Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R.I.P. Mike Esposito

I was saddened to hear that we'd lost another classic comic creators. Long-time artist, Mike Esposito passed away at age 83. I feel badly not raving about his work but, for me, he usually fell into the 'solid, dependable but not amazing 'category. The only time I felt that he was truly great was when teamed with his lifelong friend Ross Andru. While I liked his work for Marvel as Mickey Demeo in the 60s was good, and that collaborations with others through the 70s and 80s was professional, it always lacked the magic of the Andru/Esposito team. I really do not like the word synergy, but there really is no better way to described their mixture of talents. They infused each page, and especially covers, with an incredible amount of life. Alongside Andru, Esposito could tackle genres ranging from war to humour. I also have a lot of respect for he and Andru for their trailblazing attempts at self-publishing, both with MikeRoss and Klevart. In case you don't know, the image to the right is from Sea Devils #13, a terrific early 'meta' story. I think that I'll go home and read some Metal Men books tonight. Rest in Peace Mr. Esposito and say "Hi' to Ross for me.

2 comments:

Argo Plummer said...

Mike Esposito--that's a name from my childhood. He was one of the first creators I remember noticing in the credits--probably because it's kind of a funky name--the other one I remember noticing about that time is Mike Sekowsky.

Anyway, while many people seem to be remembering him for his Marvel work--his name conjures up images of 60's DC books for me--books I was discovering in the late 70s and early 80s when I discovered the wonder of the LCS.

Anyway, I will be joining you in pulling out my Metal Men in memory of his work and his impact on my burgeoning comic collecting.

Man of Bronze said...

I agree with you about Mike Esposito, while I wouldn't buy a book just because he worked on it, you could always depend on him for good solid professional art.

Also agree that Esposito was never better than when working with his pally Ross Andru. The reverse is also true.

I hated Ross Andru when I first "discovered" him in the pages of Bronze Age Amazing Spider-Man. Then again, he had the tough job of picking up where John Romita and Gil Kane had left. Not an easy task, especially for a young reader who considered the Kane/Romita period as the definitive Spidey.

Later I got into Silver Age DC and discovered a very different Ross Andru on Wonder Woman, war stories, Metal Men (never really got into these guys)... There was a rare alchemy (or synergy as you put it) between these two friends. There aren't many art teams that you can say: these guys never did better work than when they worked together. Mike Esposito and Ross Andru were such a team. They are missed.