Checking In... Again
August 18th, 2010
Well, this is something of a re-run. It's complicated. I was going to move to Wordpress, but I hated the customizing possibilities. My first post there was going to be kind of a simple test... just re-using stuff I had posted here back in 2008. Now that I'm staying put at Blogger, I figured I may as well go ahead and put this content up. I'll be back with new stuff soon. I believe this was the first Mortimer piece I ever bought. I was collecting a lot of strip art at the time, and I just thought I should have an example from Mr. Winslow Mortimer. The ebay scan looked pretty good, but the original blew me away when it arrived.
I knew Mortimer as a solid craftsman who wasn’t especially well-suited to superheroes (ala Don Heck, to some extent). What I saw in this daily comic strip was pure mastery. The compositions are solid and clear. The inking is vibrant and lively and, more than anything, the characters jump off the page. The “acting” is just superb. You don’t often see characters this this unique and energetic. There are no stock poses here. Every gesture contributes to the feel of the characters and to the overall storytelling. Winslow Mortimer’s comic strip work was a true revelation for me. I went on to buy several more examples, and I cherish them all. Even now that I’m writing much more and inking much less, there are lessons to be learned from Mortimer’s work.
Years after I bought this daily, I found an amazing photograph of Winslow Mortimer and his wife online. It’s the kind of studio photo of a cartoonist that I absolutely love. The well-dressed artist poses with a clearly-already-finished strip or page. This example also has the artist’s lovely wife, which makes it pretty unique, in my experience.
About a year ago, I answered my phone and found myself speaking to Mrs. Mortimer. Yeah, she called me. Win has been dead for about a decade, but his widow had somehow been steered to a blog entry of mine in which I talked about this photo. She was touched that someone remembered her husband. I was touched that she reached out to me. I’ll never forget the feeling I got when this lovely woman said, “You would have liked Win… he was a good man.” I bet he was.
Come back soon, and tell your friends. I'm gonna try to get back to making it worthwhile.