"He ain't visually heavy; he's my brother," commented comics artist Fred
Okay, there is no Fred Sled, and the quote is an invented pun. But it would
have been true if said about the polished style of comics pioneer and artist, Kenneth Bald.
Born in 1920, Bald began his career designing or "laying-out" comic book
pages at the Binder Shop (1941-'43) where he was promoted to Art Director.
He also worked at the Sangor Shop, and on Capt. Marvel superhero titles in
the mid-1950s at the Beck-Costanza Shop. Bald also drew the comic strips
Judd Saxon (1957-'62), and Dark Shadows (1971-'72).
As comics art aficionados know, not only the visual elements in each panel
on a comics page, but the arrangement of the panels on the page carries the illusion of weight.
A black blob seems of more substance than an equal area of white.
Among the most accomplished practitioners of realistic art, Bald's style is
best described as beautifully balanced.
The "weight" of his panels and pages seemed perfectly placed. Esthetically
Those thinking the word "commercial" insulting should rethink. The broad
sweep of his rare talent made Bald equally at home drawing a romance, horror
or superhero title with the style needed for each genre.
Bald was also as adept at de-lineating buildings as babes, muscles as
monsters, and stories as covers, a versatility badly missing in many comics
Bald's comics work included: Capt. Marvel, Mr. Scarlet,
Bullet-man,(1942-'45, Fawcett); Fighting Yank, Doc Strange (1942, Pines);
Blackstone, Doc Savage (1942-'43, St. & Smith); Black Owl (1942, Prize);
Capt. Battle (1942, Gleason), Millie, Willie, Cindy (1946-50, Marvel),
covers, love war and western titles (1948-'52, ACG). A collection of his
Dark Shadows strips is available from Ken Pierce Books.
The work of Kenneth Bald is highly recommended. MV
Some older comics are expensive or difficult to locate. Price guides or
comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and
trade journals are good sources. Prices vary; shop around.
Questions? Comments? E-mail: MiklVance@Yahoo.com.