Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lou Fine's The Ray




I recently came across a great collection of Golden Aged DC stories featuring incredible work from the likes of Jack Cole, Dan Barry. Reed Crandall and the subject of today's post, my favourite Golden Age artist, the amazing Lou Fine.
All of which put me in mind of those fantastic DC 100 pagers full of Golden Age reprints, which is all the excuse I need to post some of Lou's stuff.

Though his time working in comics was relatively short, ( 1938-1944 ) Lou was a massively inspirational artist. Looking at his work, you can see his influence on Gil Kane, Mike Kaulta, Berni Wrightson & Jim Steranko, to name just four. He worked for most of his comics' career at Will Eisner's studio, alongside George Tuska, Bob Powell, and the young Jack Kirby, producing ' packaged' strips for all kinds of publishers. ( He's ' Lou Sharp ' in Will's autobiographical memoir The Dreamer )
The way it often worked in the sweatshop of studio work of the '40's was that Eisner would come up with the idea for a new character, give it to an artist, then let that artist bring said hero to life. In interviews years later, Will would always call that artist the actual creator. Which is how it went with The Ray.

The Ray is sort of Captain Atom but weirder, with a completely bizarre origin, an annoying kid sidekick, and a bright yellow costume that means he'll never be slinking down dark alleys alongside Batman.
But it's Lou's dreamlike, surreal artwork, with it's beautiful anatomy and style, that makes The Ray a classic.
Here's a big batch of Lou Fine at his best.
























4 comments:

  1. Love Lou Fine's art - he really was one of the very best, if not the best, of the Golden Age artists.
    He also did some fantastic work on Doll Man and Black Condor, but I think you're right, these Ray stories are something else.

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  2. Don't have any Doll Man, but got the odd, incredibly surreal, Black Condor piece if anyone wants to see them?

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  3. Pete, no complaints from me about Black Condor, or anything drawn by Mr. Fine.
    By the way, are you familiar with the Digital Comics Museum? It has scans of tons of public-domain Golden Age comics, available for legal download free of charge. The Doll Man stories by Fine are available there, in Feature Comics (they start in issue #27, and go on for the next 10 or so issues.

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  4. Black Condor on the way as soon as poss, then.
    Wasn't aware of that website, thanks, but off to check it now now!

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