Dick Sprang 

1915-2000

 

 

Dick Sprang began his career working in a studio with Norm Fallon and Ed Kressy, producing features for any publisher that would buy them, including Harvey and Prize and working on the Lone Ranger Sunday newspaper strip.
Norman Fallon- Speed Comics 3- Dec 1939

Ed Kressy and Norman Fallon- Prize Comics 9 Feb 1941

Sprang may have drawn Power Nelson in Prize #3 all by himself. Prize Comics 3 May 1940

Detective Comics 93 Page 9 Nov 1944

Written by Bill Finger, layouts by Ed Kressey,

finishes and letters by Dick Sprang

Dick Sprang began drawing Batman stories in 1941 at the behest of editor Whitney Ellsworth  Initially his  stories were layed out by Ed Kressey, or inked by Norm Fallon, but he quickly took over the whole job himself.

"Collector of Millionaires" Batman 19 Oct 1943, Written by Joe Samachson,  inked by Norm Fallon

Detective Comics 94 Dec 1944

by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang

Sprang's earliest stories were held in storage against the possible drafting of Bob Kane.  When they did see print almost two years later, they were not printed in order and were mixed in with new stories that he was currently working on. 

Detective Comics 102 August 1945

by Alvin Schwartz and Dick Sprang. 

Letters by Pat Gordon

from Detective 119 "Case of the Famous Foes" 

by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Gene McDonald. Jan, 1947

By the time Sprang's appearances in Detective Comics caught up with his real time drawing, his style had gotten much more open, relying on the strength of the drawing rather than roccoco details to achieve the effects he wanted.  Lettering was now handled by Sprang's wife, Pat Gordon. Beginning in 1946, after moving to Arizona, the editors switched him to just doing pencils.  Initially, inking was handled by Gene McDonald.

"The Impossible People" by  William Woolfolk?, Dick Sprang and Ray Burnley from World's Finest 38, Feb, 1949 "Master of Mystery" from Real Fact #1 March-April 1945
After the ending of the Batman comic strip, Charles Paris began doing the majority of the Batman inking, spelled occasionally by Stan Kaye or Ray Burnley. The only stories Dick Sprang signed in his long career at DC were three stories for Real Fact in 1945.

Batman 125 "King Batman the First" page 2 by Finger, Sprang, and Paris

Detective 308 The Flame Master by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Sheldon Moldoff

Sprang/Paris

Charles Paris was considered the definitive Batman inker, starting with his work over Bob Kane on the Batman daily strip. When the strip ended he moved to the comic book and began inking not only Kane ghost Lew Sayre Schwartz (and later Sheldon Moldoff) but also Sprang.  He took it upon himself to promote a consistency in style between the two camps which was not reflected in the underlying pencils.

Sprang/Moldoff

Sometime after Sheldon Moldoff became Kane's ghost in mid 1953,  Kane asked him if he was looking for additional work.   Jack Schiff was looking for some new inkers.  So Moldoff began accepting inking assignments directly from National while at the same time continuing to pencil Batman for Kane.  Sometimes he would be given a Batman story to ink with no acknowledgement that he had been the penciller!

"The Super Rivals" from World's Finest 85. Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. December 1956 "The Plot to Destroy Superman" from World's Finest 104, September 1959.  Dick Sprang and Sheldon Moldoff.
In Sept 1955, Sprang took over the World's Finest Superman/Batman team-ups from Curt Swan. He would continue to do these up until 1962 with an occasional adventure appearing until his retirement in 1963. Most of Sprang's World's Finest team-ups were inked by Stan Kaye prior to 1959. 

After issue 100, Sheldon Moldoff began inking many of the stories.  Now it was Moldoff's turn to try to conform to Paris's style, rather than the other way around!

 

 

Still, Moldoff inking Sprang has a totally different texture than Charles Paris. His hair is busier with more random pen lines.  Robin's ears are larger, stick out more and are lower down on his head than Paris would place them.

Moldoff's highlights tend to flatten rather than add dimension to the work.  He covers Batman's forehead with long scratchy pen lines which seem to flatten his head more than round it. The ears are extremely pointy.  Although he follows Paris's spade design (adapted from Robinson originally) he doesn't do it well, making the ears look ratty.

Following is a guide for telling Moldoff's inks from Paris's.

Sprang /Moldoff Sprang /Paris

Detective 302- Moldoff uses a dark murky build up of penlines to indicate black hair color. Note the multiple lines used to indicate Robin's chin. Batman 109-Paris uses a very bold set of black highlights, usually in parallel rows.  Robin's chin is indicated by one brush-stroke.  The difference in the ears is rather remarkable for the same penciller.

Detective 308-Moldoff's shading on Batman's forehead is uneven and goes up too high, flattening Batman's head. Batman 109-Paris's shading makes Batman's head more three dimensional, as it appears to fade backwards.  The brush strokes are much more even.
Detective 308-Moldoff uses lots of lines to indicate Batman's cheek and chin.  Batman's ears are fussed over, as if by an artist who isn't used to them.  (Moldoff's pencilled ears are triangular, not spade shaped.) Detective 229-Paris uses solid shading for Batman's chin. His bat ears are done with four brush strokes.
Detective 308-Moldoff's hair is murky and stringy.  Robin's ears are lower and stick out more. Batman 123-Paris's hair features spare, solid black areas, giving it a more three dimensional look. Robin's ears are placed  higher up on the skull.

 

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