Carl Shreve (1901 - 1988)

Carl Shreve was an American artist, journalist and adventurer who arrived in Australia mid 1936. By December Shreve was producing illustrations for magazines and newspapers including painted covers for The Australian Women's Weekly. The widely traveled Shreve exhibited paintings based on his travels in Sydney in 1938. During World War Two Shreve served as a Public Relations Officer for the American Marines in the South and South West Pacific, painting over 100 war settings for exhibition in Washington.

Covers in this post are from 1939 issues of The Australian Women's Weekly. Shreve was by far the most prolific cover artist during this period contributing twenty eight of the years fifty two covers.

Article on Shreve's arrival in Sydney from the Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 1936,


American Writer in Sydney.

Mr. Carl Shreve, an American magazine illustrator and author, arrived in Sydney by the Monowai yesterday, en route to French Indo-China. He said he Intended to return to Sydney after his trip to the East, and would then remain several months in Australia. He recently spent three years of adventurous travel in little-known parts of the East collecting material for a book of adventure, which was now in the hands of his New York publishers. During the tour he travelled over the Gobi Desert and into Siberia, travelled by elephant through the Siamese jungle, from Siam to Burma, and Journeyed to Tibet by aeroplane, returning via the Khyber Pass and bandit-ridden Afghanistan. When he returned to Australia, Mr. Shreve said, he intended to visit Darwin and Arnhem Land to see the aborigines in their savage state, and also to taste life as It was lived In the outback districts.

From The Australian Women's Weekly 2 Jan 1937,

THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY is proud to introduce to readers an outstanding personality in the advertising field, Carl Shreve, artist, journalist, and world-traveller. This noted artist was especially chosen by an important steamship line to interpret the color and adventure of the Far East, in a series of 43 romantic travel paintings in full color oil, which he has just completed. Gathering material for this achievement required six months' journeying throughout the Netherlands Indies and the Orient. His paintings of smart people in a leading motor car company's campaign for their discriminating clientele brought far-flung results to their sales department. The human interest quality of his girls for beauty products is well remembered by world advertisers. He has many other successful American campaigns, magazine covers, and story illustrations to his credit. The above photo shows him at work in his studio on the first picture he painted for The Australian Women's Weekly.

Roger Langridge - Flash Gordon: Kings Cross #1 Cover

As an Antipodean comics reader of a certain age I have a long held affection for Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom. Mandrake, from reading his adventures in my Grandmother's Australian Woman's Weekly and The Phantom from my Dad and Uncle who regularly picked up his comics for cheap entertainment. With the passing of their creator Lee Falk in 1999 I lost most enthusiasm for following their adventures but every now and then I find a modern take that's interesting.

In recent years Dynamite Comics have published comics teaming King Features characters Mandrake, Flash Gordon, and The Phantom (Currently Mandrake's pal Lothar)

Recently Roger Langridge contributed a cover for Flash Gordon: Kings Cross #1 featuring the King Features team up, I asked him a few questions and he generously shared some of the preliminary work that went into creating the cover.

Did you get any art direction before or after the penciling/rough stage for this cover?

I was asked to include Mandrake, Dynamite’s current Phantom (i.e. Lothar), the new lady Phantom and Flash Gordon. Beyond that, the details were pretty much left up to me. Once the initial sketch was approved, editor Nate Cosby requested that I do all of the lettering as part of the artwork, which I had more or less planned on doing anyway for the newspaper one, so the art I turned in didn’t require any pre-production beyond slapping it into InDesign (or whatever the cool kids use these days). 

Did you provide any input into the colouring of this cover? Or just leave in your trusty colourist's hands?

The trusty colourist was me, so the answer to both of those questions is yes! I’ve used that dot-screen trick before (where you can see the dots that make up the colours, Roy Lichenstein-style) a couple of times, so I felt, since I knew what I was doing there, that I would rather do it myself and make sure it was done the way I’d imagined it. There was one colouring note from Nate, to fix Lady Phantom’s hair colour (I made her look too blonde originally), but apart from that they went with what I turned in with no other changes.

You've worked on a few classic American newspaper strip characters in recent years are there any others you'd consider doing a stint on? (Would love to see you more Mandrake with you writing and drawing!)

I’d be up for that, although I don’t think Mandrake is quite the hot seller we’d both like it to be, unfortunately. Other characters I’d like to have a crack at: well,  I enjoyed the Barney Google/Popeye team-up in IDW’s Popeye #12 a whole lot; doing a regular Barney Google series in the style of Billy DeBeck would be a dream job for me. I’d love to have a go at Alley Oop, the time-travelling caveman, some time, too. And, as long as we’re fantasizing, let’s throw The Spirit on to that list as well! (I can dream, can’t I?)

Women In Comics Festival

This weekend at All Star Comics in Melbourne:

The All Star Women's Comic Book Club is excited to announce the first ever Women In Comics Festival! This is a celebration of the wonderful women who read, create, cosplay, geek out over, feature in, and are curious about comic books.

The festival runs over two big days at All Star Comics Melbourne December 10th and 11th. Women from across Australia will be selling their comics, zines and crafts at our Creators Market over the two days as well as other fun events, including face painting, colouring in, crafting, balloons, cosplay, and a drawing class!



11am-4pm: FREE sketches from 4 wonderful local creators

11-4pm: Creators Market

1pm-3pm: Signing with Hope Larson

4:30pm-5:30pm: Q&A with some of the industry's best!
Hope Larson (Batgirl, Compass South, Goldie Vance)
Savanna Ganucheau (Lumberjanes, Adventure Time, Invader Zim, Bloom)
Georgina Chadderton (Banksia project recipient, Alright Ghost Fans)
Mandy Ord (Sensitive Creatures, Trains, Rooftop)


Lots of great family-friendly activities like crafting and cosplay throughout the day, as well as the market! Stay tuned for more info!

11-5pm: Creators Market

11:30-1pm: FREE Comic drawing class with Jess Parker, for kids aged 8-12. Places are limited, so please message WICFest to register a spot for a young creator.