In his biography of Mort Meskin, From Shadow to Light (2010), Brower made the case that the undeservedly obscure artist was one of the most talented figures working during what’s become known as comic books’ golden age. Here he has chosen 28 stories from the 1940s and ’50s that represent nearly every genre of the period and provide ample evidence supporting his contention. Meskin’s powerful compositions add a fitting dynamism to superhero tales featuring the Black Terror and Fighting Yank. His bold use of shadows and other solid black areas impart a moody atmosphere to horror and crime stories, and even the romance and sci-fi pieces included here benefit from his economic illustration style and attractive page designs. As impressive as these stories are visually, however, they demonstrate a problem commonly faced by that era’s best comic artists: Meskin’s talents, like those of such contemporaries as Alex Toth and Bernard Krigstein, are far more sophisticated than the formulaic scripts they were given to illustrate. Even so, today’s comics fans should appreciate these early gems. --Gordon Flagg
About the Author
Morton “Mort” Meskin (May 30, 1916–March 29, 1995) was a prolific American comic book artist and life-long New Yorker.
Steven Brower is an award-winning former Creative Director for Print, a former art director at the New York Times and The Nation, co-author and designer of Woody Guthrie Artworks (Rizzoli, 2005), and author of Satchmo: The Wonderful Art and World of Louis Armstrong (Abrams, 2009). He is on the faculty of Kean University in Union, NJ, Marywood University in Scranton, PA, and The School of Visual Arts in New York City.