Sunday Meskin Measures.
This summer a new painting by van Gogh was discovered. As is always the case with these 'new' findings, it was a painting that had previously been dismissed as not being by van Gogh. In the comic book world we art spotters face similar problems. Most of the stories and books are known and have been seen by many, but even though art styles are highly individual, when artists start influencing or even imitating each other, it can become quite hard to identify a story with certainty and often various spotters will go back and forth. Take for instance the Mort Meskin/Gorge Roussos conundrum. Mort Meskin was a terrific and prolific artist, who could pencil the stuffing out of any story. If you see his pencil work for stories he did in the late forties, it is hard to see anyone could have anything to add to it at the inking stage. On the other hand, he was a very good and fast inker as well and often would only pencil lightly to finish the art while inking. He also was an artist who was hindered by periods of hesitation and selfdoubt and it was known that he needed help in those periods. In some stories, the help is supposed to have been a doodle on the blank page, after which he could pick up by himself. In other cases the help is supposed to be in the pencilling stage, but when you look at the work it seems inked by the supposed helper rather than pencilled. George Roussos was a decent artist but a superb inker in the forties, who was never out of work. Because he used so much black in his inking, he was called 'inky'. And in the early to mid forties he sometimes overwhelmed the work he was inking - or his own pencils, for that matter. In the late fifties, he lived with Mort Meskin and took on a lot of superfluous characteristics of his style. Because of that and because it was known they did a lot of work together, it is often assumed that an unsigned Mort Meskin piece must have been inked by Roussos. But Roussos had a few tricks of his own as well, not in the least his habit of using a lot of black on three quarter faces.
Now here we have two stories from DC's My Greatest Adventure, both of which are noted to have been inked by Roussos. I have my doubts about the first one, though. I know it is pencilled by Meskin and that much is obvious, but I wonder if Meskin isn't the inker here as well. I see none of Roussos' characteristics and many of Meskin's. But Meskin sometimes signed his work and he didn't here. So what was the reason for that. As luck would have it, there is a story that's inked and pencilled by Roussos in the same issue. So now we can look and compare. The differences are obvious, but are they because Roussos the inker followed Meskin the penciller more loosely than he did his own pencilling work?