Straight Arrow

The contract for the Straight Arrow newspaper strip was a three-part deal including Nabisco as owner of the character, Magazine Enterprises as producer of the strip and Bell Syndicate as the distributor.

John Belfi and Joe Certa were two experienced comic book artists who have been working as a team for Magazine Enterprises, drawing the bi­monthly western "Durango Kid" comic books. After Straight Arrow's sudden rise in popularity they were selected to draw the daily newspaper version. They were paired up with editor Ray Krank and writer Gardner Fox. Both of them also from Magazine Enterprises. The strip had the fictitious name of Ray Gardner as author with smaller credits to Belfi and Certa.

Production of the strip was a rather arduous process. This is the way the production process of the upcoming strip was described in an article from 1950:
"And preparation of the action-packed strip will take plenty of action. A week's strips for newspapers will go through this approximate process: The Enterprises editor and writer will first make a plot synopsis. This goes to Nabisco, which will check to see that the character is maintained. Coming back to Enterprises, the plot is then broken down into more specific action. This material goes to the Bronx studio of Certa, who draws in the characters; then to Belfi, who lives two miles away in the Bronx, for pencilling in the background. Then, back to Enterprises for re-check, on to Nabisco for re-check, back to Belfi for inking. On to Bell for sending to newspapers."

This newspaper version of Straight Arrow lasted only about a year.

Below is a typical daily strip from the newspaper version of Straight Arrow as produced by Magazine Enterprises, authored by Gardner Fox, drawn by Joe Certa and John Belfi and distributed by the Bell Syndicate.

Straight Arrow comic strip by Joe Certa and John Belfi

Image courtesy of Tom at Fanfare