Sep 6, 2010

Is This Cole? Uncle Sam Quarterly #1

Hello Friends. It’s time once again for another installment of IS THIS COLE (imagine booming announcer voice echoing in stadium).

UncleSam1 01In today’s installment, we look at Uncle Sam Quarterly #1 (Autumn, 1941).

This super cool comic was packaged by the Eisner-Iger studio and is the work of many talented hands, including Will Eisner, Lou Fine, and – quite likely – Jack Cole.

Overstreet’s lists Jack Cole as one of the artists on this book. However, the stories in the book are uncredited and I can find no definitive source for which pages might be by Jack Cole.

A close scrutiny reveals a short sequence, 2-pages of which appear to be written and drawn by Jack Cole.

The story begins, as do all the stories in this stylish book, with a super-cool splash page (not by Cole).

 UncleSam1 31
The next two pages could possibly be the work of a rushed Jack Cole. The art resembles very much the work he was doing in 1940-41, such as his SILVER STREAK and MIDNIGHT stories.

UncleSam1 32 UncleSam1 33
The third page (above) looks the  most like the work of Jack Cole of any of the pages in this comic book. Panel 5 is a classic physical pose that only Cole drew. And, of course, Cole loved to draw flames, as we have observed many times in this blog.

The last page of this story is an awkward, but nonetheless impressive two-page spread, rare for comics in  this day and age. Could this be the work of Cole? I’ve looked at this a page a lot, and I simply cannot tell. It is a little awkward for Cole, but then again, it’s a challenging subject. The ambition of the layout matches Cole’s exuberance of this time period. If it is by Cole, it would be, as far as I know, his only double-page spread.

UncleSam1 34

It's unusual it is to see Cole work on just part of a story. He typically made his own comics start to finish, which is part of makes his body of work stand out in comics.

Perhaps Jack Cole's work on the two pages of this story was a "try out" job for the Eisner-Iger studio. Cole would go on to do a lot of work for this studio, which was closely connected with Quality Comics. Cole not only ghosted the studio's main character, THE SPIRIT, but he also contributed material to Crack Comics and Military Comics, both of which were published by Quality but packaged by Eisner-Iger.

What do you think, dear readers? IS THIS COLE?


  1. I agree, those first two pages of illustrations are so much in the manner of Cole that I would be very surprised if he wasn't involved in their creätion.

    As to the two-page illustration, I think that Cole laid-out the image of Everytown itself, but nothing about the foreground looks peculiarly like the work of Cole, and the placement and posture of the Buddy looks to me unlike something that Cole would have done.

  2. Thanks, Daniel. Good thoughts. I agree that the figures on the 2-page spread do not look like something Cole would have drawn. I also compared the train and the train smoke with the way Cole was drawing these things at this time, and it doesn't match. Nonetheless, I'd love to think that Cole had something to do with this neat concept.

  3. One of the stories in this issue has a "face and identity change" theme that seems like Cole's work, to me - for instance the panel where one of the crooks is injected with a serum that makes his flesh malleable.

  4. Paul... yes, the first story in this book, "Forged Faces," has a pre-Plastic Man sequence in which a face is reshaped. The sequence is much more grotesque than any of the known Jack Cole versions of this motif. The art in the story doesn't look much like Cole's, either. I have read and re-read this story, hoping to convince myself it's Cole's work but... again... it's hard to tell. Perhaps he wrote the story. It bears further work. Thanks for mentioning this.


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