Friday, March 26, 2010

Number 707


Before Graham Ingels became famous for his horror stories he saddled up at EC Comics for some Western action. He drew Gunfighter stories for the eponymous comic book. Ingels had worked at Fiction House before he landed at EC, doing comic book work and also pulp illustration.

No one can hold a dripping candle to the inspired artwork of Ingels in his Old Witch days at EC. Ingels' work on Gunfighter isn't classic like his horror, but it's still much better than most of his artist contemporaries. This story is the lead from Gunfighter #10, 1949.

We're doing some EC pre-Trend postings this week. Next, Moon Girl by Shelly Moldoff.



I have always loved anything Ingels did. It is almost a shame that his horror work was so incredible that his reputation for horror overshadowed his other art. I have always found his women (except for old scary/uglies) to be very sexy...they always look kinda slutty(!) and would be fun on a date! Grrrrrowllll!

As his later horror art attests, the man knew how to stage a scene/panel like no other, and you can see it here and there even in the early stuff.

I found it hard to understand when reading how, at EC in his very early days, Feldstein and Gaines were disappointed a bit by Ingels art! Really? That kind of blows my mind, in retrospect. The other unbelievable and sad by-product was the fact that, when Wertham and friends all but shut down horror comics after '55, after EC shut the door on their comic books, this incredible artist could not find work at any comic publishers because he was so heavily identified with the horror genre! What a waste of talent! He eventually found a way to survive by working at Dorne's Famous Artist's school, and passed his skills down to art students lucky enough to get the man as their teacher. In the end, he didn't miss comics at all, but is seems such a waste of a one of a kind master of the comic art form.

Thank you, Pappy. You can post Ingels anytime! Looking forward to the next one!

Lysdexicuss said...

Lush, fluid, perfectly constructed panels with amazing brushwork. Ingels was already a Master b-4 he turned Ghastly~!

Pappy said...

Guys, thanks for your comments.

I hadn't heard that Feldstein and Gaines were disappointed by Ingels, but are you sure it wasn't because he was alcoholic and had to be pushed to make a deadline (which had to be moved up a few days on purpose so even if he was tardy he was on time).

There were a lot of artists who could draw horror but I'm not sure anyone else had the gothic look down like Ghastly.

If I was one of the other EC artists and looked at Ghastly's original art I'd be in awe of the way he set a mood. It's why it's so nice to have those EC deluxe slipcased editions with their black and white artwork, stripping away the colors that detracted from the starkness of the dark moods he set.

Trevor said...

This one is better than some of Ingels's other western stuff I've seen. Very enjoyable. Good cover, too.

When I was a kid with aspirations of being a comic book artist, I was an oddball and and it was the real masters of drawing with strong individual styles like Graham Ingels and Wally Wood who were my role models (thanks to Russ Cochran's reprints). When I was an adult trying to be a comic book artist I gave up, as it was the age of cookie-cutter Rob Leifeld superduperheroes and/or Manga.

Looking forward to some good pre-trend selections coming up. Mostly new to me. Thanks for posting, Pappy!


Pappy, here's where I got the info on Ingels early EC work.

"Foul Play" by Grant Geissman.
Here's a couple of quotes:

'When asked about Ingels early work, Feldstein didn't mince words: "When he was trying to do straight comic art, he was bad, like I was bad, but in his own way."
(There is more, but I am not typing all of that.)

On the same page is a quote from Gaines: "In the early days of EC we had Graham typecast into the western books, and when we started the love books we used him there for a few stories, but he didn't seem to fit. When we started the horror titles, we didn't use Graham because we thought he'd be good at it, we used him because whenever an artist came into the fold we had to use him for something. So we stuck him in the horror books..."

It is obvious that the decision to do so proved successful!

Pappy said...

Trevor, since I don't keep up with comics nowadays I'm not aware of artists working in the field, but I do remember Liefield, wondering why he was so popular. I'm not taking anything away from him; he found a market and tapped into it, so good for him.

Apocolyte, I have that book by Geissman, maybe I ought to read it one of these days, eh? Gaines and Feldstein did use Ingels--and I believe successfully--in the New Direction books, when they had to drop the horror comics. I really don't know what Feldstein and Gaines were talking about. Saying they "stuck him in the horror books" seems like a happy circumstance, as it later worked out.