Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Shadow of A Draut

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Here's another Meskin DC stoy from when he returned to DC in the mid fifties. If you like this sort of thing, I can recommend the new Showcase Presents Tales of the Unexpected book,which reprints in black and white the first twenty issues of their 'third' fantasy book (after House of Mystery and House of Secrets).

I don't know why they chose this one to start with, maybe because the material in House of Mystery is even four years older and there already is a Showcase Presents House of Mystery #1 which begins at the restart in the late sixties featuring amongst others the work of Bernie Wrightson. Anyway, I am glad, becuase it is a series I have not seen as much and it has a lot to go for it. Ten stories by Meskin, one cover, work by Johh Prentice (who then already doig Rip Kirby so how he managed I don't know), Ruben Moreira, Bernard Bailey, Leonard Starr and some guy named Jack Kirby. Sadly, Meskin doesn't make it to the back cover, where Bill Ely, Nick Cardu and Sheldon Moldoff are mentioned even though they don't produce more material then Meskin did.

Also not mentioned (and only featured with a couple of stories) is George Roussos. These early stories give me a good handle on the differences between Roussos and Meskin, who seem to look so much more alike ten years later. The credits are to be taken with a grain of salt. In the first isseue there are two stories credited to John Prentice, but it seems to me the second one is defenitively by Leonard Starr. Also, in the first Mort Mekin story Bill Draut is credited as the penciller, which seems possible. But if it is, the second Meskin story has the same look so it should have Draut added as well. All three of these credits seem to have been taken from the Grand Comic Book Datebase, which used to have a bad reputation for this sort of thing but who seem to have cleaned up there act considerably over the last five years. And most of thier DC credits are faultless because they were taken from the editors private records. A rare slipup, but unfortunate nonetheless.

I have added the two Meskin stories so you can see for yourself. Is the third stoy pencilled by Draut or is it just Mort Meskin doing more of a finish than normal?


Smurfswacker said...

Very interesting! But aren't the last two stories Meskin inked by Draut? It's particularly visible on the small heads in the second story (Page 2 Panel 1; Page 5 Panel 4, etc.). Many of these heads show Draut's drawing style, his slick finish and his trademarked tousled hair.

The third story reveals fewer obvious Draut touches. However in the last panel of page 4 both the woman on the left and the man in the coat on the right show his manner of doing eyebrows, eyes and mouths.

A Draut ink job would also explain the slick inking of drapery throughout both stories. Even if Meskin were consciously trying to change styles, that just isn't the way he drew folds.

In the third story it looks almost as if Draut took special care to follow Meskin's pencils...resulting in fewer "automatic redraws" on the minor characters.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

My first thought was, there might be a difference between the two stories (the second and the third posed here). I agree with the GCD that the first story could have been penciled by Draut. Some of the figures and poses suggest as much to me. The last panel on page three, for example looks more Drautish than can be explained by Draut taking liberties while inking. In the second story the Draut influence is nowehere as clear, the fighting guys on the doorstep even look distinctly Meskinlike to me. Using some of the things we now about Meskin, that he had trouble getting started on a page and needed some assistance there every once in a while, I would have thought that the first story was set up by Draut and finished by Meskin. The inking also has the distinctive double stroke Meskin used and none of the dotted foliage Draut always uses). Harry Mendrick also says to look for the eyebrows, which I haven't done yet and can't do while I am typing this.

The second story looks more Meskin pencilled and the roles may even be reversed here, with Draut inking Meskin. But this would be highly untypical, because Meskin never needed inkers, he needed pencillers. So I am going with either a very consrvitive Meskin or maybe Draut still did lay-out.

None said...

I just picked up my copy of the DC Showcase book and will offer my two cents (maybe actually worth one cent because this is the period that I am least familiar). "The Day I floated..." is Meskin pencils but at this time I will pass on trying to identify the inker. "The Fastest Man Alive" is Draut pencils and inks. The pencils for "The Man Nobody Could See" sure look like Meskin to me but there are so many Draut traits that I am certain he was the inker.

None said...

Not sure why, by my comment came out as None. But my secret identity is Harry Mendryk

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Now that you see it, I do two. The second story may seem like something Meskin would do, but it could just as well be all Draut.