Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Fine Meskin

Saterday Leftover Day

One of my regular visitors is preparing a book about Meskin for Fantagraphics. I am glad to see that this magnificent artist is finally getting his due. Mort Meskin started working in comics in the early forties. His energetic work for DC is pretty well known, but not very often reprinted, because DC's reprint series are all character based and he worked on none of the big ones. His two signature series from the forties, The Vigilante and Johnny Quick are now all but forgotten. Both would deserve a reprint volume of their own. Lately the internet has been buzzing with Meskin scans, but very little is known about him. Usually reprints of his work sollicit the comment that he must have been a huge influence on the work of Steve Ditko. And he was. But he was so much more than that. In the late forties he did some terrific work with Jerry Robinson, mostly on The Black Terror and Fighting Yank. i'll be giving the career of Jerry Robinson some more attention on this blog at a later point. Mort Meskin went on to work for the Simon and Kirby studio, producing scores of pages for their crime and love titles. His interest in psychiatry lead to a four issue run of The Strange World of Your Dreams, a very expensive four issue series to collect. From the mid-fifties onwards Meskin worked for DC. First for their war titles, then for their post code 'horror' titles. But this time around he was misused and probably abused by the editors. The soft spoken side of his character was taken by some as a character flaw. He left comics in the mid sixties for a much more satisfying career in advertising. If you want to read more about his life, ~I direct you to the site his sons have created in his honor. There. you'll also find a seperate section about George Roussos, who like Jerry Robinson started out as a Batman inker, but worked with Meskin a lot in his latger periods and was a family friend. Together they did a few stories for Stan Lee's Timely in the early fifties and this rarely seen collaboration for Standard's Out Of The Shadows. As far as I can see, it may be taken as a benchmark for their collaboration. Harry Mendrick has been examining the work of Meskin for the imon and Kirby studio over at his Simon and Kirby blog at the Kirby Museum site and the jury is still out as to how much of Meskin's later work there was inked by Roussos.

The cover for this issue will seem familiar to Timely collectors. It is a copy of an earlier cover of Adventures into Weird Worlds #27 by another unjustly forgotten gem from the fifties, Joe Maneely. The figure in the foreground seems to be by Meskin and/or Roussos as well. the five month time lapse between these two books make this intirely possible.

March 1954:

August 1954:


Steven Brower said...


Such great storytelling. This story is typical of this period, very condensed space and the claustrophobic feel lends itself well to this genre.

That cover's a real gem too.


Vince M said...

Thanks for posting this, Ger. I'm a huge Meskin fan, have been for years, but I've never seen him inked by Roussos before. This was a good match. But when Robinson paired with Meskin on Black Terror it was lightning in a bottle.

Glad to hear of the upcoming Meskin book, it's been LONG overdue. The similarities in Ditko's work is no accident, Ditko worked with Meskin at the Simon/Kirby studio during the Captain 3-D period, and also studied art under Jerry Robinson's tutelage at The Cartoonist & Illustrator's School, now named SVA.