Monday, July 15, 2019

Another Lovely Meskin Revisited

Sunday Meskin Repair Measures.

As regulars of this blog know, I have shown large parts of Mort Meskin's work and career. In fact, I have almost shown everything. The only exception is his early DC work, which was often in books that are too expensive for me to get and to copyrightprotected to find online. I often had to rely on donations by fellow Meskin fans, such as Sandy Jarrell. To make matters worse, what did show, was not in a system that allows me to see what I did and did not use. So when I found a couple of issues of Action Comics with The Vigilante in them, I could not really see if I had done them before. This one at least seems to be earlier than most I have done. I am still hoping for a Complete Johnny Quick and/or a complte The Vigilante. Or even a 'best of' as long as it would include all the splash pages.

I will add some commentary to show why I like this strip (and Mort Meskin) so much. I hope you will do the same in the comments.

Like all good comic strip artists, Mort Meskin was as much a designer as an artist. In this splash page he shows how to create focus , create depth and suggest movement, all in one drawing.

The one thing I am not particulary mad about (in all of this story) is the ink work. Mort Meskin was an artist who could do it all: lay-out, pencil, ink, spot blacks. In most collaborations he gave away some part of this four step appoach. There are some later Vigilante and Johnny Quick stories that were inked by Joe Kubert, for instance. On those occasions, the inker was credited. On other occasions, he created his style just by inking and one can wonder how much he even pencilled. Here, very little is added at the inking stage making it look like a bit of a rush job.

Meskin love circular panels and spotlights. It's all about focussing the reader's attantion on the action - and getting away with a little drawing as possible. In a circular panel or spotlight, it doesn't show you are not using a lot of background.

In the two middle panels, you can see Meskin's dynamic appraoch to action (less uncommon in his time). Characters are not always standing up straight in the middle. Somtimes the horizon is tilted and sometimes faces are cut off by the panel borders. Less is more. While western comics have drifted towards the overillustrated, manga has used this principle to gain a larger audience.

Panel five is one of the few panels that hint of a background here, and very atmospheric too.

I've been told that artists can be identified by how they draw a punch. Does the fist connect (as Meskin does here) or do we see it after it hit the opponent (like Jack Kirby does)?

Again, the spotlight provided siome much needed solidity.

All the focus on this page goes to the kid's face in panel three.

The lay-out of the last panel is very weird. And yet, it is typically Mort Meskin. The space between the characters gives more attention to the speaker.

The first panel has too much text, of course. Changing it to a top shot, gives the artist more chance to draw the motor.

Here we see Mort Mskin drawing a non-connecting punch. I have to have a look what his usual m.o. was.

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