Archive for November 2012

Captain America #5 Killers of the Bund part 2   6 comments

 

Page six above looks even more like Mort Meskin’s work to me than the previous page. Take particular note of the facial structure of the blue-suited man in panel two, and the faces of the Nazi spies in panels four, five and six. About two years ago, Steven Brower, Kirby lister Glen Story and I debated on the possibility that Meskin had worked on this issue, and we compiled a montage of faces from several sources including Meskin’s Vigilante and some of the pages from the Bund story’s page seven. (By the way, for those interested in learning more about Mort Meskin, Steven Brower has recently had a book published on the artist, entitled From Shadow to Light.)

 

 

First I will present the actual page above so it can be enjoyed in its entirety for its beauty. This is classic vintage Kirby, with a plethora of great poses that showcase the King’s ability to make a figure dynamic even when it is at rest for the most part. Check out Cap’s body language in the casual leaning back pose in panel five and the complex arrangement of figures in the room. Ditto the figure composition in panel seven. Then below, I have displayed the Vigilante comparisons.

 

 

The ears on some of the heads seem particularly similar to me, if we look at the head shot of the Nazi in panel six and compare it to the panel of Vigilante and to the lab coated villain above it. There is also a similarity in the mouth and jawline of the rightward face in the blue panel to the standing Nazi directly below it, which is positively Steve Ditko-esque. (By the way, Mort Meskin was one of Ditko’s major influences.)

 

 

Skipping page eight, we come to what looks like some Kirby inking on page nine above, in the aerial scenes with Cap leaping about on the Stuka dive-bombers. There is some nice tight technical rendering of these planes that looks like his hand, and the rear view of Cap in panel five is also very Kirby-like. Page ten below is another slick beauty that looks again to me to be Meskin inked.

 

 

Panel four, in which Cap is holding a limp thug by the scruff of his shirt is a tiny masterpiece of elegant detail, and the final panel with Steve and Bucky on the right is a display of the kind of wholesome American sentimental purity that Norman Rockwell’s work would typify.

The question is, if this work is not Mort Meskin than who indeed is it? Another mystery inker added to the batch.

The mystery continues.

 

 

Posted November 14, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

Captain America #5 Killers of the Bund part 1   1 comment

 

Now, we come to arguably one of the strongest stories of this issue, art wise, and we will encounter several styles that I’ll try to identify based on some lively debates that occurred last year between Steven Brower, Glen Story and me.

Above, on page one of Killers of the Bund, we see what looks to me to be a splash panel drawn and inked largely by Kirby. It seems that he inked most of the foreground and left some of the lesser figures to someone else. The inset panel two shows another hand entirely and it is one that I don’t recognize.

 

 

Page two above continues to display an unfamiliar inking style, most of it looking like neither Kirby, Simon, Shores nor Avison. At this point, I’m going to introduce Jacob Landau into the mix, an artist who claims to have worked on Captain America approximately during the period this comic was produced. My old friend, author and Comics aficionado Steven Brower has just completed an article for Imprint Magazine, covering Landau’s career. Here’s a quote from the text.

“The singular evidence of Landau’s comic book work is on The Sniper, in Military Comics #10, published by Quality Comics with a cover date of June 1942. If indeed Captain America was his first comics work, and given the lag between production and publication, this would put him in the heady mix of myriad inkers who worked on the first ten issues, from late 1940 to late 1941.”

 

Here is a page from Quality Comics #10 above, featuring the Sniper. Perhaps we can momentarily entertain the notion that Landau may have worked on portions of this story. At any rate, keep the possibility in mind as we scan the remainder of the issue.

The fifth page is in my opinion one of the best samples of Golden Age Kirby that I’ve ever seen. It is a magnificent melee, wherein Cap and Bucky polish off a passle of Nazis. From first panel to last, the page is a wonderful conglomeration of beautifully fluid and lyrical figures.

 

 

The long central panel is a magnificent tableau, as Cap swings open both his arms and sweeps a horde of Nazis over like ten pins. the fourth and following panel is a classic pose of Cap’s torqued body from the rear as he swings a right cross.

The drawings are certainly Kirby at his best, but the inking is very possibly some early work from an extraordinary artist named Mort Meskin, whom we will discuss in the next post

 

Posted November 11, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized