Some Comic Mysteries Solved … Or Not

The Red Mask and Nina – comics first interracial relationship? Aussie or American – who created Felix the Cat? When did Roy Thomas begin writing The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip? Who was the star of the comic strip – Funky or Les and Lisa?

At a time in comics when the only time a man of color touched a white woman was as a menace to her safety 1936 saw an interracial love relationship develop.

The Red Mask, the star of a nationally syndicated newspaper strip published in 1936, two years before Superman appeared, was either a black man or a white man that everyone thought was black. We will never know because his strip was canceled before the answer was revealed. No matter what his race was meant to be, the Red Mask is a fascinating figure in the history of race and comics—especially considering that he appeared while Jim Crow still ruled the American South.

… it may be the first example of a black hero hitting a white villain to protect a white love interest.

Will Shetterly, with the help of Allan Holtz, discusses The Adventure of Red Mask

by George West (another mystery) and reproduces all 26 Sunday episodes at Medium.

For sometime there has been questions of who created the pre-Mickey Mouse animated phenomenon Felix the Cat. Was it cartoonist Pat Sullivan of cartoonist Otto Messner.

Felix was the indisputable animated screen cartoon star of the 1920s and rivalled live actors for top billing in the world of films…

At the height of Felix’s fame it was estimated that three quarters of the world’s population had seen or could recognize The Cat…

In 1967, when just about everybody who had been involved with the early days of animation had died Messmer said, “In 1919, I created a character which Paramount named ‘Felix the Cat’ …

It is “common knowledge” that Roy Thomas began ghost writing The Amazing Spider-Man

comic strip for Stan Lee in the year 2000. But when exactly in 2000?

above: Roy Thomas’s first Spider-Man comic strip ©Marvel Entertainment

In the latest issue of Alter Ego Roy answers that question:

… my first daily strip (written two or three months earlier, of course) appear[ed] on Monday, July 17, 2000. Stan’s brother Larry Lieber had been penciling the Monday-to-Friday strips since 1986, with John Tartaglione inking.

Roy reminds us that he had written the Conan the Barbarian comic strip from 1978 to 1980.

Roy also reveals that Marvel editor Jim Salicrup had been ghost writing the strip before Roy signed on.

Vents Magazine reports Roy Thomas future rather than past:

the Rascally One [has] FINALLY started writing his autobiography

Funky Winkerbean ran for fifty years before ending on the last day of 2022.

But who was the star of Tom Batiuk‘s comic strip for the last half of its life?

© Batom, Inc.

William Schwartz, at Book and Film Globe, reviews The Last Days of Funky Winkerbean.

Considering that the character of Lisa Moore died several years before I even started reading Funky Winkerbean, it’s unnerving that I know so much about her. This is because Batiuk keeps finding ways to revolve storylines around her. There’s Lisa’s Legacy, a charity run. There’s a book, Lisa’s Story, that Les Moore writes about her having cancer and dying from cancer. People attempt two film adaptations of Lisa’s Story (in-comic, not in real-life). The first ends in development hell, the second of wins an Academy Award for best actress, which the winner gives to Les Moore. Lisa’s ghost appears at times, seemingly in the imagination of Les. Except one time she apparently averts an airline accident.