Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Answer to my Boy Commandos Riddle

Boy Commandos #1, cover-dated Oct. 1973

In a recent article I was wondering what artist was responsible for the bad guys and the big guns added to the foreground of the cover to 1973's Boy Commandos #1. (A small image of the original artwork can be seen above.)

Afterwards I wrote to some comics experts who I felt might know the answer. Nick Caputo wasn't sure but he posted a comment saying that he thought it might be Joe Kubert but he wasn't sure. Mark Evanier didn't know but he would say Joe Orlando if he had to guess. Mike Tiefenbacher couldn't be certain but he deduced that it might be Nick Cardy. In fact, here's what Mike wrote:

You're right--I never thought about the cut-and-paste nature of this cover either till you pointed it out, so it is a question that nobody I know has asked me before. Since the cover of a first issue would hardly be parceled out to a young staffer (the Woodchucks were quite young and inexperienced at this point), and the machine guns are convincingly rendered, I figure it was one of their A-list guys. Since it isn't Kubert, who'd have been the obvious choice, my guess is that it's Nick Cardy who was called upon to provide the lower third of the cover--since he was tasked with providing almost all the covers on the rest of the line at the time, and because that's who the inking on the hands suggests. As a staff artist, he'd have been the one Nelson [Bridwell] would've gone to first, I believe.

I appreciated the input from those gents but the artwork just didn't look like Kubert or Orlando or Cardy to me so I went back to square one and put my thinking cap back on.

I asked myself what artists were adept at drawing technical details accurately from reference material. The machine guns on the above cover are very convincingly drawn, after all! In no time at all the name George Evans came to me. I felt far more comfortable with the above gunmen being by Mr. Evans than those other three artists, and the below Weird War Tales cover from the same exact month displays more evidence of detailed gun-drawing.

Artwork by George Evans, cover-dated Oct. 1973

I was ready to come forward and say with 90% certainty that the Boy Commandos addition was drawn by George Evans. And then arrived another message from Mike Tiefenbacher, this one containing the correct answer with 100% certainty:

I'm not surprised to be wrong, given the small amount of material to work with, but the obvious answer turns out to be the erroneous one.  According to John Wells, who went to the original art which had been on Heritage's auction site, the perpetrator of the lower third of the BC #1 cover is none other than Luis Dominguez, the other regular DC cover artist.  Though his tenure as #1 cover artist only started when Cardy left, I guess he had to start somewhere. 

Case closed! It's so fulfilling to know the right answer to a challenging puzzle! And just to close out the day with some beautiful colors, here is another cover by the prolific Mr. Dominguez:

A 1974 cover by Luis Dominguez


At 11:02 PM, Blogger Jan Sigman said...

That swamp thing has a nice cover , I love lots of the covers of the 1970, s DC horror comics!


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