Monday, January 28, 2013

Quality Comics History Unearthed!

This is one of those magical diamond dream posts, for me anyways. In a blog post by Ken Quattro at the Comics Detective, the author went further into the Will Eisner archives at the Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library. This is where Bob Andelman found gems used in his biography of Will Eisner, A Spirited Life.

I never even considered that there might be more letters in their archive, but Quattro found a treasure trove of correspondence that gives us a transparent look at the relationships between Busy Arnold, Will Eisner, and Jerry Iger.

One thing these letters clear up is which comics Eisner was contracted to produce for Quality, namely Military Comics, and Uncle Sam Quarterly. (Eisner and Iger seem to have split the duties for producing Hit and National.) I had guessed that about Uncle Sam. If you read the earliest issues, it's a classic Eisner show of experimentation. These issues are greatly overlooked when people speak of Eisner as a format-buster. Long before The Spirit really hit its stride, this book was doing some surprising things.

It also removes some doubt about the artists on some of the features, especially those coming from Iger. Iger's material almost always had pen names on the bylines, and some of these artists are difficult to identify. (But I am doing that currently, I'll be blogging my index and findings as soon as I feel justified.)

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