One of the things that I’ve been enjoying over the last couple of months has been the biweekly livestreaming performances by Jim Infantino, the nephew of comic book royalty Carmine Infantino, who had previously fronted the band Jim’s Big Ego. (For those who are interested, the recordings of these sessions are archived here: https://www.youtube.com/c/JimsBigEgo/videos ) Jim’s father Jimmy was not only Carmine’s brother but also a comic book artist in his own right, though he only worked in the field for a couple of years during the 1950s. So when I came across this short little story illustrated by the elder Jim in my travels, I felt compelled to share it with a wider audience. So here it is, straight from MARVEL TALES #149 published in 1956
The Grand Comic Database doesn’t have any information on who may have written this 3-page quickie, and I can’t discern any specific details from it that indicate anything to me. But Jim Infantino signed the splash page, so we know that the artwork at least is his doing.
It isn’t really much of a twist ending when you get right down to it–it’s mostly just odd rather than packing a punch. Still, Infantino draws the dog-faces nicely.
Strangely enough, the story is a bit of a riff on an earlier even-shorter two-page job from MARVEL TALES #116, released in 1953.
This earlier story was written by Carl Wessler and illustrated by Sam Kweskin. I suppose that it’s possible that Wessler also wrote the later story, but I don’t know of any evidence that he did.
This kind of premise recycling was common during the 1940s and 1950s. Sometimes a writer might sell the same story to multiple companies, with only minor changes between the manuscripts to keep from getting caught. And on other occasions, an editor might choose to rework a story from the past rather than putting in the work to come up with a new premise. In any event, the original story here has a more sensible payoff at the end. The revised version in MARVEL TALES #149 feels like that Twilight Zone parody on FUTURAMA, where twist was piled on top of twist for no good reason.
4 thoughts on “Forgotten Masterpiece: Stop Us If You’ve Read This Before!”
Jimmy Infantino’s art is wonderful His story telling is great. What a shame he didn’t do more.
Marvel Tales #116 is 1953, not 1949. I talked to Carmine one time about his brother’s work for Atlas. Carmine insisted I was wrong, that he (Jimmy) never did any work for Stan Lee. I told them they were signed, for Pete;s sake, and the style wasn’t Carmine’s. Carmine still insisted I was wrong, and that he probably drew them and signed Jimmy’s name. So I sent him a photocopy collection of all Jimmy’s stories. Carmine called me in my office, telling me he was shocked. That Jimmy did in fact draw them, and that Carmine had no idea his brother ever worked for Stan Lee. I told Carmine “everybody” worked for Stan Lee in the 1950’s!
Thanks, Doc! Corrected that date.
Get art and really good dogs!