Marvelous Maneely

Marvelous Maneely
or: It's Just a Scratch

Once again we don our blindfold and plunge into the Long-Box of Mystery to reveal... Fantasy Masterpieces #11. Fantasy Masterpieces was, along with Collectors' Item Classics and Marvel Tales, a reprint book featuring stories from their early days as Timely and Atlas.

To be honest I had little interest in the golden age Timely stuff. The Altas material was another matter. Quirky little stories by the likes of Ditko and Don Heck were big favorites. The one strip that really bit me in the eye was the Arthurian era Black Knight by Joe Maneely who we see here thwarting the plans of the menacing Mordred.

Supposedly, Joe could draw as many pages a day as Jack only Joe's pages were inked too. The mind reels. I later became more familiar with his work across a variety of genres but, to my mind, the Black knight was his crowning achievement.

Happy Trails

5 Comments so far

Nick Lenz's picture

I was introduced to this guy the same way. I never understood why the series wasn't more successful. I've alway hoped the right writer would come along and mine the potential for all it's worth. So glad the Knight was the subject of todays blog. I really enjoy when you draw Percy or Dane.
gene 's picture

Arthurian themes don't get enough love here in the U.S. Which is a shame; there's so many great adventure tales that would lend themselves well to illustration. I'm not familiar with Joe Maneely, but now feel compelled to look for his stuff. Into the back issue bin.... Fantastic sketch, as always Smitty.
Smitty's picture

For all you Round Table fans, may I recommend Mary Stewart's 4 part Merlin trilogy (it'll add up in a second) The Crystal Cave, the Hollow Hills, and the Last Enchantment form the “autobiography” of Merlin: as a child, in his prime, and at his end respectively. The Wicked Day is Mordred’s, “that’s not how I remember it” version of events that takes the story of Arthur past the death of Merlin to it’s end. Stewart takes liberties mashing different myths and slices of history together and paints a Merlin who is more a pawn of the gods than an instigator and whose greatest magic is being educated in an uneducated world.
Nick Lenz's picture

I read Stewart's series back in the eighties. What's funny is that last Thursday I suddenly found myself thinking of her books again after all these years and considered revisiting them, and now here we are talking about them. I guess that's my cue,
jy's picture

Maneely was an incredible artist...he would definitely be up there with Kirby, Ditko, etc. on the Mt. Rushmore of Marvel greats had he lived longer. He could do it all at Atlas...sci-fi, horror, war, western, etc...and do them all with excellence. I always thought that he would have fit in nicely over at EC during the time he did all of his Atlas work (Everett too). Some of the most incredible Maneely art I've ever seen besides the Black Knight is in the pages of Speed Carter Spaceman also an Atlas title....truly stunning work.


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