You were expecting Superman? Nope – even faster.
While writing this article I scanned a few images from Starfire #6, Art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta. I hope you enjoy them.
Part of the Vince Colletta legend is the fact that he was unquestionably the fastest inker in the business. As a result, editors, whose writers, pencilers, inkers or more likely through their own bumbling, caused major delays, were constantly asking him if he could ink entire books over the weekend.
Accepting these assignments cost him dearly in terms of his reputation but he never declined to take the work. He needed the money and the opportunity was there to help the company so this scenario became an almost automatic weekly occurrence for the twenty years to follow.
Rarely a weekend went by when Colletta didn’t have an eighteen or twenty pager to fire off before Monday morning. And come hell or high water, if he hadn’t inked them in his NYC studio or in Marvel’s or DC’s offices, he’d be on his way into the city at 5:00 AM with a stack of finished pages he’d inked at home.
Often, he must have labored over his drawing board with what had to be only the energy of desperation. It’s hard to believe that Vinnie was the only inker who could combine speed and professionalism with a willingness to work insane hours. But editors called on Mr. Colletta almost exclusively in emergencies. I think that he considered himself a faithful servant of the institutions for whom he plied his trade.
Regarding some of the pencils he was saddled with, correcting out-of-proportion figures and doing finishes over mere breakdowns were the exception but when they occurred they devoured his time. It compares to asking a sprinter to throw a shot put in the middle of a race. There were comic book pencilers who knew they were serious artists and those who only thought they were. You can guess from which ones the editors heard the loudest cries when some of their (tardy) pencils were erased.
Jerry Novick: The Colletta issue – I agree with the sentiment that some inkers look good on some pencillers and not so good on others. Colletta has a huge body of work, some fantastic, some controversial, some journeyman-level, some above and beyond his peers. But his contribution to helping get the books out on time can never be under-sold.