Monday, October 24, 2016

General Rules!

Sunday Meskin Measures.

Untangling the collaboration of Mort Meskin and George Roussos can be tricky. There is nothing George Roussos (or anyone) added to Meskin's work that he could not do or at least imitate himself. Even the worse aspects of Roussos' inking seem to be present in stories Meskin clearly did himself. Also, Meskin's working style (going from sparse lay-out to more detailed line art to inking and sometimes skipping any of the first two phases) doesn't really help us get an insight into where someone else could have fitted in.

George Roussos' own career does provide some clues. If you look at his development as an artist, he has a couple of weaknesses, whose solutions sometimes turn into his own stylistic tricks. Like the weird small chinned faces on many of his characters or the use of heavy black to eliminate detail in the inking (and drawing).

But there are questions there too. First of all, Roussos development as an artist is huge. Towards the end of the fifties, he starts to find a style of his own, that is similar to Meskin's but lighter. Clunkier, but better executed. And of course, then there is the GE Adventures series he did for more than 15 years for the Electric Company's informational giveaways. A better paying client he apparent spend a lot more time on those and I am sure he was paid enough to have people help him out when needed. On the third one, for instance, experienced spotters have seen the pencilling of Harry Anderson. And some Meskin spotters have seen him in some of the later ones.

Me, I am not so sure. I am certain Roussos was a capable enough artist by then to take Mort Meskin's tricks and make them his own. He also was a pretty good storyteller. In fact, he had always been. And if Mort Meskin had done some part of these, would they not have looked more like his work than this? I think I should try and show the whole run of these (now that I have reached the end of my Headline series) using the scans available on the Comic Book Museum and some from my own collection (which I can then donate to them). But let me start with a single later one so you can see for yourself if Meskin had anything to do with it or not.

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