Allen Bert Christman
|Allen Bert Christman|
May 31, 1915|
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
|Died||January 23, 1942
|Scorchy Smith; Sandman|
Allen Bert Christman, known professionally as Bert Christman, was an American cartoonist. He is best known as artist of the newspaper comic strip Scorchy Smith, about a pilot-adventurer in the inter-war years. He was also credited with co-creating the original, Wesley Dodd version of the DC Comics character the Sandman.
Artist Bert Christman and writer Gardner Fox are generally credited as co-creating the original, Wesley Dodd version of the DC Comics character the Sandman. While the character's first appearance is usually given as Adventure Comics #40 (cover-dated July 1939), he also appeared in DC Comics' 1939 New York World's Fair Comics omnibus, which historians believe appeared on newsstands one to two weeks earlier, while also believing the Adventure Comics story was written and drawn first. Each of the two stories' scripts were credited to the pseudonym "Larry Dean"; Fox wrote the untitled, 10-page story in New York World's Fair #1, while he simply plotted, and Christman scripted, the untitled, six-page story, generally known as "The Tarantula Strikes", in Adventure #40. Creig Flessel, who drew many early Sandman adventures, has sometimes been credited as co-creator on the basis of drawing the Sandman cover of Adventure #40, but no other evidence has surfaced.
Christman gave up his career as an artist, and joined the U.S. Navy in June 1938 as a pilot cadet. He was serving on the aircraft carrier Ranger in 1941 when he was recruited to join the American Volunteer Group to fight the invading Japanese in the skies over China and Burma. The AVG would later be famous as the “Flying Tigers.”
During his time with the Tigers, Bert made many friends by using his artistic talents to personalize the noses of the P-40Bs of the “Panda Bear” squadron of the AVG with cartoons and caricatures for the pilots.
Christman's plane was shot down and he was killed in 1942 while parachuting by the Japanese Army Air Force while flying in defense of the Burma Road. He was buried with the full military honors due to a Colonel in the Chinese Air Force.
- Rossi, J.R. "History: The Flying Tigers - American Volunteer Group - Chinese Air Force".
- Glaess, Andy. "Christman, Allen Bert". American Volunteer Group; Flying Tigers. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011.
- The Sandman at Don Markstein's Toonopedia: "Adventure Comics #40 wasn't quite the character's first appearance, though. The 1939 issue of New York World's Fair Comics, an extra-big anthology DC put out to capitalize on the eponymous event, contained a Sandman story, and probably hit the stands a week or two before his first Adventure story (though the one in Adventure is believed to have been written and drawn earlier)." Archived from the original December 5, 2011.
- New York World's Fair #1 (1939), DC, Detective Comics, Inc. imprint at the Grand Comics Database: "First Sandman story to appear in print (before Adventure #40)."
- Adventure Comics #40 at the Grand Comics Database