Wednesday, May 01, 2013

the who am i dilemma...

this morning, i was reading about carl pfeufer, a comic book artist who worked for fawcett comics in the 1940's and 1950's. he was mainly a penciller, working mainly with an inker named john jordan. together they drew and inked 90% of fawcett's tom mix comics - bland stories and pretty darn nice graphic images. jordan and pfeufer are rarely mentioned nor collected, but their works surely belong in the cowboy comic book hall of fame (if there ever was such a thing!).

pfeufer was always ambivalent about his work with comics, and while he was relatively well known during his run of tom mix, he rarely took credit or made a big deal out of his comic work. the problem was that he always wanted to be respected as a 'fine artist' and never seemed to have come to terms with the fact that he was an incredibly talented comic book artist... while perusing the web, i found this text by pfeufer's wife, mrs. helen pfeufer sheehan, offering through the example of her husband, the dilemma of who you are and who you want to be:

“carl did not particularly want to be known for his work in the comics. that is the reason he never answered any questions regarding comics. carl was an introvert. his home life, family and thoughts were very private.

he had the capability of producing a large amount of work very quickly. he would pencil in panels as fast as most of us can write. then he would ink with a brush. he rarely used a pen. when he penciled for others to ink (john jordan) he took a little more time and put in more detail, especially the main characters. he worked long hours, very often all night, then would go to new york city with his work, chat with the fawcett editors, get a new assignment, return home, sleep 2 or 3 hours and start working again.
 
his comic book work was just as ‘legitimate’ as his other work, but he viewed himself as a fine artist. he had excellent teachers, training, and very high opinion of himself. carl used to say that rodin would have ‘wept with joy’ if his life drawings were as good as his! and he meant it! but he would only say such things to me or some very close friends. his art idol was joaquin sorolla. we visited the sorolla museum in madrid and carl would study every brush stroke until he could explain how and why it was done. carl had studied oil painting with starkweather, a protege’ of sorolla. carl was happiest while painting.  he was completely absorbed in his work. you did not talk to him or make unnecessary noises. i had to teach carl how to relax and just have fun. he was a workaholic!

he was truly disappointed not to have been recognized for his artistic abilities.” 




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