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Identifying When Wilson McCoy Took Over from Ray Moore in "The Haunted Castle"

X-Band episode 148 we reviewed the Felmang remake version of the Sunday Newspaper story "The Haunted Castle" which originally appeared in newspapers between Sunday 12 September 1948 and Sunday 13 February 1949, written by Lee Falk and drawn by Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy.

In the podcast we mentioned that Wilson McCoy took over from Ray Moore during the creation of this story.

In this article we look at the exact point of where Wilson McCoy took over by highlighting the differences between the two strips. The first Sunday strip (Sunday 12 September 1949) is the one and only Sunday page Ray Moore drew on this story. The next week's strip (Sunday 19 September 1949) we can see several artistic and style change which we will highlight.

Just like we did when we identified Carmine Infantino's Sunday panel, we will do the same below by looking at several changes between the two consecutive Sunday panels and identify a key trope of each artist:

  • Diana's nose is different.

  • The rocks in the river are more jagged and sharp.

  • The waterfall in the last panel has thick ink depicting the water compared to thinner more define inking by Wilson McCoy.

  • Perhaps the most obvious difference is Diana's hair style. Ray Moore's Diana does not have a fringe, is more curlier and darker.

  • Diana by Wilson McCoy always has the fringe while Ray Moore does not.

  • The hair by Wilson McCoy seems lighter by the less heavy ink.

  • The inking generally isn't as heavy, lighter and more refine as shown by the water ripples and the waterfall.

  • The rocks are not as jagged.

  • The landscape is also different. Wilson McCoys jungle looks more like thick woods compared to Ray Moore's wild jungle feel.

What is interesting in the original coloured Sunday stripes, the hair is also a different colour. Ray Moore's Diana hair colour is more blue where Wilson McCoy's Diana hair colour is grey with the less heavy inking.

To further use Diana's hair style as the most obvious giveaway between the two artists style. I have highlighted two panels from two other stories several years in the past and future from this point. This shows that that the hair styles is a consistent ongoing difference between the two artists and not an isolated point of difference.

The first is from "Queen Pera the Perfect" from 1945. The second is "The Female Phantom" from 1952.

Wilson McCoy assisted and took over on several Sunday stories between 1942 and 1948 before taking over full time in late 1948 with "The Haunted Castle". If you use Diana as a reference point to identify what Sunday pages Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy did you will begin to identify yourself when the other artist took over in other stories.

According to Phantom Wiki, there are four Sunday and two Daily stories the two artists shared work on.

  1. Daily Story 16: "The Phantom Goes to War / The Inexorables" - 2 February 1942 to 9 January 1943

  2. Sunday Story 8: "Castle in the Clouds" - 18 October 1942 to 18 April 1943

  3. Daily Story 27: "Princess Valerie" - 18 February 1946 to 13 July 1946

  4. Sunday Story 16: "The Scarlet Sorceress" - 11 August 1946 to 22 December 1946

  5. Sunday Story 17: "The 12 Tasks" - 29 December to 29 June 1947

  6. Sunday Story 19: "The Marshall Sisters" - 23 November 1947 to 16 May 1948

  7. Sunday Story 21: "The Haunted Castle" - 12 September to 13 February 1948

McCoy was working full time on the Daily newspaper stories from 1946 onwards. I assume and speculate he would then help out when Moore fell too far behind as he battled his injuries he received from serving in World War Two which is why McCoy's style is throughout several stories.

We will continue to explore this theme and see if we can find more examples of where artists took over from previous artists. We have five of the above six stories left to investigate and also the 81st Daily story "The Werewolf" in 1961 when Wilson McCoy sadly passed away.


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