During the late seventies, Cussler’s book, Raise the Titanic!, was adapted and serialized in the Sunday comic section of 130 newspapers, with a combined circulation in excess of 42 million by the Universal Press Syndicate of Mission, Kansas, under the title BEST SELLERS byline. The Strip ran in nearly every major newspaper across the country.
The panels were sketched by noted artist, Frank Bolle, a popular illustrator of the fifties, sixties and seventies, whose work complemented (among others) the Lone Ranger and Gene Autry books.
The comic strip began Monday, August 15, 1977, and ran until Sunday, October 9, 1977. It varied between three- and six-panel comics. Overall the panels are highly condensed, fun to read, and quite melodramatic as one would expect from such an endeavor. The strip is faithful to Cussler’s original to the extent that this was possible in an unlike and condensed medium. Inevitable, some liberties were taken with the adaptation. It is uncertain if Bolle did both the drawings and the adaptation, as Bolle is listed only as the artist.
While this serialization did not launch Pitt as the literary icon he would eventually become, it did bring about a certain awareness of NUMA’s fictional Special Projects Director beyond the confines of Cussler’s books.
The well-drawn, black and white strip had a total of 192 panels and ran daily over the course of eight weeks. Any part of the strip is worth taking a look at.
(Wayne Valero, The Collector’s Guide To Clive Cussler, Morris Publishing, Copyright 2000, Section 27, Pgs 129-130)