Monday, April 01, 2019

Number 2319: Red Reed in the Americas

Red Reed had a short career in comic books, two issues of Silver Streak Comics. This is the second part of a serial cut short, and the reason I chose it is for the Bill Everett artwork.

Everett is one of my all-time favorite comic artists, and what I am looking at when I read the story are the action-packed panels and Everett’s storytelling abilities. Having looked at what seems to me to have been untold thousands of pages of comic book stories I have come to a conclusion about the golden age: about half of the artist were just not that good, especially to modern readers. That art is more of what I refer to as “serviceable.” It filled pages. It was an anomaly to have talented artists like Everett because most comic books of that time (approximately 1939-42) show a mishmash of artistic abilities.

Everett was born into a financially successful family, but when he started his artistic career he had trouble getting started until he got into comic books. He must’ve liked it, because he went back to it when he was discharged after World War II.

This story is from Silver Streak Comics #21 (1942).


Darci said...

I wonder how long this story arc was planned to take? Obviously at least one more issue, probably more. It's begging for somebody to write the conclusion. Does Mykal Midnight read this blog?

I also wonder how Lev Gleason evaluated the components of his books? How did he decide to abandon Red and move on to a different feature?

Silver Streak went on extended hiatus after this issue (May 1942), returning in Feb 1946. It looks like Elcador is recapitulating the Civil War in Spain, but 6 years later.

Daniel [] said...

I remember being saddened by an announcement of Everett's death; the memory saddens me still. Somehow, in spite of his previous abuse of alcohol (about which I did not know), he had not merely held onto his talent but had kept improving. He was doing the very best work of his life in his final years.

There were, of course, other comic-book artists with real talent during every phase of his career; but, as you note, in the golden age there was a lot of junk; and, even later, some rotten stuff was being printed. Yet Everett stayed or returned, and did far better work than was necessary to get by. It seems that he truly cared about his comic-book art.

Perhaps what he had needed was more work to keep him away from the bottle.

Pappy said...

Daniel, Everett was a true talent, but I think he was also slow and meticulous. The enemy of deadlines! But what he was able to produce was beautiful.

It seemed that Marvel was cutting back in the '70s...less pages of story, for instance, and they were pushing reprints. I remember a story about another favorite artist of mine, Syd Shores, who was driving a taxicab in New York City because he couldn't earn a living on the jobs he was doing for Marvel in the '70s.