Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.21: Graham Ingels

No.21: Graham Ingels

Gasp!! <choke>

Think of 1950s pre-code, that five-year interim between the end of the Golden Age and the nascent Silver Age, and one instantly thinks of horror – not the most successful genre of that period, but the one that has cast by far the longest shadow. And as far as pre-code horror is concerned, the market leader (and inadvertent pariah) was of course EC Comics, whose infamous and unsurpassed roster of ghouls was led by the magnificent “Ghastly” Graham Ingels. Ingels’ art for EC outplayed his distinguished colleagues in the horror stakes, his outré, stark, gloriously grotesque gothic raising the bar, his visceral take on the genre brimming with the skewed and doomed archetypes that would people many such tales in future decades. Words: Andrew Colman…

Getting his start in pulps and then moving into comics in the late 1940s, Ingels had already shone at publishers like Fiction House and above all Nedor, where his science fiction work on Startling Comics and Wonder Comics stood out. After working for various other late golden age publishers, primarily on crime and western books, he moved to EC Comics in 1948. Initially his work for the company, mainly on their western and romance titles, lacked spark, but with 1950’s New Trend reboot, it was obvious to publisher Bill Gaines and editor Al Feldstein that Ingels’ metier was horror. Within two years his moniker at the E.C. bullpen was “Ghastly” Graham Ingels, with the artist signing his work “Ghastly”.

 

Although Haunt of Fear was Ingels’ own title (more or less) he also drew stories for Tales from The Crypt, Vault of Horror and Crime Suspenstories (the line between horror and crime was never more blurred than at E.C.). Each of his efforts are a slice of American expressionism, delineated as per usual with heavily inked shadows, combining kinetic realism with larger-than-death gruesomeness. There are so many classic moments to choose from in these tales of dastardly crime, ruthless villainy, ironic punishment and rotting, vengeful zombies. Haunt of Fear 5’s Biting Finish, interspersed with flashbacks, showcases a revived corpse exacting a somewhat unpleasant revenge on a fugitive murderer. The more noirish Chatterboxed from Haunt of Fear 15, may have a contrived ending but has Ghastly undertaking a premature burial, while Haunt of Fear 24’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes is an amoral backwoods tale of moonshine-soaked comeuppance, with liquefied, grizzled hillbillies, that must’ve been read by Ingels’s chief acolyte, Bernie Wrightson.

There are subtler, less twisted efforts in the Ingels canon, such as Haunt of Fear 25’s The New Arrival (no doubt read by Roald Dahl) and Haunt of Fear 27’s About Face which has what was then a relatively new chestnut about a girl with two faces, one beautiful, the other hideous. I read a variation of this very work in a 1970s DC mystery comic edited by E.C. stalwart Joe Orlando…nothing new under the sun indeed, but with Ghastly’s panache and eye for detail, it’s all most effective. Other highlights would be Tales from The Crypt 40’s Half Baked, replete with sea-going atmospherics, with some of Ingels’s best art, Tales from The Crypt 43’s Accidents and Old Lace (self-explanatory!) and Vault of Horror 15’s Buried Alive.

 

There are many pretenders to the pre-code crown, including some of Ghastly’s fellow horror mavens, such as Johnny Craig, John Severin, Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, Jack Kamen, Reed Crandall or Bernie Krigstein, not to mention fan favourite horror maestros like Joe Maneely, Bill Everett, Russ Heath, Bernard Baily, Basil Wolverton, Lou Morales, Rudy Palais, Don Heck, Tony Mortellaro, Bob Powell or Warren Kremer, and even the legendary Frank Frazetta, who credited Ingels for getting his start in comics. However, the (apparently) mild-mannered and reserved Ghastly remains the king of the genre – his covers for Haunt of Fear 12, 15 and above all 17 so outrageously lurid and bizarre that they are unrivalled in terms of envelope-pushing. None of this would mean as much but for his artistic virtuosity, which was consistently excellent throughout his tenure under Bill Gaines. Merely check out his sepia woodcut artwork in Terror Illustrated’s the Basket for evidence of his exceptional and innovative talent that would prove to be as influential to future name artists like Neal Adams, Jeff Jones, Barry Smith, the aforementioned Bernie Wrightson and many others.

For dedicated horrorheads, Ingels’ art style is iconic and timeless, his fluid, graphic, darkly humorous picaresque the very soul of E.C.’s horror output, and by extension one of the pillars of the publisher. When horror books hit the wall of the comics’ code in the mid-1950s, so did Ingels’ career in the industry, bar a few stories in E.C.’s brief New Directionperiod. But his legacy of course is still manifest.

Here’s links through to the other entries in our 101 Greatest so far as well

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.22: Al Williamson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.23: Barry Windsor-Smith

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.24: Alex Ross

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.25: John Byrne

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.26: Mike Mignola

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.27: Basil Wolverton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.28: Howard Chaykin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.29: Moebius

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.30: Dave Gibbons

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.31: Creig Flessel

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.32: Milt Caniff

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.34: Burne Hogarth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.35: LB Cole

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.37: Bill Everett

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.38: Robert Crumb

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.39: Mac Raboy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.41: Jim Starlin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.42: Mike Zeck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.43: Adam Hughes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.44: Daniel Clowes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.45: Gene Colan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.46: George Perez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.47: Michael William Kaluta

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.48: Cary Nord

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.49: Frank Quitely

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.50: Mike Ploog

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.51: Johnny Craig

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.52: Darwyn Cooke

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.53: Steve Dillon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.54: Gil Kane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.55: Michael Zulli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.56: John Romita

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.57: Joe Maneely

 

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.58: Marshall Rogers

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.59: John Severin

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.60: Alex Toth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.61: Brian Bolland

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.62: David Mazzuchelli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.63 Reed Crandall

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.64 Harry Anderson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.65 Nick Cardy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.66 Matt Wagner

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.67 Bryan Hitch

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.68 Shawn Martinbrough

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.69 Al Feldstein

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.70 Nestor Redondo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.71 Tarpe Mills

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.72 Eduardo Risso

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.73 JH Williams III

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.74 Irv Novick

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.75 Dan Zolnerowich

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.76 Gilbert Shelton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.77 Tommy Lee Edwards

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.78: Sean Phillips

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.79: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.80: Dan DeCarlo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.81: Marie Severin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.82: John Paul Leon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.83: Jim Lee

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.84: Denys Cowan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.85: Ross Andru

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.86: Paul Gustavson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.87: George Evans

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.88: Michael Golden

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.89: Matt Baker

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.90: Todd McFarlane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.91: Fiona Staples

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.92: Carl Barks

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.93: Carmine Infantino

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.94: Alan Davis

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.95: CC Beck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.96: Syd Shores

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.97: Bob Fujitani

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.98: Tim Sale

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.99: Jim Aparo

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-100/

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-101/

 

The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.21: Graham Ingels appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

No.21: Graham Ingels Gasp!! <choke> Think of 1950s pre-code, that five-year interim between the end of the Golden Age and the nascent Silver Age, and one instantly thinks of horror – not the most successful genre of that period, but the one that has cast by far the longest shadow. And as far as pre-code
The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.21: Graham Ingels appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.Read MoreTRIPWIRE MAGAZINE

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