Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Graham Ingels part 2
Graham Ingels (June 7, 1915 – April 4, 1991) was a comic book and magazine illustrator best known for his work at the EC Comics company during the 1950s, notably on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from the Crypt, horror titles written and edited by Al Feldstein, and The Vault of Horror, written and edited by Feldstein and Johnny Craig. Ingels' flair for horror led EC to promote him as Ghastly Graham Ingels, and he began signing his work Ghastly in 1952.
With the death of his father, Ingels began working at the age of 14, entering the art field when he was 16. Graham and Gertrude Ingels married when he was just beginning as a freelancer at age 20. He entered the Navy in 1943, doing illustrations in the post-WWII years for Fiction House, Magazine Enterprises and other publishers of comic books and pulp magazines. The Ingels had two children, Deanna (born 1937) and Robby (born 1946), who was named after a character created by child impersonator Lenore Ledoux for the Baby Snooks radio program. Artist Howard Nostrand, a friend of Ingels, recalled:
Robby, his son, was about 12 then... skinny little twirp when I knew him. He's probably flying a jet airplane now or something. That's what always happens with little kids, you know. Robby was short for Robespierre. The reason why they called him that was left over from the old Fanny Brice show, Baby Snooks. Baby Snooks had a little kid brother named Robespierre. They called him that when he was a little kid, and the name stuck.
In 1943, Ingels began working for Fiction House Publications, both in their pulp magazines and their comic book division. Black and white illustrations signed G. Ingels appeared in Planet Stories, Jungle Stories, North-West Romances and Wings. He contributed one painted cover to a 1944 issue of Planet Stories as well. Illustrating color stories featuring Hunt Bowman, The Lost World or Sea Devils, Ingels was a regular in Planet Comics and Rangers Comics in the mid and late 1940s. In between he moved to Better Publications (Ned Pine's Comics Group later known as Nedor) where he was an art director, giving early comic book assignments to George Evans, with whom he would form a long friendship, and a young Frank Frazetta, who credited Ingels as the first one in the business to recognize his talent. During this period, Ingels drew a few memorable covers and stories for the company's Startling Comics and Wonder Comics, but these and other BP comics show faces and other parts of stories by less talented artists have been redrawn by Ingels. Ingels also did crime comics for Magazine Enterprizes (Manhunt, Killers) and westerns for a variety of companies, including ME (Guns), Youthful Magazines (Gunsmoke), Hillman Periodicals (Western Fighters) and D.S. Publishing Co. (Outlaws). D.S. also published some crime stories drawn by Ingels in their titles Underworld, Gangsters Can't Win and Exposed. There were also short stories and one painted cover by Ingels in Dell's Heroic Comics around 1947. Concurrent with some of this work were covers and stories for several EC western and romance titles which would later be cancelled or converted to horror and science-fiction comics. Ingels became a regular at EC, hired by Albert B. Feldstein, EC's editor to work on their line of comics, including Gunfighter, Saddle Justice, Saddle Romances, War Against Crime, Modern Love and A Moon, A Girl...Romance
In 1948, Ingels began at EC, illustrating Western and romance stories. In Grant Geissman's book Foul Play, Feldstein explained that Ingels' early work for EC was disappointing, but publisher Bill Gaines was fiercely loyal to everybody, which is why he remained at the company. When EC introduced Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear, it soon became apparent to Gaines that Ingels was an ideal choice as an illustrator of horror.
Ingels' unique and expressive style was well-suited for the atmospheric depiction of Gothic horrors amid crumbling Victorian mansions in hellish landscapes populated by twisted characters, grotesque creatures and living corpses with rotting flesh. A trademark image was a character with a thread of saliva visible in a horrified open mouth.
Graham Ingels' most famous character, the Old Witch, host of "The Witch's Cauldron" lead stories in The Haunt of Fear.
As the lead artist for The Haunt of Fear, he brought to life the Old Witch, host of "The Witch's Cauldron" lead story, and he also did the cover for each issue from issue 11 through 28. A prolific artist, Ingels also drew the Old Witch's appearances in Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror, plus stories for Shock SuspenStories and Crime SuspenStories. Because of the many "Witch's Cauldron" stories he drew, he was strongly identified with the character of the Old Witch, an association that continues until the present day.
After EC cancelled its horror and crime comics, Ingels contributed art to the New Direction titles Piracy, M.D., Impact and Valor. He also later contributed to EC's short lived Picto-Fiction line.
After EC ceased publication in the mid-1950s, Ingels contributed to Classics Illustrated but found little work in comics due to his notable connection with EC's horror comics, as discussed by Nostrand in Foul Play: "He was kind of a sad case, because when the horror stuff went out, Graham went out with it. His forte was strictly doing horror comics and there weren't any more horror comics being done".
Ingels took a teaching position with the Famous Artists correspondence school located in Westport, Connecticut. He later left the Northeast and became an art instructor in Florida, refusing to acknowledge his work in horror comics until a few years before he died.
Graham did a series of Old Witch paintings before he died.
Posted by Frank Forte at 8:43 AM