R.I.P. Reginald Pitt, 1929-2010

Posted by on November 17th, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Mark Juddery writes an obituary for Australian comics writer Reg Pitt, younger brother of Stan Pitt, who passed away on Tuesday, 12 October, 2010:

Officially, Reg entered the comics by writing storylines and dialogue for Stan’s strip, Silver Starr in the Flame World, about an Australian serviceman leading an expedition to drill into the centre of the Earth. Like many heroes of Australian comics, the character was a clone of a popular US hero – in this case Flash Gordon. An emerging artistic talent, Reg also drew background scenery for the strip.

Despite its enormous popularity, Silver Starr only lasted two years, withdrawn from the Sun in 1948 after a dispute over page size. Though Stan was given another strip by a rival paper, he was unhappy with the storylines (written by a journalist) and, a year later, joined forces with his brother once again.

The Pitt brothers created Yarmak – The Jungle King for the comic-book publisher Young’s Merchandising. Again the character was highly derived (this time from Tarzan) but was handled with enough flair to make it one of Australia’s most fondly remembered comic books of the time. Again, Reg was both author (co-writing with Frank Ashley) and set designer, providing innovative panel layouts and stylish typography as a backdrop for Stan’s dashing heroes and beautiful women.

Reg continued to work as a graphic designer, while Stan moved to America and drew the adventures of his hero, Flash Gordon. They continued working together for comics and pulp magazines (including a full-colour Silver Starr comic, published in 1956 to compete with the introduction of television).

But despite their success, perhaps their most celebrated work was a series known to connoisseurs of the medium as one of the great “lost” comics.

A science fiction buff, Reg conceived Gully Foyle, a comic strip based on Alfred Bester’s novel The Stars My Destination. “The book made an indelible impression on me for so many years, even though it would be 10 years before we finally got the chance to do it,” he recalled.

The obsession proved contagious, as both brothers devoted several months, beginning in 1963, to the project. After Reg was seriously injured in a car accident, his compensation payout allowed them both to work full-time on the strip.

Read the full obituary here.

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