Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gayest. Cover. Ever.

One of the artists very important in the history of the company that was variously known as Timely Comics, Atlas Comics, then Marvel Comics, was a fellow named Joe Maneely. He was widely considered to be one of the finest artists around by other such draftsmen working in the comic book industry.

While Maneely was working at Atlas (which would later be known as Marvel Comics), it was well known that he was indispensable to Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee. Whatever Lee needed, Maneely could do it. Knights in shining armor? No problem. Cowboys and Indians? Fine. Cops and Robbers? Johnny on the spot. Cartoony kids' comics? That, too.

And it wasn't just that Joe Maneely could create any kind of character that Lee asked for, he could do it on deadline and with a style that floored just about everyone who viewed his work. In later years, it would be the gentleman genius we know as Jack Kirby who would serve this purpose for Stan Lee. But in the mid 1950s the well-spring of creativity at Atlas Comics was Mr. Maneely.

Maneely died young under mysterious circumstances. After working late he was making his way home via light rail. It was assumed that he stepped out of the car for a breath of fresh air and, in his exhausted state, fell between the cars and was crushed under the wheels of the train.

And it was just as Maneely was about to break out of the Atlas ghetto. He had been noticed by DC Comics and was about to gravitate to that company for the much larger paychecks they offered top talent. And they had apparently come to consider Maneely as top talent.

I don't have much of his work in my collection. And one of the most infamous pieces of artwork he produced was the cover for TWO GUN KID #29. Widely considered to be one of the most unintentionally gay covers ever produced for a comic book. So, I nabbed one for my collection. Just for the Maneely art. I swear.

Gayest mainstream comics cover ever. Art by Joe Maneely.

"What Did They Hunt?" Indeed.

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