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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #64

Mike Week: Day two! Let’s look at a classic artist from the craziest era of comics.

3/5/07

64. Mike Sekowsky

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Ahh, Mike Sekowsky. The world isn’t as awesome as it could be without you in it anymore.

I mean, Mike Sekowsky is the man who, with Gardner Fox, gave us the Justice League of America and all its brilliant, wild stories. Mike’s the guy who drew (and sometimes wrote) everyone’s favorite I-Ching-laden era of Wonder Woman. He pencilled the Inferior Five series! Hell, he’s the man who drew obscure greats like the Maniaks, B’Wana Beast and Jason’s Quest in Showcase! You can’t beat those. When he wasn’t busy giving us awesome superhero stories, he was drawing stories for westerns and romances and every genre under the sun. His art may have gone unnoticed back in the day, but it’s our duty now to recall and remember his greatness.

Sekowsky had an elegant style to his art. He was a little bit Gil Kane, a little bit Carmine Infantino– he captured that perfect Silver Age feel for some perfect Silver Age stories.

But, hell, you want to see the pictures. I shall give you the pictures!

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I love his art, and he’s still missed.

What do you think?

13 Comments

When I was a kid I didn’t care for it that much, but looking back on it as an adult there’s an amazing talent there. I loved his stuff on Star Hawkins — that and the I-Ching era of Wonder Woman are enough by themselves to make him immortal. I’d forgotten he did B’Wana Beast and the Inferior Five. Add in those and he becomes one of my personal heroes.

Look at the JLA Showcases and see the stuff in black-and-white and you really get a sense of how good he was. Amazing design sense. Fluid pages, very clear storytelling leading the eye exactly where it needs to go, nothing ever looks crowded, and he routinely handled stories with ten or fifteen different characters on a page. The only thing to put in the minus column is that he tended to go back to the same three looks for aliens and cityscapes. But that’s very minor considering what a limited bag of tricks the Hot Artists of today seem to have.

There’s pretty much no chance of me showing up in this thing, is there?

This just makes me want to see Grindhouse even more.

Andrew Collins

March 6, 2007 at 3:17 am

Good stuff. I especially love the declaration that B’wana Beast’s “very name invokes TERROR!”

And is it just me, or is there some weird perspective stuff going on with the guitarist laying on the floor of the Maniaks cover?

Ian Astheimer

March 6, 2007 at 6:15 am

I demand an Inferior Five revival. DC needs its own Great Lakes Avengers to add some levity to the dominating darkness.

Someone phone Mike Allred and tell him to do a Maniaks revival.

Did you know that Sekowsky was the original artist on the Jet Dream feature, when it was a backup in The Man From UNCLE? (Which Sekowsky also drew, btw.)

http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/oddball/index.cgi?date=2001-01-11

And looking at it, it looks pretty likely that Jet Dream was (at least visually) Sekowsky’s “dry run” on “Diana Prince, Wonder Woman!” His Jet Dream, down to the white jumpsuit she wore, is a dead ringer for his later Diana Prince.

The Mad Monkey

March 6, 2007 at 8:56 am

One of the best Sekowsky comics I ever read was an issue of DNAgents. I don’t remember what number it was…
Being a fan of his work, I thought it was just the cat’s meow that he came out of nowhere and drew that issue. In my opinion, he still had what it took and, basically, slapped the new generation of artists in their collective face by showing them how a team book is supposed to be done.
And if nothing more needed to be said about the man, remember this one thing…
Mike Sekowsky was the artist responsible for bringing back the JSA.
Take that, Geoff Johns.

What particularly impresses me the more I see of his work is how versatile he was in terms of style. From JLA superheroics, to a rather different style on Wonder Woman and Supergirl, to extremely cartoony comedy, to romance comics, to (on the aforementioned UNCLE comics) good “licensed property” art that captures the likenesses of stars without looking too artificially reliant on reference.

His interiors were of… variable quality. But the cover to Justice League 46 is my favorite comics cover ever.

The Kirbydotter

March 9, 2007 at 11:07 am

I never realized how much I appreciated this artist until I decided that:

– Fox and Sekowsky’s Justice League of America was the only part I liked in the original run;

– His I-Ching/Mod Wonder Woman was my favorite WW run;

– I discovered the fun wackynest of Atlas/Seaboard comic books, and noticed that Sekowsky drew some of them (The Brute, Ironjaw, etc.)

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 11:54 am

Oups! how could I forget to add to my list:

– when I found out Sekowsky had drawn most episode of Star Hawkins! My favorite DC Sci-Fi character! And I assure you, I’m a HUGE fan of Schwartz’s DC brand of science fiction. I own both ADAM STRANGE archives, and I am in the process of completing my runs of Bronze Age reprints of Silver Age SF material in FROM BEYOND THE UNKNOWN and STRANGE ADVENTURES (217 TO 244).

I knew Mike at Hanna-Barbera in the late ’70s. he could draw anything. we were in awe of him. he was also very funny.

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