A Mystery Regarding the First Weeks of Long Sam — Part II

Yesterday we presented the first nine strips of the Al Capp/Bob Lubbers strip Long Sam, and today we have the second nine. These scans originated from the collection of Bob Foster, and as I said yesterday, he feels that there is a mystery surrounding these strips.

If you haven’t already guessed from my slight hint yesterday, Bob believes that there is a question regarding the art credit. He believes that there is another artist involved here in addition to Lubbers; specifically, that Frank Frazetta was lending an uncredited hand.

Bob suggests that Frazetta is responsible for most of the work in the first week of strips, with only a little evidence of Lubbers; that the second week is a mish-mosh of the two artists, and that by the third week Lubbers has mostly taken over the helm, with little input from Frazetta.

As you are probably aware, there is a close connection between writer Al Capp and Frank Frazetta. Frank began as an assistant on Li’l Abner starting around 1953, shortly before Long Sam debuted (5/31/1954). So it is certainly possible that Capp, who was calling the shots on the strip, might have instructed Frazetta to work on it. But I’ve not seen an interview with any of the principals where such an arrangement was mentioned, and I haven’t heard of any art-spotters mentioning Frazetta’s name in relation to Long Sam.

The only person besides Bob Foster that I can find mentioning a connection is a blogpost about Frazetta  by Richard Graham. It says, “he [Frazetta] was with Al [Capp] from 1952 to 1961 and is credited with a huge amount of
work for Lil Abner, as well as his work on Long Sam, a strip about a
baseball player.” Sorry to be snarky, but the credibility of this claim is not helped by saying that Long Sam is a strip about a baseball player.

Anyhow, the evidence is before you, ladies and gentlemen. Poke and prod the strips, hold them up to the light, sniff the ink, and tell your fellow comic fans your opinion. As you know, I generally remain only an interested observer when it comes to these art-spotting questions, so I’m really anxious to have you all weigh in.

6 comments on “A Mystery Regarding the First Weeks of Long Sam — Part II

  1. Sorry. Not really seeing it.

    This looks like Lubbers at his best. Compare t his Tarzan sunday's. Both are fine line and lush.

    Thanks for posting the petty pics!

  2. Interesting theory. The first dailies are a bit a-typical and could indeed be by Frazetta (and I have seen the Tarzan Sundays too). In any case nice to see these, thank you!

  3. I mentioned this on my blog and a fellow Dutch collector just sent me a color two tier sample of the first Sunday, further proving in my eyes that this is the work of Frazetta. I will be showing it today in my blog, feel free to copy it. No one here mentions the fact that the strips are numbered, further evidence that we are talking about a completed preposal set here. 18 strips equals three weeks, so there could be two more Sundays, but in my experience these proposals very rarely had less more than one Sunday (unless it was absolutely necessary to show it for the storyline, which isn't the case here – in fact, it even seems as if the Sunday tells a seperate storyline). It would have been a three tier, though. So at least that is still out there.

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