Saturday, June 14, 2014

Zanzibar the Magician-George Tuska-1939

Here's a signed George Tuska story from 1939, probably one of his first. One of his LASt, a Marvel inventory story, was published nearly 70 years later, not long after the artist's passing!

1 comment:

Daniel [] said...

One might compare this story to the 1941 Zanzibar story that you posted at little less than two years ago.

Visually, the 1939 story is very much of the early golden age. Panels are laid-out in a rigid 4×2 grid. Narrartive has a white area of border separating it from illustration, as if it is in a panel unto itself. The figures are generally drawn as if dolls posed by a child in a diorama. The shots are all from the eye-level of a standing adult. Background visual elements are mark√®dly minimal. The colors are simple and striking and unrealistic. Events are given little motivation. Zeus has been reduced from a Supreme Father God to, well, Bluto. Obvious questions are left unspoken and unanswered.

In the 1941 story, layout is no longer in a rigid grid; rows vary in height, an ocassional circular panel is used; word balloons escape the boundaries. Narration is in a pane but not in a separate panel. Most of the posing is more realistic. The viewing angle is varied. Background elements are still somewhat minimal, but not as much so. Colors have moved a bit towards realism. The story itself still has rabbits coming from hats, but it's better motivated, and is more like a childish morality tale than a dream.

There is, on the other hand, a sort of visual slickness to the earlier story that is gone in the later story, as if Tuska had stopped aspiring.