Tag Archives: from shadow to light

“From Shadow to Light”, an Ode to Mort Meskin

I have previously posted an announcement for this book with a comment on how important a volume I believed it would be. Of course I had not yet seen the book at that time so now that I have the question now is did Steven Brower succeed in doing justice to a great artist like Mort Meskin? The answer is a resounding YES!

This is a large book, the paper size is 9 by 12 inches. In my opinion this is a perfect format for a project like this. Scans of printed comic books have been enlarged for better viewing and the size works nicely with the reproductions of original art. And there are a lot of both spanning Meskin’s entire career. It starts with some work that Mort did in high school. While not very exciting compared to what would follow, it still is great to see the initial efforts. I could detail all the reproductions that follow but I fear that such a list would prove too tedious while the actual art is certainly not that. But I cannot resist mentioning some of my personal favorites such as some great Vigilante splashes, amazing work for the Fighting Yank (working with Jerry Robinson), terrific Golden Lad covers and some truly beautiful romance covers for Prize Comics. While those are my favorites, what is presented is actually much fuller and thoroughly representative. It is not just isolated pages of art. While a marvelous artist, Mort Meskin was also a consummate graphic story teller. “From Shadow to Light” has a Golden Lad and a crime story; both complete and never before published.

Mort Meskin was an artist’s artist. Brower has brought together comments from some of the creators who acknowledge how important Meskin was to them personally. Artists such as Steve Ditko, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth and Mort’s sometime partner Jerry Robinson. These are not just your usual commentary, they provide discussions of Meskin’s actual working methods. I found these very revealing and they answered some questions that have been nagging me for years. Particularly the commentary by Robinson. Jerry was Mort’s collaborator on a lot of comic books. I have often wondered exactly how they worked with each other, what rolls each played. Well Robinson answers that directly. I have also wondered why so much of Meskin’s comic book art is still exists as un-inked pencils. Very surprising since at least some of it, such as a couple of pages from Treasure #12 that are reproduced in this book, had been published. Again Robinson provides the answer.

Anyone who has followed this blog should know I am a big Mort Meskin fan. He did a lot of work for Simon and Kirby and therefore appears frequently in my posts. I have even written about Mort’s prior career (Early Mort Meskin and Mort Meskin before Joining Simon and Kirby). But the Internet is not the best format for viewing Meskin’s art. You really need a book for that and Steven Brower’s “From Shadow to Light” is that book. You do not want to miss this book.

“From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin”

Steven Brower has made the following annoucement on the Mort Meskin List:

The book “FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin” is finally off to the printer. A September pub date is listed on Amazon but as far as I know Fantagraphics is trying to get it out for San Diego. The book is 220 pages with over 200 illustrations, comic art, advertising art, personal art, photos. Great news is I was able to show lots of DC work, starting in the 40s right through the 60s. I believe it is going to be a beautiful book and will go a long way towards setting the record straight about Mort, including his influence on comic book art and storytelling. There are never before published quotes form a myriad of artists, Kubert, Infantino, Starr, Stein, Olesen, Steranko, Simon and even Roussos and Kirby.

The book has an introduction by Jerry Robinson, and was done under the auspices of Mort’s sons, Peter and Philip. There are many who’s help was invaluable, too numerous to mention, but I want to cite Dylan Williams for his incredible generosity in sharing his own research and resources.

There is no way I can be objective about Titan’s upcoming “Simon and Kirby Superheroes”. I have been way to wrapped up in that project to be unbiased. But if I were to exclude from consideration Titan’s Simon and Kirby library, I can easily say that this is the most important upcoming book out there. This is big, I mean really BIG. Mort Meskin is the most overlooked comic book master. Most comic book fans have no idea about the breadth of this artist’s achievements. I have tried from time to time in my small way to point this out but a few posts are simply not enough to set the record straight. You need a book to do that and this is that book.

“From Shadows to Light” in September, “Simon and Kirby Superheroes” in October”; all I can say we are living in exciting times. And for those lucky enough to go to San Diego you maybe able to pick up both volumes!