Thursday, December 8, 2011

31 – Army’s 60th Anniversary Video Salute to PS



The impressive official PS Magazine 60th Anniversary Celebration on June 27, 2011, at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, included a comprehensive video salute and overview of the publication’s six decades of service to America’s Warriors.

The graphics presented (above and below) display both sides of the commemorative coin that was struck for that occasion.

With this 31st BlogPost in our year-long recognition of this significant PS milestone, we are going to present that video, to be followed by four others showing key elements of that event. Since the length of several of them is such that they are not readily adaptable to the requirements of our blog server, we have created a “video repository” for your viewing convenience and subsequent ready availability.

—p.e.f.

It was my good fortune and great privilege to attend the celebration of the 60 years in which PS Magazine has been published. The value of that little publication is reflected by the dedication of every person currently involved, as well as those in the past. I'm proud to be one of the pack.

—j.k.

To view the U.S. Army video salute to PS Magazine on its 60th anniversary, click HERE.




UPCOMING POSTINGS:

¶ Best of PS by Perspective Instructional Communications

¶ Video: Joe Kubert at PS 60th Anniversary Celebration

¶ Video: Colonel ‘Pat’ Sullivan, Head of PS’s Home Command

¶ Video: Lieutenant General Via Salutes PS Program

¶ Video: Fitz Tells About Early PS, ‘Back in the Day’

¶ Joe Dope Meets Beetle Bailey in PS

¶ A Covey of Connies—World War II to Today

¶ Wrap-Up: A Wonderful Year of Celebration

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 - Backes Group’s Runner-Up PS Continuity


You’ll find background information regarding Backes Graphic Productions and their artists in our BlogPost 11, back in April, with their four best Front Covers as selected by the New Millennium staff of PS. Their “best” Continuity was displayed in our BlogPost 29, immediately preceding this posting.

The staff at PS picked the cowboy-western themed continuity from PS 527 (October 1996) as their runner-up. The related Front Cover is presented above, and the Continuity pages, in sequence, are displayed below.

































The lead artist here probably was Scott Madsen. Scott was a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts. When I interviewed him for Will Eisner and PS Magazine, Scott had moved away from his art career, but still had strong feelings about the effectiveness of PS and its importance to America’s warriors. “You’re part of something that’s a lot bigger than yourself,” Scott remarked. “PS provided opportunities to surprise yourself,” he said.

Madsen expressed a preference for drawing Half-Mast, from the PS cast of characters, saying that he found the grizzled, old sergeant “more flexible than Connie or Bonnie.”

—p.e.f.


UPCOMING POSTINGS:

¶ Video: U.S. Army’s Salute to PS

¶ Best by Perspective Instructional Communications

¶ Video: Joe Kubert at PS 60th Anniversary Celebration

¶ Video: Colonel ‘Pat’ Sullivan, Head of PS’s Home Command

¶ Video: Lieutenant General Via Salutes PS Program

¶ Video: Fitz Tells About Early PS, ‘Back in the Day’

¶ Joe Dope Meets Beetle Bailey in PS (Permission in process.)

¶ A Covey of Connies—World War II to Today

¶ Wrap-Up: A Wonderful Year of Celebration


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

29 - Backes Group’s Best PS Continuity





In our BlogPost 11, back in April, we introduced you to the work of Backes Graphic Productions, in Princeton, New Jersey, as the contractor for PS Magazine creative art, design, and pre-press services, by presenting their four best Front Covers as selected by the New Millennium staff of PS.

The Backes Group produced 151 issues of PS Magazine, from PS 428 (July 1988) through PS 578 (January 2001). Their contract-run, at this point in time, is second only to Will Eisner's 21 years and 227 issues. Joe Kubert, the current PS artist, is closing the gap, though, being well into his eleventh year, which will be completed with PS 711 in February of 2012.

Jack and Diane Backes were the owners, with Diane also working on page layouts. Their production manager was Mark "Sparky" Dobrowolski and the lead artist for most of those years was Scott Madsen. Other artists were Augie Scotto (who had worked with Murphy Anderson), Vic Scarpelli, and Brian Orlowski. Staff members were Saronda Stevens, Karen Mamo, and Allison Backes.

The staff at PS picked the continuity from PS 525 (August 1996), “Nothing More Important Than…,” as the best by Backes. The centerspread mini-poster is displayed above. The other six pages of the continuity are displayed in sequence, below.

























We will present the Backes runner-up in our next BlogPost.

—p.e.f.

UPCOMING POSTINGS:

¶ Runner-Up PS Continuity by Backes Group.

¶ U.S. Army's Video Salute to PS Magazine

¶ Best of Perspective Instructional Communications in PS

Video: Joe Kubert at PS 60th Birthday Party

¶ A Covey of Connies: World War II to Today

Thursday, September 29, 2011

28 - Zeke Zekely's Best in PS Magazine



Zeke Zekely’s Sponsored Comics in Beverly Hills, California, held the PS contract for only six issues, PS 309 (August 1978) through PS 314 (January 1979). Zeke had obtained the contract by under-bidding Murphy Anderson, and Murphy was brought back in after Zekely’s default, resuming with PS 315 in February 1979 and continuing through PS 368 in July of 1983.

Under Zekely, the continuities were done by Dan Spiegle, who drew movie and television adaptations for Gold Key comics. “Think of titles such as Lassie,Fury, and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones,” PS Production Manager Stuart Henderson says.

The covers and two-color pages were done by Alfredo Alcala, who also drew a lot of the Conan comics for Marvel.

The New Millennium PS staff’s pick as Zekely’s Best Front Cover was on PS 309 (August 1978) showing Thor—reclining against a tree and being questioned by Connie and a soldier, and their choice as his Best Continuity was in the same issue: Famous FOD'ers [Foreign Objects Damage] of History.

The Front Cover is displayed above, the Centerspread Mini-Poster is shown below, and the Continuity follows, in order.

—p.e.f.






























UPCOMING POSTINGS:

¶ A Covey of Connies: World War II to Today

¶ Best PS Continuity by Backes Group

¶ Runner-Up PS Continuity by Backes Group.

¶ Best of Perspective Instructional Communications in PS


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

27 – Early Covers Plopped Eisner and PS in Hot Water

Despite the six-year sabbatical that had been in play since the end of World War II in 1945, when Will Eisner shuffled through his memories of Connie Rodd and Joe Dope in the spring of 1951 it seemed like business as usual at the same old stand—except that the name of the stand had been changed fromArmy Motors to PS Magazine. It turned out to be an illusion, though.

The peacetime interval preceding the Korean War had seen a mass exodus of victorious, battle-hardened warriors. In the world of military logistics, where PSwas based, many management-level functions had been filled, to an increasing degree, by civilians. It took some time for the light to dawn on Eisner and the initial PS staff, but a heightened presence of socio-political sensitivities had replaced the successful raw instincts that had worked so well during the Big One.




The criticism focused on Connie and Joe, plus Joe’s foil—Fosgnoff.

There were four general hoo-ha categories: feminine attire/dimensions; unmilitary appearance; unmilitary actions; and, Poor Taste. Will batted 1.000 after PS 1 (June 1951) and continuing through PS 13 (July 1953) drawing fire from one or more directions with every one. He pleased everybody with an anthropomorphic M-41 Walker Bulldog tank on the Front Cover of PS 14 (August 1953), but fell back into his outrage streak with PS 15 (July 1953) andPS 16 (January 1954), followed by PS 20 (May 1954) and PS 26 (November 1954) registering high on the thunder-and-lightning meter.

We’re going to present sixteen Front Covers here, in numeric/chronological order, beginning above, with PS 2 (July 1951) and picking up with PS 3 (August 1951), below, leaving it to you to assign the fault category (or categories) involved. There was a lot of overlap, especially when Connie and Joe appeared on the same Front Cover.






PS 4 (September 1951), above, with Connie washing garments in a stream was a favorite with the troops, but not with the Brass.




PS 5 (October 1951), above, with dueling fantasies of Connie and Joe in a hurtling Jeep was something of a rework or an Army Motors Front Cover with Joe alone in a similar situation.





PS 6 (November 1951), above, with Connie and Joe in a close-up, under a vehicle, speaks for itself.




PS 7 (July 1952) finds Connie, Joe, and an outdoors bulletin board in the rain. Eisenshpritz, yet.




PS 8 (September 1952) positions Connie on a mountaintop, with hovering helicopters.



PS 9 (November 1952) has Joe and a buddy out of uniform amidst what might be construed as evidence of excessive firing to hit a target. The elevation of the gun reflects the issue’s (it turned out) extremely controversial article about addressing “high angle cant.” The weapons-design boys howled that “there ain’t no such thing” and the red-legged cannon-cockers firing the guns responded: “The hell you say!”




PS 10 (January 1953) insinuates the “crime” of “cannibalizing parts).




PS 11 (March 1953) calibrates the vicissitudes of Korean winters as related to alloy simian statuary.




PS 12 (May 1953) plays off the fact that there really was a segment of mountainous Korean terrain that the troops called “Jane Russell.” Donald K. Hubbard always said that this was his favorite PS Front Cover. Hubbard came on board PS as a writer in July of 1954, became managing editor in October of 1963, and succeeded James R. Kidd as Editor in January of 1983. He retired in November of 1991.




PS 13 (July 1953) is something of a sophomoric reach combining a weak pun with a common vulgarity regarding extremely dire circumstances and a missing means of propulsion.




PS 15 (October 1953) reflects a shorthand vulgarism for constructive criticism resulting from a meeting with a displeased supervisor.




PS 16 (January 1954) was a little late, but it’s the thought that counts. Merry Christmas!




PS 20 (May 1954) really offended Joe Dope’s dedicated critics. Joe was the subject of a major rehabilitation campaign that lasted several decades and included a weapons mishap (due to poor preventive maintenance) that required extensive cosmetic facial surgery. His jacket was too heavy, though, and eventually he was eased back into civilian life.




PS 26 (November 1954) had one of the better first-glance, purely graphic Front Covers. The fact that it became a classic with Safety Officers (both civilian and military) did not deter the Pecksniffian Connie critics from complaining about the ratio of attire-to-exposure.

—p.e.f.


"Oh my lord, how the world has changed!"

Time was when funny was funny. And Will was the master of the genre.

Reviewing those old covers described as "questionable"; A) feminine attire, B) unmilitary appearance or action and C) poor taste is like saying guys in the Armed Forces were never interested in Betty Grable, Lana Turner, or (you name her). Three cheers for Will and four cheers for getting by the blue-nosed censors!

—j.k.

UPCOMING POSTINGS:

¶ Best of Zeke Zekely in PS

¶ A Covey of Connies: World War II to Today

¶ Best PS Continuity by Backes Group

¶ Runner-Up PS Continuity by Backes Group.

¶ Best of Perspective Instructional Communications in PS

Monday, August 29, 2011

26 – Murphy Anderson’s Runner-Up "PS" Continuity



Reaction to our most recent Blogpost - 25, displaying Murphy Anderson’s best PS Continuity was so enthusiastic that we feel compelled to follow it with Murphy’s runner-up PS Continuity, as selected by the New Millennium PS Staff. He created “Tools Paradise” for PS 261, which appeared in August of 1974 during the first year that Murphy held the PS contract on his own.



After Will Eisner tongue-lashed me into finally starting on my book, Will Eisner and PS Magazine, I undertook to interview all living PS editors and as many of the long-term key artists as I could contact. Among the latter, the one with Murphy really seemed to be a breeze.


That’s because he and I were born in the same year—1926. For Murphy, it was in July. My birthday is in November. That means Murphy turned 85 last month, and I have three months to go. My colleague in this blog effort, Joe Kubert, also was born in 1926—in September.



Then, too, there is a shared Appalachian heritage. I came out of southern West Virginia and Murphy is a product of far western North Carolina, beyond Asheville.


In addition to discussing PS and his long career in comics, we chatted about family names in his Mars Hill area, tobacco allotments, relative aspects of horses versus mules as farm draft animals, and a Secret Service agent from his neighborhood whom I had met in Washington.



The funniest part of the exchange was his narrative of a youthful expedition by bicycle from Greensboro to Mars Hill—a distance of 191 miles with a concurrent altitude-gain of 1,457 feet—described with a courtly delivery sprinkled with chuckles.
—p.e.f.
UPCOMING POSTINGS:
¶ Early Covers Put Eisner, PS in Hot Water
¶ Best of Zeke Zekely in PS
¶ A Covey of Connies: World War II to Today
¶ Best PS Continuity by Backes Group

Thursday, August 18, 2011

25 – Murphy Anderson’s Best "PS" Continuity





Murphy Anderson’s PS Magazine creds included a long stint of yoeman’s efforts in Will Eisner’s shop and two years when the PS contract was in the hands of the post-Eisner group, before he won the contract in his own name in 1973, going on to produce PS 252 (November 1973) through PS 308 (July 1978).

Murphy had already established himself as a multi-talented artist in the stables of DC Comics (National Periodical Publications) in the 1960s and 1970s. Murphy was considered to be not only one of their best pencil artists but an amazingly talented inker, inking not only his own pencils, but embellishing the pencil work of others.



"The team of Curt Swan (pencils) and Murphy Anderson (inks) on Superman in the 1960s and 1970s produced the Superman 'look' that the average Baby-Boomer sees in his mind when he thinks of Superman," PS Production Manager Stuart Henderson has said. Murphy also drew Hawkman, the Flash, Batman, and virtually all of the DC characters.



Other artists in Murphy's shop included: Frank Chiramonte, Augie Scotto, Dan Zolnerowich, Creig Flessel, Craig Daniels, Howard Berman, and Murphy's son (Murphy III), wife Helen, and daughter Sophie.


I held a high degree of respect and admiration for Zolnerowich, who was much-liked, friendly, cooperative and productive. His presence in the shops of Will Eisner, the post-Eisner group, and Murphy Anderson, was a highly valued asset. He was a meticulous, steady worker whose strongpoint was technical illustration—the true heart of the PS mission—from the magazine’s very beginning and for more than 30 years. He was an even-tempered bear of a man whose presence was a pleasure. Dan began his career in the Eisner-Iger Studios in the late 1930s, shared a Fiction House background with Murphy who also started there, and racked up an array of credits with the early DC Comics where he returned after leaving Murphy.



Anderson lost the contract in July of 1978 through a low-bid award to Zeke Zekely’sSponsored Comics. Zekely’s group produced PS 309 through PS 314 before defaulting on the contract. Murphy and his group stepped back into the picture, going on to produce PS 315 (February 1979) through PS 368 (July 1983).



The New Millennium staff at PS picked The Hunt, featuring Santa Claus and his Elves (as an endangered species), as Murphy’s best PS Continuity. It appeared in PS 265 (December 1974).

—p.e.f.


UPCOMING POSTINGS:

Murphy Anderson’s Runner-Up PS Continuity

Early Covers Put Eisner, PS in Hot Water

Best of Zeke Zekely in PS

A Covey of Connies: World War II to Today