Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frank Frazetta's... Johnny Comet

In January 28, 1952, twenty four year old artist Frank Frazetta started his only stint in newspaper strips with Johny Comet, McNaught Syndicated newest feature that added a Sunday version on February of the same year. Credited to writer Peter de Paolo, a real race car driver in his own right who acted more as a technical advisor, the feature was actually scripted by Earl Baldwin. The story revolved around California midget-car races and fifty-lap showdowns, a handsome driver named Johnny, and his lovely blonde girlfriend, Jean Fargo. A big hunk of a man whose only interest was the races, his shapely gal could never get his mind on other subjects. Unfortunately the stories never lived up to the pulsating power of Frazetta's lovely ladies or dynamic race cars as they encountered a world of oily car mechanics, shady garage proprietors, small-time chiselers and big-time crooks on and off the track.

Early on, Peter de Paolo's car-racing tips that accompanied the Sundays helped authentic the pit-stop feel of the strip, but in August of 1952, the syndicate decided to drop the Sunday continuity to showcase self-contained gags. For some unknown reason the strip was renamed to Ace McCoy in November. Even Frank Frazetta's superior artwork, an artist who could handle an adventure or gag episode equally well, could not save the strip which only lasted untill February of 1953.

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