« They’re drinkin’ red-eye, playin’ stud poker, and havin’ a high old time! I’ll just hang around awhile… »
In the mid-1970s, thanks to Pat Boyette’s connections in Texas, Charlton Publications found themselves able to affordably produce painted covers, a development that several members of their iconoclastic stable of artists took full and glorious advantage of. Tom Sutton, Don Newton and Boyette were naturals, but Warren Sattler often gets unfairly sidelined from that esteemed lot… perhaps because he rarely worked for Charlton’s ghost books. Each of his cover paintings was produced for the publisher’s western / martial art adventure series, Yang, House of Yang, and Billy the Kid. And he alone worked in that most unforgiving of media, watercolours, wherein, unlike oils or acrylics, one requires unerring confidence and dexterity if you’re aiming to come up with anything above a muddy mess.
Today, Mr. Sattler (born September 7, 1934, in Meriden, Connecticut, where he resides to this day) celebrates his eighty-fourth birthday. Let’s wish him all the best!
Over the years, I’ve become quite enthused with Charlton’s long-running Billy the Kid series (1957-1983!), which featured over the years the artwork of such luminaries as John Severin, Maurice Whitman, Rocco “Rocke” Mastroserio, José Delbo and of course Mr. Sattler. As far as I know, Joe Gill just about wrote the entire series, which is one of its chief pleasures: over a hundred issues of consistent characterization of young Bill Bonney as a peace-loving, unprejudiced champion of the underdog whom his amigos in Old México fondly nicknamed « El Chivito ». I know, hardly the real-life Bill Bonney, but what could one expect under the Comics Code Authority‘s heavy thumb?
Several of Mr. Sattler’s cover paintings have, thank goodness, survived destruction. They have to be viewed in person to be fully appreciated. For the nonce, we’ll make do with mere digital reproductions.
As El Chivito’s many friends across the border would surely say, « ¡Que cumplas muchos más! », and thanks for everything!