Thursday, April 22, 2010

Johnny Reb and Billy Yank

Gene Autry recorded Charles Tobias song “Johnny Reb and Billy Yank” for Columbia Records under the direction of Mitch Miller. The song was inspired by the weekly comic strip distributed by the Sunday New York Herald Tribune Syndicate. “Johnny Reb and Billy Yank” made its debut as a Sunday page 18 Nov 1956 and appeared in sixty papers at its peak.

The artist was Civil War buff Frank Giacoia (1924-1988) of New York, the excellent scripting was by Ben Martin. Bell J. Wiley, professor of history at Emory University in Georgia, was the historical consultant. The strip told the story through the eyes of two soldiers on opposing sides of the battle. Real-life personalities like Quantrill, Frank James, and John Wilkes Booth played their parts in the gripping serial.

I’m not sure how long the strip lasted but Giacoia began another strip “Thorne McBride,” commander of a nuclear submarine, on 31 October 1960. It was distributed by the Copley News Service of San Diego and was scripted by Kenneth Simms. Giacoia’s first comic strip was “Sherlock Holmes” and he was also active in comic books as an artist and inker for most of the major golden and silver age publishers. Probably the best work of Frank Giacoia’s long and prolific career.

1 comment:

  1. Jack Kirby ghosted the pencils for about half a year of the Johnny Reb sunday pages, and they were beautifully colored. In case you didn't know. Check the link: