Friday, January 04, 2013

Who Knew Who Drew Drew?

Friday Comic Book Day.

In the early fifties Jerry Grandenetti drew an interesting series of ghost breaker stories for Fiction House. Or at least, we think it was Grandenetti, because he said so. The art for these stories looks remarkably like that of Will Eisner. The official story is, that Eisner developed the series for Fiction House (who were also packaging his spirit stories by then). Grandenetti, who at that time drew for the Spirit as well, was instructed to give the series Eisner's trademark style. This he did so well, that recently some people (including the master art spotter John Vandebonceur) have been saying that the majority of those stories were actually by Eisner himself and not by Grandenetti. Proof of this is the fact that the later stories that Grandenetti drew in his own style, look nothing like and nothing as mature as the earlier ones. To add fuel to the debate, here is an early Dr. Drew (in the Eisner style), later one he did n his own style (already showing the Joe Kubert influence that would show up at DC later in the fifties) and a romance story Grandenetti did on his own a couple of years before that.
























7 comments:

Smurfswacker said...

I've long wondered about these. I didn't realize that Jim thinks Eisner, rather than Grandenetti, did these Drew strips.

It's not impossible that Grandenetti slavishly copied Eisner's style and chose (or was permitted) to drop it to "be himself" when he started signing the feature. However JG's "himself" style is so radically different from Eisner's that it's easy to believe someone else did the early spisodes.

I don't know any reason why JG would lie about working on Dcotor Drew. Isn't it possible that they were a shop job? For instance Grandenetti could have pencilled over Eisner layouts and Eisner returned for the inks.

Long ago I spoke with an artist who said he'd worked on the "Lorelei Rox" Spirit story. Apparently he'd pitched in on backgrounds. Nothing of him showed through in the finished product. Other artists claimed credit for that story, too. They may all have been right.

None said...

The scans for the first story are small but I still find it hard to believe that anyone would mistake it for as being penciled by Eisner. That said I am not familiar enough with Grandenetti's early style to say he did it.

Harry

SpaceLord said...

For further dicussion, see the website http://highest-standard.de/ghost-and-monster/.
Scroll down there to GHOST COMICS #10.
I don't think Grandenetti to be a liar, but could he imitate THAT perfectly?!
Smurfswacker's "shop job" theory sounds comforting.

Alberto said...

Hello folks.

I do agree that the "real Grandenetti" is the latter one, as is also testified by the "Spirit" sections he drew (pencilled, rather, as most of them were inked by A. C. Hollingsworth) in 1951-52.

Eisner might have helped on the Dr. Drews, but I do think that Abe Kanegson was there too, not only lettering them but also doing layouts and maybe more.

The search goes on...

Best,
Alberto

Alberto said...

Hello folks.

I do agree that the "real Grandenetti" is the latter one, as is also testified by the "Spirit" sections he drew (pencilled, rather, as most of them were inked by A. C. Hollingsworth) in 1951-52.

Eisner might have helped on the Dr. Drews, but I do think that Abe Kanegson was there too, not only lettering them but also doing layouts and maybe more.

The search goes on...

Best,
Alberto

Unknown said...

Since I'm being quoted, perhaps it's best to give my evidence and reasoning first hand. Grandenetti's earliest known work is at the Eisner studio assisting on The Spirit in 1947. His first comic book work is Spring 1949 in Baseball Comics #1. The story has an Eisner-ish feel to it, including the Abe Kanegson lettering, but won't fool you into thinking it's by Eisner. The first Dr. Drew, in Rangers #47 (June 1949) WILL fool you. It's Eisner to the core. I believe that Eisner was giving Grandenetti a boost into the competitive comic book field. All the Dr. Drews through Rangers #56 (Dec. 1950) feature Kanegson lettering and Eisner layouts and pencils. It's pretty obvious. For comparison, see signed Grandenett in 1950 Gleason romance issues Lovers Lane #4 and Boy Meets Girl #3 - both available on Digital Comic Museum or Comic Book Plus. Judge for yourself.

And it's Jim, Ger, not John.

Peace, (|:{>

Unknown said...

Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. here again. To further clarify Ger's post and and my comment: Lovers Lane #4 and Boy Meets Girl #3 are the sources of the two romance stories Ger shows in his original post. Both appeared in 1950 Gleason comics concurrent with Dr. Drew strips done in the full-on Will Eisner/Abe Kanegson/Jerry Grendenetti signed era (i.e. Rangers 47-56). I believe that the Gleason signed Grandenetti is solo Grandenetti and that the Fiction House Grandenetti on the ten Dr. Drew strips until Dec. 1950 are a product of the Will Eisner Spirit Studio done to jump start the career outside of the studio of a very talented but unknown studio member. All of the Rangers and Gleason romance books can be perused on digitalcomicmuseum.com. I believe an objective mind will find Eisner's contributions inescapable. Thanks for listening.

Peace, Jim (|:{>