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Monday, October 29, 2007

Comic Firsts: Mike Western

A while back I posted what I believe are the first two comics strips from the pen of Geoff Campion. I've had the opportunity to dig through a pile of old Knockout comics thanks to my pal John Allen-Clark and the paper contained some of the earliest work by a variety of artists who went on to have long careers in comics.

Today's entry in what I'm going to call 'Comic Firsts' -- because I'm tired and I can't think of anything better -- is an episode of "Captain Phantom", the very first drawn by Mike Western for Knockout no. 738 (April 18, 1953). Mike went on to draw dozens of strips over the years but to me he will always be the guy who drew "The Wild Wonders" for Valiant (to others he might be the guy who drew "Johnny Winco" or "HMS Nightshade" or "The Sarge"... I guess it depends on how old you are and what comics you read as a kid). Mike is still around, 82 years young, and I'm pleased to say still has a large fan base. For someone who hasn't a single strip in print in the UK that's pretty good going. The now-defunct [New] Eagle fanzine, Eagle Flies Again did a special tribute issue to him a couple of years ago and, going way back, I did a little booklet called The Mike Western Story, which, if I can figure out a practical way of doing it, I might try and get back into print. Another project... just what I need!

Anyway, here's the first 'Comic Firsts'... anyone wishing to contribute other examples of artists' first work, just drop me a line.

(* Captain Phantom © IPC Media)

3 comments:

Lew Stringer said...

Great find, Steve! It's always interesting to see how artists develop.

Ken Davidson said...

It would likely be an act of altruism, but you could rerelease The Mike Western Story as a PDF download.

crow said...

I loved his work in Battle, nice and gritty, with Darkie's Mob being the pinnacle. Which deserves a reprint in book form methinks? C'mon Titan!

I'd be more than happy to pay for a PDF version of The Mike Western story via PayPal.