A website devoted to the rediscovery of the works of early 20th century illustrator Henry E. Vallely (1881-1950). Perhaps best known for his chiaroscuro technique employed in Big Little Books, he also produced a large volume of work including fashion illustrations for women's magazines, spot illustrations for food periodicals, magazine covers and children's books. His art is distinctive and timeless and deserves the recognition that has until this time eluded it. Comments and contributions towards the preservation of the H. E. Vallely legacy are most welcome. All images are believed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tarzan is Batman (Secret Origins of Batman Part 5)

The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that the above black & white illustration is not by Henry Vallely.
For years I've looked at the iconic pose of Batman in his first published origin in Detective Comics # 33
(November, 1939) and known it was not purely from the imagination of Bob Kane. Not only had I previously found several other illustrations that Kane (or whoever was ghosting for him) had swiped from the pages of Big Little Books illustrated by Vallely, but frankly that pose was just too good to be Kane. So I've long had the belief that that particular pose of the Dark Knight crouched on a roof top was simply another Vallely illustration that I had yet to discover. A few years ago I became aware of Large Feature Comics No. 5, published by Dell in 1938, the bulk of which consisted of reprints of 60 Tarzan story strips from 1929 and is considered to be the first full comic book devoted to Tarzan in the comic book format. According to one source, in addition to the Hal Foster strips, it featured additional art and splash pages by Juanita Bennett. Another source attributed these supplementary drawings to Henry E. Vallely. Given the rarity of the book it wasn't until a few months ago that I was able to acquire a copy for myself and determine the truth: in order to enhance the continuity of the stories, Henry E. Vallely added one additional panel per page, along with ten full page chapter drawings. However, the pose appropriated for Batman's origin (found on page 42, panel 4) can not be credited to Vallely, but rather to Harold "Hal" Foster.

Tarzan® is © Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Batman is © DC Comics

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Vallely In The Comics

One year after the publication of S.O.S. Coast Guard (BLB 1191) in 1936, the story was adapted and modified for the fourth issue of The Comics. The Comics was a bi-monthly Dell publication which primarily reprinted newspaper strips, similar to their earlier effort The Funnies, though this time in the standard comic book format. This usage of material that was created exclusively for the Whitman Publishing Co. preceded by one year a partnership that Dell would enter with the Western Printing and Lithographing Co. (Whitman's parent company). A Republic serial of S.O.S. Coast Guard starring Ralph Byrd was also released in 1937.

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