. Unless the series went on longer (and original art is known for the 11th issue) the stories were all still running.

My Papa, Vernon Rieck collaborated on this strip: his pen name "Veleri" is a contraction of VErnon LEroy RIeck, and usually indicates that he is drawing and writing the storyline. He is most famous for his strip Johnny Stardust. The strip Jonathon was inspired by the antics of my cousin Jonathon Miller. Papa also created the strip "Jennifer" from Jonathon's sister Jennifer Miller. At the time, many cartoonists really struggled to make a living and if they belonged to a syndicate, they would often draw/ink or write storyline on others' namesakes' strips...anything to bring money in. Vernon worked for Walt Disney Studios in the 1950's, and also Warner Brothers. He could draw in any style, so if a guy was out sick, he was often asked by the syndicate to draw some of the panels or strips. Often, cartoonists were not the owners of strips they invented, (the syndicate or publisher owned the strip) so an artist could draw or ink or write and not be credited. My father had contracts under different pen names, so he was able to be more prolific, and thus earn more money.
My father, Vernon Rieck is the famous Veleri. Veleri was his preferred pen name, and was an anagram of his name. He worked in NYC as a comic strip artist, under his own name and various aliases. He was an excellent mimic and could draw in multiple styles. Eventually, in the 1950's, Walt Disney hired him and he ran the in-house magazine.
I have some of his drawings and comics that survived his death in mid 1963. He lived in West Hollywood.
My father, Vernon Rieck is the famous Veleri. Veleri was his preferred pen name, and was an anagram of his name. He worked in NYC as a comic strip artist, under his own name and various aliases. He was an excellent mimic and could draw in multiple styles. Eventually, in the 1950's, Walt Disney hired him and he ran the in-house magazine.
I have some of his drawings and comics that survived his death in mid 1963. He lived in West Hollywood.
My father, Vernon Rieck is the famous Veleri. Veleri was his preferred pen name, and was an anagram of his name. He worked in NYC as a comic strip artist, under his own name and various aliases. He was an excellent mimic and could draw in multiple styles. Eventually, in the 1950's, Walt Disney hired him and he ran the in-house magazine.
I have some of his drawings and comics that survived his death in mid 1963. He lived in West Hollywood.
I have one of your dad's drawing he Sent to my grandpa
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Sunday, April 22, 2007


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

I'm liking this.

Has Jim Ivey submitted this yet? I can see this running in some alternative newsweeklies (he'll have to change the title, though, since most alt-weeklies don't come out on Sundays)
Hi Charles -
Heck, I had to twist his arm just to allow me to put it on the blog. He didn't think it was professional enough. He just did it as an off-the-cuff sort of thing. I'll pass along the compliment though, he'll be tickled to hear the good reviews!

I'd be happy to upload some of Veleri's work, if that's an option?
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