|Tandra Page 1198, Noel Sickles|
|I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.
This week I have a book from Amazon. The book is one of those coffee table volumes titled “Scorchy Smith And The Art Of Noel Sickles”.
Except for fans of 1930’s syndicated newspaper comic strips, nobody much remembers either “Scorchy Smith”, the comic strip, nor Noel Sickles, the man who took over the strip when the man who originated it became too ill to continue and, in the span of three short years, revolutionized the way newspaper adventure comics were displayed and, of consequence, changed for all time the way comic books are created.
Noel Sickles was not, at the time he took over Scorchy, a fan of comics nor did he become one. He worked at the Associated Press and the assignment to do Scorchy was handed to him. He did the strip three years, creating a whole new way of presenting illustrated stories, then abandoned comics for commercial illustration and never looked back.
But a lot of other people did look, including studio mate and lifelong friend Milt Caniff, popular for his “Terry And The Pirates” and “Steve Canyon”. Caniff adopted the look Noel Sickles had introduced into his own signature trademark style. And, as the years passed, a lot of other comics artists in strip syndication and comic books looked at what Noel Sickles had created in the space of three short years and adapted it to their own uses.
And Noel Sickles? He went on to a successful career in commercial advertising and illustration.
This book collects the complete run of “Scorchy Smith” by Noel Sickles and includes a representative sample of his commercial advertising and illustration work. Sickles was a giant in his field and this oversize book is a delight to look through.
The Scorchy strips are not of the stature of Caniff’s work, nor Alex Raymond nor Hal Foster. While the Scorchy art is fun to behold and the development of a distinctive style an education to watch, Noel Sickles was not a writer and it shows. Sickles had no interest in writing. His passion was for drawing and, if you enjoy looking at the work of a great artist and illustrator who produced a wealth of great art over a productive career, this is a book for you.
Never forget Lexington and Concord!
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