8202015

Upon discovering the Candy Comics series, I had a hunch that Harry Sahle possessed the potential to create a remarkable Golden Age of Comics (GGA) cover that could easily rank among the top twenty. While Candy was not the ideal platform for such recognition, it was the character “America’s Funniest Hillbilly” Hickory that truly fit the bill. The third issue of this series, featured here, was published by Quality Comics in February 1950. Unfortunately, this promising title was short-lived, as it was cut short by Harry Sahle’s untimely death in September 1950, at the young age of 38.

Harry Sahle was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1912, and he embarked on his career as a cartoonist in the 1930s, contributing to publications like Boy’s Life. In August 1940, he teamed up with writer George Kapitan to create the Black Widow, a character who is often credited as the first female costumed superhero, in Mystic Comics #4. Published by Timely, the precursor to Marvel, this supernatural antihero was notorious for collecting the souls of evildoers for Satan. She continued her soul-gathering missions in Mystic #5, #7, USA Comics #5 (summer, 1942), and her last appearance was in All Select Comics #1 (Fall, 1943).

During this period, Sahle also began working for Archie Publications, where he contributed to titles like The Black Hood, Red Rube, and Steel Sterling. Eventually, he became involved with the immensely popular character Archie himself.

After a brief hiatus from comics lasting about a year, he returned to work for Quality Comics. There, he continued to explore the teen humor genre with Candy, essentially a female counterpart to Archie.

In the summer of 1949, Sahle even took on a teaching role at the Salwen School of Art in Cleveland. Notably, Sahle collaborated with Mickey Spillane on the character Mike Danger, which served as an early incarnation of what Spillane would later develop into Mike Hammer, the iconic detective.