Sunday, July 06, 2008
Vinnie Colletta Redux: Its not the man, its the work
Facts: I never met Vinnie, and have no knowledge of him other than all the stories that I heard from the people who actually knew him. I'm a generation removed from actual Vinnie stories. I have no doubt, as McSplurge below says, that conversation rings true. The conversation in question shows that the comic business is as petty and as much a business as any other, and that the people are more than human in their faults. I have my own issues with Shooter (and not with Levitz or DeFalco as I simply didn't work with them), so I don't need Vinnie's issues. But I didn't call anyone to task for being a "lowlife", this is all about the art.
And the reality, I believe, is this: Vinnie could ink, when he wanted to take the time. I actually like his approach to Thor with the thin crowquill lines. They added an interesting look and texture that old metal printing plates were actually able to keep up with. It really complimented the "feel" of the book, which was very different from what Kirby/Sinnott were doing over in the FF. As well, we know from the romance stuff from the '50's that Vinnie could draw when he wanted to, or when he took the time. But many times on Thor, and even more often on his DC work in the late 1970's, Vinnie continually took shortcuts and didn't give the work his due. That is what pisses me off. And that is why I applauded Evanier's post at the time. Just because someone has died, I don't feel the need to make them a saint. I'm sorry that it might hurt people's feelings, but the printed work is the printed work, and much of what went out with Vinnie's name was substandard work, because he felt the need to take it all on and crank it out.
I dislike sloppy, careless or just plain bad work. And I reserve the right to call anyone on that. Including myself. Not everything that I did was gold, believe me. And I would never claim it as such. But from a professional standpoint, Vinnie didn't take care of business, which in my book is delivering your money book, not just hitting the deadlines, in this case Thor in the '60's, in pristine condition.
Rule #1 for the working inker: Don't over commit yourself so much that you can't deliver the pages in good condition. Rule #2 for the working inker: Don't use politics to cover up your mistakes. Eventually, it won't work. That is the problem with depending on connections to get inking assignments: eventually the regime changes, and if your work doesn't speak for itself, you're in trouble. That's Marvel in the early 1980's for Vinnie right there.