|The first area to be covered in this column is Williamson’s work for ACG. Why should we do this? That’s a reasonable question, and the reasonable answer is that Williamson art, among others, is enjoyed so why shouldn’t it be chronicled for that reason alone? Many artists, including Williamson, have done work in obscure publications, seldom known and more seldom seen.|
Also, no artist is prefect and Williamson is no exception. Much of his early work is crude while again there is some that is quite good. Thus it is hoped that this column will help the collector of good Williamson art differentiate, so that when one shells out 5 or 6 dollars for an ACG or something similar one won’t be in for a rude shock when he receives it. So the primary purpose of this is to discuss the art content of a strip. The story itself will be dealt with on a minor plane and then only to give the reader knowledge of the type of subject matter that was illustrated. To be more precise, each story will be rated on a scale from 1 to 5, although even five most times does not equal the E.C. level of his work and those that do will be specifically pointed out.
Forbidden Worlds #1 July-August 1951
”Demon of Destruction”
F.W. #1 is probably the best known ACG with Williamson art. It also happens to contain some of Willi’s best art outside of E.C. Although Frazetta, who did some pencilling and inking, did add to the overall beauty of the art, Williamson pencilled the majority of the story. The story itself is rather typical; a scientist and his girl uncover a demon that goes out to wreak destruction on the earth and it becomes their responsibility to get rid of the BEM. Fantastic, huh? Excusing the story, the art is really very nice. It contains some tight inking and fantastic atmosphere. The strip does have drawbacks, such as poor anatomy in places and limited background throughout. In certain panels the scientist girlfriend comes out as being pure Williamson, which is a disadvantage as Williamson had a large problem drawing girls in his early work. Overall the story is a notch above the typical Williamson fare of that time, and therefore rates a very solid: 4.
Forbidden Worlds #5 March-April 1952
“Land of the Living Dead”
This story is definitely one of Williamson’s finest non-EC strips, mainly because Roy Krenkel assists him. The art itself is signed Roy G. Williams although it is obvious Williamson and Krenkel. The best panels in the strip are those which bear the heavy influence of Krenkel, especially in the architecture. The story itself concerns a man who passes into a sprit world but since he’s alive he isn’t dead. If you think that’s confusing you should read the story. But then what can you expect from ACG storywise? There are a number of beautiful panels in this strip, which equal the EC level of his work. At right is reprinted page 4 from this story so see for yourself what I mean. The final page of this story has probably the best single panel in the strip as it depicts a Krenkelian city in the background with birds flying in front of a large finely wrought tree in the foreground, and all of it has a fantastic feel to it. A very solid 5.
Forbidden Worlds #6 May-June 1952
“The Flapping Head”
This is it, people! The absolute low in Williamson’s career! It is pure, unadulterated crap! It’s hard to imagine that Williamson, who turned out so much beautiful stuff could do such an atrocious job. The art has to be a classic among comics. The story is typical ACG fare, with a guy and his gal unearthing (again?) a centuries old vampire who had been decapitated. He gets around by flapping wings on the back of his head. The art is over inked and under pencilled; the anatomy is really bad and the girl looks like she has been resurrected after having died of starvation. The rating is the only thing that can be expected. “The Flapping Head” achieves the ultimate in ratings (probably never to be seen again) : 1.