Thursday, 28 November 2019

Raymond Sheppard and Star Weekly (Toronto)

Art by Raymond Sheppard
INTRODUCTION

The 1 October 1949 edition of the Star Weekly (Toronto) has a statement showing the Star Weekly was 'bequeathed' - which after a minute's research turns out was because the paper was put into a Trust in order to preserve the liberal editorial stance. The circulation figure of 900,00 for the holiday month of August shows how national and popular this paper and magazine were.

Raymond Sheppard illustrated a few stories in the Star Weekly which I've yet to track down. But before sharing the few I've found, a small introduction.

If you imagine a UK Sunday newspaper with its glossy magazine, a newspaper, a section containing comics (yes I know I'm going a long way back!) this is similar to the Star Weekly, but published on a Saturday. I've been dependent on the microfilm available at the British Library, which is a commercial product they bought in, rather than scanned themselves. The quality therefore is not very good, but we'll come to that. Let's look at the 4 sections  - I've taken images from eBay as they are in colour and illustrate what I saw when looking through the microfilms.

MAGAZINE - sepia and colour

The 24 page magazine features royalty, film stars, events and novelty stories all illustrated by photographs and I'm guessing printed photogravure

Star Weekly 27 May 1939

Star Weekly 27 May 1939
COMICS - in colour

Star Weekly 2 September1944
This section carried on for many years in the Weekly and had many of the King Features and McClure Syndicated strips such as Tarzan, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Terry and the Pirates, Joe Palooka, Napoleon (by Clifford McBride) and Superman (where uniquely Wayne Boring, the artist, gets a credit he never got in the actual DC Comics till decades later!).

COMPLETE NOVEL - B&W with colour illustrations, 15 pages

Browsing the complete novel sections, I saw a range of authors and illustrators. The first novel I found was Erle Stanley Gardner's "The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom". These are printed separately in a section like the above, but on newsprint and always feature a quarter page advert for the following week's novel on the back page. Interestingly, compared to the rest of the Star Weekly, the illustrator (on page 1 and in the centre pages) rarely gets a credit! 
Star Weekly 11 April 1942

Star Weekly 11 April 1942
GENERAL SECTIONS 1&2 - Newsprint in black and white of 24 pages

Because my primary interest is in illustrations I'm going to list a few illustrators (to help researchers who want to go further). In 1949 and 1950 I saw the following among many others:
Lu Kimmel, Elmore Brown, Marshall Frantz, Elizabeth cutler, Percy Lenson, Vincent Guise, George Glaser, Eileen Segner, George Garland, John Pike, Emmett Watson, Carl Bobertz, Arthur Sarnoff (3 Sep. 1949), Clyde Ross. Many are well known 'pulp artists' but quite a few were unknown to me at all.

Star Weekly 8 August 1936
The articles are very assorted and include short stories. The back page was taken up with Kemp Starrett's "Vignettes of life", a cartoon collection - see examples here.

Well, let's go to Sheppard's illustrations.The three I've found so far are from the General section of the Star Weekly

First we have Star Weekly of the 24 September 1949 - "The big game I fear most" written by Edison Marshall (p.4) shows a lion pouncing on a group of six antelope  (as described in the text).

Star Weekly 24 September 1949 p.4
I apologise for the scan (from a microfilm of the original paper!) but fortunately Christine Sheppard has in her collection the following original

Raymond Sheppard original
The second one I've found is in the issue of 15 October 1949 "He watched a wilderness battle" is written by Frank DuFresne (a former director of the Alaska Game Commission) and shows a bear fighting a pack of wolves.

Star Weekly 15 October 1949 p.8
 Christine has a cutting which shows the newsprint paper on which the image is printed

Cutting from Star Weekly
And once again we are extremely lucky to have the original but strangely, in this case, in full colour!

Original colour art for Star Weekly by Raymond Sheppard

Finally, for now, I also found Star Weekly published in 1950 (January 7) "Strange foods for the zoo" by John Fleetwood (p.11). The scan is a bit faded and I've tried to darken and sharpen it a bit. If you look closely you might spot a peacock - under the tiger's paws!

Star Weekly 7 January 1950 P.11

As the caption explains:
Wild animal tastes don't change when they are transferred from the jungle to a cage. They can't make their kills any longer, but they still must be provided with the food they're accustomed to in the wild state. And that calls for a most extraordinary and varied menu
Once again thanks to Christine we have the original artwork too!

Detail from the original art

Original art by Raymond Sheppard

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