Friday, May 26, 2006

The Great Comic Book Artists

These two volumes of THE GREAT COMIC BOOK ARTISTS come from prolific comic book historian, genre author and sometime William Shatner ghost writer Ron Goulart. Published, respectively, in 1986 and 1989, they offer a nice basic primer on classic and even unsung comics artists from the thirties up through the time of publication. Each volume is laid out so that the left hand page is a biography and the right hand page is a (usually) good black and white scan of an art sample. As you might suspect, with so much work to choose from, many artists are represented by arguably not the best choices. Don’t know how much input Goulart had with the choices, though, and/or how much those choices may have been constrained by rights factors.
The ever-popular John Byrne provided the cover for volume one and Art Adams jumped in for volume two. Besides the obvious choices found here, lesser (but no less interesting) lights such as Matt Baker, Lee Elias, Mort Meskin, George Tuska, Craig Flessel, Mike Grell, Norman Maurer, Tarpe Mills and Ogden Whitney are given equal treatment. Goulart has probably written more books on comic strip and comic book history than any other author and all of them are informative and entertaining. If you're at all interested in the creators behind the comics, these are two of his best.

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