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Remembering Rudy Palais by Mark Heike

Remembering Rudy Palais  by Mark Heike

Rudy Palais Stormy Foster splash pageAnother one of my favorite-but-unheralded artists from the Golden Age of comics is the ubiquitous Rudy Palais. Extremely prolific from the early 1940′s through the mid- 1950′s Rudy’s artwork appeared within the pages of almost every publisher’s offerings at one point or another, in a wide variety of genre’s, from adventure to humor, funny animal, teenage, horror and war. ( Rudy also had a brother, Walter by name, who also worked in the comics field in the 1940s; for Fiction House and a few other publishers.) At his best, Rudy’s work was distinctively evocative, filled with slit-eyed heroes, leggy, wide-eyed women, all displaying exaggerated facial expressions and body language. He could spot his blacks generously, used silouette Rudy Palais Magno and Davey splash 1judiciously, and always inked with a bold and snappy thick brush line. The most distinctive feature of his work is that, when things got intense, his characters would SWEAT. Not a lot of Golden Age artists would bother with depicting persperation, but Rudy did. Never a “star” illustrator, he did have some memorable runs drawing costumed characters of the 1940′s; usually finishing up after bigger-name artists left back-up features for the big companies, or drawing the adventures of the marquee stars for the smaller companies. Characters that bore the Palais touch included The BLACK ANGEL, STORMY FOSTER, The BLACK CONDOR, The BOY KING, MAGNO and DAVEY, CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS, Cat-Man and KITTEN, LITTLE LEADERS, The RECKONER, The DEACON and MICKEY, The CLAW, Mr. RISK, Dr. MID-NITE, DOLLMAN, HUNT BOWMAN, MANHUNTER, PHANTOM LADY, The RAY, The RED COMET, The Rudy Palais Mr. Risk splash pageSPIDER WIDOW, The UNKNOWN, and The UNKNOWN SOLDIER are just a few of the heroes and heroines he drew. His work seemed highly affected by the time he spent early in his career working in Will Eisner’s Tudor City studios, with  stylistic influences ranging from Reed Crandall to Lou Fine- all filtered through his own, somewhat wacky approach. Comics historians who only know Rudy from his later work on the ACG and Charlton books (into the 1960s ) usually discount him. In addition, he had an almost 20-year association with Gilberton Publishing working on the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED line of comics, before he retired in 1969. To be honest, I am NOT familiar with his work during that period, so I cannot give an informed opinion on how much his work might have deteriorated by then. Even in his early days, one can occasionally see the effects of having to complete a rush job, but when he could take his time, his Rudy Palais Magno and Davey splash 2work could be highly effective.  Excellent examples of Rudy’s art have been reprinted in AC books like Good Girl Art Quarterly #15 (on  BLACK  VENUS) ; Golden Age Greats Spotlight Special Volume 6 (on CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS); Men of Mystery #47 (on MAGNO and DAVEY); and Men of Mystery #20 (on The SPIDER WIDOW).  Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to present more great Rudy Palais art in future. I  encourage discriminating panelologists to check out the work of this interesting stylist; you too might find it worth a read.

4 Responses to "Remembering Rudy Palais by Mark Heike"

  1. Rick  March 11, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Correction-Rudy did the occasional mystery story for CHARLTON right up until 1976. Instead of sweating (because of comic code restrictions) Rudy would have people crying or standing in he rain so he still used huge water drips for dramatic effect. His art remained exciting and wild right up till the end of his career. He never sold out or compromised.

    • Mark G. Heike  March 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for the correction on the end of Palais’ career, Rick. I had no idea that he was STILL working untol ’76. Now I’ll have to go back & find some of those ’70′s Charltons with his work in them!!

  2. Rick  March 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Other High lights-He did a series of memorable covers for SPEED comics In the forties. He did incredible pre-code horror stories for the HARVEY horror books and for COMIC MEDIA. He art was a little bit abstract so he could get away with excessive gore that more realistic artists would never get away with.

  3. Rick  March 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I HAVE A COUPLE OF LATER RUDY PALAIS CHARLTONS. I GOT THE NUMBERS FOR THESE ISSUES FROM GCD. ONE WAS A REPRINT BUT A COUPLE WERE NEW, SIGNED AND I THINK DATED. HE MODERNIZED HIS ART A LITTLE BIT, IN THE WAY HE DREW PEOPLE, BUT IT STILL LOOKS LIKE CLASSIC PALAIS.

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