Saturday, July 9, 2011

'THE WILD MAN OF THE WILDERNESS'



Above scan (broken into two due to the size of my scanner), featuring the first installment of a King of the Royal Mounted adventure titled 'The Wild Man of the Wilderness', is from the color central pages of the no. 214 (dated March 9th, 1940) of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly. 'The Wild Man of the Wilderness' concerns a mysterious title character stealing pelts of trappers. The art is pretty good with impressive splash panels and some decent rendering of good-looking women, as in the below panels from no. 216:

I also like how the utilization of a windy and snowy setting contributes to the establishment of a moody atmosphere in the below panels from no. 219:

And below is a nice action sequence from no. 222:
I am not certain about the artist working on 'The Wild Man of the Wilderness'. The art chores of 'King of the Royal Mounted' had passed onto Jim Gary from Charles Flanders in 1939 and 'The Wild Man of the Wilderness' was serialized in MMW early in 1940, but this British magazine was probably running the American strip with some delay from its original run in the US newspapers, so its original run might have corresponded with the tenures of either Flanders or Gary.
'King of the Royal Mounted' is credited to famous Western writer Zane Grey, but Zane's byline was used for publicity purposes and the actual scriptwriter(s) of the strip are anonymous. The character is widely regarded as the brainchild of Stephen Slesinger, a literary agent who was one of the pioneers of merchandising popular literary characters. Eventually, Slesinger also conceived the idea of creating original characters and the Canadian mounted lawman King of the Royal Mounted was born. The Sunday strip kicked off in Feb. 17th, 1935 and the daily less than a year later; the original artist was Allen Dean who would eventually be replaced by Flanders. The strip would be popular enough to be adapted into the silver screen as a feature movie in 1936 and as serials in the early 1940s. It would also spin-off comics books headlining the title character who would remain in syndication till the 1950s.

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