Monday, May 27, 2013

Howard G. Ferguson

Howard Grant Ferguson (1895 -1957)

Howard Ferguson was best known as the letterer for Simon and Kirby's studio. He started working for them in 1940  and continued with them up to the early or mid 1950s, lettering their work at DC, Prize, and Mainline.   He lettered Captain America #1. He also worked for Adolphe Barreaux's Majestic Studio. Bernard Bailey, and the Jacquet's Funnies, Inc.  For Jackquet, he lettered the Human Torch and Terry Vance.  Non-Studio work includes  lettering direct for DC, Archie,  Standard-Pines, and Avon.     There is even a non-comics advertisement in the early 1940s, where the lettering has his distinctive style - with the initials HGF.
   Prior to his lettering career, he did do some  commercial art circa 1939.

Ferguson was born in Washburn,  Wisconsin, his father died when Ferguson was very young.  He completed the 8th grade.  Moved to Detroit as a young adult, where he married and had a wife and child. This marriage however did not last long.   He remarried  and he and  his wife moved to New York in the late 1930s and lived with her family in Queens.  He continued to reside in Queens until his death.

below: Captain America splash taken from recent reprint. HG Ferguson lettering
*  I note that I had submitted some of this biography as a website comment back in 2011, no doubt much to the annoyance of someone else who a couple of days later submitted an expanded version of the same census data, which seems likely to have been written before my comment was submitted  At that time, information on Ferguson's second wife was not known.  She was around  15 years younger than he was, indeed only about  5 years older than Ferguson's child by his first wife.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Beech Allen" Timely text writer

In a previous post about pre-war Timely text writers I mentioned that I had no information on "Beach" Allen.  Later on for a non-comics project I came up with the dates of the pulp writer behind the name "Beech Allen" noted some work for the Goodman pulps and thought nothing of it.  Until it struck me that Beach would probably be a misprint of Beech.

"Beech Allen"
pen name for Hedwig C. Langer (1905-1969)

actress in the 1920s, appearing in Broadway in 1927

writer for pulps 31, 35- 38,  41 including for Goodman's Ka-Zar
writer for detective magazines at least in 1946
wrote plays in the mid 1940s
married Anatole Feldman (AKA  Anatole Field) and moved to upstate New York
He was an actor, playwright, pulp writer, pulp editor, comics editor, detective magazine editor, and technical writer. 
 She died of cancer, survived by her husband and children.

comics career
Rocket Comics # 3 May 1940  2 page text story "Treasure of the Don" Hillman,  Note that her husband was the editor of Rocket Comics. 
Marvel Mystery Comics #10 September 1940 2 page text story "Tiger Tail" Timely.  Credited to "Beach Allen" - previously sold text stories to Robert Erisman at Goodman's pulp division.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Alan R. Riefe (1925 - 2001)

Alan R. Riefe was a professional writer for most of his life. In this case by "professional", we mean just that, he wrote for a living,   And for a full time writer, living  near New York in the 1960s-1970s, it's not surprising that he shows up in a few comic books. Unfortunately many of his comic books were in that period of time just before comics began to run credits in most comics, so we're not sure exactly how many he wrote.

He was born 18 May 1925 in  Waterbury, Connecticut,   He served in the military during World War 2.  In 1947, he had been a  special student of pianoforte at the New England Conservatory of Music. The next year he was a Junior at  Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  He married in 1948, but sadly, his wife died about ten months later.   He graduated from Colby College in 1950.   His brother also attended there, and joined the CIA in 1952.  A quick run through Alan Riefe's novels shows no spy stories however.

From 1951 to 1965, he claims to have written for 24 network TV shows,  however
 Johnny Cyper ( shown in 1967) Oriolo Studios, an animated cartoon series
      is all I know for sure.

In 1955, he married again, this time it was a long marriage, with four children.
In 1965, he stopped writing for TV and began writing for magazines, comics, and novels.

    Magazines include SF stories for Boy's Life in 1964, 1966;
             Talking Pictures #1 -3 (Herald House, 1964-1965)   gag photos. He wrote the entire three issues

    Books: Quite frankly he wrote too many books for me to list here, but I'll list some
   Illustrated Woman Driver's Manual (1966) cartoon humor
    Sanford and Son (1973) photo caption humor
   Viper (1990) horror
    Sacred To Death (1991) horror

    as Barbara Riefe (his wife's name) from 1976 to 2000, Gothics and romance
   Book Series:
       Cage (6 total) 1975
       Tyger (2 total) 1975 -1976
       Doc And Raider (5+ total) 1979    using house name, J. D. Hardin
       Fancy Hatch (4 total)  1984  using name Zachary Hawkes
       Slocum (? total)      using house name Jake Logan
       Shackleford Legacy (? total)  using Barbara Riefe 

    Comic Books known: (all DC)
       Adventures Of Jerry Lewis #117 March-April 1970 (Jerry meets the non-super powered Wonder Woman, Dinah Prince)
       House of Mystery #193 July - August 1971 Voodoo Vengeance!
       Witching Hour #3 June - July 1969 The Death Watch
       Witching Hour #4 Sept-Oct 1969 Disaster In A Jar
It's known that he wrote more Jerry Lewis comics, as well as a war story.  None of which are credited.

He died 25 January 2001, he had been living in Wilton, Connecticut.