Sunday, October 18, 2009

Early George Wunder

Okay, George Wunder fans, today I've got a treat for both of you! Here's some comic strip work by Wunder in the years and weeks leading up to his taking over the Terry and the Pirates comic strip from Milton Caniff.

This first sample appeared sometime between July 1, 1941 and June 30, 1943. I couldn't find an exact date.

This one is dated July 27, 1946. One can see the early rendering of a master wrinkle artist. In the first panel it appears that Wunder has already been studying Caniff's Third World characters.

The final sample shown here appeared October 6, 1946 and I would guess that by this time he was well into working on Terry. Wunder's first Terry appeared December 30, 1946.

I read Wunder's Terry when I was a kid and even then was impressed by all the work he put into it. Every single panel was fully loaded with detailed backgrounds and detailed wrinkles, costumes and hairs, even on all the characters in the background, all the woodgrain in all the wood, and all those black shadows that lent an air of foreboding to each panel. I could never get over his 3/4 rear view of a character's eyeball straining to see something behind him. And all those overly bridged noses on both guys and gals all crying out for rhinoplasty. For many years I resented the overloaded panels and decided I didn't like Wunder's rendering of Terry and the Pirates.

It was only in the last few years that I came to appreciate Wunder's work on Terry. One day I realized that he never cheated. He gave us everything in infinite detail in every panel and never deprived us of any wrinkles, bricks, tiles, leaves, woodgrain, fingernails, hairs, cloth patterns or buttons. Yeah, the look-alike facial features of all his characters in the later years of Terry was stylistic and bothersome, but he never cheated.

George Wunder was born April 24, 1912 and died December 13, 1987.


At October 22, 2009 at 9:29 AM, Blogger Floyd Norman said...

I remember seeing Wunder's work in the Sunday papers when growing up in Santa Barbara. I was just a kid, but I was amazed at all the work he put into this strip.

Of course, you're right about not appreciating the stuff at first. Later, I was amazed at the incredible detail. Amazing guy.

At February 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM, Anonymous dave webster said...

Yes, Wunder had a style all of his own. I loved the inking of the drapery and the stylised profiles. Reminiscent of Davis and some of the EC artists. My dad was a newspaper editor in Britain and received syndication of Terry. I remember seeing original artwork.A great original slant on Caniff's masterpiece.

At February 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM, Blogger Bob Foster said...

Wunder is one of a few artists I thought would have been an interesting addition to the EC gang of artists. Dick Briefer was another.

At January 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM, Anonymous Madman2001 said...

The problem with Wunder, as you allude to above, was that all his Anglo characters looked related, that is they had the same general features arranged in the same general style. And the women looked quite a bit like the men, and rather butch and unattractive.

This stylistic quirk (nightmare?) made it hard for me to like the strip.


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