Trapped in the Nazi Stronghold, part three, by Norris Burroughs   2 comments

Page eleven initially looks to be drawn by Kirby, predominantly because of the figure work and composition. It could on second look conceivably be either partially drawn or finished by Crandall. The advantage of a high resolution scan is that it enables one to zoom in on miniscule details such as the brush lines in Cap’s left boot and calf muscle in panel one, as well as the shadow under Bucky’s chin in the second panel.  The inking is quite nice, but it suffers in comparison to the work done on a very small selection of panels in this issue. I refer the reader again to page five of the Ageless Orientals story in the first post bearing that title.

This again begs the question, is the inking over what appears to be Crandall usually done by Crandall, and its quality affected only by the degree of care given, or has it been handled by several hands. Even in the folds of clothing on the machine gun Nazi in panel three and the musculature in Cap’s leg in panel four looks Crandall-esque to me, but it is inked too carelessly to display the subtlety underneath.

Although Captain America is famously slugging Hitler on the cover of the first issue, the dictator does not actually make an appearance until this second volume, where he again appears on the cover to advertise this very story. Page twelve begins a serious bit of nonsense with Adolph and Hermann Goering, which to my eye is almost certainly drawn and partially inked by Crandall. One can see this most plainly in the facial features of Hitler in panel three and even more prominently in the clothing folds in panels one, four and five.

I see Crandall here working in a broad cartoon style that was popular in the Eisner/Eiger studio where Crandall and Lou Fine both worked. It is a wonderfully silly piece of work, but also a beautifully drawn caricature of villainy, as Adolph and Hermann converse face to face. The folds in the crook of Hitler’s elbow and sleeve in panel Five are particularly well executed and almost look like the work of Will Eisner.

The follow up page, which I’ve omitted, is a travesty of mediocre drawing and mostly desultory inking. It looks like Simon’s artwork, but Kirby might have done a brush touch up here and there. Page fourteen is considerably better.

This page is very nicely done and appears to be at mostly drawn and inked by Kirby in a series of eight small jewell-like panels that are wonderfully composed and balanced. The Stuka dive-bomber in panel one leads our eye directly to panel two, a tight and obviously Kirby drawn gem of a three-figure composition. Bucky’s left arm gestures the eye to the plane in panel three, whose trajectory again brings us to the following panel.  Next, the broken wing of the crashed Stuka in panel five protrudes into panel four, acting as a directional marker for the eye to follow continuity. This is one of my favorite pages in the story.

We finish up with the story’s final page, which is considerably less impressive, although far from awful. The first two panels appear to be Crandall quick-draws possibly inked by him. Panel three appears to be inked by the “Illustrator” again, who makes occasional appearances throughout the series. Panel four containing the three planes is nice but the rest is merely OK, with what appears to be the “Illustrator” finishing up the last two panels. The next story will have the brilliant Crandall and Kirby artwork that steals the entire book.

To be Continued.

NWB

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Posted February 22, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Trapped in the Nazi Stronghold, part three, by Norris Burroughs

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  1. Norris, Why not include the pages you think are inferior? Seeing at least some of them adds to the study. The fact they aren’t good doesn’t mean they aren’t informative.
    The main thing I come away from to this point is the Captain America comics were total shop work, a real mix of pencilers and inkers, even in the same panel on occasion.
    You also might add some examples from other titles of known Crandall pencils and inks from this era.

  2. Patrick, the main reason I leave out pages is not to run afoul of the authorities for posting complete stories. I don’t know if this is a serious problem, but in each story I encounter two or three pages that are really poorly reproduced so I leave those out. Once I reach issue five, I’ll be working from actual scans, at least for issues five, seven, eight and nine. By the way, if you encounter any Crandall Blackhawk pages in your travels, hook me up. I think that’s a style that might shed some light here.

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