Smith-Mann Syndicate VIII: Neil Knight

Neil Knight of the Air was another new feature created for the Smith-Mann color section, this one a science fiction opus. Credited only to ‘Carl and Mac’, the feature outlasted the section. The last raygun was fired on October 22, 1955. Notice the Kirby swipe in panel three of our example – always steal from the best!

The strip usually ran full page, but here is abbreviated in order to run ads for Sal Hepatica and Ipana. Ads for national mainstream products were slowly filtering into the black papers in the 1950s. Whereas ten years earlier ads were mostly limited to products with a specific appeal to the black community, by the 50s there were now the occasional car, cigarette and beer ads before seen only in the white papers. Some advertisers used their regular ad campaigns, others, like the two seen here, did different versions specifically aimed at a black audience.

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