Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Girls' Love Stories #144

Girls' Love Stories #144 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by supposedly George Tuska and Vinny Colletta. It looks nothing like Tuska and certainly nothing like the Tuska/Colletta art on Iron Man at Marvel. Oddly, this cover falls back on the old logo that was replaced two issues prior.

We begin with "Can Love Last Forever?" drawn by John Rosenberger. Next is "Too Late for Tears" a reprint from Secret Hearts #43 drawn by John Romita and Bernard Sachs. That is followed by "He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not" drawn by Jay Scott Pike. Lastly is our cover-story, "Memory of Margret" drawn by George Tuska and Vinny Colletta.

This is George Tuska's first work of DC in ten years (Tales of the Unexpected #34) and his first cover since Uncle Sam #3 in 1942.

George Tuska studied at the National Academy School of Art. In 1939, he became an assistant on the Scorchy Smith newspaper comic strip. As he explained in an interview in Alter Ego #3, he also worked for for the Eisner & Iger studio, "alongside Bob Powell, Lou Fine, and Mike Sekowsky" , adding that the studio later expanded "with Charles Sultan, John Celardo, Nick Cardy, and [writer] Toni Blum joining in. I worked on 'Shark Brodie' [for Fiction House], 'Spike Marlin' [in Harvey Comics' Speed Comics, as Carl Larson], and other strips" for comics including Fiction House's Jungle Comics and Wings Comics, and Fox Comics' Wonderworld Comics and Mystery Men Comics."

Tuska later left to work with packager Harry "A" Chesler's studio, helping to supply content for such Fawcett Comics publications as Captain Marvel Adventures, and for such characters as Golden Arrow, Uncle Sam and El Carim. Tuska also drew the debut of the Quality Comics feature Hercules — starring a superhuman circus strongman, not the mythological figure — in Hit Comics #1 (July 1940).

Following Tuska's military service in World War II, he worked on Lev Gleason Publications' comic-book series Crime Does Not Pay, and later became one of the last writer-artists of Scorchy Smith, which ran until 1961. Tuska also did the comic strip Buck Rogers from 1959-1967.

Tuska freelanced primarily for Marvel during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books and beyond, penciling and occasionally inking other artists on series including Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Power Man, Black Goliath, Sub-Mariner, The X-Men and the movie tie-in series Planet of the Apes. His first Marvel story, a "Tales of the Watcher" feature in Tales of Suspense #58 (Nov. 1964), had a special introduction by editor Stan Lee hailing the return of the Golden Age great. He enjoyed a nearly ten-year, sometimes briefly interrupted, run on Iron Man from issue #5 (Sept. 1968) to #106 (Jan. 1978).

His work at DC would include numerous romance and horror/mystery stories, but he is best remembered at DC for his super-hero work, starting with Challengers of the Unknown #73 in 1970. Besides the Challs, Tuska would work on the Teen Titans, Superboy, Superman in Action Comics and Superman Family, Jimmy Olsen in Superman Family, Justice League of America, Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman/Batman and Black Lightning in World's Finest Comics, Masters of the Universe, Green Lantern, Infinity Inc., and Fury of Firestorm.

George Tuska also pulled a 15-year stint drawing The World's Greatest Superheroes Present Superman newspaper strip from 1978-1993. His last DC work was on a Wildcat story in Wildcats: Mosaic #1 in 2000. Tuska retired from active comics work as of the 2000s and lives in Manchester, New Jersey where he does commissioned art. He also makes the rounds of many of the comic conventions even though he is currently 93 years old.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

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