Thursday, November 20, 2008

The War At DC

Friday Comic Book Day.

Today I am sharing some comic book pages I did not scan myself.

Last week I showed you a pretty rare Meskin/Roussos combination. Today more from the incomparable Mort Meskin. as I said, he started working for DC in the mid-fifties. DC was the company everyone wanted to work for, because they paid better than anyone else. They didn't want to hire every refugee from the shrinking comic book market. In fact, they specifically told some artists they would never hire anyone from certain companies, as they were the ones who (almost) ruined the industry with their unhealthy and unsightly horror books. When they did take someone on board they tried to force him into their house style. Around the time Meskin arrive, they were already trying to stifle the creativity out of Bernie Krigstein and Gene Colan, pestering them about not being able to deliver the right quality (which made Krigstein leave) or assigning them to inkers that would eventually leave nothing of their unique style (as was the case with Gene Colan). One of the most infamous anecdotes about Mort Meskin was, that he was at some point forced to crawl on the floor to show he did know how to drawn combat action. Not much art from this period is reprinted. Though the later work of Meskin is readily available in cheap copies of DC's early sixties horror and science fiction anthologies, his earlier work is much rarely seen. Which is too bad, because at that point he was still trying to impress someone and the pay wa such that he could put more time into it than he could afford at other companies. . DC won't be inclined to reprint this stuff, because it usually doesn't involve name characters and isn't from either of their major creative periods, the forties or the late fifties. I don't know what the copyright situation is, but when someone tries to include work from this period in a book, they have the clout to stop that from happening. Fantagraphics wanted to include some of Krigstein's DC work in their first anthology of his work as a comic book artist in the fifties. In the end they were only allowed (or opted themselves) to include a couple of pages.

From All American Men of War #17:

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