|Pencilled cover for one of the Starfire issues|
In retrospect, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with and learn from so many talented folks in the business; and if I didn't thank them personally at the time, here is a belated thank you to the entire group.
My first job in professional comics was a four pager for Western Publishing in Boris Karloff Presents. Needless to say, just getting work was a thrill, but working on a title with Karloff's name in it was an added bonus. I do remember the editor who gave me the job admitting, "I don't know much about comics, but you seem like a nice young man." Talent apparently was overrated.
Mike Peppe wound up inking the story. I never met Mike and know very little about him other than that he inked a lot of Alex Toth's work in the 50's. Alex was always very complimentary about Mike's inking; I'd go so far as to say he almost raved about the stuff. I don't know how much he helped Alex's work, but he certainly brought a lot to mine. (When I worked for Western, I was always getting comments about how I was drawing head's too small; when I was doing work for Marvel they complained I was doing heads too large. )
The first regular series I worked on was Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, featuring the son of Dr. Fu Manchu, Shang Chi. I remember that Dan Adkins did a very nice job on one of the stories, and I inked at least one. The artist who did most of the stories and really made my work shine was Jack Abel. He was a very sweet man, and a favorite of a lot of the young artists who hung out at Neal Adam's Continuity Studio. Jack always had time to swap stories and give you pointers both on the work and the importance of professionalism. Since the work was reproduced in black and white, there was a subtlety in the tones he added to the inking that really brought a sense of depth and realism to the pages.
|(I inked the Yorgs on the bottom before I sent it to Vinnie...he admonished me not to do it in the future.)|
Unfortunately, the better your work became, as is the case with so many inkers, the less Vinnie could really bring to the table. He produced the work quickly and with a very solid look to it. but if you wanted to take the work to the next level, that was not his forte. Consequently, as my pencilling skills progressed, I wasn't seeing the finished product looking any better. I felt it was time to move on and left DC for Marvel.
|(The backs of my pages were always filled with drawings like this. Now I just do them in sketchbooks.)|
|(These were all versions I Starfire I ended up inked. The top one was a poster I used to hawk at cons, and the bottom two are recreations I've done in the past couple of years.)|
Next week at look at some of my favorite jobs inked by Giordano, Alcala, and Springer.