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Mullaney talks about Noel Sickles, Milton Caniff

Tom Mason has a great interview with Dean Mullaney, who started Eclipse Comics and most recently is editing and designing the Library of American Comics, a series of classy comic strip reprint hardcovers, published through IDW. The topic of the interview is Noel Sickles, a contemporary of Milt Caniff who create the action strip Scorchy Smith.

TOM: Some say Sickles basically taught Caniff to draw and they worked on each other’s strips periodically and they remained friends forever. What drew the two of the together?

DEAN: This is an idiotic piece revisionist theory. Sickles did NOT teach Caniff how to draw. Milt did fine all on his own. What Sickles did was invent the chiaroscuro approach to comics storytelling, and he did so partially because he was an incredible innovator, and partly because he was searching for a way to produce the strips more quickly. He and Milt were studiomates as well as best friends, and it was only natural that Milt added that approach to his own style and morphed it into what we now call the “Caniff School.” Sickles was undeniably the better natural artist, but Caniff was the consummate storyteller. Milt always credited his friend for inventing the chiaroscuro style.

Read the whole thing.

Community Comments

#1 Andrew Paavola
January/14/2009
@ 8:06 am

Noel Sickles did indeed do a tremendous job with Scorchy Smith but wasn’t it created by John Terry?

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