Big Ben Bolt

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Big Ben Bolt
Bigbenbolt726.jpg
John Cullen Murphy's Big Ben Bolt (July 26, 1978).
Author(s)Elliot Caplin
Illustrator(s)John Cullen Murphy (1950-1977)
Gray Morrow (1977–1978)
Current status/scheduleConcluded; Daily & Sunday
Launch dateFebruary 20, 1950
End date1978
Syndicate(s)King Features Syndicate
Genre(s)Sports, adventure

Big Ben Bolt is a comic strip that was syndicated from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was drawn by John Cullen Murphy, written by Elliot Caplin, and distributed by King Features Syndicate. The strip followed the adventures of boxer and journalist Ben Bolt.[1][2]

Publication history[edit]

Big Ben Bolt panel from 1950, the strip's first year.

In 1950, writer Elliot Caplin (brother of Li'l Abner cartoonist Al Capp) suggested that Murphy illustrate a boxing comic strip he had in mind. Comics historian Don Markstein wrote:

King Features Syndicate launched Ben's daily strip on February 20, 1950, and the Sunday version on May 25, 1952. The character's name was probably taken from Thomas Dunn English's poem, "Ben Bolt", which has remained popular since it first appeared in 1843.[3]

Murphy was the artist of Big Ben Bolt from 1950 to 1978.[4] He occasionally used assistants, including Al Williamson (Flash Gordon), Alex Kotzky (Apartment 3-G), Neal Adams (Deadman), John Celardo (Tarzan) and Stan Drake (The Heart of Juliet Jones). In 1971, Murphy took over Prince Valiant, and Gray Morrow stepped in to draw Big Ben Bolt, eventually signing the strip starting August 1, 1977. Big Ben Bolt ended during the second half of 1978.

King Features' email service, DailyINK, began carrying Big Ben Bolt in June 2010.[5]

Characters and story[edit]

As Markstein writes,

Ben himself ran against stereotype. Instead of a big, dumb hitting machine, he was an articulate college graduate who had chosen a boxing career because he enjoyed and was good at it (winning the world heavyweight championship early on), not because other fields weren't open to him. In fact, when, in 1955, an injury took him out of the ring, he went into journalism. For decades, his adventures revolved around writing about, rather than practicing, his chosen sport.[3]

Awards[edit]

Murphy received the National Cartoonists Society's Award for Story Comic Strip for 1971 for his work on Big Ben Bolt and Prince Valiant.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FFF - Fumetto, Big Ben Bolt". www.lfb.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  2. ^ Guida Fumetto Italiano. "Guida Fumetto Italiano". www.guidafumettoitaliano.com. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  3. ^ a b Big Ben Bolt at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015.
  4. ^ The Archivist (February 12, 2015). "Ask the Archivist: BIG BEN BOLT". Comics Kingdom.
  5. ^ Koenigsberg, Moses (1941). King News: An Autobiography. F.A. Stokes Company. p. 511. ISBN 0836999177.
  6. ^ "Newspaper Strips — See Winners → Story". National Cartoonists Society. Retrieved October 10, 2018.

Further reading[edit]