Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keri Krane -- another groundbreaking Golden Age series by Dick Briefer

Dick Briefer is famous among knowledgeable comic buffs (particularly here in Mippyville) as one of the best and most innovative cartoonists of the Golden Age. His fame rests almost entirely on his three interpretations of one character, Frankenstein.

But Briefer created other series as well and at least one also deserves a place in the history books. Keri Krane was (as far as I can tell) the first tough female private eye appearing in genuine noir stories. Briefer's style was light and there were humorous touches but these were not funny stories. As you can see here, Krane dealt with truly bad people and faced dangers that were decidedly non-cartoonish.


  1. Keri Krane is a new one one me. You're right: it's a well-written, tough story (though the ending is rushed) and a unique feature for its time. I'm not crazy about the choice of art style, though. Briefer's art is interesting, but the cartooniness detracts from the seriousness of the story. I think it would have had more impact with a darker, more realistic style. How many KK stories were there?

  2. I believe there were four or five. The art doesn't mesh with the story that well but I suspect that Briefer was still getting a feel for the series. He did some inspired work with some of the 50s Frankie stories where he employed cartoonish elements in some very dark tales (the whale and mummy stories are two of my favorites).

  3. Thank you so much posting! Briefer was a really interesting talent. His stories often come to a crashing halt, but he shares that with 90 percent of golden age cartoonists. I disagree that the style is wrong for the story. To me the art and story meshed very well--you wouldn't call Chester Gould "too cartoony"! (In the shot of what's her name wielding the whip on page 4 you get a hint, I think, of how good a hard boiled artist Briefer could have become.) Anyway, thanks again for posting!