Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's HERE! The FIRST Graphic Novel!

Today begins the BIG event in the 2017 RetroBlogs mini-blogathon...
Written by Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller (as "Drake Waller"), illustrated by Matt Baker and Ray Osrin, the digest-sized 1950 one-shot from St John Publications is pulpish film noir at its' coolest!
Dark Horse Comics (which published a 2007 high-quality reprint available below) explained it thusly...
In 1950, writers Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller, both attending college on the G.I. Bill, envisioned a sophisticated, novel-length comic tailored to their peers. Collaborating with comics art master Matt Baker, known for singularly defining the genre of "good girl art" on titles such as Phantom Lady, they crafted a film-noir inspired masterwork of romance, intrigue, and moral relativity. When cynical newspaperman Hal Weber reunites with old flame Rust Masson, he finds the beguiling widow of a mining magnate willing to do anything to undermine the local political machine--her only opponent for total control of Copper City!
Buckle up your seatbelts and begin the adventure at True Love Comics Tales...
Note: The thanks of a grateful nation go to Kracalactaka, who found the scans of the St John first edition in the wilds of the internet, cleaned them up, and made them available!
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics!
Visit Amazon and Order...


  1. I'm willing to overlook you overlooking Lynn Ward's and Milt Gross' graphic novels as "precursors"; but you still have to deal with Joseph Millard's 1951 Mansion of Evil.


    1. It Rhymes with Lust and Mansion of Evil came out the same year, 1950.

      An argument can also be made for the Captain Marvel Story Book comic book series which combined text pages alternating with both full-page illos and multi-panel pages for book-length tales in the then-standard 64 pages.
      OTOH, both Rust (in digest format) and Mansion (in paperback format) were deliberately-done in a non-comic book size, to appeal to a more adult audience.

      BTW, If you're considering Lynd Ward, why not Otto Nückel, who predates him?
      Note: both Ward and Nückel did what are considered "wordless" novels consisting of full-page images, not "graphic novels" which follow a multi-panel page format.

  2. Forgive the typo - I meant 1950, not 1951.

    Ward and Gross came to mind because I have read both,
    I certainly wasn't making a complete list of precursors.

    Also from St. John in 1950 was another graphic novel:
    The Case of The Winking Buddha by Manning Lee Stokes and Charles Raab
    And the two graphic novels from Dell in 1950:
    Four Frightened Women and Twice Loved.

    What created the 1950 boon in graphic novels?



Thanx for posting!

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