Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BAB Classic Rewind: Inkers -- Just What Should Be Their Role?

  This post was originally published on July 10 2010
It was re-published as part of our BAB Firsts feature on January 23 2015

Doug: Welcome back to the post that just keeps on running. We are revisiting this topic yet again, as we have something to add to it. Our pal pfgavigan was gracious enough to submit another strip for your perusal and commentary. He based this one on the post you're about to read (again). It struck a chord with him back in January, so he submitted his own topical response. It rests at the very bottom of today's post, and will hopefully generate even more conversation. I'd throw out, too, that today we could discuss not only inkers in general, but bad fits. Of course we know those great fits -- Terry Austin and anyone would be tops on that list. But what of the mismatches? Thanks, pfg, and to all others who will dive back in today!

Doug: I have inking on my mind today. Part of my preoccupation concerns the current series Karen and I are running on Mondays in July, what we're calling "George Perez July" and featuring four annuals with his pencil work. Last week's peek into Avengers Annual #6 showed the inks of Mike Esposito, et al. However, tomorrow and a week later we're going to see Perez under the influence of one Pablo Marcos. In the opinions of the Bronze Age Babies, the results are less than stellar. Fortunately, when we delve into X-Men Annual #3 to close out the feature, we'll be inspecting the embellishment of super-inker Terry Austin. Austin's run with John Byrne in the regular X-Men title is among the finest series of issues ever published.

Doug: The other reason I'm spending the better part of a Saturday fretting over these issues is the recent e-mail I received from TwoMorrows promoting their upcoming retrospective on the career of Vince Colletta. Now when any discussion of inkers comes up, Colletta's name is sure to be at the forefront of the "disdain" side. For further information on not only the book but on what Vinnie did to Jack Kirby, check out the preview of the book. By the way, the tome will hit shelves on July 30, and can be ordered at this link.

Doug: If you scroll down our sidebar, I've added a little retrospective of the pencilwork (some with inks) of John Buscema. After the Silver Age, Buscema was known mainly for providing breakdowns over which the inkers had some liberty in bringing the finished page to you. Of course one of Buscema's longest-running collaborators was Tom Palmer in the pages of The Avengers. Palmer seemed to stay pretty faithful to Buscema's "look". John was known to say that the only two inkers he preferred over his pencils were himself and his brother Sal. Recently I reviewed the TwoMorrows biography of Sal -- you can see his comments on inkers here.

Doug: What we'd like to do is begin a new feature on the blog that we'll call The Open Forum. Please feel free to use this like a message board. What I want to know today is your opinion on inkers you love, hate, what their role is, are pencillers too picky, etc. How do you feel about Colletta erasing parts of Kirby's panels? Do you think it was good or bad that Joe Sinnott somewhat "unified" the look of the Fantastic Four while inking over Kirby, Romita, Buscema, Perez, and Byrne? Are there some pencillers who make good inkers (I always thought Gil Kane was best on the Amazing Spider-Man when Romita inked the book), and others who never mastered the craft? Have at it...

Doug: Below is another gallery of John Buscema's work, featuring his layouts, tight pencils, inks on his own work, inks by Dave Cockrum (from Avengers #125) and by Dan Adkins (the Captain Mar-Vell frame). Submitted for your appreciation and inspection.







36 comments:

Herb Trimpe's Hulk said...

I've always felt the job of a good inker is to obscure the work of a bad artist and to not obscure the work of a good one.

As for the John Buscema thing, I've never been a fan of the way Buscema inked his own work. It always looked too flat somehow. I think my favourite inker for him was George Klein on The Avengers. I know John hated Alfredo Alcala's inks on his Conan stories, for almost completely obliterating his pencils, but there's no denying the final results looked gorgeous.

As for Vince Colletta, love him on Thor, hate him on the Fantastic Four. Horses for courses I suppose. I can understand why he would've driven pencillers up the wall though.

Doug said...

I agree that Buscema could sometimes seem flat -- I assume you're speaking of his faces. Even if you look at the Avengers rough I posted, you can see that of all the great things he could do, the 3/4 face view was sometimes not his strong suit.

It's funny about the image I posted of Dan Adkins' inks. I am a strong detractor of Adkins' work over Buscema on the Silver Surfer. I felt his line was really heavy and buried John's pencils. I would have to agree with you about Klein -- those were some super books to look at!

I'll agree with you on Colletta -- as different as his look was to Sinnott's, it seemed that he was as much suited to Kirby on Thor as Sinnott was to Kirby on the FF. How about all of the erasing? Wow... I'll bet Jack was just mortified.

Do you think Cockrum was right in imposing his facial look on the Avengers panel? Of course, it's been well-documented that Curt Swan was often brought in to "fix" the faces in the Superman mags.

Doug

Herb Trimpe's Hulk said...

Hi, Doug. I have to admit the panel above is the only example I've ever seen of Cockrum inking Buscema's work, so it's all I've got to go on but, from that, I don't like the effect. I'd simply never have guessed it was Buscema if you hadn't said so. Cockrum was a great comic book artist and so was Buscema and I wouldn't want to see either of them riding roughshod over the work of the other.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Coletta.....good with Kirby on Thor, not so much on anything else. I felt that way before I knew he was doing all the erasing.

As for Joe Sinnott, I liked the continuity he brought to FF. I always liked his inks over Kirby and Mike Royer's.

I'm not an artist, but I can imagine one being ticked off if an inker overpowers his work. I agree with Herb on what he said about the job of a good inker. Couldn't say it any better.

Darpy

Doug said...

Darpy -- welcome, and thanks for the comment.

To all -- now that we've posted our look at Avengers Annual #8 and you see the effect of Pablo Marcos over Perez, in stark contrast to earlier posts where Joe Sinnott or Mike Esposito inked him, what do you think?

Doug said...

To anyone who stumbles across this old topic, I'd encourage you to check out Jim Shooter's take on inking at

http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/05/inking-rant.html

Doug

J.A. Morris said...

If an inker is good, you should see a great combination of them and the penciler. Kirby/Sinnott, Byrne/Austin and Miller/Janson are classic examples.

But look at Byrne/Sinnott. You see some obvious Byrne pencils with touches of the "classic" FF look. The best of both, that's what the inker's role should be.

But let's take a look at these images (from an earlier BAB):
http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-cant-we-be-friends-incredible-hulk_10.html

A young George Perez is inked by Vince Colletta. We see more of Colletta than we do of Perez, which is something that should never happen.

Garett said...

John Buscema did some spectacular work when he inked himself, like on the Conan and lion image above. I wish he'd have drawn fewer comics in his career, and inked his own pencils more often. I own one page of his art that he inked, from Savage Sword. I liked Tony DeZuniga's inks over Buscema for Conan, as he brought a spontaneity and brushy flair to the linework. Ernie Chan/Chua's inking on the regular Conan comic was good, but in the later Savage Swords he became sloppy and obscured Buscema's fine lines. Alfredo Alcala lost some of Buscema's great lines, but added so much nice texturing on everything that it creates something good and new. In the old John Buscema yahoo group, inking was a constant topic of interest.

One aspect of modern comics I dislike is the tight tight inking. Earlier artists put more life and verve into their inking. The pencils were often looser, so the inkers had more freedom to put their stamp on the art. Frazetta had a super inking ability, and his quick ink sketches are some of my favorite works of his. I believe Bernie Wrightson was a Frazetta fan, and his inking is spectacular, on Swamp Thing and his later Frankenstein.

Romeo Tanghal really clicked with George Perez on New Teen Titans. He had Perez's detailed pencils to work with, but kept it both tight and fresh at the same time. Dick Giordano made so many DC covers look great during the Bronze Age, whether he was inking Andru, Dillin, Buckler or whoever.

Giordano also did a nice job on Frank Brunner's inks on Doctor Strange 1-5. I think the inker's job is sometimes to firm up a penciler who has a soft/cartoony style, and this is the case here. With great results! Same with Austin over Byrne on X-Men.

Another great thing about Wrightson was his use of shadows. Bob Layton added a slick shine to Iron Man's suit.

I was reading through the Warlord again recently, and Mike Grell inks the first 14 issues. Looks great-- sleek hatching lines, nice textures and shadows. Then in issue 15, Joe Rubenstein inks, and while normally he's a good inker, something just isn't the same. Later Colletta inks, and while the image is there, you can see it's not a labour of love as it was when Grell inked himself. Generally I like it best when an artist inks himself, as for better or worse you get to see who they are as an artist.

In the fine art world, Rembrandt had some amazing, expressive ink drawings. Great brushwork. We could use more of that in modern comics.

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Just my opinion, but I've always held that the inker was as essential a choice for a comic as the pencil artist. The inker is the last chance to establish the mood or the stylistic design of the book. Using Tomb of Dracula for example, during the first twelve issues it cycled through several talented inkers before Tom Palmer was permanently assigned to the book.

None of the other guys were bad, in fact, in my opinion, all of them were an improvement over Colan inking his own pages. But Palmer was the best possible match for the book and would have been able to embellish other artists pencils to maintain that level of quality.

By the by, to those who have written disparagingly regarding the artwork of Don Heck, I respect your right to hold and express your opinions. Mr. Heck certainly had some issues regarding his final rendition of his pencils and was among those artists who should have never inked their own works. But assign him inkers of talent such as Sinnott, Cockrum or McLaughlin on a book like the Avengers and he delivered the works. Indeed, check out, if you can, his final issue of Classic X-Men where he is embellished by Palmer. Looking at these pages I can instantly tell who the artist is, but he has been rendered in such a way as to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. The result is a very good book.

Thank you for your time and please excuse the rant.

pfgavigan

Humanbelly said...

Oh man, pfg-- we're gonna have to getcha into a ranting tutorial, I think. Nope, you're just not rising (well, or sinking, rather) to the level of threats, low-brow insults, shout-downs, SCREAMING IN CAPS, and completely unsupported mindless assertions of ill-informed opinions that one expects from a truly committed ranter. Nope. No hint of swearing either, it appears.

Or-- better you just stay here with us, eh? No need for you to go out there and get subsumed by the coarser, crasser swollen belly of the Undernet. (But if you venture away, let me recommend chugging down a potent tankard or two of a RedBull/Yoo-Hoo/Mountain-Dew concoction, say. That'll sort of put you in the mindframe of yer average YahooNews commenter, I bet)

Just lookin' out for ya, pal-!

HB

pfgavigan said...

To Humanbelly

Hiya,

I was taught by Jesuits. This is how we rant.

Yours,

pfgavigan

Doug said...

pfg --

When I look at that issue of X-Men, I see Palmer. I see no Don Heck at all.

His Kooky Quartet issues as inked by Wally Wood are wonderful. But well into the 1970s, I don't know that any inker other than the most powerful could have gotten me to like his work; sometimes I'd be hard pressed to say it was serviceable.

Saying all of that, I have nothing against the man, and have been on record numerous times as saying how much I like his Silver Age Avengers and Iron Man (the latter for the most part). But the great artists are great regardless of the inker -- no discussion of "hit or miss".

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Well, I generally agree with pfg's points about Heck - and I've defended his work here before.

Also, I agree with Garett about Buscema inking his own work: I always thought it looked great. But then again, I just like Big John's work in general, regardless of who's doing the inking, or how much the inker may have "overpowered" the original pencils (like, say, Alcala). In fact, I'm trying to think of an inker who may have "ruined" Buscema's art; I just recently read a bunch of those Buscema-drawn Thor stories inked by Colletta, and they still look good.

pfgavigan said...

To Doug

Hiya,

Once again I respect your right to your opinion. That said I disagree with several of your points. I also wish to state that I do not regard myself as an expert on comic book art, but I hope that you will indulge my pretensions as I list what I see regarding that issue.

1.) I see Mr. Hecks layouts and panel construction.

2.) I see his panel contained layouts, how characters interact with each other and their environment.

3.) I do see his rendition of individual characters, how he would draw them as opposed to other artists.

Is it possible that I am imposing what I think I see on what is there? Entirely! However I have seen Mr. Heck as inked by a variety of inkers and I do believe certain traits hold true. But, once again, this is merely my opinion.

As to the original subject, the importance of inkers in comic books, please allow me to relate a story that has been repeated often enough by at least one of the principals involved in said stories for me to believe it has some validity.

To reduce it to it's essentials, the story goes as such: "Colletta was the inker of such and such book. We finally got him off it and replaced him with someone who was more faithful to the original pencils. Sales went down but we got rid of Colletta!"

Now please remember that during the late Sixties and early Seventies the average comic book reader had only limited access to what could be deemed 'professional opinions.' Fanzines were limited in scope and were primarily known through word of mouth. We didn't know what we were supposed to like which is how Mr. Colletta was voted best inker at least once when Marvel polled its readers.

Which I suppose is why when Mr. Colletta was removed from titles those titles were removed from our "buy" lists. Such titles include and were not limited to:

Thor (several times)
The Invaders
Jimmy Olsen (with or without Kirby)
The New Gods

It does require effort, but from the statement of ownership once contained regularly in comics, you can begin to piece together sales figures. Also, Mr. Lee was very, very observant regarding sales. Mr. Colletta return to the Thor book was, reportedly, due to definite drops in sales when the title was being either inked or embellished, I do believe there is a difference, by either George Klein or Bill Everett.

This is an uncomfortable thing for me to suggest and I do hesitate to make this statement, but as comic books are a commercial artform dependent on their survival by selling themselves every month to their buyers it behooves them to insure that their creative staff selections appeal as much as possible to the buyer and not the critic.

Let me stress that I do not believe that anybody at this site has ever displayed either what could be called contempt for certain artists or the idea that they themselves have a more elevated level of appreciation than the masses. Mr. Heck had his definite limitations as an artist and the wrong inkers exaggerated these. Mr. Colletta, despite what might seem to be my rabid defense of his skills, was never among my favorite inkers. I recall a great sense of disappointment when, after the departure of John Verpoorten, Colletta eventually emerged as his successor over Sal Buscema on the Captain America title.

Please forgive me for the length of this reply. If I at any time seem to discount or disregard the beliefs and convictions of any at this site, it was not my intent. Indeed, I would like to thank all involved for the sense of community and cordiality that this page represents. I hope that you do not regard me in the nature of an interloper.

Yours to all with best wishes

pfgavigan

Doug said...

pfg --

You are by no means an interloper, sir -- and you have made some wonderful contributions here today. It's appreciated!

Doug

Martinex1 said...

I kind of like Heck inking Heck. It's a little quirky and I guess sometimes some of the lines are a little thin but I really like his work on early Avengers around issue 34. His Living Laser always seemed bulky and complex and I liked that. It seems old fashioned now but still good.

But I also like Pablo Marcos over Byrne and Perez on Avengers around issues 160 to 166. I like what he did with what I would call texture on the characters. I know it's not everybody's cup of tea but it seemed less cartoony to me. I see where it makes Byrne less Byrne-like when compared to his work with Austin, but I still like it.

Humanbelly said...

Yeah, man-- niiiiiiice long reply! I can totally get behind those, personally.

With the focus on Vince Colletta, I can only offer that my primary exposure to him was over Don Perlin in the latter half of WEREWOLF BY NIGHT's run. . . and that may have been one of the most dreadful art pairings Marvel had ever come up with up to that point. Sort of the opposite of a gestalt-- the result was less than the sum of its parts. And it rather soured me on both artists forever. I think Vinnie inked a few early issues of THE CHAMPIONS (over George Tuska, maybe)? I recall not loving that look either. His style simply does not appeal to me, I'm afraid. Even in those older Thor epics it seemed. . . to scratchy, or messy, or something. Like, the inks had a "patina" to them, for lack of a better word. I do wish I could describe it better.

HB

J.A. Morris said...

I've never been a big fan of the Bronze Age art of Colletta or Heck. But I thought they worked nicely together in the Marvel Premiere issue that featured the Liberty Legion.

Edo Bosnar said...

Martinex, I share your fondness for Marcos as an inker - over Perez and Byrne in particular (a pair of blog hosts whose names I won't mention - ;) - aren't too fond of his work, though). Marco also did some nice art on his own (pencils and inks), especially in Marvel's b&w magazines, like Tales of the Zombie.

Humanbelly said...

One last comment-- looking at the image of John Buscema's layout page, there, one can of course understand how an inker's style would of COURSE become the visually dominant element. There's a heck of a lot of work left to be done there. In fact, IIRC, that's really the point where the job becomes "embellisher" rather than inker.

HB

Humanbelly said...

PFG-- It had never, ever, ever, ever occurred to me that the writer of all people could be the one imposing that kind of look (particular to B&W comics) upon the inker. Heck, you never even think of the writer and the inker as having much interaction at all, really-- is that a giant misconception?
But yeesh, your point is surely well-taken. There's clearly a tendency in that medium toward using texture to (mistakenly) try to do the work of the absent color. And it becomes almost immediately exhausting to the eye. Pretty good example: REX HAVOC AND THE ASS-KICKERS OF THE FANTASTIC. Fairly enjoyable, satirical little romp of a series that was visually bogged down by the weight of its overly-ambitious inks (IMHO). It becomes hard to read because it's too tiring to look at.

And you've captured it brilliantly in your strip, here. (BTW, rest assured that you have vaulted directly to the upper reaches Blog Rockstar-hood 'round here, I daresay. Your illustrated contributions are an absolute delight-! You're able to do what so many of us would love to be able to--!) Rat-Guy, there? Man, where does his (leather?) outfit end and the background rocks begin? What exactly is his mellower buddy-- a bird-guy? His detail work indeed gets in the way of his clarity. The third panel-- you're right-- one starts to see the tiny, individual shading lines as opposed to the figure they're supposed to be delineating (if that's the right word). Have I correctly spotted some of your examples?

And yet-- I am still utterly charmed by your strip here, and want to know more about these guys. . .

Bad penciller/inker pairings?
Well, gosh-- not very far above is my Perlin/Colletta contribution, which will stand as my all-time low.
I think this might almost be a tricky sub-topic, 'cause it's rare that a really poor penciler/inker combo would be sustained long enough to make a truly notable negative impact (WWBN w/ Perlin/Colletta somehow just went on and on and on-- impervious to the dismay of the dwindling fans. . . ). But let me toss in one more notable contender, which I may have mentioned elsewhere: Al Milgrom and Steve Leialoha's run on the entirety of Secret Wars II. It has been decades since I read that series-- in fact, not since it originally came out. But it made an indelible impression. The covers were generally passable-- seemingly where most of the artistic efforts were spent. The interior art was nine issues that ranged from below-average to jaw-droppingly, comic-throwingly awful. There were pages that appeared to have been drawn in great haste, and then apparently went to press w/out any inks whatsoever. Al was always a very limited penciller who needed a strong inker to make him palatable at least. Steve didn't step up to the plate at all.

Yes? Anyone with me?

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

Sorry, HB, never read Secret Wars II (or I for that matter), so I can't comment. But on the topic of Milgrom and penciler/inker mismatches, there's the short run of Micronauts just after Golden left the series: Howard Chaykin with Milgrom inking. I think Chaykin was probably just doing roughs, because none of his craftsmanship or style could be seen under Milgrom's heavy inks. Another Milgrom mismatch was when he inked Simonson's pencils on the first two issues of Englehart's fabled run in Detective Comics. Same thing as above: if you didn't see Simonson's name in the credits, you wouldn't even know it was his art. (And lest this be taken as a open invitation to dog-pile on Milgrom, I have to say that his pencils looked really nice under Austin's inks (yep, Doug, he makes anyone look good), but also Klaus Jansen's.)

Pfgavigan: love the strip! Although I'm wondering if you're also taking a dig at, say, Alcala's ornate and meticulously detailed inking in the Conan b&w stories (esp. in panel 2), which Buscema apparently hated, but which I loved nonetheless. Anyway, I would love to see more of the adventures, or perhaps better stated, discourses, of Rat-hog and Squirrel-bird.

J.A. Morris said...

I realize I rip Colletta a lot here, and on my reprints blog. In fairness to him though, he, like Sal Buscema, probably got a lot of work because he was quick and cost-effective. Colletta probably saved a few not-great looking issues from the Dreaded Deadline Doom.

Dr. Oyola said...

Sorry for the tangent, but wanted to drop a note in case the news hadn't reached you yet, but Herb Trimpe passed away yesterday. :(

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/04/14/herb-trimpe-passes-away-aged-75/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Humanbelly said...

Oh, I am very, very sad to hear that. Thanks so much for passing it on, though, Dr Oyola. There is no artist that has ever been so dear to me as Herb was. His run on the Hulk completely defines the parameters of what I think of as my carefree childhood. The association is very, very deep.

HB

Redartz said...

Sorry to hear about Herb Trimpe; his Hulk run is the standard.
Pfgavigan- great job on the strip, and a uniquely effective way to 'illustrate' your point.

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

I had to take a moment over the news concerning Mr. Trimpe.

Just a couple of comments.

Yeah, writers do have that type of influence over the artwork, especially since we seem to be back in the days of complete scripts. That part I agree with because writers like that tend to have several scripts done at the same time and having an artist who feels the need to 'tweak' a page, or simply ignore what the writer describes in favor of their own interpretation can cause problems down the road. Especially when dealing with modern editors who seem unable to catch a mistake or unwilling to enforce story telling disciplines.

Hey Humanbelly, I assume you're talking about Don Perkins and Colletta on "Werewolf by Night". In full agreement with you on that one and, apparently, so was Colletta. I read somewhere he wanted off the book as he didn't think he did the horror thing well.

If you want to see how well he and Perlin could work together, Colletta inked Perlin's finishes over some very rough John Buscema pencils in Thor. There they were a very good match.

I can't think of anyway to say this kindly so I might as well be direct; I tend to ignore anything the Two Morrows do. I've caught several mistakes of major proportions in their publications, popular stories repeated ad naseum in fan avenues.

What comics need is a Historian. Not somebody like that one who did the recent Marvel work, the type who seems to rely on interviews and anecdotes. Comics need a historian willing to go through the papers and contracts and notes. Business reports yield a treasure trove of information, you can learn a lot by examining the legend on a cashed check.

The Two Morrows, well, their testimony was thrown out of the Kirby case because it was all hearsay, second hand and unsustainable.

Much like their publications.

Sorry to end on such a nasty note.

pfgavigan

Dr. Oyola said...

pfgavigan,

Robert Stanley Martin seems to be that kind of historian in posts like this one on Howard the Duck

here are the primary sources:
http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2014/05/the-howard-the-duck-documents/

Here is analysis: http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2014/05/all-quacked-up-steve-gerber-marvel-comics-and-howard-the-duck/

And speaking of Howard the Duck. .. today was the inaugural installment on my new blog series reading through the original and newest runs of HtD.

https://themiddlespaces.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/if-it-waughs-like-a-duck-1/

Garett said...


Pfgavigan, great strip again! I like the humour, and nice art. More please! : )

Here's a good read: an article written by Herb Trimpe. It's his journal from 1996 when he was fired by Marvel, to 1999.
Herb Trimpe article

As to inking, I just reread J. Buscema's graphic novel CONAN THE ROGUE from '91, and liked it better than ever! It was a labour of love for Buscema, who took the time to get each page the way he wanted it without deadline pressures. He pencils, inks, and colors it, and wrote the plot while Roy Thomas did the script. I really like his inking here, as it has a personal touch, and the colors are beautiful. If you look online you can the great preliminary sketches he did for this book as well. It had a low print run, so it's pricey, but worth it!

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Just had a chance to peruse a couple of more comments.

No, my strip wasn't a swipe at Alfredo directly. I always felt that he knew where to stop, as illustrated by his inks in color comics. It was more directed towards the breed of artists and writers who seem to be offended by any open space in a panel.

I guess a point that is never really made about comic art is that some artists never seemed to grasp just how much of the detail that they sweated to put in their work was going to disappear when it was printed! Remember how bad some of the books during the Bronze Age look when the printing presses, I believe it was Sparta Illinois, switched from metal to plastic plates? How the thin line became a squiggly little thing!

Lots of what artists, especially those who made their debuts during the Bronze Age, put into their work was totally loss in the process of turning into a finished comic. Part of the painful process that I've gone through as an amateur is self editing. While I don't have a real deadline I impose one upon myself and that makes me simplify and that makes me, I believe, a better story teller. The most recent piece of sequential artwork that I did was done in one day, pencil, light ink and computer grey-wash.

And I cheated a lot, Wally Wood would approve.

Thanks for the favorable comments on my work, they are always appreciated.

pfgavigan

Garett said...

I see the price on ebay is $160 for Conan the Rogue--don't know if it's worth that much! I picked mine up 10 years ago for much cheaper, after waiting for a good deal. This book needs a cheap reprint!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I tend to like inkers who stick closely to the pencils, not ones who bury everything under their own "style".

As for Herb Trimpe, I liked his Hulk stuff, and he was a really good "military" artist too; his G.I. Joe Special Missions stuff was great, especially anything with planes/jets in it...I can't remember if Herb was a pilot himself, but he sure loved to draw airplanes.

Mike Wilson

Garett said...

I'm going to mention Bob Layton again as a great inker. He was great at DC over Staton's pencils on Justice Society, and at Marvel over Romita Jr's pencils on Iron Man. He added a glossy shine to the heroes, and was not too choppy, or too scratchy, or too generic. You notice the difference when he leaves a title.

Karen said...

I'm quite saddened by the loss of Herb Trimpe. His Hulk was the Hulk I grew up with, and I can picture his work so clearly in my mind. I will put up a post on Friday in memory of Mr. Trimpe.

Regarding today's comments, I want to say in defense of Twomorrows Publications (who I occasionally write for, in Back Issue magazine), that every attempt is made to publish accurate material. But there are times when interviewing the creators of the comics that the individuals remember things differently. In many cases, you're asking people to come up with details of jobs they did 30, 40, even 50 years prior. There often is not a lot of original material available when doing your research to find out who is right.
The editorial policy is that writers need to substantiate claims made by subjects. This is made difficult when either a) people don't agree on what happened, b) other people refuse to be interviewed, or c) the other folks involved are now deceased. In any case, I can say from personal experience that I know the folks at Twomorrows do want to publish the most accurate material possible. Errors may happen but I hardly think they're due to a lack of ethics or policy.

Garett said...

Since the topic of the day is mismatches, and JSA by Staton is fresh in my mind-- Bob Layton's inks are beautiful from issue 68-72 of All Star comics, then Joe Geilla takes over. It's disappointing, because while Geilla seems to "correct" some of Staton's unusual proportions, like in the faces, he also eliminates what makes Staton special. So the faces look correct but boring. Lacks the character and expressions that Staton draws. There's a plainness to the inking that may be ok for another penciller, but negates the bouncy freshness of Staton. When Staton takes over inking the JSA in Adventure comics, everything seems right again.

Edo Bosnar said...

It's really sad about Herb Trimpe; I only heard about it here, as most of the buzz on that same day (the 13th) was about the death of Gunther Grass, who was apparently a little better known than Mr. Trimpe.

Also, I'll pipe in to defend Two Morrows as well. I haven't read a ton of their output, but I do have a few issues of Alter Ego and Back Issue (esp. the issues with contributions by Karen) and I have found them informative and enjoyable. Of course, I don't look at them as some type of rigorous scholarly journals, but rather very well-made fanzines. I really enjoy the creator interviews and the various articles focusing on specific characters or titles, and these do not require meticulous analysis of annual financial statements, budget reports and contracts or other legal documents. I agree with Karen: if there are any inaccuracies, I doubt it's agenda-driven or the result of intentional malice.
Otherwise, pfgavigan, let me second Osvaldo's recommendation for the Robert Stanley Martin posts at the Hooded Utilitarian - not just the linked article about Howard and Gerber, but also his series of posts looking at Jim Shooter's tenure as Marvel's EiC. They're very well researched and fascinating to read.

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