Monday, November 13, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Miracle Jones


After his masterful performance on Tarzan, it's amazing to think that Burne Hogarth followed it up by not just one but two total misfires. The first was Drago, an atmospheric quasi-western set in South America that showcased fabulous art but herky-jerky storytelling. 

Hogarth's second attempt at getting back in the newspaper limelight is today's obscurity, Miracle Jones. An ill-advised departure from the action/adventure milieu, which was Hogarth's specialty, this strip tries to adapt Hogarth's dynamic art style to a humor strip. Miracle Jones was a bald-faced copy of James Thurber's Walter Mitty character, a nebbish whose fantasies are played out for the amusement of readers. The character had just been adapted into a 1947 blockbuster movie starring Danny Kaye, so Hogarth just jumped on the bandwagon with a character who is Walter Mitty in every respect excpt the name. 

United Feature originally offered the strip under the title J.P. Miracle, but changed it prior to release. The strip began on February 15 1948* in a vanishingly small list of papers as a Sunday-only feature**. Hogarth provided impressive art but it was all for naught. United and Hogarth threw in the towel before even the first year anniversary, the strip apparently ending on December 5 1948***.

Art expert Alberto Becattini offers us an interesting aside on Miracle Jones, stating that future E.C. Comics star Bernie Krigstein ghost-pencilled two weeks worth of the strip. There may have been other assistants and ghosts involved, too, because I notice that Hogarth does not generally sign his name in the final panel, only in the often dropped title panel. Was he trying to tell us something? Considering that he was back working on Tarzan at this time it seems likely that other hands helped out on this throwaway strip.

* Source: Boston Post

** A few sources claim the strip began in 1947, but no evidence for this has been found. 

*** Source: Jeffrey Lindenblatt based on Long Island Press.


I've long tried to definitively determine the dates when Hogarth worked on the Tim Tyler's Luck and Pieces Of Eight comic strips. His recall in interview was not always spot on; small wonder trying to remember dates from 50+ years ago. The best that I can determine is that he contributed art to TTL in for 2-3 months during the summer of 1934. I am uncertain when these strips were published. He apparently began work on POE in February of 1935. He thought it was 1936 in the Comics Journal interview, but given that the POE strips he drew ran in late 1935, he must have been mistaken. HIs POE strips were apparently published from 11/4/1935 through 12/28/1935.
IIRC, C&I students Wallace Wood and Al Williamson did some ghosting on Tarzan in the late 40s, ditto Nick Cardy who had already been working in the field and, to my knowledge, never a C&I student.
So the idea (implied) that it took Hogarth ghosts to get both strips out makes perfect sense.
Can anyone expand?
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]