Well, after 1962, when Western Publishing stopped packaging Dell's comicbook line to start their own Gold Key imprint, DELL pretty much went downhill.DELL published mainly licensed characters (from cartoons, tv shows, movies, comic strip) and Western left with most of the publishing rights of the best of them (Disney, Looney Tunes/Warner, Hanna Barbera, etc.).MOst of the creative staff went away with Western as well, leaving Dell with very few quality artists, writers, editors...The quality of Dell's output after the split with Western was of very poor quality when compared to their apex in the Fifties when they were among the top selling comicbook publishers.
While everything you say is technically true, I've developed at least a bit of an appreciation for the late Dell's in recent years. Jack Sparling, Sal Trapani, Frank Springer, the Fraccio and Tallarico team...hardly the first tier of Silver Age comics artists but all pros and capable of pretty good work when you give it a chance.
You are a more open-minded than I will ever be Steve. ;)For me, the names you list represent exactly the bottom of the barrel as artists of the Silver Age go. Bland, unexciting, uninspired... There are probably many reasons why "post-Western Publishing" Dell Comics failed, but to me, the glaring difference in quality of their output before and after is obvious. Sure, there are still some good stuff to be found in 60's Dells. And I can certainly appreciate that, with the lost of their main licensed characters, Dell decided to experiment a lot more with their own creations. We can only speculate how these short-lived creations would have fared with better creative staff (including editors, writers, artists).