As I mentioned in the last chapter to this serial post, most of the replacement art for Simon and Kirby’s Newsboy Legion seems to have been created by one artist. There does appear to be one basic style for all the story art from Star Spangled Comics issues #31 to #49 (April 1944 to October 1945). As we will see the quality of the material varies greatly but this could just be due to how much time was spent on it. Certainly a few of the stories look quite rushed. Still the idiosyncratic nature of even the poorer examples makes the art rather fascinating.
Previously I used to credit this work to Gil Kane but as I discussed in the last chapter there is good evidence that is not true. Presently I am going with Joe Simon suggestion that this work was done by either Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve. But I do not have any independent evidence to back this up. I have seen other work that has been credited to these two brothers but it was done in a very different style. This does not necessarily refute Simon’s suggestion but it does not provide support either. So I am going to credit it questionably to either Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve. That however is a bit much to include in my discussions so there I will just refer to him as the replacement artist.
Star Spangled #32 (May 1944) “The Good Samaritans” page 8, art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
Almost all the stories that the replacement artist did had in the splash panel a cartouche with Simon and Kirby credits. However the art style seems so different from Simon and Kirby’s that it is hard to believe that any of their fans were fooled. Still the replacement artist did use a number of techniques that were popular with Simon and Kirby. Arching shadows, circular panels, figures extending past the panel border are all taken from the Simon and Kirby repertoire and adopted by the replacement artist.
Star Spangled #35 (August 1944) “The Proud Poppas” page 2, art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
I have to admit that I have not read most of the Newsboy Legion stories drawn by the replacement artist. Therefore I will not try to answer interesting question of whether Simon and Kirby left scripts or synopsis for stories that they did not get around to drawing. But I will say that these stories are full of action and fight scenes.
Star Spangled #36 (September 1944), pencils by Jack Kirby
The story art that Simon and Kirby had inventoried ran out before the cover art did. Therefore many of the replacement artist’s Newsboy Legion stories are in a comic sporting a Simon and Kirby cover.
Star Spangled #36 (September 1944) “The Cowboy of Suicide Slum” page 2, art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
In most cases where there is a Kirby drawn cover the replacement artist’s story is based on the cover. Note how similar the cowboy from the story is to the one from the cover.
Star Spangled #40 (January 1945) “Farewell to Crime” page 9, art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
The replacement artist picked up some of Simon and Kirby’s techniques but he also exhibited some interesting traits of his own. While Kirby was great at handling different points of view, I find the replacement artist had his own way of handling viewpoint. On page 9 he starts with a very low angle with the Guardian in the front but the actual focus on the characters in the background. He then switches the viewpoint to a close-up of one of the criminals with the Guardian seen over his shoulders. A close-up of just the criminal is next followed by a view almost entirely of the Guardian. Although panel 5 has an interesting low angle view the way it leads the eye towards the left makes it the weakest panel on the page. The page ends with another close-up of the Guardian as he proceeds to free himself of his bounds.
Star Spangled #45 (June 1945), art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
Observant readers may have noticed that I have deviated from my usual practice by not providing any examples of the splash page. This rather deliberate because as much as I admire this artist I do not find him very accomplished when it comes to splash panels. His best splashes are rather weak and his worst ones completely forgettable.
While the replacement artist did the cover for Star Spangled #32 (shown in the last chapter of this serial post), DC returned to using Simon and Kirby covers that they had inventoried before they left to fulfill their military service. Eventually the inventory was emptied and the replacement artists began to provide the covers as well. Consider how poor his splashes were, it comes as a surprise how effective the replacement artist covers were. Initially this lead me to consider that perhaps he was supplied with rough cover layouts to work from. However his layouts seem so novel that in the end I accept the designs as being done by the replacement artist himself.
Star Spangled #49 (October 1945) “One Ounce to Victory”, art by Arturo or Louis Cazeneuve?
Star Spangled Comics covers drawn by Jack Kirby returned with issue #48 (September 1945). I will discuss these Kirby covers in the next chapter. The story art continued to be supplied by the replacement artist. But not for long, Star Spangled #49 (October 1945) would contain the replacement artist’s last Newsboy Legion story.
While I have referred to this artist as the replacement artist, in fact he was not the only artist to work on the Newsboy Legion before Kirby returned. This will be covered in my next chapter.