Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 1968 Cover to Blackhawk #243

What is your first reaction when you look at the Blackhawk cover above? I'll tell you what mine was but first let me make the point that I never saw this decades-old cover before this year. I never previously owned a copy of the book, but I stumbled upon a postage-stamp-sized image of the cover drawing online someplace. And at first sight I screamed out "Sekowsky!"

I had never heard of the great Mike Sekowsky ever having had any involvement with the Blackhawk series in the 1960s so so I did a little investigating. Get this: the Grand Comics Database credits Pat Boyette with the pencils and inks and letters for the cover! I had to order a copy of the comic off ebay so I could look this drawing right in the eye, and I have now received the book in the mail.

The logo lettering and story title lettering are certainly by Mr. Boyette, as are all the little people running on the ground and so are all the little people falling from the logo and the ones standing on the logo and the ones above the logo. I'll say that even the hands of the Green Giant came from the hand of Boyette, but that giant's face is a Sekowsky drawing. Pat Boyette was not one to mimic another artist's style. I would, however, feel very comfortable appraising the inks on the Sekowsky face as being by Boyette.

Now let's move our sights over to the Blackhawk figures at the left edge of the cover. Even after just a cursory glance, one would have to agree that they are drawn neither by Sekowsky nor Boyette. From the postures of the three Blackhawks and the girl and her doll and the slickness of the inks on all of them, I propose that these five figures were pencilled and inked by Dick Giordano (who happened to be the editor of Blackhawk at that time). So what's up with all these different hands stirring the pot?

I'll tell you what I think. It was known that this issue 243 was to be the last issue of the long-running Blackhawk series that had been published continuously over the 27 years since 1941. I think editor Giordano wanted to let the title go out with a bit of a bang so he decided to make the cover a jam drawing between himself and two of his stable of artists to commemorate the passing of an institution. My opinion on the gentlemen's efforts? Mission accomplished with "Mission Incredible."

I like the artwork of Pat Boyette just fine, but every time I look at the above cover I will continue to scream "Sekowsky!"


At 11:06 AM, Blogger Mark Evanier said...

I always wondered about that cover and I asked Giordano, Sekowsky and Boyette about it and none of them remembered. My guess is as follows..

I don't think Giordano thought of it as a "jam" cover. I think Carmine Infantino, who was then in charge of covers, had Sekowsky pencil a cover. It was sent to Boyette for inking and lettering and then when it came back, they didn't like a lot of it so Giordano did a lot of redrawing and patching.

The only possible weakness in that theory is that it wouldn't make a lot of sense to ship one cover to Texas (where Boyette was) for inking when it would have been easier to have it inked by someone in or around the DC offices...Giordano, for instance. But they did do things like that on occasion.


Post a Comment

<< Home