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Friday, January 11, 2008
Jack Keller... Westerns, Hotrods and More!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Comic Book Artists



Click here to see OUR Westerns listings! 

Jack Keller is shown above holding the original art to a Kid Colt, Outlaw splash page that he drew.



Click here to see OUR Westerns listings! 

The above is Kid Colt, Outlaw #141, which is an example of Jack's interior artwork being reprinted, and a new cover drawn for the issue...

To see our western comic books for sale, just click on the photo above! 




Click here to see our Charlton Comics listings! 

Cheynne Kid is just one of the titles that Jack drew for Charlton Comics during his several years there!

To see our Charlton comic books for sale, just click on the photo above!  






Click here to see all of our current listings! 

Hot Rod Racers was just one of the hot rod comics that Jack enjoyed drawing for Charlton Comics!





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Each comic / comics book or magazine in our eBay Featured Store is individually graded, inventoried, priced, bagged and boarded, before being listed for sale! We attend several  pop culture and comic books conventions during the year to replenish our inventory for resale!
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Jack Keller


Five years ago this month, the comic book industry lost one of its most prolific artists of the 1950's and 1960's when Atlas/Marvel and Charlton Comics artist Jack Keller passed away on January 2, 2003 at the age of 80.  Jack had a long comics career encompassing the years 1941-1973. He was best known for his long runs on two features in particular, the KID COLT, OUTLAW comic book title at Atlas/Marvel and the entire genre of hot rod and racing cars titles at Charlton Comics.

Jack was born on June 16, 1922 in Reading, Pennsylvania.  He would spend most of his entire life there. 

In 1950 Keller showed up at Stan Lee's office at Atlas Comics and would begin an association that would last the entire decade. Martin Goodman, owner of Atlas, had just instructed Stan Lee to fire the entire Bullpen and put everyone on freelance. Jack Keller showed up right at this moment and was immediately given work with stories for Western titles, early pre-code horror, crime comics and a few romance stories.

As 1953 came by, Jack added more horror and war stories to his credits, but the Western comic book that he had drawn since 1951, 'KID COLT OUTLAW', began to be his flagship title. When Stan Lee gave Jack the KID COLT feature in 1951 it was nothing more than another assignment but while other artists came and went on other various Atlas Westerns, Jack had never really 'left' Kid Colt and drew his adventures both in his own long running title and also in the anthology Western title 'Gunsmoke Western', right up to the Atlas implosion in the spring of 1957.

Throughout Jack's long run at Atlas he would continue to do Western back up stories, but his non-Western work practically vanished by 1955 as his entire output was dedicated to the Western comics genre.

Then in the spring of 1957 the infamous 'Atlas Implosion' left Jack and scores of artists without their main source of freelance income. Martin Goodman had lost his comics distributorship and had to pare down the Atlas Comics line from a high of about 70 comic titles a month to just 16 bi-monthly titles. Martin had to use the  distribution for his Atlas comic books from his major competitor, National's (Superman) distributor, Independent News, and Stan Lee began to use backlogged inventory for the remaining 8 books allowed per month for distribution.

Jack, who had always been a tremendous car buff, secured employment at a car dealership in his home of Reading,  but almost immediately the Western comics back inventory ran out and Stan called back his Western artists, Joe Maneely, Jack Keller and Dick Ayers. Jack would return to the Kid Colt Outlaw title, but time constraints limited his work to some degree. Stan Lee would call back additional Western artists to help out, especially with the tragic death in 1958 of his star artist Joe Maneely, and slack in the Western books was picked up by other artists like Jack Davis and John Severin. By 1962  Atlas Comics was known as Marvel Comics.

Realizing like other artists, that having a second comic publisher account would be a good thing, Jack also secured Western and war scripts from Charlton Comics in comic book titles like Billy the Kid, Cheyenne Kid, Fightin' Marines, Battlefield Action, Fightin' Air Force, and Submarine Attack among others.

A long professional association with Charlton's editor Dick Giordano ensued and by 1959 Jack turned his love of cars and racing into a long writer/artist tenure on the title 'Hot Rods and Racing Cars' which lasted until 1973. Jack would also add other hot rod titles over the years like Hot Rod Racers, Drag n' Wheels and World of Wheels to his Charlton Comics work.

It was by 1967 that Jack had finally left Stan Lee and Marvel Comics for good and would then work nearly exclusively for Charlton until 1973. It was shortly thereafter that Marvel would go reprint only in their western titles. Jack retired from drawing and writing comics and went back to selling cars and indulging his hobby of model cars and die cast car models.     

I would have to say that the main reason for Kid Colt Outlaw being my favorite Marvel Western Comic was due to Jack's artwork.  It was a mainstay during my reading of the comic book and I looked forward to the continuity of the comic book artwork. When the title went all reprint I stopped picking it up off the newstands.                

For those interested in western comic books inlcuding Jack's work on Kid Colt and more, we have several hundred in our eBay Featured Store.



Posted by makeitsomarketing at 4:50 PM PST
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2008 4:02 PM PST
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