Saturday, April 15, 2017

John Prentice, Zane Grey's Stories of the West #27 (Installment 4)

Page 16  is my favorite in this batch. It benefits from relative simplicity, strong spotting of blacks, good variety of long shots vs mediums and close-ups, and cool backgrounds in panel 4. As I look more closely, though, I question the use of trees-as-graphic elements in panels 2 and 5. This seems to contradict the basic overall terrain (Monument Valley). That said, it’s difficult to tell exactly where in the “old west” this narrative is supposed to occur. Page 1, panel 1 has a caption that says “Down the unfamiliar street of wild and wooly Marco…” , with the state (or territory) left unspecified. Further research (a plot synopsis of the source novel, “Open Range”) identifies the local as Marco, New Mexico, relatively adjacent to Monument Valley, thus justifying the semi-cliche’ western settings seen in this comic. I am unable to verify whether or not there actually is or was such a town, or if it was a creation of Mr. Grey.

In conclusion, all I know about Monument Valley is what I’ve seen in movie Westerns. I question the use of tree trunks as graphic elements on the page in terms of consistency, but it could be accurate to the local.

This is a continuation of the serialized posting of the artwork from the pages of Zane Grey’s Stories of the West #27, published by Dell Comics in  1955. It features the story “Zane Grey’s Roundup”, “A Pictured Edition of “Open Range”. In this post I present pages 16 through 20.

I am assuming the artwork presented here is by John Prentice, who took over the “Rip Kirby” syndicated newspaper strip after the creator, Alex Raymond, died in a car crash in 1956, though I can find no confirmation of that in my on-line search.

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