Friday, May 13, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 13: Happy birthday, Norman Maurer!

Let's all give a big hip-hip-hooray today (because it's his birthday) for Norman Maurer, born today in 1926! He's not a huge a household name even within the comics fandom, but he oughta be: he's tremendously influential for his comic books featuring the Three Stooges: Norman's wife Joan was the daughter of original Stooge Moe Howard, and Norm co-managed the Stooges in their post-Columbia careers, wrote the screen stories for their movies The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962), The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962), The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze (1963) and The Outlaws Is Coming! (1965) — the last two of which he also directed. In animation, he was a writer for Scooby-Doo, Speed Buggy, and Richie Rich, altho' we won't hold that last one against him.

Maurer created the first 3-D comics at St. John's Publishing (with Joe Kubert), and he's the co-creator and inker (again with Kubert) of Tor, the classic comic book series starring a warrior caveman from 1,000,000 BC (now at DC). He didn't create Raquel Welch, though. (Sigh.)

Look here, he was a part of Joe Kubert's early foray into creating his famous The Kubert School for comics artists!

from St. John comics cover-dated June 1954

Here's one of those 3-D comics, starring both of 'em! PUT YOUR 3-D GLASSES ON NOW!

from "The 3-D-T's" in Whack #1 (St. John, October 1953), pencils by Norman Maurer, inks by Joe Kubert,
as reprinted in Three-D Three Stooges #3 (Eclipse, October 1987), remastered by Ray Zone

('Long as you still got your 3-D glasses on:)

Now here's a page that doesn't feature Norman Maurer at all. So why am I including it? Well, way back when this page was first published in the comic (which I don't have) One Million Years Ago #1 (St. John, September 1953) it featured both Tor creators Kubert and Maurer. But when it was reprinted in Tor #4 (DC, November 1975), it was retouched: edited to update Kubert's appearance and omit Maurer. Fair enough, I guess, because none of Maurer's inking work appeared in the reprint. But I include this page minus Maurer simply as a placeholder until I can get a proper copy of scan of the page from One Million Years Ago #1. Hang on, Norman!

from Tor (1975 series) #4 (DC, November 1975); script, pencils, and inks by Joe Kubert

Happy birthday, Norman Maurer! I'd give ya a copy of One Million Years Ago #1 for your birthday if I could get one, but you have to let me scan it first.

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