Friday, July 12, 2013

Art Identification For Art Identification's Sake

Friday Comic Book Day.

John Severin and Bill Elder started their professional carer as penciller and inker at Prize. They are best known for their western stories in Prize Comics Western, taking over the book for a long time, before moving to EC (after which John Severin kept on doing the book on his own). Of course, they did other genres for Prize, too. Most notably a couple of romance stories for Smon and Kirby's Young Love and Young Romance. They also did a couple of crime stories for them. Most of their work was signed Severin and Elder, as is the first story here from Justice Traps The Guilty #14. The second one, from Justice Traps The Guilty #18, isn't though. Eventhough it is credited at the Grand Comicbook Database to John Severin with a possible Bill Elder ink credit, I see more of Elder than Severin here. I won't go as far as saying that it is penclled by Elder (tehre are some traces of Severin's style), but it's pretty damn close to me.

From that same issue of JTTG (as the collectors lovingly call it) is another question mark. Master art spotter Jim Vandeboncieur Jr. has notified the GCD that he thinks it might be a collaboration between John Sverin, Bill Elder and Harvey Kurtzman. If o, that is a great find, because new art jobs by Kurtzman are rare to find. And I think he is right. I too see the hand of Kurtzman and Elder on the inking at least. But I don't see John Severin and suspect a different penciller altogether. Unfortunately, this seems to be the infamous long figure penciller I have failed to recognize in many stories around this time (although I am pretty sure he was often inked by Leonard Starr). There is some resemblance to the pencils of Severin, but anything that he pencils look so undoubtably like his work that this doesn't fit. Could it have been another compatriot of theirs, Charlie Stern?


Diego Cordoba said...

The Severin/Elder collaboration was one of the greatest penciller and inker pairings ever. I only knew of their work for EC, so these images are real great treat and merit a book all on itself.

On the second story, from page 5 onwards, you can recognize Severin's pencils and the way he draws his figures. Maybe the first pages were pencilled and inked by Elder (recognizable Elder figures and faces), and Severin helped him for the last remaining pages.

The third story doesn't seem to be done by either of them, or was a very early effort, and indeed it seems to have some “rubbery" Kurtzman figures.

Ger, you should publish a book on all this material you've gathered through the years!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Well, at least I have the Prize Comics Westerns and some of the Prize romance and crime books. But these scans all come from books that were scanned bybothers at the cdigital comics museum. Where I am one of the people contributing scans on the Proze collection, by th way. Not all of those scans are of a printsuitable resolution. Still, I think I would have enough for a Best of Severin and Elder book, if anyone wants to try it.