Rex Morgan Finds 1950s Comics

Panel from Rex Morgan, M.D., from June 4, 2016

You probably don’t read Rex Morgan, M.D.. It’s an old-fashioned soap opera comic strip, created in 1948 by psychiatrist Nicholas P. Dallis. (He also created Judge Parker (1952-present) and Apartment 3-G (1961-2015).) Currently, it’s written by Woody Wilson (since 1990) and drawn by Terry Beatty (since 2014). Update: Beatty has commented below that he’s been writing the strip as well since May.

I have found the current storyline pretty interesting, though, as an odd topic for a doctor comic to tackle. It started on May 24, when Rex, getting ready to sell his house and move, takes his six-year-old daughter with him to clean out the attic. On May 27, the little girl finds something under the floorboards — we find out on May 29 that it’s a stash of 1950s comic books!

Rex Morgan, M.D. from May 29, 2016

Buck, the comic buddy, calls the stack of “Tales of the Creep” “near mint”, which is the most unbelievable part of the whole story to me. Do you know what happens to cheap newsprint paper left in an attic (which generally isn’t climate-controlled) for 60 years? It turns brown and brittle, that’s what. Those would be some crispy comics, not “newsstand fresh” as they’re later referred to.

Rex Morgan, M.D. from June 4, 2016

Rex contacts the previous owner of the house, who reveals on June 5 that his dad was the artist of the comics! These were his file copies, but “when the bottom fell out of the horror comics business”, Dad threw out all his comics and art. The son rescued them and hid them in the attic.

The eventual tally is two complete sets of the horror comic title, various other comics, and 160 pages of original art, making up 20 complete stories and covers… worth at least half a million dollars. Rex, kind-hearted as he is, gives it all back to the son, who’s concerned by what his father might do knowing it’s all been found, since he threw them out in the first place. (Temperamental artists, don’t’cha know?)

The storyline so far is summed up on June 12 before we switch to a benefit Rex and wife June are going to. We resume on on June 21, when the publisher of Vintage Comics, who put out the horror titles, reveals they’ve been reprinting the dad’s work and have a TV deal in the works. Dad is due a huge royalty check! They also want to have him as a guest at “the world comic con“.

Dad turns out to be attending the same benefit as the Morgans, where we finally find out his take on things.

Rex Morgan, M.D. from June 26, 2016

That’s the last until the family thank the little girl for their happy ending and hire a fan with no business experience as their agent.

While reading this over the past month, I was curious if they were going to go into details about why the horror comics business changed so much, and we got that one nod to it, with the happy ending of outlasting the busybodies and getting a nice chunk of change now that the tide has turned.



6 comments

  • Terry Beatty

    Glad to see Rex getting some attention here. I would like to make one correction — Woody Wilson no longer writes the strip. I’ve been writing AND drawing Rex since early May. The comic book storyline is all mine — there is no “they” — only me.

    Yes, it’s a stretch to have the books be minty fresh — but then again, they were wrapped up in protective packages and hidden tightly under insulated floorboards — so why not? It’s all make-believe, anyhow, isn’t it? As for going deeper into the changing attitudes about horror comics — well, I only have a few panels per day — and other plot lines running, too — one can only do so much. But the “Horrible Hank” story isn’t done yet, as we’ll see more about this over the next few months.

  • Wow, how exciting to hear from the author! Thanks for the corrections — I was going by the info on the strip website and wikipedia, so sounds like they’re a few months behind in the creative changes. I’m glad to hear that this story isn’t over yet. I’ll keep reading to see what more happens.

  • Mike

    Having gotten comics that were put away like this unpreserved after a long time, their condition would be varied. If they were in a pile, the ones lower in the pile would be in better condition.

  • Ricken

    I loved the old lady with the old Tudor house and her nutty boyfriend who didn’t want Rex and June to buy the house. They were introduced, but then abruptly taken out. Can they somehow be woven back in?

    And please bring Mrs. P back soon.

  • Terry Beatty

    Cilla and her nutty boyfriends are, sorry to tell you, history.

    Mrs. P. will return.

  • Terry Beatty

    That’s boyfriend, singular, not plural… fat fingers this morning.

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