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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mike Meteor

Updated: 11 March 2008.

Thanks to Marc-André Dumonteil we now have all three of the following strips identified. Marc-André had previously revealed the origins of two of the strips and sent in some scans (which I posted as part of an update on 13 February; the original post appeared 7 February).

The original query came from David Ashford who sent me scans of three strips published in 1952 in the British comic Tarzan Adventures. It was my impression that all three strips were reprints of French strips, which turns out to be true.

The first strip David sent over featured a character named 'Mike Meteor'.

It has now been confirmed that this was originally published as 'Alain Meteor' in the French Tarzan weekly in 1951. The artist is Jacques Souriau (1886-1957).

From the same issue comes 'Buffalo Bill' which was originally drawn by René Giffey (1884-1965), a gifted French artist who worked for a wide variety of papers and as a book illustrator during the years after the Great War. He began drawing Buffalo Bill soon after the second world war for the French Tarzan weekly and went on to draw over 300 pages of the strip. When Tarzan folded, he continued to draw Buffalo Bill for Hurrah and L'Intrépide, all published by Editions Mondiales.

The first pic. below is the black & white version which appeared in the UK's Tarzan Adventures, the second a colour page from 1956 from L'Intrépide.

Editions Mondiales was run by Cino Del Duca who ran a printing house and various publishing companies producing a wide range of women's magazines, weeklies for boys and girls, pocket-sized comics and the first French TV listings magazine, Télé Poche.

Like British comics, French comics merged into each other as titles lost favour and Hurrah was merged with L'Intrépide which also absorbed the girls' comic Mireille. (Hurrah was given a second chance when it was relaunched, but it did not last long.)

The third 'strip' David sent was a photo strip in the popular style of Italian fotoromanzi. According to Marc-André, 'Arizona Bill' was published in L'Intrépide and was subsequently reprinted in some pocket-sized comics. The British version immediately below is followed by an episode from L'Intrépide Hurrah (as the merged paper was known) from 1961.

The Italian/fotoromanzi connection may be explained by publisher Del Cuca's origins and family connections: his brothers ran publishing houses in Italy.

I'll end with a quote from
Marc-André:

"I'm not surprised to see some of [the strips from Del Duca's titles] translated in England because both published English series such as Bellamy's 'Marco Polo', Don Lawrence's 'Wells Fargo' and 'Gun Law'. 'Wulf the Briton' was later drawn by French artists such as Angelo Di Marco and André Chéret under the title 'Rock l'invincible'."

(* no idea who has the copyright on these.)

2 comments:

  1. The Mike meteor comic almost looks like the work of Pellos (pseudonym of Rene Pellarin)1900-1998 a wonderful expressionistic cartoonist in his early days. I can't be sure though.

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  2. It's worth remembering that the British 'Tarzan Adventures' had a particularly strong French Connection anyway in that it was printed in Paris by Georges Lang.

    - Phil Rushton

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