Jamie Reigle asked me about how the FAMOUS FIRST EDITION of ACTION was done, and wondered if there had been any original art at all, since the story was cannibalized from Jerry & Joe’s newspaper strip pitch:
The technique to do the Golden Age reprints in the 1960s and 1970s started with a photographic process. A file copy of ACTION #1 was indeed cut up, then shot to create photostats the size of 10 x 15 original artwork that had virtually all of the color ‘dropped out.’ These stats had many imperfections in their lifework from the process, and occasional grey areas from the color. Young production artists were given the job of cleaning them up, freelance.
Many of my generation worked on them. I’m not sure who did ACTION #1, but some of the better ‘retouchers’ were Dave Manak, Steve Mitchell and Carl Gafford. During the 100 page giant era, when lots of these pages were being done, the work was often done in groups, and even non-art folks like me picked up rapidographs and joined in.
As for the original art, the cut panels were part of the art, but there was significant art extension and alteration to fit the format. Three folks claimed credit for that work to me over the years: Frank Shuster (Joe’s brother who lettered some of his early stories), Harry Lampert (who went on to draw the first Flash stories) and Sol Harrison (longtime DC production ace and early color separator). Never heard Joe’s version of these events.