Silver Starr, by Stanley Pitt
Silver Starr in the Flameworld (Sydney Sunday Sun, March 1947)

Stanley Pitt was one of the most remarkable Australian comic artists of his time, and a leading illustrator of science fiction. He was also the first Australian artist to have his original work published in US comic books. He was born as Stanley John Joseph Pitt in Rozelle, New South Wales, as the son of a plasterer. He was working as a milkman when he supplied his first comic artwork to the Consolidated Press in 1942: a feature called 'Anthony Fury'. In the following year, he began contributing four-page comic stories to Frank Johnson Publications, where his work appeared alongside that of Unk White, Rhys Williams, Carl Lyon and Emile Mercier. By 1945, he was making comic strip advertisements for Colgate-Palmolive, when he was assigned by Associated Newspapers Ltd. to produce a science fiction strip. Although he had no formal art training, Pitt was heavily influenced by the artwork of Alex Raymond, which can be clearly seen in the resulting adventure strip, 'Silver Starr in the Flameworld', about an Australian serviceman leading an expedition to drill into the centre of the Earth. It ironically replaced Raymond's 'Flash Gordon' in the Sunday Sun in 1946, and ran until 14 November 1948.

Captain Power, by Stanley Pitt

By that time, Pitt has set a new standard for realistic comic art in Australia. He was quickly hired by the Sunday Herald to draw another sci-fi strip, 'Captain Power'. This venture was short-lived however, and Pitt returned to comic books in 1949. With the help of his brother Reginald, Paul Wheelahan and Frank and Jimmy Ashley, he produced 32 issues of Yarmak Comics, starring 'Yarmak - Jungle King', for Young's Merchandising. Stanley and Reginald Pitt also attempted to get their comic strips 'Lemmy Caution' and 'Mr. Midnight' syndicated in the USA in the early 1950s. These efforts failed, but Pitt did manage to join Cleveland Press in 1956 to produce new 'Silver Starr' comics. He eventually became a productive cover illustrator for western paperbacks. He also made a great many cover illustrations for Australian editions of science fiction novels.

Danger by Stan PittCover by Stan Pitt

Samples of his unpublished comic strip 'Gully Foyle' (1963) earned Pitt assignments from American comic book companies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He worked on DC comic books like 'The Witching Hour', and contributed to Western/Gold Key's mystery titles 'Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery' and 'The Twilight Zone'. He also ghosted 11 weeks of Al Williamson's newspaper comic 'Secret Agent Corrigan' in 1969. 'Gully Foyle' was finally published in a limited comic book edition by the Sydney publisher Home Grown Media in 2001. The story was based on Alfred Bester's 1954 sci-fi novel 'The Stars, My Destination'.

Gully Foyle by Stan Pitt
Gully Foyle, from a limited presentation edition

Series and books by Stanley Pitt in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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