Wednesday, January 05, 2011
The good line
Johnny Craig is featured in day three of our EC theme week.
Craig was a slow artist, working and reworking his drawings, which limited his production. But what you saw when it was published was as good as he could do, and that was good indeed.
I've scanned an early 1949 story by Craig from Crime Patrol #14, which shows him as an artist still working toward his best. The story is fairly routine for a crime comic, and his art is better than the script. I've also included one of his later EC jobs for Extra #3, a 1955 New Directions title. I believe the original art (four pages originally posted by Heritage Auctions) and the last two pages, scanned from Russ Cochran's hardbound Extra collection, shows much more sophistication in his style.
For the purpose of this posting I looked at quite a bit of Craig art, including his Warren art, and his contributions to ACG. He re-entered the comic book field part-time in the 1960s after he had left comics and gone into advertising.
Johnny Craig, during his EC years, gave everything he drew a very polished look; Max Allan Collins, in the hardbound Extra volume, says of Craig that his art ". . . clearly comes out of the Caniff/Sickles school . . . a more illustrative Raymond/Foster influence creeps in later . . . Craig is probably at his best when the cartoonist and illustrator in him are collaborating. His best work . . . has elements of both." What I like best about Craig is usually in those EC Comics published between 1949-50 and 1955, and many of those stories, to me, are exceptional.