Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't Have a Cow

Friday Comic Book Day.

I can trace back my love for the newspaper strip of the fifties to two books: Mort Walker's behind the scenes look at comic strips art Backstage At The Strips and Jerry Robinson's history of newpaper strips The comics : an illustrated history of comic strip art. One of the most exciting things in that last book was the one daily episode that was shown of Robinson's own newspaper strip Jet Scott. The book was resently revised and republished and I can still highly recommend it. Parts of Robinson's career are very well known. His work as an artist on th early Batman stories, his creation of the Joker and his possible part in the creation of Batman. His work with Mort Meskin in the late forties. His work as a political cartoonist and his creation of the Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, that distributed the work of non American political cartoonists toAmerican papers. Other parts of his career are less known, inclusing most of his work in the fifties and sixties. I have cllected a lot of that stuff and hope to be able to show it here. That includes more of Jet Scott, a fascinating strip but not Robinson's best work.I have stated here before that I think the work he did for Stan Lee in the fifties should be counted among his greatest accomlishments. He worked for Lee in two periods. The first, from the late forties until he started Jet Scott. The second a shorter period in the mid fifties after Jet Scott folded. His first assignments werr mostly crime stories and when that genre was phased out, he moved on to war books. Inboth cases he produced incredible work. Intricate and very well drawen, but always clear and easy to read. In the same period he tough evening classes in what was later to be called the New York School of Visual Art. Some of his students were Ross Andru, Mary Severin, Bob Forgione and Steve Ditko. Much has been made of Robinson's former partner Mort Meskin's influence on Ditko. I also see a far less obvious influnce on Ditko by Robinson, as you can probably see from the next two stories. The first is from the end of the first period, one of Roboinson's rare 'horror' stories, written by Stan Lee himself. Lee didn't write everything, but he did keep the best artists for himself. The second story is from Robinson's second period and I think it is one of the best and funniest he drew. For more informtion on the boks these stories were in, I refer you to the always ecellent Atlas Tales site.

1 comment: said...

The ending of that second story was quite the load of bull.