A TRIBUTE TO SYD SHORES By Gene Colan, Aug 3 '99. Exclusive to LIVE FOR EVERett.
There was a magic to Syd Shores' work that eluded me. Oh how hard I tried
to imitate it.
My first real professional start in the comic book business began in the
summer of 1946, and that is when I met Syd Shores. He was the head man in
the Art Department of Marvel Comics. I was twenty years old and was hired
on to illustrate whatever subject matter came my way. I was flying by the
seat of my pants...hoping that everything would turn out. I didn't want
the seams to show but that was all part of the learning process and Syd
helped me wade through.
I remember working on a panel showing a young girl making up in front of a
mirror. No matter how hard I worked at it, constantly looking for a
certain naturalness, the worse it turned out. The truth was I just didn't
know how to do it. I brought the problem over to Syd. He sat about three
art tables behind me. In less than a minute, he sketched out the entire
thing and with such ease.
His realistic style, for some time, became an obsession with me. His
characters looked like the real thing. Whatever he had them doing was as
real to life as you could get.
Syd Shores could draw a horse from any position and all out of his head.
His cowboy heroes and villians would literally leap off the page. Their
gun belts were real...their hats were real...everything about them you
could almost touch!
Syd gave me the biggest push to start me off.
He moved about with a slow Robert Mitchum gate...always with a cup of
coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He had seen action in
World War II, but seldome spoke about it.
After about a three year stint with Marvel, I left to go out on my own into
the freelance field. The last time I met Syd again was many years later at
a gathering amongst other fellow artists. He appeared with his wife that
evening and it was plain that he was quite upset. He was not getting very
much work to do in the business. New people were coming on board and they
were the ones the publishers of comic books favored. What A Terrible
Mistake They Made in Syd's Case! He was a seasoned veteran and we all
could have learned so much from him.
Shortly after that meeting, Syd Shores passed away. He will remain in my
heart forever. I still think of him quite often.