Vince Colletta : biography
Vincent Joseph Colletta (October 15, 1923 - June 3, 1991), Social Security Death Index details, FamilySearch was an American comic book artist and art director best known as one of industry legend Jack Kirby's frequent inkers during the 1950s-1960s period called the Silver Age of comic books. This included a few landmark early issues of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four, and a long, celebrated run on the character Thor in Journey into Mystery and The Mighty Thor.
Colletta, regarded as one of the American comics industry's fastest inkers and a reliable professional to call upon when a comic was in danger of missing a printing deadline, has remained a controversial figure even after his death.The magazine The Jack Kirby Collector #14 (Feb. 1997), for example, ran the point-counterpoint article "The Pros & Cons of Vince Colletta", by Tony Seybert and John Morrow, reprinted in The Collected Jack Kirby Collector, Volume Three (TwoMorrows, 2004) The controversy centers on Colletta's erasing various degrees of a penciler's work, both in order to lessen the inking burden and to help meet time constraints during an industry era when printers charged then-prohibitive thousands of dollars for missed deadlines, which resulted in idle presses. As comics artist Joe Sinnott told author Marc Flores, who writes under the pen name Ronin Ro, "When I penciled the romance stories, I used to tell myself, Vince wrecked what I did. ... He would eliminate people from the strip and use silhouettes, everything to cut corners and make the work easier for himself." Writer Len Wein told an interviewer what he enjoyed most about working on Luke Cage was, "Getting to work with the wonderful George Tuska, before Vinnie Colletta got his hands on the pencils and ruined them".
Colletta was fired from inking The Tomb of Dracula when publisher Stan Lee determined that he had taken unacceptable shortcuts on issue #9. Gene Colan, penciler on the series (and on several earlier projects inked by Colletta), remarked many years later that "when he wanted to he could do very good work, but he didn't take his time with my stuff."Field, p. 88
Jack Kirby partisans are particularly vocal. Mark Evanier said, "In 1970 when Steve Sherman and I met Steve Ditko, he asked us about the new Kirby books that were then about to debut at DC. When we told him Colletta was handling the inking, he winced and said that he would probably not look at the comics. Back when he was working for Marvel, Ditko said he'd pick up the latest issues in the office and always check the credits before taking the comics home. If he found Colletta's name — especially as Kirby's embellisher — he would make a point of putting the comic back, or even in a wastebasket. And he'd make sure Stan [Lee] saw what he was doing and knew the reason why."Evanier, Mark. The Jack Kirby Collector (date not given), , September 8, 2005. .
Conversely, Colletta's admirers point to the speed with which Colletta was often required to work, and the results he could produce when given time. Critic Tony Seybert wrote that "for tales set in the distant past of myth and legend, Colletta's soft delicate inks evoke the vapors of ancient times [and are] just as effective on Asgardian crags as on the sylvan glades of Olympus. The Kirby/Colletta Thor is a mighty blond deity with a hint of Norse faerie-dust. Hercules is a roughly hewn sculpture, almost incomplete, like one of the unfinished prisoners of Michelangelo."Seybert, Tony, The Jack Kirby Collector #14
Colletta himself has described his methods as a necessity of the industry. When asked to describe his philosophy of inking, he said, "Well, first of all, some inkers like to pick and choose... and they'll take their time, no matter what the deadline is, even if the editor is in a jam, or a colorist is waiting for pages to come in so they can earn a living, too. I can't be that way."Colletta interview with Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, "Bullpen Bulletins", Marvel Comics cover-dated May 1983, including The New Mutants #3 (May 1983).
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