Sunday, August 1, 2010

"I'm in love with Lou and I feel Fine!"

Is there a strong enough market for a Lou Fine art book/biography like my Bill Everett and Steve Ditko books? Maybe/maybe not, but one of the joys of attending the San Diego Comicon is patrolling the original comic-book art dealers and seeing the odd 1940s piece of artwork that makes your jaw drop when compared to the printed version. Few artists back in the day were in Bill Everett's class, but Lou Fine is certainly one of them and the cheap printing back in the Golden Age of Comics didn't do justice to the man's line work.

Fine joined the comic-book field around the same time as Bill Everett, in 1938, Fine winding up at the Will Eisner-Jerry Iger studio. Fine would work on Eisner's The Spirit newspaper strip while Will was away during WWII, but Fine was out of comics by the end of the War.

That's a shame because this Black Condor piece of original art was on display at Mike Burkey's booth in San Diego and even the nice scan doesn't do the line work justice. Just beautiful penmanship. Joe Simon has been quoted as saying Fine was an influence on the great Jack Kirby, so you can't do much better than that.

Here's more on Fine's life, and here's his Google gallery of images. Here's another piece of Fine original art on Burkey's site and an example of his work on The Spirit. When I think of great comic-book artists from this era of comics that were true artists, I think of Everett, Fine, Basil Wolverton, Bob Powell and Matt Baker, just off the top of my head.

Another piece of art that I saw in San Diego reminded me that there's nothing like looking at the originals compared to the printed version. Here's an Alex Raymond Flash Gordon piece which, like the Fine, piece has exquisite line work.

So, what do you say, people? Should I do up a nice book on Lou Fine? If so, I'd have to get a hold of as much original artwork to show off his glory. Please leave your thoughts below.


  1. I would buy a book on Lou Fine in a heartbeat!

    Stephan Friedt

  2. I love Fine's work. I'd buy the book.


    Alex Johnson
    Visit my CAF gallery at
    Your comments are more than welcome.

  3. I know this is an old post, but just came across it while searching for Lou Fine images. Coincidentally am just now reading your wonderful Steve Ditko book. Hopefully you're on your way to doing the Fine book, he deserves it and we would all benefit.

  4. Hi Mark. Thanks for your kind words, and I hope you're enjoying my Steve Ditko book. Would love to do a book on Lou Fine. Don't know, though, if there's enough of an audience for it. Of the "old greats", only Ditko and Kirby seem to generate enough sales (for me and the publisher) to do a single-artist book.

  5. Here's a thought--why not a book on Lou Fine and Reed Crandall? They come from the same era (and may have worked on a story/cover or two together), but went in very different directions. Plus, Crandall gets you closer to modern decades, and some recognizable characters (Flash Gordon, Blackhawk, etc.). Plus, Crandall's sexy women, which would help commercially (as with the Matt Baker book). Just a thought, since it's surprising that neither Fine nor Crandall have been given the book treatment yet.

    1. Would love to do a book on either one, Lamar! Time will tell! (I wonder how much original art from both I could access. THAT would make a big difference.)

  6. Blake, I too would absolutely buy a book on Lou Fine and I think there's a good size fan base to support it's endeavour. There's not enough decent information on the man and his life and I feel that's well overdue. I own all your books on Everett and plan on buying your Ditko books. As for the phenomenal illustrator Reed Crandall, I would definitely be interested in a book on him as well as the brilliant artist Paul Gustavson. These artists were tremendously gifted and skilled and need the appreciation of the younger generation who either have never heard of them, or have limited exposure to their works.