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FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT The Life And Art of Mort Meskin

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FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT The Life And Art of Mort Meskin

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Closeout Price! Our Highest Recommendation. By Steven Brower. Part coffee-table art book, part investigative biography, this studies Meskin's career from the Golden Age of Comics to his advertising and fine art done near the end of his life. Hugely influential but still obscure to most fans, Meskin profoundly influenced artists like Jim Steranko, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. He shared a studio and some of his best strips with Batman artist Jerry Robinson. He was first to draw Sheena of the Jungle, he created The Vigilante and Johnny Quick, and did brilliant work on both of these DC heroes, as well illustrated here.

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Part coffee-table art book, part investigative biography, this studies Meskin's career from the Golden Age of Comics to his advertising and fine art done near the end of his life. Hugely influential but still obscure to most fans, Meskin profoundly influenced artists like Jim Steranko, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. He shared a studio and some of his best strips with Batman artist Jerry Robinson. He was first to draw Sheena of the Jungle, he created The Vigilante and Johnny Quick, and did brilliant work on both of these DC heroes, as well illustrated here.

Meskin made pioneering breakthroughs in shadows, perspective and speed depiction. Here's an excerpt from Toth's two page contribution: "His invention, daring, and subtlety were unique and exciting to us young Turks and older pros. Mort created surprises, beauty, action, mystery art through his keen talent for unusual viewpoint, layout, composition, lighting, massing of forms...[he] delivered beautifully constructed storytelling of dramatic quality."

And here's Ditko, who also does a lengthy homage here: "...[he] can handle any story well, (2) his panel compositions are consistently superior to most artists, (3) and most important, he is a truly remarkable story teller...Not only does Meskin tell a story extremely well, but he does it in the most difficult way. He does not take the easy way out...that can confuse the story's continuity."

This oversized volume is packed with brilliant 1940s work, splash pages for Vigilante, Johnny Quick, Black Terror, Fighting Yank, as well as every cover for Golden Lad. The size here is perfect, allowing the author to enlarge Meskin's finest work to larger than comic-book size. And it's worth it!

He freelanced for MLJ in their first superhero days, created Golden Lad, worked at Atlas Comics (later Marvel), Simon and Kirby's studio in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There only Jack was more prolific, as they both created stories for Black Magic, Headline, Justice Traps the Guilty and the romance titles.

There's a great dialogue between Jack Kirby and Meskin. Jack flatly states that Meskin was the better artist, but at the same time, claimed to be a better storyteller. Of special note, Meskin attended the prestigious Pratt University, making him one of the extremely few artists who actually had an education in anatomy, design and art. Other alumni? John Buscema, Kurt Schaffenberger, Jules Feiffer, Tarpe Mills, Kent Williams, Bill Ward, Jack Kirby, Edd Cartier...

Often the artwork for his backup strips at DC Comics from the 1940s outshone the cover featured characters! Vigilante ran in Action Comics, DC's most prestigious title, beginning in #42, in 1941. To me, his high points are the Black Terror and Fighting Yank stories he did for Standard with Jerry Robinson in the late 1940s. Jerry has personal remembrances here that are gems, intimate looks at the early days of comics, of young artists creating, challenging one another, and hanging out in inner city New York in the 1940s!

The Meskin/Robinson team were so outstanding, they were outdoing Simon & Kirby at their own game. But so was Meskin's early 1940s period, outdoing the front-of-the-book artists on relatively minor characters with amazing skill. The Vigilante, Johnny Quick and others are high points of the 1940s. A rare look at an unrecognized genius, this is a magnum opus of rare original art, previously unpublished artwork, and far more. And a complete biography of this reclusive genius.

This is a completely different book from Out of the Shadows, which collects Meskin's complete stories only, and is also edited by Brower. We're bringing in copies of that to keep this one company, they are a perfect set--coffee table illustrated biography, and the best stories of Meskin's career.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code FROSH
Publisher Fantagraphics
Publish Date 2010
ISBN 9781606993583
Binding Hard Cover
Dimensions 10x13
# Pages 220pg
Color Full Color
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