Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Kit Carson
NEA's practice of offering short-run comic strips about factual subjects usually tied the subject to current events or an anniversary. Kit Carson, offered by the syndicate in a 24-part series, seems to have been issued as a corrective to the popular 1950s Adventures of Kit Carson television series, which portrayed the historical figure with not even a nodding acquaintance to the fellow's actual life story.
The story, penned by Russ Winterbotham, made an attempt to be more factual, but this was still the 1950s, and Carson, who would later be reconsidered by historians as a ruthless killer of Native Americans, was given an unabashed hero treatment. Ed Kudlaty, an NEA bullpenner, provided slick art for the series.
As was often the case with NEA's closed-end series, running dates are all over the map. The earliest I've encountered the strip starting is October 3 1955, but the intended start date was October 12, which places it starting the next day after the conclusion of another NEA closed-end series, Daniel Boone. Kit Carson is quite unusual for an NEA closed-end strip, since it actually carried running dates. The strip reached its conclusion on November 8 of that year.
where one closed-end series began right after another ended?
When I indexed the NEA Archives at OSU many moons ago, I could see no rhyme or reason to when these closed-end series were released. I didn't realize until later that many of the NEA closed-end series had not been archived, so naturally I would not have seen a regular schedule of any kind, even if there was one.
Therefore, it may be that they were issued on a standardized schedule, but I'd have to have more perfect knowledge of what NEA issued and when.
The question is made more complex by the fact that I did not, and do not, consider all the series to be qualified as comic strips. For instance, you'll see in Alex Jay's profile of Kudlaty that he shows examples of "Conventions in Crisis". This series is so over the top text heavy that I could not in good conscience index it as a comic strip. There are quite a few other examples of series that I felt did not qualify. Thus I do not have an exhaustive list of these closed-end series even now from which to glean a schedule.