Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Foster Was A Rolling Stone

Wednesday Advertising Day.

Steve Brower, writer of the recent Mort Meskin biography From Shadow To Light (an excellent book, by the way, with lots of great and rare material provided by Meskin's sons) wwas wondering out loud what his next subject would be. Personally I would certainly buy a book about this post's artist, Dan Barry. Barry is indeed one of the last forgotten greats. In the late forties, he almost singedhandedly crated the style that became the template for all of DC's output until well into the sixties. In 1952, he took over the daily version of Flash Gordon and turned it into a very readable series. Maybe because his influence on artists such as Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane and Mike Sekowsky was so big, some of his work now seems dated. But when it first appeared, he was miles ahead of most artists in the business. It would be hard to do a book about him, as revealing as the Mort Meskin book. The many originals, sketches and unused pieces privided by his sons are not available for Barry. But many of the people who knew and worked with him are still alive, such as the aforementioned Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella, writer Harry Harrison (who wrote the Flash Gordon strip for many years) and his brother Sy Barry, who could possibly also turn some light on the personal life of the man. I have a lot of Barry's early work lying around my office, but most of it still must be scanned. So I started with one of the rarest piece, a 16 page propaganda booklet distributed through the GM information service. As I have said before, Will Eisner's American Visuals did not play the trailblazing role he has sometimes made it out to be. Many others worked in the field, some exclusively. Barry did at least two 16 books, the second of which I will prepare sometime this month. Like the Lou Fine booklet, which was too slick for some, I am very much impressed by Barry's artwork here. It has all his qualities: solid storytelling, an eye for detail and a set of great Runyonesk characters. Some of these types would tun up in Flash Gordon as well.

1 comment:

rnigma said...

The car at the bottom of page 12 looks like a 1948 Packard... which was not a GM product!