Thursday, June 04, 2009

Last Archie References For a While

All the Archie talk in the wake of the "marriage" gimmick including this already-legendary piece on Betty's psycho stalker tendencies -- have caused me to think even more than usual about the underrated genius of Frank Doyle, Samm Schwartz, Harry Lucey and others, and be even more P.O.'d that the Archie company respects their work so little. But I don't want to overdo it, so I'll just use this post for 1) A link to an example of great Harry Lucey art, and 2) An out-of-context panel made to look like something it isn't.

1) I've said more about Samm Schwartz than Harry Lucey, but I think I'd agree, overall, with those who say that Lucey was the greatest artist ever to work for Archie comics. First of all, he had the most range. Schwartz was basically a comedy artist who wasn't great at the pinup-girl stuff, Dan DeCarlo basically a sexy-girl artist whose comedy drawings could be a little stolid. Lucey was great at drawing sexy girls in the DeCarlo style and he did some of the funniest drawings and poses ever. And second, his poses are so expressive, he gets so much into the body language of these characters and is so good at placing them within the panels, that he did some exceptional silent or near-silent comics. He really was one of the best cartoonists in the business, who just happened to do his greatest work for Archie comics.

Here's one of the most famous examples of Lucey's talents, called "Two Little Words".

As the title implies, the writer (possibly, though not certainly, Frank Doyle) eliminates all dialogue except the words "Archie" and "Veronica," and leaves it to Lucey, and the lettering guy, to tell a typical Archie story with the visuals alone. (For another well-known example of Lucey's pantomime abilities, see "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

2) An out-of-context (though, since the writer was Doyle, the effect is probably semi-intentional) panel from a more recent story (drawn by Stan Goldberg):

Betty and Veronica fought for 50+ years to get to that exact moment; it was inevitable that they would find it a let-down.


Anonymous said...

I agree that Harry Lucey is the better artist, but I still like Samm Schwartz better. Lucey's art freaked me out as a kid... it gave me this weird feeling.

Mark Mayerson said...

I'm guessing that "Two Little Words" story is from around 1961. I remember it from time I spent in the hospital. I had a stack of comic books to help pass the time and that story was in a 25 cent Archie annual in my stack (hmmm, maybe it was already a reprint?). In any case I haven't seen that story in more than 40 years, so I thank you for linking to it.

buzz said...

"Two Little Words" is hilarious! I can't believe they didn't include that in a Best Of atnhology yet.