The Golden Age Pencils of Bill Walton – The Human Torch

A bit of a treasure trove came up for auction not too long ago: a full set of stats of the pencils to a golden age Human Torch story from this issue, HUMAN TORCH COMICS #33 from 1948. So I thought it was worth both saving a set of those stats and comparing them to the final, finished art.

The story was penciled by Bill Walton, and was reprinted in the 1970s in HUMAN TORCH #1 for those who may want to take a closer look at it. The script was apparently by Don Rico. The grand Comics Database isn’t sure but lists the inker as possibly being Al Gabriele

ADDITION: In the comments, Dr. Michael Vassallo indicates that he doesn’t believe that the inking is by Al Gabriele, and I’d be inclined to trust his expertise in such matters.

This story was drawn from a full script, and Walton lettered in the balloons so as to account for the space. This lets us see what minor changes may ave been made along the way. For one, the flying Torch figure in the last panel on this page has been changed to a non-flaming Torch situated on the building across from the hotel. There are also a host of changes to the copy on this page.

Again, there are an assortment of copy changes here. And the Torch’s features are aged up significantly in Panel 5. He’s also added into panel 6.

As before, a few copy changes made here–in particular adding the balloons from off-panel in Panel 3.

Here, Panel 2 as been substantially reworked, and its opening caption moved to the bottom of the panel.

Not much changed here. The cop’s foot gets cropped by the border in Panel 3, and his face is changed a bit in Panel 4.

A bunch of the hotel windows are blacked out in Panel 1 and the Torch’s shadow is removed from the ground in panels 2 & 3. And the bystander’s face is reworked in Panel 6.

There’s a bunch of minor rescripting right at the end here–enough to where the guy in the final panel has his head almost covered by a balloon. It has to be said that this is a really stupid and inconsequential story, and if this was the sort of fare that HUMAN TORCH was offering in 1948, it’s no wonder that the series was laid to rest in two more issues.

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