Detective Comics #33 and #54 - Very Similar Covers!
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21 posts in this topic

On 12/7/2022 at 12:52 AM, Professor K said:

Tec 54- The poor mans Tec 33

Someone was about to say it sooner or later(shrug)

What... you don't like those bizarre long skinny legs?  Or the fact that Batman appears to be 11-feet tall?  Also... given the presumed speed of the getaway car, and the presumed speed of a man leaping off a bridge who is that distance above the automobile, Batman is about to do a Wiley Coyote into the pavement anyway...

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On 12/7/2022 at 8:10 AM, Bookery said:

What... you don't like those bizarre long skinny legs?  Or the fact that Batman appears to be 11-feet tall?  Also... given the presumed speed of the getaway car, and the presumed speed of a man leaping off a bridge who is that distance above the automobile, Batman is about to do a Wiley Coyote into the pavement anyway...

Well I didn't say all that now. Not that you're wrong of course. 

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On 12/7/2022 at 7:00 PM, Primetime said:

We know Shelley Moldoff was Kane's ghost artist for Batman with Bob's signature on everything @Ameri :preach:

I'd like to know the whole story about that. Just general questions I have (not directed at you Prime) are if Moldoff did ghost Kane was it only some covers or interior work as well? Hard to tell because the only Kane covers I know are Batman covers.

I think Tec 33 and 36 are probably Moldoff's, and possibly 35 and 37. Another thing that makes it diificult is I believe DC was very specific with their artists as far as how they wanted their comics to look. Maybe not so much in the very early years but by 1939 I think they had a very specific look they wanted their artists to follow. So that makes it for me at least a little more difficult to positively identify the artists. 

On 12/7/2022 at 11:45 PM, Ameri said:

Flessel ghosting Shelley or vice versa hm

detective 33 swipe from tec 13.jpg

Is the interior Flessel? Of course it is nevermind. Well would you look at that. Not exactly ghosting , but more like swiping.

Edited by Professor K
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On 12/7/2022 at 9:45 PM, Professor K said:

I'd like to know the whole story about that. Just general questions I have (not directed at you Prime) are if Moldoff did ghost Kane was it only some covers or interior work as well? Hard to tell because the only Kane covers I know are Batman covers.

I think Tec 33 and 36 are probably Moldoff's, and possibly 35 and 37. Another thing that makes it diificult is I believe DC was very specific with their artists as far as how they wanted their comics to look. Maybe not so much in the very early years but by 1939 I think they had a very specific look they wanted their artists to follow. So that makes it for me at least a little more difficult to positively identify the artists. 

Is the interior Flessel? Of course it is nevermind. Well would you look at that. Not exactly ghosting , but more like swiping.

Good thoughts here Professor K. I will defer to @Ameri here as he has done a lot more research in this area of Kane/Moldoff. From my in depth discussions with @Ameri, Moldoff would often come into the DC offices to drop off his work while Kane would sign his name on all of them. Kane was a cartoonist and perhaps did the Batman work in Tec 27-28 (teddy bear looking), but in 29 onward the Batman takes on a more sharper, sinister appearance. Moldoff was all over the map though and was the chief Hawkman artist for Max Gaines with All-American comics...Moldoff certainly did most of the 1950s Tecs covers and Batman stories and all of those have the bOb Kane boxed signature. To me, the Kane sig was meant to show ownership and not his art work, which Shelley gladly did to support his family. 

Edited by Primetime
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Kane even called Neal Adams one of his "ghosts". I don't think Kane just wanted to show he owned the character, he wanted to take credit for everything. When Mark Evanier met Kane in 1967 when the TV show and the Newspaper strip was revived, Evanier told Kane how much he loved Irv Novick's art on the newspaper strip (signed, of course, by Kane). Kane's face went a little pale and he said " How do you know about Irv Novick?".

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On 12/8/2022 at 12:58 AM, Primetime said:

Good thoughts here Professor K. I will defer to @Ameri here as he has done a lot more research in this area of Kane/Moldoff. From my in depth discussions with @Ameri, Moldoff would often come into the DC offices to drop off his work while Kane would sign his name on all of them. Kane was a cartoonist and perhaps did the Batman work in Tec 27-28 (teddy bear looking), but in 29 onward the Batman takes on a more sharper, sinister appearance. Moldoff was all over the map though and was the chief Hawkman artist for Max Gaines with All-American comics...Moldoff certainly did most of the 1950s Tecs covers and Batman stories and all of those have the bOb Kane boxed signature. To me, the Kane sig was meant to show ownership and not his art work, which Shelley gladly did to support his family. 

Thanks for putting me on the spot (thumbsu Not to take anything away from Bob Kane, but I’ll throw a few ideas out there. I think any discussion about the early art has to include Jerry Robinson before getting into Moldoff. I read Jerry’s autobiography and watched his interviews on youtube. Jerry never pinpoints his first work of Batman but he does say that he did Batman for 7 years starting in 1939. This might lead one to think he was there at the inception of Batman, but that isn’t the case. GCD confirmed that Jerry started Batman with Detective 36 which was on the stands in December 1939 and his last Batman work was Batman 37 in October 1946. That would be the 7 years that Jerry reports. In interviews, Jerry said that he did all the covers and interiors during those years and that Bob’s contribution was rough layouts and concepts.  

So that leaves Detectives 27-35 unaccounted for. Yes, Bob Kane’s name is on all the covers spanning almost 30 years. GCD confirms Moldoff’s work on Detective 27 through 35 as “art backgrounds” (whatever that means). If you notice, the art makes a remarkable improvement between Detective 27 and Detective 28. I believe Bob did the interior of the 27 and then art chores were turned over to Moldoff. The Moldoff art style is evident on all the covers and interiors between Detectives 27 through 35. The cover to the 37 as well which he re-drew for All American 20.  

Turning the art chores over to others was a normal practice for publisher Max Gaines. He gave Moldoff the All American 16 cover duties over creator Mart Nodell to keep it up to standards, Gaines gave Flash 1 and all subsequent Flash covers to Moldoff and also turned Hawkman over to him when he found the Hawkman art was substandard. Moldoff told me in the 1990’s that Gaines wanted him to do a Hawkman quarterly as well, but Moldoff had to decline it due to his current workloads.  

If you look at the chronology, when Moldoff’s cover and interior work in the Detectives ends, his new assignments with Green Lantern, Flash and Hawkman begin. Due to the turn of events with more and more superheroes being created, Moldoff was diverted on other projects and then Jerry Robinson took over Batman.

Moldoff came back to Batman in the 1950s and 1960’s. In his later years, Moldoff did cover and panel recreations of his Batman work including early covers like Detective 31. Moldoff was always hush hush about what he did for Bob because they had a gentlemen’s agreement. It wasn’t till years later that Moldoff’s Batman work was recognized. Yes, Bob’s name is on all the covers and credits and I would not attempt to take anything away from Bob. Along with Bill Finger, Kane created the whole Dark Knight saga. However, I am of the opinion and maybe the minority that the earliest Pre-Robin Detectives were the sole work of Shelly Moldoff. In the 1990’s Bob Kane gave a drawing demonstration. It’s interesting:           

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0sp20-LF4I

Edited by Ameri
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On 12/7/2022 at 12:52 AM, Professor K said:

Tec 54- The poor mans Tec 33

Someone was about to say it sooner or later(shrug)

That is actually a good comparison.. while Detective Comics #33 is out of price range for many collectors (including me)..  I see Detective Comics #54 as a reasonably priced alternative.. with the same artist, same character, similar cover, and early 1940's Golden Age goodness.  This may qualify as "The Poor Man's Detective Comics #33!" 

Edited by CWill2021
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On 12/5/2022 at 6:51 PM, CWill2021 said:

Batpics.jpg

As a small point of interest, the stone overpass bridges on both covers here look like many of the ones built over highways entering/exiting New York City, which was home to the DC Comics offices. Some of these arches have been shored up or replaced entirely over time, but others still look exactly like they would have to the cover artists in 1939 & 1941. Here's a small bridge north of NYC that I pulled at random from GoogleMaps; you can see the structure matches nicely the one on the Detective #54 cover.
 

1412336172_ScreenShot2023-01-11at8_47_18PM.thumb.png.fbf9512feb2871d09e973bcf18e6b1a1.png

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