Monday, February 16, 2009

Panel of the Week - Cover Girl

This week's panel differs from the norm in two ways. 1) It is not actually a panel from a strip, but the cover art used for Harvey's Invisible Scarlet O'Neil #2 published in 1950. 2) The art is very similar to that of creator Russ Stamm, but is most likely the work of Al Alvison who produced a lot of covers for Harvey Comics during this time.

I recently discovered the original artwork on eBay and though I could not afford to bid, I was happy to see this rare look behind the scenes of one of Scarlet's comic covers. The scene depicted is from one of the most popular story arcs originally drawn by Stamm in a series of Sunday strips from the late 40's in which Scarlet finds herself in the Stone Age and must face "The Fight for Survival." The story is reprinted almost in its entirety in Scarlet's second issue for Harvey Comics.

The cover art is not an exact reproduction of any of Stamm's original panels, but it does nicely convey the same tone, atmosphere and story elements of the arc. Which was standard work from Al Avison, a solid penciller and inker during the Gold and Silver Ages of comics. According to information from the Lewis Wayne Gallery:

AL AVISON (b. 1920) worked extensively for Timely Comics, co-creating the speed-powered hero The Whizzer. He and Syd Shores succeeded the Simon/Kirby team on Captain America and he also drew The Vision, Young Allies, and Blonde Phantom among others. He spent a year at Fawcett drawing Captain Marvel, and in later years did a lot of work for Harvey, working in many different genres.

This is the original cover art for Invisible Scarlet O'Neil #2, published by Harvey in 1950. Although "signed" (photostat) by ISO'N creator Russel Stamm, this is almost certainly the work of Avison, who has written his name on the back of the art, as he often did.

The image above is the hand-painted color guide for the cover. Thanks so much to the Lewis Wayne Gallery for the opportunity to see this piece of original cover art. I only wish I could have placed a bid! And speaking of great Scarlet covers...STAY TUNED!!!

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