Mike Sekowsky rocks, and rocks hard. If you don’t agree, you’re simply wrong, wrong, wrong.
Case in point: over the last two weeks, I dug out my collection of Sekowsky Wonder Woman comics (#178-196, plus two reprint issues in #197-198), and pored over the luscious Sekowsky/Giordano art (and yes, Dick G’s inks were a big part of what made the art so lovely). I haven’t read those issues in a few years, so it was almost like reading them for the first time. And my opinion still holds; these are some of the best comics of the 1970s, or any decade.
I was never a fan of Wonder Woman, and apparently neither were most readers of the day, since they made the commercial decision to make a drastic change in Diana Prince from costumed/super-powered heroine in an invisible robot plane, to powerless/go-go-boots wearing/martial arts master, who hung out with an intriguing Asian mentor named I-Ching. Sekowsky not only drew those issues, he edited and scripted most of them (after a kick-start on the dialogue by Denny O’Neil). There’s not a bad issue in the batch, but a few really shine above the others. They guy could not only draw, he could WRITE!
I’ve long loved Sekowsky’s work, but have known so very little about him. Since I was on a Sekowsky high from all that reading, I queried Mark Evanier (who knew Big Mike and worked with him later in the animation field before his death in the late 1980s), and Mark graciously spent a solid hour on the phone talking about the multi-talented creator, filling me in on the history of perhaps the most under-rated artist in comics history. (Thanks, Mark!)
These Wonder Woman issues were always sort of a joke with my fellow comics fans as a kid, but only those who never actually read them. Shortly after Sekowsky was taken off the book, she reverted back to her super-powered, costumed self, and she got, frankly, boring again. But I see that some wise person up at DC finally decided to reprint all those Sekowsky issues in a series of trade paperbacks a year or so ago. You can find them on Amazon.com and other places, and I heartly recommend you get ’em.
Me, I’ve got the originals, and would never part with them. I’m about to dig out all his issues of Adventure Comics (with Supergirl stories), Metal Men, and Showcase I’ve got socked away in boxes, and re-experience all that fun stuff too. And then, I’m going on a new crusade to track down as much of the Sekowsky material from that era I’m missing as possible. Under some inkers’ brushes, the work lacked the polish that Giordano brought to the work, but the storytelling was always first-rate.
Here’s to “Big Mike” Sekowsky, a true gem of comics Silver Age!
I agree with you about the Sekowsky WONDER WOMAN stories – there was something very COOL about them when they came out, because WW suddenly went from being this harsh-looking amazon type by transforming into a neo-Emma Peel. That intrigued me to no end at the time, and as you said, Giordano’s inks made WW look beautiful and sexy, which she had never been before that time.
By the same token, Sekowsky drew some very bizarre art in those days, as is evident by the JLA stories that he did which often seemed to be wedging in characters into the panel. There was almost with no sense of grounded placement or sense to his designs. I remember reading his work as a kid and just wondering what the heck he was trying to convey, as characters seemed to swim around each other in a surreal way. A very strange artist, but one that did have his good points, as was evident in the WW period that you noted.