Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reading Room NORGE BENSON "Voyage of the Bilge Queen"

On Pluto there are thug penguins, magician penguins, and pirate penguins!
So the writer thought...let's add "whaler penguins" to the mix!
Just when you think this series can't get any weirder, it brings in references to Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick"!
Considering today's average high-schooler hasn't read it (nor probably heard of it), it says a lot for the literacy level of kids back in the 1940s!
Artist Al Walker apprenticed at the Walt Disney Studios in California, but returned to NYC due to personal matters.
His animated cartoon-influenced style was unique enough that Fiction House hired him to do humor-oriented strips like Norge, Greasemonkey Griffin (in Wings Comics), Simba (in Jungle Comics), and Private Elmer Pippin and the Colonel's Daughter (in Rangers Comics).
WWII put Walker in uniform...and serving in the Army's publications division as well as designing unit insignia, he smoothly transitioned back to working at Fiction House as soon as he was discharged.
But...Al had fallen in love, married, and discovered that his Fiction House work didn't pay enough to cover expenses!
He was already at his productivity limit due to his detailed style, and wasn't comfortable "watering it down" and a page rate raise was unlikely, so Walker, like many others during thie period, left the comic book industry.
Al ended up taking a better-paying job as graphic designer/illustrator for the publications department of a regional banking chain, where he spent the rest of his professional career.
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