Saturday, July 14, 2012

LANCE by WARREN TUFTS: A sample of Eleven Legendary Western Sunday Comic Pages, 1959

Albie's Note: I love western comics, and this here is the Rolls-Royce of western comics!  LANCE, by the great comic-strip workhorse Warren Tufts (December 12, 1925 - June 7, 1982) is still remembered as possibly the all-time pinnacle of the long-lamented "Sunday Full Page" comic strip.

Let comic historian Don Markstein explain:

""Lance" was the hero's first name, not his last—his full name was Lance St. Lorne. He was an officer in the U.S. cavalry at Ft. Leavenworth, Ks., in the 1840s, when his unit's task was to tame the Western territories, making them safe for American settlers. The setting and the task provided plenty of scope for adventure—fighting the Sioux, interacting with real historical personages like Kit Carson, and whatnot. Like Casey Ruggles, Lance was characterized by high-quality stories and art, but also by historical accuracy. Unlike, say, Lucky Luke, when Lance met someone who had really lived, that person was as old as he'd actually have been at the time, and in circumstances congruent with the known course of the person's life. Lance started out in about a hundred or so papers. It was so successful, Tufts even did a daily version, as a companion. But his drawing was so meticulous, he was spending as much as 100 hours a week just producing the comic, leaving little time for such niceties as taking care of business. With United Feature, this had led to missed deadlines. With him responsible for the whole enterprise—something had to give. The daily didn't last long, and the Sunday, which had originally been drawn in the full-page format popular before World War II and not easily reformatable, shrank to a half page, and then smaller yet."

Here is a "continuity" sequence of the great strip from  The Year Of Our Lord, 1958 A.D., courtesy of Manuel Caldas' great tribute site, which can be visited HERE.

Enjoy these 11 beautiful Sunday pages from the Neplus Ultra of Western Comics! 



Oscar said...

I don't remember seeing this growing up. I can see why it took him so long to draw it - lots of detail and very colorful.

Albie The Good said...

OSCAR: Yeah< isn't it amazing? true craftsman, that Tufts!