Mort Meskin (Golden Age artist) (1916-1995)

July 3, 2008

Mort Meskin was born May 30, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York. He began to enjoy pulps in his youth, and by high school, his interest in art led him to become the art editor for his school newspaper. After high school, Meskin studied at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and New York's Art Students League.

In 1938, he made his debut in the comics field by illustrating Sheena in Jumbo Comics, as a member of the Eisner/Iger Studios. Meskin continued his career at Chesler, where he illustrated characters like Bob Phantom, Mr. Satan, Shield, and Wizard.

Meskin's most noted work appeared at DC, where he started out in 1941. There, he drew Vigilante, Wildcat, Starman, and stories for Strange Adventures, Mystery in Space, and Real Fact. Meskin was heavily influenced by cinematic techniques, and his clean style is attributed to this. He often experimented with storytelling techniques, especially when he took over the superhero speedster title, Johnny Quick. Meskin fell ill during the late-1940s and was in and out of the hospital.

Even while working for DC, Meskin continued to work for other companies. Together with Jerry Robinson, he created Atoman and Golden Lad for Spark Publications; drew The Fighting Yank and Black Terror for Better Publications/Standard; and several horror stories for Atlas (Marvel). Through the studio of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, he produced Boys' Ranch for Harvey and Black Magic for Crestwood Publications.

After a period of time away, Meskin returned to National/DC in 1956 working on a variety of war, science fiction and love stories, as well as the Mark Merlin series. Later on, he left the comics field to become an illustrator and art director for an advertising agency.

Meskin drew so many characters during the length of his comic book career, and was prolific in his decades of work in the industry. His experimental storytelling techniques helped him stand out in the crowd and he is considered to have been an influence on both Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby.

“As a writer for Eclipse Comics I was lucky enough to pay homage to not only my dad, a longtime fan himself, but artist Mort Meskin when I brought back The Black Terror in a mini-series,” said Beau Smith, comic book writer. “I cannot stress the joy of getting to add my own small layer to the history of this wonderful artist.”

Meskin retired from advertising in 1982 and died in April 1995. He was about to turn 79 years old.

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