Reed Crandall   5 comments

Just received an email from Roger Hill on the Atlas list, discussing his spotting of Reed Crandall as artist in the Ageless Orientals story from Captain America #2. Since I’m currently having Photoshop issues, I figured I’d do a bit of a retrospective on what I believed to be Crandall’s work throughout this issue.
Roger mentioned first that Crandall was most likely a penciller on these stories rather than merely an inker. Over the last several weeks I have come around to this belief as well, except I still see an inker’s hand that seems as though it must be his or someone else with nearly comparable skills.
The first page that really jumps out at me is page five, because although I see Crandall’s drawing in several earlier pages, this is the one that has the really distinct and exquisite pen or brushwork.
Roger insists that at this point, if Crandall were inking, he would have been using a pen, since he did not become proficient with a brush. Panel seven is the real knockout for me, particularly in the etching lines in Cap’s body legs and Bucky’s face and body.
I also see touches of what appears to be Crandall in the following story, such as the drawing in the splash panel of Trapped in the Nazi Stronghold, but it looks to be inked by a lesser hand, or perhaps Crandall rushing.
I again see him possibly in page six of that story and again in page eight as penciller.
I don’t spot him convincingly again until the second and third panels of the first page of The Wax Statue story, and I’ve also mentioned that the surgical glove of the sculptor in panel two almost looks to be the work of Will Eisner, whom Crandall was working with as well .
Crandall really seems to shine both as penciller and inker in page ten of that story.
This is surely one of the most beautifully drawn pages in the run of Cap 1-10. The etched ink lines throughout the page are stunning and illustrative in a way that I’ve compared to Lou Fine and Will Eisner emulating the sculpture-like artistry of Illustrator JC Leyendecker.
I’d love some feedback on commentary from Roger or anyone else that would like to pitch in.
NWB
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Posted February 29, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

5 responses to “Reed Crandall

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  1. Pages 6,8, and 10 all look like they were penciled by Simon to me.
    Panel six of page 5 looks like it was penciled by Kirby.
    The WAX STATUE splash (panel one) is clearly penciled and inked by Kirby. Panel two looks like KIrby pencils, but the hands in panel two do look just like typical Eisner shop technique (still being used today by Mike Ploog).
    It’s really hard to judge the inking based on these heavily retouched pages, the real inker on them is some production person at Marvel.
    To me one very obvious tell with Kirby’s inks is his heavy use of crosshatching in background areas. Another tell is his stuff just jumps out as really nice looking amidst the mix of hands.

  2. Thanks Patrick. I’m sort of reviewing these pages, most of which I’ve covered in earlier posts, with the intention of spotting Crandall. I definitely agree, as you’ll see if you check out my last post Wax`Statue one, that Kirby drew and inked the splash. I’m just wondering who these other inkers are, if they are not Crandall, since as you agree, they look Eiisner=esque.

  3. From having studied the three stories in CAPTAIN AMERICA #2 over and over, I’m convinced that Reed Crandall worked on all three of them. And he did this either working in the evenings or on weekends, while being a full-time employee at the Iger Shop, not Eisner and Iger. Eisner and Iger broke up in 1939 and Reed didn’t get to New York City until late 1940. Reed was not a huge fan of Lou Fine at the time he did this job for Simon and Kirby. Crandall was not a follower of the comics, even while back in Cleveland. Comics cost money and Reed didn’t have a lot of money to spend on reading entertainment. Plus he was always more interested in drawing (creating) something on his own and when he went to New York, his main interest was becoming a top illustrator for the slick magazines, not working in comics. That’s where the real money was. But what he found when he got to the big city was there were already a lot of other great illustrators who had those jobs sewed up. And the country was still in a depression. Money was tight everywhere. When Reed was hired into the Iger Shop, Lou Fine was over at Tudor City, working upstairs in his own studio (above the Eisner Studio) provided by Busy Arnold of Quality Comics. Early on, Reed rarely looked at other comic artist’s work. He could draw just about anything he wanted, without looking. Reed’s best traits as an artist, before he ever really studied the work of Lou Fine was human anatomy and animals. Raised on a farm in Indiana, he had been around animals all his life, and had alrady spent hours studying and drawing them. Human anatomy he had learned much about at the Cleveland School of Art, drawing and painting from live models.

    That’s why Reed got hired by Simon and Kirby…..because he could draw the human figure from any angle and make it look easy. Now I do think that Jack Kirby provided rough layouts for Reed and other artists to follow on these early issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA. As far as “Trapped in the Nazi Strong-hold” goes, I mainly see Reed’s pencils on the splash page, in the upper large panel. That figure of Cap strikes me as Reed’s work, although Cap’s left leg looks a little strange, but Bucky down on all fours, looks like dead-on Crandall pencils to me. And yet the bottom two panels on this page don’t remind me of Reed’s work at all. So maybe I’m wrong about this. I really don’t see a lot of Reed’s work on the other pages of this story. I see more of Reed’s work in the other two stories in this book.

  4. Thanks for the information of Reed Crandall one of my absolute favorite illustrators, and cartoonists of all time.
    I’ve been looking forward to Roger Hill’s book on Crandall for years now.

  5. Thanks Patrick. I should have my scanning system up and running again in a few weeks, so I’ll be able to finish posting the third story in Cap#2. then it’s on to issue three and some more nice Crandall artwork.

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