On another thread, my pal Dave Blanchard wrote:

>Although I've been around here for a good long while, I'm one of those who were "imported" into this Forum following the implosion of Mr. Age's old CBGxtra Forum.

Personally, the threads I read more often and participate in the most are the relatively short ones that play off somebody's observation about a single character or story or some kind of recurring theme, especially the kind of thread that anybody can just pop in and do a drive-by quick comment or add another image playing off previously posted images. Kind of in the spirit of Mr. Age's own fondly remembered CBG column, where he'd focus on some quirky thing he stumbled upon in an old Silver Age comic book, and we'd all chime in with our own take on said quirkiness.

So short and quirky would be the types of posts I'd be most likely to read/comment on, if that's any help./p>

I echo what Dave says. Long, highly descriptive threads don't fit my time schedule, and I, too, miss the old CBGXtra forum.

So, in that spirit, here's an image to invite short and quirky responses.

Your pal, Hoy (I haven't used that signature in a while!)

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I very much like Ruben Moreira's work. It's solid and good-looking. I didn't know he was still in comics at that point, but the GCD tells me he was.

I have a lot of time for Oksner, Novick and Grandenetti, but I'm not very familiar with their work of the early 60s. Novick would be my first pick of the three.

Am I the only one who didn't like Andru/Esposito? I found their work formulaic, cartoonish and often just plain bad. I was crushed when they were announced on Amazing Spider-Man, but hoped they'd rise to the occasion, maybe adapt to the Kirby or Kane styles. Nope, same ol' Wonder Woman style, same jagged halos around the heads of angry people, same bad attempts at foreshortening, same standard poses I'd seen a jillion times.

At least there weren't as many dinosaurs, submarines, giant clams and robots in their Marvel stories.

For me, the conversation stops on our all-women comics at Nick Cardy.

Captain Comics said:

Am I the only one who didn't like Andru/Esposito? I found their work formulaic, cartoonish and often just plain bad. I was crushed when they were announced on Amazing Spider-Man, but hoped they'd rise to the occasion, maybe adapt to the Kirby or Kane styles. Nope, same ol' Wonder Woman style, same jagged halos around the heads of angry people, same bad attempts at foreshortening, same standard poses I'd seen a jillion times.

At least there weren't as many dinosaurs, submarines, giant clams and robots in their Marvel stories.

For me, the conversation stops on our all-women comics at Nick Cardy.

No, it's not just you. When I first started reading comics in earnest, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito were the art team on the flagship Amazing Spider-Man, and Sal Buscema was on Marvel Team-Up. So I saw all the great work done by Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, and John Romita second-hand. I know writers like Marv Wolfman and Steve Engelhart liked Andru, Esposito and S. Buscema because they were nose-to-the-grindstone types who always delievered what the writer wanted. But they were at best journeymen. I never got inspired to pick up a pencil from what they did. 

I reassessed my opinion of Ross Andru’s work after reading the following from an introduction to one of the Marvel Masterworks: Spider-Man editions. (I posted this once before; I hope no one minds me posting it again.)

GERRY CONWAY ON ROSS ANDRU:

“Talk to almost any writer who was privileged to collaborate with Ross and you’ll hear nothing but praise for his talent both as a storyteller and as a creator of explosive action scenes. Ross’s ability to track a fight sequence across a realistically designed landscape, and never leave the reader confused about what was happening, to whom, and where, was unparalleled. Take a look at the fight scene between Spidey and Molten Man aboard and outside a subway train in issue #133, or the shipboard battle between our web-slinger and the tarantula in issue #134—these are classically well-designed set pieces of super hero action, practically a template for any artist who wants to know how to use setting and POV to create suspense and a sense of dynamic movement.

“Going beyond action, Ross was also a terrific stage manager of dramatic, character-based sequences. Look at the scene between J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man in issue #140, as Ross uses a bit of business with Jonah’s cigar at the bottom of one page to set up a payoff in the flashback on the following page. And in the following issue, #141, Ross turns a simple walk-and-talk with Peter and Mary Jane into a gentle interlude, showing us by the way he designs the page (from full shot of Mary Jane, seen partially from Peter’s POV, to two-shot of Peter and MJ, and a gradual expansion of the frame to reveal them alone at the center of their own private world) the growing closeness of these troubled lovers.

“Another of Ross’s strengths on Amazing Spider-Man was his ability to place Spidey in a city that was clearly and specifically New York.

“Of course, Spider-Man had always been officially in New York, but until Ross came on the book, with a few exceptions, the New York City in Amazing Spider-Man looked like a typically generic comic book city. Tall buildings, a few nondescript bridges, bland rooftops and unremarkable alleyways. Ross, who had a passion for visual reference, and was pretty handy with a camera, made it his business to place Spidey in and above real locations around the city. (Something that got Marvel into a little bit of legal trouble when the owner of the house Ross used as a visual reference for the home of the Mindworm in issue #138 complained that neighborhood kids were hanging around hoping to catch a glimpse of the guy with the oversized brain.) Ross even went on the roof of the apartment building where I was living on Manhattan’s west side to shoot reference photos for some scenes of web-swinging in the story we were working on at the time.

“And something else about Ross that made this one of my favorite periods writing about Peter Parker and his misadventures as New York’s ever-popular wall-crawler:

“Ross was a really, really sweet guy.

“In a business that has always had its fair share of outrageous egotists, neurotic misanthropes, annoying geeks, and people like me who manage to be all three, Ross was a genuinely modest, sweet man, who wanted only to do the best possible work he could, and was probably never quite satisfied that he’d met his own expectations.

“Which makes it all the more unfair that despite his very real contribution to the success of Spider-Man in the 1970s, Ross Andru is almost forgotten today as one of the character’s defining artists.

“Ask most fans today who are the most important artists to have worked on Spider-Man and you’ll undoubtedly hear some familiar (and deserving) names:

“Steve Ditko, of course.

“John Romita (and John Romita, Jr.).

“Todd McFarlane.

“Mark Bagley.

“Sadly, Ross Andru rarely makes that list, and I think I know why.

“His art was… cartoony.

“For all his strengths as a storyteller, for all his efforts to make Spidey’s surroundings authentic, Ross was a cartoonist at a time when technical ability as a draftsman was beginning to become more important to fans than a artist’s skill at creating memorable visual sequences. Comic book art styles in the mid-1970s were moving away from Jack Kirby and toward Neal Adams. Away from cartoon expressionism and toward dramatic realism. Some artists were able to successfully straddle both approaches (John Byrne and George Perez come to mind) but others ended up moving to one extreme or the other. Ross was at the cartoony end of the spectrum at a time when general tastes were moving in the other direction.

“And so, he’s something of a forgotten man.

“I hope this volume might go some distance toward correcting that injustice.”

Andru's work moved in a cartoonier direction as the Silver Age progressed and then away from it in the Bronze Age. His 80s work isn't cartoony, but he didn't do many stories after he returned to DC in 1978 - he edited and did covers instead - so the evolution of his style isn't remembered.

I would think for many fans his art means (1) his stuff with Kanigher (particularly Wonder Woman and Metal Men; he also did "The War That Time Forgot", Suicide Squad", and war stories) (2) Amazing Spider-Man.

To my eyes his Spider-Man looks very John Romita-ish, but the older Andru look shows up in the handling of faces and some of the poses. I prefer him on the feature to Gil Kane due to his greater realism and more Romita-ish look.

Today I admire realistic backgrounds, so I really buy Conway's praise for him on that point. When I was a little kid I didn't notice that aspect of his work, but I wasn't bugged by the remaining cartoony element in his style either. He looked like other Marvel artists to me.

In the Silver Age Ross Andru and Mike Esposito were not my favorite artists.  I was certainly disappointed when they replaced Curt Swan on World's Finest (after a Neil Adams fill-in).  The artwork was a bit too "cartoony."  But over the years I've learned to appreciate their work more.  There is indeed a professionalism to it.  "Journeymen" may be an appropriate description, but it shouldn't be seen as a pejorative.  They and others (e.g., Don Heck, Irv Novick, Mike Sekowsky) never rose to the ranks of "superstars," but they helped build the industry day in and day out.  And after many years as a manager myself there is truly something to be said for dealing with someone who is professional and "really, really sweet" as per Gerry Conway's comments.

Andru and Esposito were capable of producing some very attractive work.  I looked through (via Showcase Presents, so it's B&W) some of their early WW work.  It can be quite nice.  However, I do think they were badly misserved by the decision to imitate H. G. Peters, whose work had its own charm and unique style.  That experiment did not work. 

During the Silver Age, one of my favorite comics was Metal Men.  Andru and Esposito were born to draw them.  Each "metal" has a distinct "personality" that comes across through the art.  It was the perfect vehicle for their cartoony silliness.  Jim Aparo is the only one that comes close in my mind.  Way too many artists draw Platinum as if she is a conehead.  Somehow, Andru and Esposito made her hat thingy work.  The two Gil Kane issues are beautiful, but Andru and Esposito, to my mind, remain the quintessential Metal Men artists. 

But let's assume Andru and Esposito were too busy to add Sensation Comics to their schedules, especially since Showcase/Metal Men was on the horizon; I agree, Nick Cardy would be a great choice.  Especially with occasional guest stars such as Mera, Hawkgirl, and the then newly introduced Zatanna.  Oh, and what would have happened after The Enchantress received some much needed exposure and publicity instead of being buried in Strange Adventures?

During the Silver Age, one of my favorite comics was Metal Men.  Andru and Esposito were born to draw them.

I liked them a lot on MM and WW, where they were in their own little world of weird fantasy and whimsy. It's when they ventured into the main DCU (Action and Flash) that I didn't like them. Party that may be that anybody competing against Swan and Infantino is going to come up short, but their style also didn't fit with the general feel of the main DCU heroes, IMO.

Sekowsky and Simonson's MM were pretty good too, but none of the later reboots and revamps have appealed to me much, as they try too hard to bring them into the DCU with a typical superhero style. The art team in Wednesday Comics (Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan) made them look really cool, but I don't think that was a workable idea for regular comic.

-- MSA

I loved Ross Andru's work on Metal Men and he brought Wonder Woman into the modern era.

But, to me, he'll always be MY Spider-Man artist!

And they had enough faith in him to let him do Superman Vs Spider-Man!

Philip Portelli said:

I loved Ross Andru's work on Metal Men and he brought Wonder Woman into the modern era.

But, to me, he'll always be MY Spider-Man artist!

And they had enough faith in him to let him do Superman Vs Spider-Man!

Well, they did ... but Neal Adams redrew Superman throughout that book.

I've heard that but I think it was mostly touching up rather than redrawing. We all know what Neal Adams' Superman looks like but this is definitely Ross Andru's version:

Dave Palmer said:

In the Silver Age Ross Andru and Mike Esposito were not my favorite artists. I was certainly disappointed when they replaced Curt Swan on World's Finest (after a Neil Adams fill-in). The artwork was a bit too "cartoony." But over the years I've learned to appreciate their work more. There is indeed a professionalism to it. "Journeymen" may be an appropriate description, but it shouldn't be seen as a pejorative. They and others (e.g., Don Heck, Irv Novick, Mike Sekowsky) never rose to the ranks of "superstars," but they helped build the industry day in and day out.

I didn't care for the Andru/Esposito team, especially when they took over The Flash from Carmen Infantino. That was jarring.

I never had a problem with Don Heck or Irv Novick but didn't used to appreciate Mike Sekowsky. As time has passed, I've come to appreciate differing art styles. I have also come to the conclusion that without the hard-working, prolific artists we would have less than half of the great comics of the Silver Age. Generally, comics by these men did not have to rely upon fill-in inventory stories or reprints. They met their deadlines and did solid work.

As he grew up, this superpower was still available but thankfully, used infrequently..

Hoy



Hoy Murphy said:

You better let that clear out a little before you go up to the moon.

Hoy

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