Tuesday, February 23, 2016

George Roussos Inks DR. STRANGE But Not Dr. Strange

George Roussos is credited in the Grand Comics Database with anonymously inking the Dr. Strange story "The Return of the Omnipotent Baron Mordo" in Strange Tales 114 (Nov/63). The comment suggests that he may have been brought on board because Stan Lee wanted to rush the story into that issue (Dr. Strange stories appeared in 110 and 111 but not in 112 and 113).

Actually Steve Ditko had plenty of time to ink the story. And then Stan had the time to have Roussos do artwork corrections.

Roussos inked Victoria Bentley. I might have said he redrew her, but I see Ditko's poses still there. Dr. Strange himself, Mordo, and so on, are pretty much Steve Ditko's work, pencils and inks. Roussos may have contributed a bit more—on this page, the tree in panel 3 and Mordo's hands in panel 6 look like his brushstrokes—but to my eye the men's faces are more finely inked than Victoria's.

Strange Tales 114 Dr. Strange, Mordo, and Victoria Bentley


  1. Hi Martin,

    I'd have to disagree with you in this instance. In comparing the inking to Ditko's previous story the brushwork is thicker and lacks the lush fluidity of Ditko's pen. I do agree that Roussos inking is not as thick as usual in this story, but still believe he is the inker.

    Lee may brought Roussos in to ink the story because he needed Ditko to fill-in elsewhere. During that period Ditko penciled Iron-Man, inked the Strange Tales Annual and the FF meet Spider-Man vignette in FF Annual # 1, so its entirely plausible that Lee pulled Ditko out of inking Dr. Strange because he felt he needed him on more important assignments.

  2. Nick,

    I could see it if Roussos sat down and very carefully inked the story more in line with Ditko's intent than usual, and then went back and inked Victoria in a couple of minutes as an editorially mandated art correction. But she and Strange, in the same panels, are certainly inked in different styles, don't you think?

  3. Martin,

    I'd agree with that assessment, and that might be exactly what happened. Lee was notorious for having women's faces touched-up. It happened often (and was more apparent) when John Romita did those alterations later on, but in earlier periods there are clearly alterations done by others, including production man Sol Brodsky, although his hand is not evident in this instance.

  4. The more I look at Victoria Bentley's face in this issue, the more I suspect it was touched up throughout. The hair looks like Roussous' heavy brushwork, but the face and chin could very well be altered by another hand. Although I said earlier I didn't see Brodsky's hand, he may have touched up Victoria's face on page 5; panel 7.

    Thanks for taking a closer look at this story. As you know, I love minutiae like this. Incidentally, Roussos also did uncredited inking over Ditko in the fantasy short "The Shoemaker's Strange Assistants!" which was published in the previous issue (the one sans Dr. Strange).

  5. Certainly they bypassed the whole hide-her-face-and-wait-for-a-new-artist-on-the-strip ("Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!") approach.

  6. For what it's worth: I suspect there's another inker involved. I think most of Ditko's early DR. STRANGE stories show signs of inking by someone else, probably a studio-mate, maybe even Eric Stanton. I don't see as much Ditko inking in the story in #114 as you do, Martin, and some of it sure doesn't look like Roussos to me.

  7. Rereading the Dr. Strange stories, I've just gotten to Rousssos' uncredited inking in Strange Tales 122 and his first credited job in 123, and the consistency across all the characters is night and day compared to his work on 114--so I still think my post title stands, though I can go along with you, Mark, as well as Nick, in that the other inking is not necessarily Ditko's.

  8. Stanton does on-off Ditko inking the early 60s even including the first dozen SPIDER-MAN. When asked about his collaboration, he stated that they had also worked together on story layouts.