Saturday Leftover Day.
I am weary of the words 'journeyman artist', which are often used to describe competent artists who for some reason either didn't fullfill their potential or didn't reach the better paying or better remembered jobs. If researching the length and breath of comic and newspaper strips, there are very few socalled jorneymen artists who are mediocre. Okay, some of them let go of their ambitions later in life, such as Paul Reinman, Don Heck or even Mike Sekowsky and some cold nevertruly create anything and had to life of other peoples swipes and concepts (John Prentice comes to mind). But the majority of the artists working in comics, despite the scorn that was put upon them by the world at large had something unique that went way beyond stylistic competence. It is only in the world of advertising art and magazine illustration, that you can find the true hack in my opinion, people who chose to stay in the confines of accepted taste and ended up all looking the same. But in comics, I have come across very few artists who didnt at least have some period where they produced some unique and fascinating work, maybe not always as an artist, but as a storyteller as well. Maybe it is that story-telling aspect that forces artists to give something of themselves, something that makes their work more than just 'journeyman'.
Case in point, here is a comic book story from the late fifties by Peter Morisi. When Peter Morisi started out in the forties, he was a big fan of the work of George Tuska (shown here this week). So much so, that he sought out Tuska and ended up working together with him, or at least in the same studio. I have never found any work that seemed to me to be a collaboration between the two artists, even though some historians have suggested there might be. One of the odd things about this pair of artists, is the fact that George Tuska was just as much a fan of Morisi's work as the other way around. Even though they worked in a similar stylistic idiom, taken from the work of Milton Caniff, they both had their own idiosyncrasies and strengths. Tuska's was a very direct and clear, almost comical way of drawing his characters. Morisi took a lot from that and often, when a Peter Morisi drawn story is mistaken for one by Tuska, it is because the hero seems to have come out of Tuska's stable. But Morisi had his own unique way of telling a story and a much more intricate sense of composition than Tuska. While Tuska simplified his style in the sixties (almost to the point of blandness), Morisi got more and more rarified and as such his work for Charlton is still collected by a group of fanatic fans. This story, showing a great sense of design as well as storytelling, is an earlier effort form the fifties. I think it is one of his best stories and it shows kinship with the later work of Al Williamson... albeit with a completely different inkline.
From Uncanny Tales #48: