Now here’s something you don’t see every day or even year, an issue of ‘Back Issue’ devoted to one comicbook artist. Editor Roy Thomas says they’ve done it a few times in the past although I have to confess its not in the issues I’ve reviewed, as far as I can remember, so far. This particular 1950s artist is Emil Gershwin, a cousin of Ira and George. The reason he’s less known is because he rarely signed his work under his own name or any name at all which has made it harder for comicbook historians to identify him.
Alex Toth respected his work and seeing the samples here in various mediums certainly shows he could draw anything asked as well as do continuity properly. Emil stopped when it came to the late 1950s to find financial business more rewarding. Amongst his other talents, he could also play the piano by ear, so talent was certainly spread across the Gershwin family. There are plenty of samples of his work included here, including that of the 1950s Starman and Spy Smasher, although it looks like Emil could do whatever was asked of him.
Seeing his checklist of comics he’s known to work on covers many companies showing how productive he was in less than a decade in the business. The interview with his daughter, Nancy, gives some emphasis on the connection to his cousins and his other talents, which is largely why he switched to making money. Writer Brian Cremins points out film sources, like ‘The Third Man’ (1949) that could have influenced Emil but then what comicbook artist couldn’t be influenced by anything around them. There’s a lot to read, so you’ll have to look for yourself.
Lastly, epitaphs for comicbook writers Lee Goldsmith (1923-2021), Ron Goulart (1933-2022), multi-talented Albert DeGuzman (1948 or 1951-2022) and artist Mel Keefer (1926-2022). Of them, I suspect Goulart is the better known amongst them but he was also productive beyond comicbooks into books. All missed.
A great learning experience.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 80 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $10.95 (US))