SF in All the Wrong Places -- Bernard Dibble Does Flash Gordon!!
(c) 2015, Arthur L. Lortie
Apparently because Hawkshaw 19320529.jpghe could!

After all, Bernard did have some experience at this sort of thing, previously writing and drawing HAWKSHAW THE DETECTIVE from 1932 to 1933. Hawkshaw, and his pal Watso, were heroes of the long running parody of SHERLOCK HOLMES and Watson created by Gus Mager.

As far as I can tell, this was the first parody / homage / knockoff / swipe of King Features Syndicate's FLASH GORDON, even beating Ray 'Crash' Corrigan and his 12-part serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM by a full four months! [and the authorized Buster Crabbe FLASH GORDON serial by two]

And Dibble might even have had permission, in spite of working for the rival United Features Syndicate!

FLASH, and JUNGLE JIM, creator Alex Raymond had started his apprenticeship at King working under Chic Young on the world's most popular comic strip, BLONDIE. Young Alex had so impressed Chic that when Blondie and her husband Dagwood had their first child in the strip, he named it Alexander. Then when Alex received his own byline doing outer space and jungle adventures, Chic hired brother Jim Raymond, who stayed on for an incredible 45 years.

And how does this involve Dibble, you might ask?

New York rents are expensive, even back in the 1920's, so sharing an art studio or apartment was almost a necessity. Two aspiring artists combining their meager incomes to put a roof over their heads were Bernard Dibble -- and Chic Young! While pure conjecture, I find it quite possible that these two remained friends and that Dibble knew both Raymonds, and wouldn't have created his strip without asking first.

The strip in question appeared February 1, 1936 (a day early, since the paper I clipped this from didn't publish on Sundays), complete with rayguns, Hawkmen and a harem. Throw in a few Dragon Men, Python People and a Flapdabble of his own and we're done --


I wish I had this in color. Dabble certainly did no worse doing FLASH than either Fred Meagher on the interiors of Flash Gordon Strange Adventure Magazine (1936) or Robb Beebe on Flash Gordon in the Caverns of Mongo (1937):

Alice in Wonderland 19360118 (Chester Times).jpgBut Dibble made his living primarily on humor strips.

LOOY DOT DOPE was only his second credited byline, following DANNY DINGLE. He never came close to doing any further science fiction, though he did do a superhero, Iron Vic, in the early 1940's for United's comic book line.

His credits can be found at Jerry Bails Who's Who of American Comic Books, and the Grand Comics Database.

There's a more complete biography at Lambiek Comiciopedia, and a look at his Good Girl art at Collectors' Society.