the fourth volume of my current favourite reprint project has just arrived. It's bigger than usual, at 260 pages over the previous 196, and the price tag is only up three bucks to 25. That's the first time I recall looking at the price. This series I just signed up for sight and price unseen. Indeed I volunteered myself to write a short three page intro to this volume, in which I briefly analyse a Sunday page from 1968. There's also a 40 page interview with Leonard Starr from around 1980. And there are seven complete stories.
The first attractive feature about leonard Starr's On Stage is that it's a time capsule of its period, 1960-61 in this volume. Look at the lovely sense of early sixties style here in the headscarf and nifty little sportscar.
Another pleasing touch about the old soap opera style is the way the characters would be groomimg themselves while discussing important stuff, such as the plot that's just about to unfold:
One of the stories has Pete Fletcher and recurring secondary character Johnny Q. in a boat in a hurricane off the Florida Keys with the task of looking after a baby they've just saved. Two men and a baby.
The stories overall have a lightness of touch, no great melodrama usually, with the resolution hingeing on perhaps simply a character trait half concealed until the crucial moment. This gives the proceedings a lifelike quality. Then there are moments with a hint of gothic, which would later be a bigger element in the romance fiction generally, but at this early stage sinister overtones always turn out to have prosaic explanations.
The final story in the set revolves around a movie cowboy actor obviously based on John Wayne. Around about 1961 I think I wanted to BE him.
Charles Pelto at Classic Comics Press tells me he's just about got that other great human interest strip, Stan Drake's Juliette Jones, to start running soon in reprint. I can't wait.
Labels: classic strips(2)