One of the sobering aspects of aging is reexamining a lot of the material that thrilled us when we were younger. As your tastes develop and your vision of the world changes, there is so much of what moved us in earlier days that has lost that magic. So it is always a treat when you see a Hitchcock film, hear Harry Belafonte sing, or reread Raymond Chandler and discover that it still holds up…and in many cases there are layers there that you couldn’t appreciate on your first introduction to the material.
In comics, that always held true for me with both of my childhood idols, Joe Kubert and Leonard Starr. With Joe’s work there is an emotionalism that drew me into the stories then, and still does today. Because of his work in comic books and the impact of his school, Joe remains a household name among fans. While he probably had more visibility at the time with the popular On Stage newspaper strip, younger fans are for the most part fairly ignorant of the talented Mr. Starr…until they get a chance to see some of the work.
I often asked myself why as a ten your old kid, I couldn’t wait to get the Sunday Detroit Free Press to read a soap opera? Yes, a soap opera. This wasn’t Terry and Pirates or Mandrake of the Phantom…but I was gobsmacked every time I saw an installment. It’s not easy to impress a young lad with a soap opera…but Leonard always managed to do it. Rereading the work today I can understand why.
So here’s a few installments from some of the very early years for your enjoyment. You’ll like the fact that the artist used his neighbor, a young Larry Hagman, as one of the characters. And who could miss the similarity between Pete Fletcher and the late, great Jim Gardner. We miss them both.
Next time a Mad Mummy Update!!!