severin: illustrations in authenticity

by Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)

Monsters on the Prowl
April 1972 issue, #16
Illustration: John Severin (1921-2012)

John Severin

Goodbye John Severin.

Thanks for making my comic book-buying childhood so incredibly enjoyable—through the hilarity of the movie parodies in Cracked (he was Cracked’s lead artist for 45 years!), the cigar-chomping, grenade-throwing heroics of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, the sword and sorcery adventures of Robert E. Howard’s King Kull, or the etched humanity that added so much to the drama of Herb Trimpe’s pencils on the Incredible Hulk, and so much more. Severin’s inking on his sister Marie’s brilliant pencils on Kull the Conqueror (and the issue posted for Monsters on the Prowl) harkened to the storybook genius of Hal Foster on Prince Valiant—ratcheted up several notches in the explosive, Marvel Comics-manner that he helped define.

No less an authority than Stan “The Man” Lee has remarked, “He had an art style that was uniquely and distinctly his own. The minute you looked at his artwork you knew you were looking at a John Severin illustration; it could be no one else. Besides his inimitable style, there was a feeling of total authenticity to whatever he drew, whether it was a Western, a crime story, a superhero saga or a science fiction yarn. Not only was his penciling the very finest, but his inking, too, had a distinctive Severin touch that made every strip he rendered stand out like a winner.”

‘Nuff said.

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