Saturday, 7 July 2007

Blogging in Ignorance: The Girl from UNCLE

I don’t think that I ever saw The Girl from UNCLE on TV.

I never read any of the five comics published in the USA by (who else?) Gold Key.

I never read any of the three annuals published in the UK by World Distributors.

The only Girl from UNCLE story that I know is a comic strip in a Lady Penelope annual.

So why mention it?

First, because it provides such a stark demonstration of the difficulties that I mentioned earlier faced by artists trying to draw TV-tie-in comics with limited photo-reference. Here, the same photograph of Leo G Carroll, who played UNCLE boss Mr Waverly, is used at the beginning and end of the story, only six pages apart. Note, too, that Waverly looks nothing like Carroll in the penultimate panel, drawn without reference.

(Nor does April Dancer look much like actress Stephanie Powers either here or elsewhere.)

Second, this story was drawn by Enric Badia Romero, who would later become the regular artist on Modesty Blaise, the comic strip which kicked off this little thread about action heroines of the 1960s. And if Romero can finish where he started, so can I.

Pictures and panels
The Girl from UNCLE issue 2, Gold Key, April 1967

The Girl from UNCLE “Academy of THRUSH Agents”, art by Enric Badia Romero, Lady Penelope Annual, City Magazines, 1967

The Girl from UNCLE Annual 1968, World Distributors, 1967

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