Tag Archives: Eadeh, Al

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5, New Faces

(May – July 1952, Black Magic #12 – #14)

As in Chapter 19 of The Art of Romance, Mort Meskin was the most productive artist for Black Magic drawing a total of 30 pages. Bill Draut was particularly active and draw 21 pages. The third and fourth places was held by an artists new to the studio; Bill Walton with 14 pages and Bob McCarty(?) with 10. Jack Kirby takes a surprising fifth place having provided only 9 pages. Kirby was the only artist who drew covers for Black Magic so three of those pages were covers with the remaining 6 pages from a single story. However we shall see Jack had a hand in other aspects of the title. Still it is a continuing mystery why Kirby, renown for his fast drawing, was so unproductive lately and especially during the period covered in this chapter. The rest of the art was provided by three artists each providing a single piece; George Roussos (4 pages), Al Eadeh(?) (2 pages) and 3 pages by an unidentified artist who used J. G. as initials.

Unfortunately John Prentice does not appear in any of the Black Magic issues covered in this chapter. Simon and Kirby did not use Prentice in Black Magic as much as some of the other studio artists. This certainly was not because Prentice was poor at the horror genre. Not only do I think he did a good job in Black Magic but he was clearly better than some of the artists that were used. I suspect the bias had more to do with how well Prentice did in the love titles that S&K preferred to assign him romance work.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Up There”, art by Jack Kirby

I always want to include at least one Kirby story in all my serial posts, but this time there is only one to choose from. Still it is a great story and was recently included in Titan’s “Best of Simon and Kirby”. Of course picking the best from Simon and Kirby’s repertoire is always a difficult decision since they did so much great stuff in all genres.

Black Magic #14
Black Magic #14 (July 1952) “The Mailed Fist of McGonigle”, art by George Rossous

I am sure I have said this before, but George Roussos is not among my favorite Simon and Kirby studio artists. His artwork is a bit too crude for my tastes. With that said I often find his use of blacks very interesting especially when he uses them in a splash such as in Black Magic #14 (July 1952) “The Mailed Fist of McGonigle”. Perhaps the greatest weakness in this particular splash is that it is easy to overlook the running figure in the background as an empty suite of armor.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “Say the Magic Words”, art by Bill Walton

When I wrote Chapter 19 of the Art of Romance there was one story whose artist I could not identified but felt looked very familiar. Had I reviewed the work in this chapter of the Little Shop of Horrors I would have been known immediately who it was since both Black Magic stories by Bill Walton are signed. Fortunately all was not lost as sharp eyed Ger Apeldoorn recognized the correct attribution right away. Bill has a tendency to shorten the height of his faces and in his three quarter views to place the eyes at an angle. Walton will be making regular appearances in Simon and Kirby productions for a while so there will be amply opportunities to see examples of this work.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Where is Alfred Weeks?”, art by Bob McCarty(?)

The June issue of Black Magic provides the first appearance of another artist that will regularly show up in Simon and Kirby productions for a time. The problem is he never signs his work and the only reason I have questionably attribute the art to Bob McCarty is because of some similarities to that artist works from 1954 (McCarty also did not sign his work but Foxhole was the only Simon and Kirby comic that provides some of the credits). However there are some differences between the art that might mean that they were not done by the same artist or that his art had evolved. One of the most distinctive features of the art in “Where is Alfred Weeks” as compared to McCarty’s art in Foxhole is the use of oversized eyes (not particularly obvious in the image I supply above). I will continue to questionably attribute this work to McCarty but I hope that I will resolve this issue, at least to my own satisfaction, as I proceed with these serial posts.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “The Handwriting on the Wall”, art by J. G.

“The Handwriting on the Wall” is an unsigned piece but there are some similarities to a story from Black Magic issue Black Magic #9 (“The Man in the Judge’s Chair”) that signed “J. G.”.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Visions Of Nostradamus”, art by Jack Kirby and Al Eadeh(?)

One story, “Visions Of Nostradamus”, is by an artist that I originally thought might be Al Eadeh but I have not yet done my homework and found a contemporary signed piece by the artist to resolve the issue so I will continue to use a question mark. Ger Apeldoorn, who is much more familiar with Atlas where Eadeh also worked, seems more confident about the attribution. Eadeh(?) is a competent artist but nothing in his work that I have seen suggest the artistic talent shown in the splash. Of course that is not an acceptable reason to question whether he drew the splash (even poorer artists sometimes create a masterpiece) but the brushwork does not look like his either but does look like inking by Jack Kirby. The rather oversize eyes might seem incongruous for Kirby but similarly sized eyes appeared in a Kirby splash from Young Love #25 (September 1951, Chapter 16 of the Art of Romance).

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair”, art by Jack Kirby and Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin’s style is very different from Kirby’s and normally there is no problem in distinguishing the two. The story for “A Rag, A Bone And A Hank Of Hair” is obviously penciled and inked by Mort and in the past I assumed he did the splash as well. But since there are no figures in the splash, or at least human figures, this was really nothing more than an assumption. But during my review for this post I noticed the arcing of the two shadows on the wall. These are not true abstract arches but they still are a typical feature of the Studio Style inking. Now Meskin was excellent at Studio Style inking but he used that approach when inking Kirby’s pencils and generally not when inking his own work. Then I notice the inking of the oversized rag doll. The brushwork on the dummy is done with a rather blunt brush that is more typical of Kirby than Meskin. There is also a brush technique that I have not discussed before nor included in my Inking Glossary but nonetheless is an often found method used by Kirby (perhaps Joe Simon as well). Notice the simple hatching found on the lower part of the dummy’s arm (somewhat obscured by a white piece of paper). They form a shadow that is a sequence of arcs; what I think of as a scalloped edge shadow. Much of the brushwork in the splash has the sort of loose control that Kirby was so great with, but not all of the inking. The crosshatching on the cupboard is more mechanically arranged than typical of Jack but often found in Mort’s inking as can be seen in the two story panels on the bottom of the page. Also the inking of the pillow in the foreground looks more typical of Meskin particularly where closely spaced nearly parallel brushstrokes are used.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair” page 5, art by Mort Meskin

I include a story page as well so Meskin’s method of inking the large rag doll can be seen as well. Notice the brushwork is not as blunt, there are more uses of parallel ink lines, and there are no scalloped edge shadows. Even the hair is inked rather differently than Jack’s splash.

The reader might have noticed that while I have recognized Kirby’s inking, I have not said anything about the drawing. Unfortunately there is little to go on as the dummy is drawn in the same manner in the splash and the story. This might suggest that Meskin drew both but the cover is also based on this story and provides a similarly drawn dummy and there is no question that Kirby drew the cover. The only thing I can point out about the splash is the use of perspective; somehow it seems more consistent with Jack’s work than Mort’s. I fully realize that this is a very vague and subjective description but it is all I have to offer at this time. I do not know if I have convinced anyone else, but I have convinced myself that Jack was largely responsible for the splash panel.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “A Giant Walks the Earth”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mort Meskin and Jack Kirby

Kirby drawn splashes in stories otherwise drawn by other artists are not the norm but are not that unusual either. They are rare enough that I can include all the cases I find in my serial posts. But Kirby splashes are common enough that many chapters (but not all) have examples. However it seems out of the ordinary to find so many Kirby splashes in just three issues because “A Giant Walks the Earth” appears to be another case. Again Kirby’s hand is easiest to spot in the inking. The folds on the human’s pants are typical of Jack’s brushwork; they have simple abstract shapes with no signs of the brush tip. The inking on the giant hand is done with a blunt brush more typical of Jack’s than it is of Mort’s inking. There is crosshatching on the giants forearm but note how less mechanical it is compared to the examples found in “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair”. However the inking of the foreground rocks all looks like it was done by Meskin. In fact there are some rocks in the story that are inking exactly the same manner.

Mort also clearly inked the story panels of the first page. This provides a good comparison of the two artist’s approach to inking cloth folds. At a glance they may appear the same but instead of the almost puddle like look found in Kirby’s inking, Meskin constructs folds using parallel lines with no attempt to hide the tip of the brush.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “A Giant Walks the Earth” page 2, art by Mort Meskin

Even though Mort is clearly inking the story panels on the splash page the art does not look like his. I provide an image of the second page so that two can be compared. The difference between the two is most obvious in the older man. So if Meskin did not draw the story panels from the first page, who did? I believe Kirby drew these as well. The end result may not look like typical Kirby art because Meskin appears to have inked them with a heavy hand. Normally Mort was quite a good inker of Kirby’s pencils and not so heavy handed but I believe in this case Mort purposely inked the first story panels this way so that they would blend better with the rest of the story.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”, art by Bill Draut

One of Bill Draut’s contributions was “When I Live Again”. Bill does his usual competent job but to be honest I doubt that I would have mentioned it because there is nothing truly unique about it. However when I reviewed I quickly realized that the plot was very familiar. So much so that I did some searching and sure enough found a similar story in Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957, “Logan’s Life”). It is more than similar stories; they were the same plot only the six pages of “When I Live Again” had been reduced to a mere two for “Logan’s Life”. According to every source I have ever seen the art for “Logan’s Life” has always unquestionably been attributed to Jack Kirby.

Black Magic #13 and Alarming Tales #1
Left Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”
Right Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957) “Logan’s Life”

The text was re-written but the art for the story in AT #1 has clearly been swiped from Draut’s from BM #13. Of course the art was not a close copy; no one is likely to mistake the AT #1 story as done by Draut. But most of the panels in the AT #1 story were obviously based on panels for BM #13.

Black Magic #13 and Alarming Tales #1
Left Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”
Right Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957) “Logan’s Life”

In fact every panel in “Logan’s Life” from AT #1 was based on one from BM #13 although as can be seen in the above images it is not always so obvious since not only has the panel been recomposed but the people portrayed are sometimes changed as well. These changes might seem superfluous but in fact the in each case the alterations made the alterations the particular panel from Draut’s layout to one like Kirby would use. In the end entire story is a convincing example of Kirby’s art. Of course it must have been convincing because as I said in the past everybody has credit Kirby with the pencils to his story.

Last week I wrote about the Red Raven cover and the Hal Foster panel it was swiped from. I have since searched through all my sources and it would seem that most who were unaware of the swipe attributed the cover to Kirby alone while all those who knew of the swipe credited to Joe Simon either alone or in combination with Jack. (There were a few who gave joint credits to all the art by Simon and Kirby.) I still attribute the Red Raven cover to Jack but in the case of “Logan’s Life” I have changed my mind and now believe it is by Simon. I had detected Joe’s hand in this story but I had previously decided it was due to the Simon being the inker. Now I realize he penciled “Logan’s Life” as well. I base this conclusion not on the fact that the story was swiped but because the similarity to another story Joe swiped for Fighting American (Jumping the Shark). The Fighting American story was swiped from a Kirby drawn Manhunter story so it may not be surprising that everybody had previously attributed it to Jack. But the source for “Logan’s Life” was by Draut and this shows how convincing a job Joe could do at mimicking Jack. Something that should always be kept in mind when trying to determine attributions for work by Simon and Kirby.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4, Another Hit

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6, Mixed Bag

The Art of Romance, Chapter 9, More Romance

(Young Romance #13 – #16, Young Love #5 – #6)

Chart of the number of romance titles from September 1947 to December 1950 with the period covered in this chapter marked in blue.

My discussions of Young Romance and Young Love were left off in Chapter 5 after which I then spent the next three chapters on Simon and Kirby’s two western romances titles Real West Romance and Western Love. Returning to Simon and Kirby’s purer romance titles, Young Romance was starting its third year. Previously Young Romance and the newer Young Love were both bimonthlies on an alternating schedule so that one would appear on the stands each month. With the Young Romance #13 issue (September 1949) that title would now become a monthly. The house ad announcing this new schedule declared there were three and a half million readers. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but this was the golden age of comics and readerships were much larger then found today. Taking Young Romance to monthly schedule clearly indicates that Prize was doing quite well with that title. Since the deal with Prize provided Simon and Kirby with a percentage of the sales, the creative duo were receiving great financial benefits. There was competition, however, as September 1949 was well into the start of the love glut.

Young Romance #15 (November 1949) “Back Door Love”, art by Jack Kirby

For whatever reason, Jack Kirby was not that prolific during the period covered in this chapter (September to December 1949). The covers for YR and YL were all photographs and so Jack would not be providing any covers. Kirby would supply a single story for YR #13 to #15, two for YR #16, and none for YL #5 or #6. His diminished presence in YR and YL was also true for the other Simon and Kirby titles (Headline, Justice Traps the Guilty, Real West Romance and Western Love). While Jack may not have been his usual prolific self he still was an important contributor to the two romance titles. Kirby would provide the lead story for Young Romance and while these stories may not have been as long as some from the past they still had the highest page count compared to any others in the same issue. So while there were two artists that provided more stories then Jack only one of them actually drew more pages. For the record Jack did 5 stories and 58 pages for the 6 issues. Unlike the case found in previous chapters of “The Art of Romance”, or even “Its A Crime”, I conclude that Kirby did not provide layouts to any of the other artists in these issues.

Jack provided great splashes for all the lead stories for YR #13 to #16. All made use of the motif of a character introducing the story with the word balloon forming the title. All lead stories were meant to suggest provocative themes as can be seen by their titles alone (“Sailor’s Girl”, “Runaway Bride”, “Back Door Love” and “Dance Hall Pick-Up”). Today they might seem tame but in the late ’40s they would be considered risque. I have chosen two of them as examples not only because they are the best but also because of their contrasting nature. The splash for “Back Door Love” shows a couple on one side, a large word balloon/title, and three overlapping panels crowded into another corner. The panels are not the beginning of the story, but rather provide examples of the shameful love and its emotional price the woman has to pay. The couple was inked in the standard Studio style with abundant picket fence crosshatching and drop strings (see my Inking Glossary for explanations of my terms to describe inking techniques). This was overlaid with much relatively fine simple and more complicated crosshatching; techniques not commonly found in Simon and Kirby art. The inking is meant to provide the couple with a nighttime setting which is enhanced by the colorist blocking them out in a light blue. While the woman’s face turned to the viewer (I do not understand why many do not find Kirby’s woman beautiful) the man’s remains concealed in the shadows; all in keeping with the mystery of their relationship. Not much in the way of action, but one of Kirby’s more interesting splashes nonetheless. However there is a “but”; while some like comic art with a lot of detail work, I generally do not. I find all the crosshatching in this splash gives the figures a hard edge, almost like they were carved out of stone and are not flesh and blood. A small detraction from what was otherwise a masterpiece.

Young Romance #16 (December 1949) “Dance Hall Pickup”, art by Jack Kirby

Shame was the theme for the splash of “Dance Hall Pickup” as well, but its similarity to the “Back Door Love” splash pretty much ends there. This time it is the man’s turn to be found in a shameful relationship. Nothing mysterious here, everything is in full lighting. The woman’s low cut dress, fake flowers on her belt, costume jewelry, and false eyelashes clearly mark her as the type of woman a gentleman would be uncomfortable with bringing home to meet his mother. Of course the story will reveal that the somewhat trashy appearance of the woman really hides a warm and loving heart. The inking for this splash is truly a text book example of Studio style inking. It has all the typical hallmarks; lots of picket fence crosshatching and drop strings along with an abstract arch shadow and shoulder blots for the man. No fastidious brushwork here, each stroke is boldly marked; straddling the boundary between working with others for indicating the shadows and maintaining an independent existence. Most fans are attracted to his action scenes but for me this is Kirby at his best; telling a complete story with just some simple gestures and some abstract marks.

I cannot leave this splash without pointing out the hanging curtain in the top corner. It serves no logical purpose. The windows in the back are complete bare, so why is that drapery hanging from the ceiling in the middle of a dance floor in front of a pillar? It is a mistake to look at Kirby art, or any comic book art, as if it was an attempt at rendering a truly realistic image. Elements are added for their suggestive power and how they provide visual interest. The hanging curtain is a motif that Jack will use often.

Young Romance #16 (December 1949) “The Wolves of the City”, art by Bill Draut

The largest contributor to YR #13 – #16 and YL #5 and #6 was Bill Draut. Bill did twice as many stories compared to Kirby (10 vs. 5) and 10 more pages (68 vs. 58). Bill’s strength was his clear visual story telling and his effective use of body language. The simplicity of faces drawn by Bill did not lend itself to a wide range of emotions. Perhaps that is why Draut was very careful in the poses he provided his characters. Upturn faces could portray admiration or wonderment. Thrusting the head forward and providing clenched fists would reveal a person’s anger. In the splash for “The Wolves of the City” you do not need to read the story to realize how demure and proper the lady on our right is. Hands folded on her lap and eyes cast down tell it all. Her friend has her hand on her hip, the way her head pushed forward, and even the way she holds her cigarette shows she has a harsh and sharp personality. Despite the similar profiles, she presents quite a contrast to the mother figure from the second story panel.

Young Love #6 (December 1949) “For Handsome Men Only”, art by Bruno Premiani?

The third most prolific artist for the issues cover in this chapter was possibly Bruno Premiani. I say possibly because none of the work this artist did for Simon and Kirby was signed and none of it compares well with work done for DC that has been credited to Premiani. Either the attribution of this work to Premiani is wrong or he adopted a different style for romance compared to his superhero comic book art. Whoever the artist is, and for now I continue to refer to him as Premiani, he was one of the more talented individuals to have worked for Joe and Jack. Bruno first showed up in Young Love #4 (August 1949) and would provide work to the S&K studio until December 1950). During that period of a little over a year, Simon and Kirby would include about 25 stories by Premiani. For the issues covered in this chapter, Bruno did 6 stores (one more then Kirby) for a total of 48 pages (much less then Jack’s 58 pages). One of the stories supplied by Bruno was even used for the all importing lead story (the “For Handsome Men Only” shown above). It is easy to see why Premiani was used so often. Although his woman are perhaps a little plainer then some other studio artists, they (and the men as well) seem to radiate an emotional energy. Like Draut, Premiani could make effective use of body language as well. The hands on the hip and face in profile as superficially similar to Draut’s pose in “The Wolves of the City”. But by pulling the head back and thrusting one leg forward, Bruno makes his protagonist much more alluring. In the second panel the lady ostensibly uses her hand to keep her scarf in place but the gesture is actually part of a physical withdrawal from a disappointing blind date.

Young Romance #14 (October 1949) “Nancy Hale’s Problem Clinic” page 2, art by Vic Donahue

There were a number of other artists who contributed to these issues of YR and YL but nowhere nearly as much as Draut, Kirby or Premiani. One was Vic Donahue who we have seen in previous chapters of “The Art of Romance” both for the standard romance as well as the western love titles. Vic’s work for the issues covered her has diminished and is restricted to three “Nancy Hale’s Problem Clinic” features. These are all short work of 2 or 3 pages long. There is no more I can add to my previous discussions of Donahue; his woman are attractive and Vic often provided them with a tilt to the head. Vic was careful in the inking of hair and he sometimes filled shadows with fine simple hatching. Aspects of the Studio style inking also show up in his work. The page above shows drop strings (panel 1 and 3), shoulder blots (panel 3), an abstract arch shadow (panel 6) and picket fence crosshatching (panels 4, 6 and 7). I am still undecided whether this was Joe or Jack stepping in as art editor to strengthen up the work. Alternatively is may have been Vic adopting portions of the Studio style. Joe Simon has described the inking of Kirby’s pencils as being like a factory line involving many different inkers. Although I cannot point to any specific work by Kirby that Donahue could have inked, as one of the more minor but still talented artists continually employed by S&K Vic certainly was a candidate to help in inking.

Young Love #5 (October 1949) “For Sale: One Dream”, art by Al Eadeh and John Belfi?

Another minor contributor, or rather an artist team, that we have seen before was Al Eadeh and John Belfi. The work is unsigned and my attribution provisionally, but I believe Eadeh and Belfi did “For Sale: One Dream”. While talented, Eadeh and Belfi were still among the lesser lights of the S&K studio.

Young Love #5 (October 1949) “The Love I Didn’t Want”, art by George Gregg

Signatures found in three comics (Young Love #4 and Justice Traps the Guilty #17 and 19) have allowed me to identify one of Simon and Kirby’s studio artists, George Gregg. Since then I have spotted an unsigned work in Western Love #1 and here I can add two more. Even without a signature, Gregg’s style still stands out. His art has a sort of stylized cartoony edge to it and frankly a touch of primitivism. Gregg’s often provides his characters with distinctive, but varied eyebrows. The leading ladies frequently have a pinched look to their faces. While “The Love I Didn’t Want” is no masterpiece, it is still nice to be able to assign a name to some of work produced by the Simon and Kirby studio.

Young Love #6
Young Love #6 (December 1949) “My Promise”, art by George Gregg with help from Jack Kirby in splash panel

“My Promise” is another unsigned work by George Gregg. The Jack Kirby Checklist includes the splash as being done by Kirby. While it is true man was clearly done by Jack, the rest of the splash and the story panels were by Gregg alone. This is another example of Kirby acting as art editor stepping in to help the all important splash. I believe the man in the splash was inked by Jack as well, but he is deliberately working in a simpler manner to blend in better with Gregg’s inking. Careful examination, however, will show that Jack’s brush has a subtlety that was beyond Gregg’s capabilities. The over sized ear in the second story panel was a mannerism that Kirby often fell into, particularly on work done before he went into military service (for Timely and DC). This suggests that Gregg may have been using old Simon and Kirby comics as source material for swiping.

Young Love #5
Young Love #5 (October 1949) “Too Many Boy Friends”, art by Ann Brewster

New to Simon and Kirby production is the artist Ann Brewster. S&K must have like her work because they used her first submission, “Too Many Boy Friends”, as the lead story for Young Love #5. I am not sure that “first” is the proper description. I do not believe there were any earlier works for Simon and Kirby but I am unaware of any other works by Ann from this period either. In 1955 Ann would provide a number of stories for the Prize romance titles during the time when Joe and Jack were trying to get their own publishing company, Mainline, going.

When I previously discussed this splash, I thought that this might have been delivered as pencils and inked in the S&K studio. That conclusion was largely due to the presence of Studio style inking throughout the story. However, I no longer hold that viewpoint. There appears to be at least two inkers involved. One, Ann herself, working with a fine brush and another inker, probably Joe or Jack) working with a broader, more loaded, brush. The Studio style inking was probably added later to strengthen the art.

Young Love #6 (December 1949) “The Life of the Party”, art by John Guinta and Manny Stallman

Another new team to appear was John Guinta and Manny Stallman. Fortunately the work is signed because I am completely unfamiliar with John Guinta’s work. Manny Stallman has done his own penciling for Simon and Kirby primarily in the crime titles (not yet covered by my serial post “It’s A Crime”) but also in Western Love #1 (July 1949). “The Life of the Party” is the only story that I know that they did for S&K but perhaps more will show up.

The art for Guinta and Stallman’s “The Life of the Party” is good, but I am particularly impressed by the splash panel. It actually is two splash panels as neither of the top panels belong to the story proper. Floating heads are not used often by Simon and Kirby but they do occur. However I do not recall any of theirs approaching the avalanche of heads as produced here by Guinta and Stallman. I particularly like the way they spill from the right panel into the left with the gutter bisecting two heads. While I attribute most of this to work to John and Manny, I wonder about the single head at the center bottom of the panel. It is the only head without hair and the uppermost contour looks decidedly unnatural; almost as if it was cut from some other work. I cannot help but wonder if that one head was actually done by Jack Kirby. Perhaps, though, this is due to the inking with its aspects of Studio style. This was probably done by either Joe or Jack as most of the story is inked in a different style. Again the presence of places with Studio style inking in the story probably is due to Joe or Jack stepping in to strengthen the art.

Young Romance #16 (December 1949) “His Engagement Ring”, art by Mort Meskin

Young Romance #16 marked the return of an important artist Mort Meskin. Perhaps return is not the proper word as a little over a year ago he had appeared teamed up with Jerry Robinson. In the same month of December 1949 Mort also appeared in Real West Romance #5. Joe Simon has described in his book “The Comic Book Makers” the difficulties Meskin faced overcoming the artist’s equivalent of the writer’s block. However once this problem was passed, Mort became the most prolific of the Simon and Kirby studio artists. There were periods when he out produced Jack Kirby (no small feat) despite the fact that Mort would do all his own inking while Kirby often was inked by others. During his career, Mort was much admired by many of his fellow artists including Jerry Robinson, Joe Simon and Steve Ditko. Unfortunately today he is largely overlooked among comic book fans failing even to be voted into the Will Eisner Awards’ Hall of Fame. Partly this is due to the stylized drawing that Meskin adopted. Also a lot of his later work was done for Simon and Kirby romance titles; a genre not much appreciated among today’s fans. Perhaps the most important reason was that Meskin dropped out of comics in the late ’50s and afterwards avoided any contact with fans. However Mort was one of the best graphic story tellers from the golden age of comics. Meskin’s skill in presenting a story is easy to overlook due to the unobtrusive methods he used. Probably the only thing I can say against Meskin as an artist was that his work sometimes suffered from his efforts to produce lots of work.

The splash page for “His Engagement Ring” uses a layout that Meskin typically preferred; two thirds of the page for the splash panel with two or three story panels at the bottom of the page. It is a common layout used by many artists but different from the layout most frequently used when teamed up with Robinson which had a vertical splash panel with two story panels on the right side of the page.

The December issue of Young Romance was released just a few months prior to the peak of the love glut. The rise in the number of romance titles in such a short period was nothing short of dramatic. The decline following the peak was almost as rapid when publishers found that there just was not enough room on comic racks for all the new titles.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Al Eadeh


Last update: 11/29/2009

    s:  = signed
    a:  = signed with alias
    &:  = signed Simon and Kirby
    ?:  = questionable attribution
    r:  = reprint

Black Magic (Prize)
     13   (v.2, n7)  June 1952    2p “Visions Of Nostradamus”- (Kirby splash)
     16   (v.2, n10) Sept 1952    7p “The End Of His Rope”
     21   (v.3, n3)  Feb  1953    7p “Valley Of Phantoms”
     22   (v.3, n4)  Mar  1953    5p “Fletcher’s Talent”
     23   (v.3, n5)  Apr  1953    5p “Evil Spirit”
     24   (v.3, n6)  May  1953    6p “As Real As Life”
     25   (v.4, n1)  July 1953    6p “The Romantic Souls”
     26   (v.4, n2)  Sept 1953    5p “The Beast In You”

Real West Romances (Prize)
   s 1    Apr  1949    8p “Wild Hoses and Ornery Gals”

Strange World of Your Dreams (Prize)
     3    Nov  1952    1p “Vision Of Doom”
     4    Jan  1953    2p “Send Us Your Dreams”
     4    Jan  1953    3p “The Skeleton In Your Closet”
     4    Jan  1953    2p “You Sent UsThis Dream (Paul R.)”
     4    Jan  1953    5p “4L-523”

Young Brides (Prize)
     1    (v.1, n1)  Sept 1952    2p “Man About Woman”
     2    (v.1, n2)  Nov  1952    2p “Man About Woman”

Young Love (Prize)
   s 2    (v.1, n2)  Apr  1949    8p “Girl Or Goddess”
     2    (v.1, n2)  Apr  1949    8p “Old Maid”
   ? 5    (v.1, n5)  Oct  1949    9p “For Sale: One Dream”
     33   (v.4, n3)  May  1952    7p “The Pretenders”
     44   (v.5, n2)  Apr  1953    6p “What’s Mine Is Yours”
     46   (v.5, n4)  June 1953    6p “The Perfect Setup”
     51   (v.5, n9)  Nov  1953    4p “The Will To Love”

Young Romance (Prize)
   s 10   (v.2, n4)  Mar  1949    7p “Heart’s Desire”
     11   (v.2, n5)  May  1949    7p “My Father’s New Wife”
     12   (v.2, n6)  July 1949    6p “For Somebody Else”
   ? 12   (v.2, n6)  July 1949    7p “Undesirable”
     46   (v.5, n10) June 1952    1p “How He Proposed”
     46   (v.5, n10) June 1952    2p “Problem Clinic”
     46   (v.5, n10) June 1952    7p “A Knack For Writing”
     48   (v.5, n12) Aug  1952    7p “Everything But Love”
     48   (v.5, n12) Aug  1952    1p “The Way They Met”
     49   (v.6, n1)  Sept 1952    6p “Prince Charmin’ Himself”
     50   (v.6, n2)  Oct  1952    8p “A Terrific Guy”
     53   (v.6, n5)  Jan  1953    5p “Stars In Her Eyes”
     57   (v.6, n9)  May  1953    6p “Little Flirt”
     60   (v.6, n12) Aug  1953    4p “First Kiss”
     65   (v.7, n5)  Jan  1954    6p “Sick Of Men”