Chicago Spanking Review

The Saint #5

This is the only one of The Seven Spankings (comic-book spankings which were known to a small group of us back in the 70's) that has to the best of our knowledge never before appeared on the web. It's a reasonably good action-type spanking as we will see, but there are still some things about it that are not known, for instance who the writer and artist were and what the exact date of publication was. The cover (below left) is the work of Walter Johnson, who as we've seen did the infamous spanking in Frontier Romances #1. The question immediately arises as to whether Johnson, whom we have pretty well established as a spanko, was responsible for this spanking as well.

spanking from The Saint #5

From The Saint #5 (no indicia available, calculated date c. August 1948). Art by Walter Johnson. © Avon. Posted by the Web-Ed on 09/17/2010 (Click to increase in size).

diamond of death splash page

(Click to increase in size) © Avon.

Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. It's clear from the style that Johnson did not do the artwork for "The Diamond of Death", but it's always possible he had a hand in writing the story. So who did the art? No one knows for certain, although the artist seems at least as good as Johnson. JVJ, whose collection was the source for these scans, speculates that the artists on this story were Al Ulmer and ___ Willner, but he put a question mark after the names to indicate he wasn't sure (Jim has his collection indexed on 3" X 5" note cards, which is basically how things had to be done before the age of computers). Our own examination of the art has recently led us to conclude that it was probably Ralph Mayo (see comparison samples below).

Now let's take a look at the story. A woman calling herself Princess Iona walks into Simon's (The Saint's) office and and shoots a man who was trying to kill him. She then proceeds to tell him an improbable story about having sold a diamond to the British Museum and wanting him to help guard it. During the flight to London, the museum curator dies suddenly, and another fanatic (to go along with the first in Simon's office) tries to kill Simon, telling him he must die for having touched the "sacred stone".

Having secretly passed the diamond on to his female assistant, Pat, Simon then exposes the "Princess" as none other than El Kara, the cult leader of the fanatics and who only pretended to sell the diamond to raise cash. The whole thing is pretty confused, but the principals all wind up back in Pat's Hotel room, where El Kara tries to stab Pat with a knife and then throws it at Simon. Fed up, Simon turns the bad girl over his knee! This is another example of an adventure hero who spanks the villainess because he can't punch her out the way he would a male antagonist.

diamond of death page 2

Page 2. (Click to increase in size) © Avon.

diamond of death page 8

Page 8. (Click to increase in size) © Avon.

the spanking panel

Saint and Sinner - Ow!

the reprinted spanking panel

From the reprinted version in Police Line-Up #1 (August 1951).

Enlarging the spanking panel, we see that we've got good OTK positioning and a nice "Ow!" from El Kara, whom we'll have to call "El SpanKara" after this. We've noticed that in some of these Golden Age comic spankings, the spankee's pained exclamations are sometimes lettered on the background like sound effects instead of being placed in a word balloon. We also can't help noticing that El Kara isn't struggling too much - perhaps she's ready to admit to herself that she's had this coming to her for a long long time!

Strangely, Avon reprinted this story in August 1951, only three years after it first appeared (if our calculated publication date for The Saint #5 is reasonably accurate), in Police Line-Up #1. The only change we can see apart from the standard recoloring is that The Saint's name has been changed from "Simon Templar" to "Michael Strong", probably to avoid having to pay another royalty to Leslie Charteris, who created the Saint character. We know the story was reprinted once more after Avon was long gone, in black & white, but we haven't scanned it since it really doesn't add anything to the two versions we see here.

Here are two comparisons of the art from The Saint #5 with known samples of Ralph Mayo's work on the Judy of the Jungle strip in Exciting Comics. First, let's look at the female heads. There are obvious similarities in shape and in the number of pen strokes used to define the face. The noses are very similar except that the bridge is less defined in El SpanKara's (left).

female head from Saint #5

El SpanKara, from The Saint #5.

mayo female head

Ralph Mayo, from Exciting Comics #61

Now let's examine two male heads. Again, there are similarities in shape and in the number of strokes used to define the face, although the exact placement of each stroke differs slightly. The face on the right has been reversed from the original panel so that it can be presented at an angle similar to that of The Saint. Not quite enough for a definite identification, perhaps, but we think we've come close.

male head from Saint #5

The Saint

mayo male head

Ralph Mayo, from Exciting Comics #65

Not much seems to be known about Mayo. Jim Steranko doesn't mention him in volume 2 of his History of Comics, while Lambiek notes that he was Art Director at AC Comics during the 40's but can't supply exact dates (this must have been an earlier AC than the one still around today). This is relevant because it seems unlikely that Mayo would have had time for freelance work while serving as AC's Art Director. However, since the samples from Exciting were drawn at approximately the same time as The Saint, we conclude he must have been available for freelance work during this period. If there are any Ralph Mayo experts out there who can settle this one way or the other, we'd love to here from you.

11/12/2010 Update: To give the spanking panel an uncluttered look that lets us concentrate on the important part (the spanking), Oxken removed Pat and her dialogue balloon, moved the "Ow" closer to the spankee, then sent us the results which you see here.

the spanking panel from Saint #5 as altered by Oxken

The spanking panel, as modified by Oxken.

cover of tough guys wild women #1

Cover of Tough Guys Wild Women #1 (March 1989, Web-Ed's collection).

01/01/2016 Update: In the interest of completeness, we now present the reprinted version of the spanking as it appeared forty years after the original printing. This was in Tough Guys Wild Women #1 (March, 1989), published by Eternity. Eternity was one of many "alternative" comics publishers that popped up during the 1980's; how alternative they actually were was debatable as reprinting Golden Age comics, laudable as that might be, was not exactly a new and innovative approach to comics publishing.

We wish the reprint added something to the original, but we can't honestly say that it's in any way an improvement. It's in black & white for one thing, as many of the alternative titles were to save money, and the print quality doesn't seem to be improved in any way. Still, a new generation of readers was potentially introduced to this classic spanking by the reprinted version, and we like to document these things as accurately as possible. The spanking page is below.

cover of tough guys wild women #1

The spanking page from Tough Guys Wild Women #1. Posted by the Web-Ed on 01/01/2016.

previous page button PREVIOUS ENTRY - Hit Comics #54
return to comics page button COMICS PAGE 2 - Return to Comics Page 2
return to home page button HOME - Return to Home Page