In 1941, two reporters working in the New York City area got an idea for a comic strip that would feature one of their own, an American investigative correspondent, working in and reporting from Europe. This was before the United States was pulled into the soon-to-be global conflict but war was already going strongly for other nations and Kermit Jaekiker and Charles Zerner had a story to tell.
Why they chose to use a single pseudonym to represent them is not known but according to Don Markstein's Toonopedia, they chose Paine to honor Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers and the man behind the Revolution's Common Sense.
According to my research, five different artists were to draw the strips throughout its 4-year run. Having different people work on a strip over the course of its life is in no way unusual. What is impressive is that the artists who came after the start of the series were able to keep the look and feel remarkably the same, in my unskilled opinion.
Elmer "Ed" Wexler was the initial artist and he worked on it for 156 strips from the first panel to May 30, 1942. He departed the strip, according to Markstein, to join the War effort by enlisting in the Marines.
He was replaced by Paul Norris who produced 348 panels starting with June 1, 1942 and going until July 10, 1943. He too left to aid in the actual conflict when, according to www.pulpartists.com, he was drafted.
David Moneypenny was handed the drawing pen and continued the artistic work from July 12, 1943 to February 12, 1944, a total of 186 panels. It is not known why he left the position.
It looks to my poor eyes that an artist who signed his work "Robinson" provided a dozen panels, Feb. 14 to Feb. 26 of 1944.
Then the last artist to work on the strip took over. Bernard Baily started his run on Feb. 28, 1944 and ended it with the final one on April 28, 1945, for 366 panels.
I do not know how much lead time was needed from when they got to work to when the first strip was printed in a newspaper but I am guestimating several months at least, said time being taken up with finding an artist that satisfied them, lining up newspapers that wanted to carry the strip, and then getting a distributor to handle the delivery.
I mention this because it is eerily interesting that the first strip about Vic Jordan would appear in print on December 1, 1941, a Monday. Six days later, before the second full week of the Mon-Sat strip would start, Pearl Harbor was attacked and America joined the War.
Another interesting fact is that the two writers decided to bring to an end the adventures of Jordan fighting the Axis. One of the newspapers carrying the strip said on the final day, May 28, 1945: "For some unknown reason the authors of 'Vic Jordan' have decided to discontinue the strip".
Besides the mystery as to why they chose to end it, it is again a tad chilling, albeit, of course, totally coincidental, that five days before the last strip, Benito Mussolini would be captured by partisans and executed. Two days after the last strip, Adolf Hitler would take cyanide and then blow his brains out.
For the character of Vic Jordan, however, he would be told that his services fighting with the Resistance in France and in Germany would be brought to an end and he would be allowed to recuperate from his recently suffered wounds back in the States.
Not to belabor the point but I have to enjoy the coincidences. The adventures of Vic Jordan fighting the Nazis in Europe started Dec. 1, 1941. On Dec. 11 of that year, 11 days later, Germany declared war of the United States. The adventures of Vic Jordan came to a close on Apr. 28, 1945. On May 8 of that year, 10 days later, V-E Day was declared, bringing the war in Europe to an end.
As was apparently the norm, there were Sunday editions of the strips but I have found only one of these Sunday strip online. What that showed me was that the Sunday augmented the weekday storyline (as opposed to a separate storyline). What this meant, in my opinion, is that the events on Sunday would be interesting but not necessarily crucial to the ongoing tale; this due to the likelihood that not all papers would run the Sunday edition OR that many subscribers would not receive the Sunday edition.