Thursday, November 24, 2022

Andru & Esposito? (I've Burned Myself on IDing Them Earlier)

I let myself see Ross Andru and Mike Esposito on Dell's Monkees #1 but at least after "Lee" and Mark Evanier correctly suggested Mo Marcus, that led me to more Marcus IDs elsewhere. If anyone has a better idea on this funny animal art than Andru and Esposito, I'd be gratified to hear it.

"Outboxed the Boxer," the first story in Tom Cat #4, April/56--the first issue; yes, Charlton, why do you ask?--is drawn in a style not used in the other stories in that issue or the rest of the 5-issue run. The later issues are by Al Fago, who signs a cover and a story, and perhaps other artists in his style.

With the wildly different, comparatively "realistic" style of this first story, I'd think that it was another one of those examples of Charlton's buying up the inventory of a defunct company, but the writer, whoever it may be--"Ngaaa!" and Kurrash--continues on the feature throughout the run.

I'm guessing Andru and Esposito more by the inks than the pencils. Although this is a comical comic book, the figures aren't in the industry-wide "make it look like Mad but not anything actually like the Mad artists" style that Andru used on Get Lost.


  1. A problem IDing Andru pencils is that what we think of his pencils with Esposito are more the latter's redrawing. That is, there's an assumption with A&E work that we're seeing more of Andru's pencils than we are.
    Then there's the matter of Marvel Feature 1. Inker Bill Everett found the pencils awful. They're require a lot redrawing from him and forever reason, he wasn't interested in doing it. So in one of the great passive/aggressive acts by an inker, he just inked over every little squiggle. Suffice to say, Andru/Everett there looks literally nothing like Andru/Esposito.
    Meanwhile, when stumbling across early Andru art that may or may not be inked by Esposito, I note something of a Toth wannabe in the art and that's about the only clue I have for ID'ing early Andru.

  2. In this case if there's Andru and Esposito there I'm satisfied to figure it's Andru and/or Esposito (weighted toward Esposito) and acknowledge that it's not necessarily 50/50. It's like the way I've identified the writing of the married couple Cecil Beard and Alpine Harper as a team when other indexers have attributed them separately; I can't tell the percentage of work by each on a particular job, but better to say "Beard & Harper" and be not entirely accurate than to skip over crediting one or the other at all.

  3. I don't see any Andru or Esposito in this story but I'm not ruling out that it could be. That early in their careers, their styles were all over the place.

    I've heard the story that The Seditionist tells about Everett disliking Andru's pencils on MARVEL FEATURE #1 and deciding to ink every single line on it. I've also heard the story that Everett had no problem with what Andru did but was making some sort of protest about a number of jobs he'd been given where he was expected to do a lot of redrawing for inker money. Neither one makes any real sense to me, especially considering that on MARVEL FEATURE 3 just a few months later, Everett again inked Andru and, this time, did a thoroughly professional job that I consider the best inking Andru ever got anywhere. I believe it was Sol Brodsky who told me the second version.

  4. The first thought that struck me upon seeing this Tom Cat story was "It has to be someone I know," and A&E was just the best (shaky) guess. It still seems to me that it was someone who didn't do much in the way of funny animal strips, but it may in fact be someone who only did just this one or a very few comic book stories altogether.

  5. The one identifier for early (pre superhero) Andru work is the eyes with the visible tear ducts. The pose in the second panel does reming me of Andru. I would have to check, but I can see some of his funny animal style in Up Your Nose.

  6. I absolutely agree (gefore reading the other comments). Also the pencilling (the big eye close-up in panel two and the boxer's face later on). Andru did more funny stuff (and was better at it) than many people know. You can also look at Up Your Nose for more comarison material.