Rx For A Beat Down

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Despite introducing such memorable characters as The Black Terror, Doc Strange, Pyroman and Fighting Yank, the initial comics offered by Standard/Better/Nedor/WhateverTHeyFeltLikeCallingThemselves weren’t especially well illustrated.

Once readers finished admiring Alex Schomburg’s striking cover art, they were invariably “treated” to interior storytelling that reached journeyman level at best. Such policies changed over time, however, as later issues of Thrilling, Exciting and other titles in the Standard line began to feature art by the likes of Alex Toth and Mort Meskin.

The following tale is a good example of how Standard’s … um … “standards” rose.

As characters go, the Golden Age Doc Strange was a decent enough Superman riff that borrowed a bit more from the Doc Savage template than Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Sadly, the feature’s art usually fell far below the bar set by Shuster and his assistants …

From Thrilling Comics #26 (March, 1942)

The good doctor finally hit the big leagues toward the end of his run, however. This story is illustrated by the great George Tuska, and goes a long way toward proving how a skilled artist can enhance a “standard” super-hero potboiler.

From Thrilling Comics #62 (Standard, 1947), here’s Doc Strange’s epic struggle against “The Eye.”

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