Hi, I'm Bill. This is my show. Let's begin.
My wife has one of those wonderful DSL dragon plaques hanging on the wall. It is a true work of art.
I don't think comic book writers were ever paid by the word -- and if they were, this story is well past the time that would have happened. It's from TRUE-TO-LIFE ROMANCES 9, in 1950, and Jerry Siegel was being paid by he page in the late 30s, as were Simon & Kirby and pretty much anyone else who's told stories of that era.
I think this page is so wordy either because the editor and writer didn't know what they were doing, or because they actively asked for this.
It's published by Star Publications, which had only been in business for a few months, so it's possible they were still figuring this comics thing out, but on the other hand, it's an imitation of the Simon & Kirby romance comics, which were very wordy themselves -- though not anywhere near this wordy. So maybe their editors were telling the writers to go wordy. The cover to this issue alone has enough text on it to fill at least three or four modern comics.
Other stories in the issue are wordy but not this bad, and later issues get much less wordy over time, so many they were just figuring it out. Or maybe they fired that guy. Whatever the case, they considered this nightmare of a story worth reprinting, since they reused it two and a half years later.
And I've got romance comics from 1958 that are this wordy. But for all I know they're reprints too.
Anyway: I think this story's like this because somebody didn't know better, but the writer didn't get paid extra for cramming the page with so many words that there was no room for the art.
And I figure that Norman Nodel, who was almost certainly being paid by the page, was pleased to get a full page rate for drawing about a third of a page of content...
I remember when a girl in my US History class in junior high school showed me her Basic D&D booklet (in 1981 or 1982), and the artwork is what really got me interested. Even after all these years, the Jeff Dee illustration of the human kneeling down to speak with a halfling, EO's three wizards trying to divvy treasure, and the little piece you did of the footman in plate with the morning star/morgenstern facing off against the rider with a lance are still what I associate with D&D (I got my own D&D Basic book for Christmas of the same year I was introduced to it).
The cleaning story is pretty funny. Well, maybe not so much for you though! In my young mind, I always imagined that the art in the modules must have sprung from gaming sessions. That you, Jeff, Otus, etc. must have sat around playing the module and then came up with the art from an exciting encounter. I guess that might be partially true when you roomed with Diesel and Dee. Though there was probably less gaming going on when you've got a full time job and a house to clean!
I’ve read several books from Pro Se; will this be your first work with them?