Have a look at the drawing that accompanies this article. At first glance, you would correctly conclude that the illustration came from a comic book. Upon closer inspection, however, the man and the woman resemble real people rather than cartoon characters. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Golden Age of Comics, the human form as illustrated by the comic book artists of the day hardly resembled actual people.
This particular example of romance art was published in 1954, long before most comic book aficionados were born. Prior to the Vincent Colletta-era of comic book illustration, the human form was depicted by employing thick, graphic lines to denote shadows and depth. These were augmented by evenly-spaced, carefully measured lines. Colletta created with pencil, pen and brush, what many artists working in oils were unable to match for realism. This creativity was on full display for many years to come as Vince came to illustrate hundreds of pages of romance covers and stories.
Romance comics fell out of favor when the superheroes began capturing the attention of teenage buyers. Art work such as this ceased to exist. This glimpse into the past offers us a chance to appreciate the evolutionary process as well as the passing of true illustrative art in comic books.
ALEX GRAND: “I’ve never met the guy, but I wish I had, and will look at his past work with some degree of appreciation, as part of the variety of 20th century comics.”