I’m taking a few days off from my serialized posting of the original art pages to my uncollected 1994 graphic novel, “The Mark In America” to post and blog about one of the highlights of my collection, the complete set of all 9 pages of original artwork, by Lee Elias, to “Banker’s Holiday”, starring the Black Cat. The story was first printed in “Black Cat” #2, published by Harvey Comics in August/September 1946, reprinted in “Black Cat” #10 (1948), and still later in “The Original Black Cat” #5, published by Lorne-Harvey in 1991. These are pages #2 and #3.
Panel #1 of page #2 is a reprise, an echo of panel #2 from page #1; similar yet different. The “camera” has trucked out and raised to near eye level, giving the impression of a slight time elapse, mostly because the dialogue in the first panel indicated greeting and introductions and the second is the start of action.
All of the panels but #3 on page #2 have heightened, almost exaggerated depth of field. Students of inking technique should study the manner in which Elias separates the layers, keeping the panels clear and readable in spite of the rather intricate details. I’m especially impressed by panel 5, where the gun Linda has trained on Wililams doesn’t disappear into the movie crew behind it. And check out panel #4, how Mr. De Pille in the foreground is separated from the background figures by an occasional (but not omnipresent) thin halo of white.
Page #2, panel #6 seems somewhat awkward however; Williams shoots the gun out of Linda’s hand while running toward the horse in the foreground. The detailing on the horse’s saddle seems overly ornate until one reads page #3, panel #1, which show Williams and horse galloping off into the distance. Elias’s judicial use of detailing and placement has rendered it unnecessary to depict all the intervening steps (Williams mounting the horse, spurring it, etc).
My main quibble is that the important action, Linda’s gun getting shot out of her hands, seems poorly composed; unlike panel 5, here the gun DOES disappear into the background. It seems to me that with only slight adjustment it would have been possible to silhouette that action in the open door Williams has just run through.
On Page #3, things start to heat up, inking-virtuosity-wise and plot-wise, that is. Panels #3, 4, 5 & 6 are one-after-another impressive displays of highly detailed yet crisply and freshly inked compositions with admirable depth of field. Panel 5 is especially striking as a depiction of a crowd one doesn’t get lost in.
These are pages 2 & 3 of “Banker’s Holiday”, starring Black Cat, from Black Cat #2, published by Harvey Comics in 1946.