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Out of the Shadows Paperback – July 2, 2012
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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
Meskin was fabulous, I couldn't believe the ease with which he drew: strong compositions, loose pencils, yet complete; detail without clutter. I loved his stuff. --Steve Ditko
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This book is really worthwhile, especially if you already have the one on Alex Toth's work at Standard (also published by Fantagraphics). By the way, though you can only see a couple of pages on Amazon, the book is in full color. The first pages are only a couple of pages Meskin drew of Sheena (in b&w), but is really nothing compared with the rest of the material you find in here. You'll find stories of all sort of genres, from westerns, to superheroes, crime and horror.
Meskin is perhaps best known for having drawn Vigilante, Johnny Quick (a personnal favorite of mine), Wildcat and Starman for National Comics (what DC was called back then). And he was one of the good artists. The work here is from other comic book companies he worked for, and are just as good as the work he did for National. If you are into the golden age of comics, this book is a must.
I hope this will encourage some people out there to give it a chance. While the stories are average, the art is quite good.