Friday, November 29, 2013

A Comic Odyssee

Friday Comic Book Day.

When their company MikeRoss went bankrupt in the mid fifties due to bad sales and/or distribution problems artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito worked for just about every company before landing at C, where they went on to carry out their bit of comics history with their war stories and the early sixties superhero book Metal Men. They had a long (and more separate) career after that as well, but since I am preoccupied with the fifties here, here are two completely unknown Ross Andru stories from those hectic years. I have always liked Andru's early style a lot more than the slicker style he developed at DC or even the more action oriented style he used on Spiderman in the seventies. His grotesk faces and big eyes complimented a very good sense of storytelling. The high point was just about every book he did with Mike Esposito and Martin (Rosen)Thall for their own company. The sense of caricature and humor worked very well with their Mad imitation Get Lost, of course. But also on their romance books. Just before that they also did a superb run of western stories for Comic Media's Death Valley (which also saw some of Don Hecks earliest work). What I am showing here is in a similar style. The big eyes, the big cheeks, the exagerated bodies. After Ross Andru died Mike Esposito always said in interviews that Andru had to really work for his art, never finding the right balance and that he (as his inker) had to sometime correct his art and take out the parts that were too grotesk. Maybe that were the parts I like best.

I don't know what happened to the splash page on the second story, but I don't think that's by Andru.

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