art by John Severin, story by Colin Dawkins
Two-Fisted Tales #38[#21] (1954)
John Severin of course a mainstay of the adventure books at EC, with art in almost every issue of FRONTLINE and TWO-FISTED (sometimes doing the full issue of TWO-FISTED when he took over the editing of the book), often inked by Will Elder on the earlier work, later inking himself. He also did a fair bit of work in MAD. Both the adventure and humour work would serve well in his later career (still on-going, unless Williamson is still working somewhere I don't know about I think Severin is the only major EC artist still active in comics), where he did a lot of war and western comics for various publishers and was the main artist for CRACKED for a long time (possibly still, I'm not clear what the status of CRACKED is).
This issue of TWO-FISTED is one of those where Severin drew the whole issue, after they moved the emphasis of the book from war to general adventure. This particular story is a western, of course, opening up with a dynamic scene where Slim rescues Avery from a stampeding herd. Slim then joins the ranch, but refuses to get involved in a barroom brawl and is branded a coward. Following an incident of cattle rustling, we get a shoot-out and Slim reveals his true identity and reason for not getting involved in the fight.
Of course Severin knows western art as well as anyone in comics, so this story's wide range of standard western settings and situations give him a chance to do a lot of great detailed art in just seven pages. It's full of the intricate pen-work that Severin is known for.
John Severin is the focus of the upcoming EC fanzine SQUA TRONT #11, reviewed here.
Saturday, March 26, 2005