One of the underappreciated greats of comic books, Mort Meskin, finally gets his due in this beautiful art coffee table book/biography. From Westerns to superheroes to romances, Meskin’s versatility is well evident. Some of the more famous artists that he influenced, such as Steve Ditko and Alex Toth, as well as friend and collaborator Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker) weigh in on Meskin and his work. Archival interviews with Meskin also shed light on his oeuvre, including a great section on the impact Citizen Kane had on the evolving art of comics in the Golden Age.

The book includes beautiful full-color reproductions with all of the originals’ flaws. Also included are figure studies, character designs, sketches, full-penciled pages and unpublished work, such as a crime story that was cut due to the Comics Code. The later sections of the book also shed light on Meskin’s life outside of comics, with paintings from his personal collection as well as his work in advertising.

It’s a fine tribute to one of the greats.

Grade: A

From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin is currently available.