Vince Colletta Romance Art


For comic book aficionados, the Vince Colletta story begins in 1952. After art school and a brief career as a portrait painter and muralist, he was introduced to the world of publishing by a family friend who suggested comic books.

Standard Publications was the first door he knocked on. It turned out to be Vinnie’s lucky day. He was given an assignment – just a few pages of a romance story, “then we’ll see how it goes from there” his editor said. My dad was excited. A young husband and father, his foray into oil painting was a critical success and earned him a living but it hardly proved lucrative. Manhattan now beckoned.

Only a few months passed before Colletta was also drawing stories for Timely-Atlas Publishing -the company that one day would become mighty Marvel. What a crazy transition going from portraits to cartoons but, in a way, an organic circular progression for the boy who loved to draw pictures on paper bags in his father’s grocery store.

Stan Lee ran the show at Timely back then and the way Vinnie illustrated females excited him. Thus began an “all work you can handle” career that spanned 40 years. It wasn’t just the provocative poses and sensual embraces but also the illustrative details that, before then, had never been seen in comic books.

By the late 1950s, Vinnie began to focus on production art. The girls were just as beautiful but the art took on a simplicity unlike previous years. As the volume of work mounted, he took on assistants who would do everything from layouts to inking backgrounds. It became known as the Colletta Studio and became a stopping point for famous artists such as Wood, Baker, Sinnott, Steranko, Giordano, Giacoia and Orlando.

Eventually, the implosion of the comic book trade happened which pretty much ground an entire industry to a halt. Those publishing companies that survived severely cut back the number of titles. Never one to wait for opportunities, my father solicited work from small publishers such as Charlton and Dell – a Godsend not only for Vinnie but also the artists who came to depend on him to bring in the work.

The early Timely-Atlas romance art by Vince Colletta is a joy to look at. It has the depth one expects to find in fine art and it’s evocative. You want to plant a kiss on every one of Vinnie’s girls. The most beautiful women on earth. Who knew they could be found in the pages of a comic book?

From an interview with Vinnie’s daughter Roseannette: Q:  Vinnie’s women are considered to be the most beautiful in comics. Why do you think he had such a talent for drawing females?

A: Because he thought women were beautiful. He was born in Sicily which is steeped in hundreds of years of sculpture and painting of the human form. It’s embedded in the culture and maybe in the genes

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ON EARTH, VINCE COLLETTA – LIFE AND ART is an enormous book featuring a compelling memoir of the artist. I want you to be so immersed in this world that you can’t put it down. It’s a view into a different time, place and culture. You’ll also read a thousand comments and conversations, an extraordinary number of them apologetically praising his work. And there’s those incredibly gorgeous women. Very few of Vinnie’s contemporaries ever matched the realism he provided with pencil and pen.

Love comic book history? Want a glimpse into the world of production art? Have an appreciation of beautiful women and super heroes? Buy the book!

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An inspiration came to Jack Kirby one day. This wasn’t unusual since Jack’s mind was in a constantly creative mode. The moment he and Stan Lee made the decision to move forward with the Asgardian adventures of Thor the Thunder God, all of comicdom stood up and took notice. From the start, as it became the new feature saga in the Journey into Mystery series, the concept was a hit.

Thor art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

Beginning with issue #83, Journey into Mystery  became Thor’s book. Jack penciled most of the covers and stories, of course, while the finished art was supplied by various inkers such as Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Steve Ditko, Al Hartley, Sol Brodsky, George Ruossos, Chic Stone, Paul Reinman and Don Heck. Using bold, graphic-style inks, the stories were good but the art resembled most of  Marvel’s other books. That is until issue # 106 when Thor was transformed from contemporary to primal. The mythological land of Asgard was born.

Scooter: Damn! My whole world’s falling apart…(actually I quite like Vinnie’s Tales of Asgard work).

Lyle Tucker:    Here’s where we differ – I LOVE Vinnie’s Tales of Asgard work.

Dane Bjorklund: Several of the early THOR and Tales of Asgard issues were inked by a gentleman named Vince Colletta. I think that his name has become linked with his THOR work and the THOR comics that Mr. Colletta inked were among the best. THOR #126 is my favorite comic book cover of all time, drawn by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

Thor art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

Vince Colletta had always admired the great artist and storyteller Hal Foster.  The delicately rendered Prince Valiant stories gave my father the idea of speaking to Stan and Jack about presenting Thor in a different light. By creating a rough-hewn world more reminiscent of Norse legends, Journey into Mystery’s backup story, Tales of Asgard, gave readers a glimpse into Thor’s world. And right from the first story the controversies began. While Tales of Asgard was hailed as a creative breakthrough by most – I remember the pride that Vinnie felt reading and hearing the accolades – some comic book fans voiced displeasure with the artistic departure.

Rick Young: It amazed me the first time I saw criticism of Vince Colletta’s work. I get that he simplified some of Jack’s backgrounds and I like those intricate details. This panel (This Battleground Earth) has such a rich/finished look that is typical of Kirby & Colletta.

Erik Larsen: In the back issues I recently bought there were rave letters when Vinnie started inking Tales of Asgard.

Erik Larsen: But please–don’t confuse popularity with quality. McDonald’s has served billions of hamburgers, after all.

Pierre Comtois: Overnight it seemed, with Vince Colletta replacing Stone, the regular Thor strip acquired the same timeless, antique feel as Colletta’s work over Kirby in the Tales of Asgard feature.  The inking style changed the whole feel of the book, making even down-to-earth stories such as those featuring the return of the Absorbing Man seem grander than they would’ve been with Stone.  Whether it was the inspiration of Colletta’s inking, a continuation of the kind of stories that they’d been telling in Tales of Asgard or simply the trend that Marvel had been drifting towards through its first two phases, Lee, Kirby and Colletta now launched the Thor strip into an unprecedented series of inter-connected stories whose structure was unlike anything done in comics before.

The fine line work, delicate cross-hatching and detailed delineation of anatomical features were a source of annoyance to readers used to seeing “comic book art.” But by issue #116, Journey into Mystery, Thor and Asgard were all Jack and Vinnie and they became what many fans and professionals alike still feel is the greatest comic-book series ever – Thor.

David Philpott: I enjoyed the Kirby/Colletta Thors as a kid (bought as back issues). And I still enjoy them 25 years later. They are quality entertainment. The Tales of Asgard back ups rocked.

Allen Montgomery: I got the Tales of Asgard hardcover not too long ago. They were definitely playing to the newsprint back in the day. And not just Colletta. All the inkers turned in some pretty rough work. Colletta was the only one that attempted texture of any kind. The rest seemed to favor the “blotch” technique.

George: I don’t think Thor as a book worked until Colletta came on board. As good an inker as Stone was on Kirby he was too nice for the Asgardian world. The only other inker who came close was George Roussos in some of the early “Tales of Asgard”.

Al Sjoerdsma: I am among the minority who actually like Colletta’s inking on Kirby’s Thor, bringing it an airiness that fits into the fantasy of that strip.

Klar Ken T5477:  I like VC’s inking on Thor too. Why not denigrate Chic Stone or Syd Shores as well? Vinnie met his deadlines and his work on the Kirby DC’s was far superior to Royer and D. Bruce Berry.

Mark Engblom: You’re right….Colletta did a pretty good job on the Kirby Thor comics. Just as with Sinnott’s inks, Colletta was able to “soften” the blunt and (occasionally) grotesque extremes of Kirby’s pencils.

Thor art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

A common criticism of Vince Colletta’s superhero inks has to do with the numerous “scritchy-scratchy” pen lines he used to define musculature. Rather than the quick brush swipes and symmetrical shadow lines used by others, Vinnie preferred the illustrative approach he learned in art school working with oils. He has been unfairly pigeonholed as one-dimensional, however, as the image above clearly proves, Colletta could ink in a bold, graphic style with the best of them.

PunyHuman: Beautiful, positively Beautiful (Tales of Asgard)!! What a spectacular collection !!

Tom Lammers: I know a lot of folks don’t like Colletta as an inker, especially over Kirby pencils, but I say as a penciler for this kind of story, he is excellent. He had a real flair for capturing emotion, as the heroine vacillates between sheer joy and dejection, interspersed with uncertainty, pensiveness, and regret.

Jay Kinney: There are some people, me included, who think that the “Tales of Asgard” artwork is the best of any by good old Jack. Vince’s inkings are great and seem to catch the ancient flavor.

Andrew W. Farago: Not to damn these books with faint praise, but Thor’s got to be the best superhero inking of Vince Colletta’s career (Colletta’s romance art has its moments). In black and white, especially in the Tales of Asgard stories, there’s a bit of a Prince Valiant vibe to the artwork which I don’t think would have been there with someone like Joe Sinnott inking the series, which probably would have taken the book in entirely different directions.

Alan Kupperberg (Former Marvel Artist): And then, my last issue 328. Vinnie Colletta finally inks my Thor. I went out with nice inks.

Lyle Tucker: I love those Colletta THOR’s (and especially the TALES OF ASGARDS) and I stopped buying NEW GODS after Royer came aboard, because by that time Kirby needed Vince’s artistic eye to “fix” his increasingly sloppy work – for whatever that’s worth, I thought I’d set the record straight as far as where I stand on the merits of Vince’s inking (and, yes, he DID indeed draw some damn fine romances in the ’50s).”

Norris Burroughs: The amount of inking on this page alone (THOR 142) would overwhelm a less than confident inker, so we must praise Colletta for his sheer tenacity and remember that he was often called on to finish Kirby’s detailed pencils in order to meet a deadline.  Yes, he can be criticized for his faults, but we can also praise him for his strengths and accomplishments.

David J. Bromley: Many thanks for the even approach to a misunderstood & talented inker. Colletta had a ‘fine art’ approach that many cannot understand.

Aaron Noble: It’s in the “anatomy and fine detail” that you appreciate Colletta’s contributions.

jon m: Thor was a good book for Colletta, as opposed to FF which was a horrible match. I actually preferred his inks on the Fourth World books over Royer. Maybe it just eased the transition to DC.

Ian Miller: It’s sad that Colletta gets such a bad rap, because he was capable of some amazing work. If you ever get the chance to see any of the Kirby Thor pages he inked in person you’ll definitely see that he had some great chops. His feathering and fine linework took Kirby’s art in a more refined direction that you never really saw other inkers take advantage of.

Love comic book history? Want a glimpse into the world of production art? Have an appreciation of beautiful women and super heroes? Buy the book!

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stan lee, vince colletta, marvel comics


vince colletta, romance art


horror art, john calnan, vince colletta


starfire, mike vosburg, vince colletta


comic book inking techniques


silhouettes in comic book art



This wonderful art-filled biography of Vincent Colletta comes replete with hundreds of comments, criticisms and glimmers of faint praise that all cast a very bright light on an exciting and controversial life.

Love comic book history? Want a glimpse into the world of production art? Have an appreciation of beautiful women? Buy the book!

The 900+ Page PDF Version is $35.00.

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Storytime Comics: Glad to see that this thread has begun to actually discuss Colletta’s art. Anyway, all this thinking about Colletta made me actually want to, you know, look at some of his work again. (Imagine that!) So last night I cracked open my Thor Masterworks volume 2 to the Tales of Asgard stories from Journey into Mystery 109 and 110. Lo and behold, I had the same reaction I have every time I encounter his work on Thor: I’m totally prepared to hate it, or have it not be as good as I remember, but, no, it’s just perfect for the series, and very well done in its own right. Despite the really (really) lousy repro and printing in my original-27 Masterworks volume, Colletta’s work just stands out as unlike any other inker’s approach to Kirby, and totally suited to the material. In the words of GammaJosh, “I loves me some ’60s Thor!”

The Nostalgia League: Now, in his defense, I must say that Colletta did some fine work during his career. The early romance work he did in the 50s stands on a par with some of the work of Alex Toth. Some, although not all, of the inking he did on George Tuska’s Iron Man was good, if not downright beautiful, at times. There is also a strange melding of styles when Colletta inked Kirby on Thor …that seems to capture the raw power of gods in battle.

It seems that for many years, Colletta had been the inker who Marvel or DC would go to if they had a very short deadline. The pages I, and others, had so reviled over the years were the result of deadline crunches. Colletta was known to turn out completed books virtually overnight, so the deadlines on the comics could be met. The lack of detail, in many instances, was simply a way to get the finished product to the printer on time. DC understood this and, by appointing him art director, made sure that he would be available to handle all the deadline crunches they could throw at him. As proof of this, my source related that it was a regular thing at the DC offices to arrive at work in the morning to find Colletta asleep on the couch in his office and a stack of finished pages sitting on his drawing board; another all-nighter behind him.

Among the criticisms often leveled at Vince Colletta’s art points to his practice of silhouetting characters and backgrounds. Although these panels were far less common than his fully fleshed-out pencils and inks, they curiously remain a source of annoyance to some art critics.


Art is imagination realized. The artist visualizes the scene and then puts it on paper. The reader’s imagination does the rest. The best representative silhouettes are done by skilled artists who can draw portraits, usually have fine art degrees, and can see shadow and form.


In order to convey emotion in a panel in which the main figures are drawn in silhouette, an artist must have a great facility for illustrating body language. Scholars believe Etienne de Silhouette’s name became connected with these black and white portraits because of the finance minister’s extreme cost-cutting. de Silhouette doubtless had many detractors.

Selective shadowing provides a bold palette for splashes of color to be added for effect. Silhouettes can be used to emphasize and alter a woman’s shape to create a flattering illusion. Understanding different silhouettes can help the artist create the most complimentary one for his subject.

Even in staid panels, silhouetting lends itself to creating  more interesting scenes. Late afternoon on a sunlit beach provides wonderful opportunities for artists to use silhouettes and extreme shading.

Leading silhouette artists of the second half of the 18th century and the early 19th century, the golden age of the art, included Francis Torond, A. Charles, John Miers, C. Rosenburg, Mrs. Brown, Auguste Edouart, T. Hamlet, and Mrs. Beetham (née Isabella Robinson). Leading contemporary silhouette artists include Vince Colletta and many others of which little is written regarding this particular technique.

Before photography, silhouettes were the way to have a profile made without having to have an expensive portrait commissioned, and cost about a penny a piece. They were referred to as the “poor man’s portrait.”

Al Bigley: Never a Vinnie fan, but gotta stick up for him. He saved SO many deadlines (when that mattered, far more than creating “art”), sometimes rescuing the oh-so-precocious “fan favorites” who took way too much time on their pages, back when this was a periodical business that got slapped with huge fees for missing press deadlines. He was a real MAN doing a job.

This wonderful art-filled biography of Vincent Colletta comes replete with hundreds of comments, criticisms and glimmers of faint praise that all cast a very bright light on an exciting and controversial life.

Love comic book history? Want a glimpse into the world of production art? Have an appreciation of beautiful women? Buy the book!

The 900+ Page PDF Version is $35.00.

Click on the payment button to pay by credit card, debit card or Paypal.



The immense body of art work illustrated by Vince Colletta presents me with a marvelous window into the creativity of the man. From the 50s, during which time he penciled and exquisitely inked the stories, to the birth and successful  emergence of superheroes that continues today. Here are a few examples from the book “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ON EARTH, VINCE COLLETTA – LIFE AND ART” which, by the way, is a must read not only for those who love comic book art and publishing lore, but also to examine the incredible tale of a life that, in ways that will surprise you, has become even more fascinating since he died in 1991. Vinnie’s women usually had sumptuous lips and that famously substantial mascara. Reader’s comments over the years have been interesting.

Andrew Wahl: Personally, I don’t put much of Vince Colletta’s inking in the “beauty” category. But I am trying to keep an open mind as I revisit my old comics for these reviews, and judge each book with a fresh set of eyes. That’s why I’ve been surprised to find Colletta’s work on Warlord better than I remember. This issue is a good example: I typically like Bruce Patterson’s inks, but didn’t find them to be an improvement over Colletta’s work on the title.

Ben Herman: For something that was inked by Vince Colletta (Warlord,) this actually looks pretty good. Maybe it was the fact that Shakira, a sexy lady clad in a fur bikini, was in pretty much every single panel of the story motivated Colletta to put in a little bit more effort that usual? Whenever there happened to be a beautiful woman in whatever he happened to be inking, suddenly Colletta always seemed inspired to do just a little bit more work than he usually would.


Graduating diamond shapes created by cross-hatching at different angles, embellished with shadows and light contrast a glow radiating from the man’s cheeks. It is he who dominates the panel. The woman, of course, is beautiful with subtle accent lines in her lips.

Mike Browning: Hmmm … while we’re on the topic of artists who don’t make the hot list each month … Win Mortimer’s Spidey Super Stories art is classic and Vince Colletta’s romance stuff was beautiful.

Ken Allan: without starting any sort of a flame war, can anyone send me any articles, personal experiences, etc. with regards to Vince Colletta? I seriously want to just learn a bit more about him and have had little success. Even if some of you could point me towards any interviews he may have done,….ANYTHING,…it would be deeply appreciated.

David Edge: Vince Colletta would have best served Kirby in the 1950s, when he seemed to take greater care in his artwork. As I’ve said before, his romance art from this time was truly stunning.

Mark Yanko: Vinnie is a bit like Don Heck in that respect. If you look at early romance art by Heck and compare it to his ’70s superhero work, the difference is startling.

Mike Pascal: Right on, Mark. Thanks to John Lustig’s wonderful LAST KISS strips, Vinnie’s lovely romance work is on display almost weekly and will be preserved for a whole new audience.

Colleen: Vinnie Colletta used to freak me out because all the women he inked had the same gloppy mascara.


The central character in the panel is obviously the girl but she is rendered darkly with complex facial shading accompanying the simple shadowing of her neck and breast. The inversion of color in the girl’s left eye is interesting, almost seeming as if her eye is closed. I love how the inker featured luminescent highlights in the girl’s hair. Bob Oksner was an excellent plotter of all types of stories.

Droid714:  As I’ve stated before, since I was a Marvel Zombie from the very early 60’s through the mid 70’s, I completely missed Vinnie’s work at DC in the 70’s. Now that I’m going back and collecting Wonder Woman and Supergirl from that era, I’m seeing much of his DC work for the first time. And the more I see of it, the more I like it. In my opinion, he was a much better technical artist than Kirby. His women actually looked like women, not men with long hair. And quite frankly, I’ve never been a big fan of Colan or Buscema.

Again, the more I see of Vinnie’s work, the more I start to wonder if a lot of the negativity that some of his peers allegedly felt for him wasn’t motivated a little bit by jealousy. He was good, he was fast and he occasionally erased a few lines of their precious pencils. Yet without Vinnie making sure the work got out the door on time, how many of them would have been whining about missing their paychecks?



The colorist Tatjana Wood helped to bring out the darkness of both the scene and the girl’s horrific situation with her vivid coloring of the damsel in distress. Joe Orlando was a teriffic penciler for laying out macabre stories. Vinnie’s inks on the captive woman are incredible showing her virtually bursting out of her dress in an effort to escape.The druid in the foreground is ominously inked with a bold brush and pen; the others rendered more delicately as are the shocked children who look on from the background. Vinnie and Joe were very close friends throughout their forty-year professional careers.

Fat Boy: When I first saw these Joe Orlando and Vinnie Colletta Daredevils it seemed like art art instead of just comic art. Hopefully you’ll post some scans of the interior pages. Sure wish I had saved these.

Comicsdad: Joe Orlando’s art is quite nice, and I can’t remember when I’ve seen Colletta’s inks reproduced so well

Joseph Graves: I thought it was strange Vinnie put as much into that over Orlando whose art is cartoonish. I liked it.

Nick Caputo: I agree for the most part, although those early DD’s by Orlando had a certain charm to them. I even liked the Colletta inks, go figure!


Despite the poor print quality of comic books in the 1950s, some artists, Colletta among them, strove to impart an illustrative, portrait-like quality to their art. This splash page represents the finest efforts of Vince Colletta to translate his love of oil painting onto a completely different, difficult medium. An artist can create lifelike people in a realistic world using oils. Museums are full of such masterpieces. The same techniques and the resultant works are literally impossible to duplicate with pencils and ink. I believe this example is as close as you will find in a comic book.

Mr. Peabody: Not much to say about the inking on the cover but the interior page you showed looks pretty good to me. It is just romance, after all, and I doubt if either of the men who created this artwork were trying for a museum piece. Anyway, there’s no way Colletta could have turned one of these rounded faced Kirby women into a something either realistic or beautiful. See the cover of Lovers #64 or most any other Vinnie girl from the 50s to illustrate my point.

Walt: I enjoy fine line work as done by the likes of Reed Crandall, Al Williamson, Vince Colletta etc and sorely miss this highly detail efforts of illustration as the today’s stock or printing processes do not allow this type of illustration.

alexarcadian: It’s apparent if you go back and look at Colletta’s romance work from the 50s he was aiming for an illustrative look something along the lines of Leonard Starr.

Russ M: The thing about Vince Colletta is what this book (The Thin Black Line) missed altogether and that’s his art. When given time, Colletta outshone every other inker on superheroes. Prior to that he drew hot romance stories that looked a lot more realistic than what other artists were doing. Just look at the cover of THOR #126 – could that finished product been equalled by anyone else. Even to this day, inkers use thick black lines that look almost measured as if by rulers and protractors. Colletta took pen in hand and illustrated, drawing shadows, depth and realism into his subjects.

Ger Apelde: But some artists, such as Colletta and Al Williamson (and most of his group of peers) liked to experiment. You see them try out new techniques in every panel. They use dry brush, full brush, pen, stencils, anything. Colletta’s early work is very similar to that, but he adds a twist of his own. He frequently uses patterns to distinguish one material from another. At times it’s almost as if he is a fashion illustrator. That, combined with his way with pretty women, made him very suitable for romance comics. He also developed a great way of drawing women’s hair, which is not something every artist masters.

Bring Back Zot: Nice article and an even nicer drawing of Vince Colletta, Michael. Love him or hate him, those 50’s covers prove Colletta had genuine artistic talent.

Michael Netzer (Former Marvel and DC Penciler): How true, BBZ. Vinnie’s romance work is not only indicative of talent, but stands along side some of the best in commercial illustration, like Stan Drake and other giants of his time.

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A Night to Remember — A Day to Forget! In this 12 Page horror-romance-suspense story, the ghost of Neil Anders tries to drive two lovers apart.

Vinnie didn’t often get the opportunity to put the finishing touches on John Calnan’s pencils but, as you can see, he treated them as reverently as if they were drawn by Kirby or Kubert. The expression on Louise’s face as she is kissed by the ghost of Captain Anders is one of shock and amazement – perfectly rendered.

Some of the other titles John Calnan and Vince Colletta worked on together at DC Comics were The Unexpected, The Superman Family, The Witching Hour, Young Love and The Flash.


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You were expecting Superman? Nope – even faster.

While writing this article I scanned a few images from Starfire #6, Art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta. I hope you enjoy them.

There are things that some men can do that others can’t.

Part of the Vince Colletta legend is the fact that he was unquestionably the fastest inker in the business. As a result, editors, whose writers, pencilers, inkers or more likely through their own bumbling, caused major delays, were constantly asking him if he could ink entire books over the weekend.

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Accepting these assignments cost him dearly in terms of his reputation but he never declined to take the work. He needed the money and the opportunity was there to help the company so this scenario became an almost automatic weekly occurrence for the twenty years to follow.

Rarely a weekend went by when Colletta didn’t have an eighteen or twenty pager to fire off before Monday morning. And come hell or high water, if he hadn’t inked them in his NYC studio or in Marvel’s or DC’s offices, he’d be on his way into the city at 5:00 AM with a stack of finished pages he’d inked at home.

Often, he must have labored over his drawing board with what had to be only the energy of desperation. It’s hard to believe that Vinnie was the only inker who could combine speed and professionalism with a willingness to work insane hours. But editors called on Mr. Colletta almost exclusively in emergencies. I think that he considered himself a faithful servant of the institutions for whom he plied his trade.

Regarding some of the pencils he was saddled with, correcting out-of-proportion figures and doing finishes over mere breakdowns were the exception but when they occurred they devoured his time. It compares to asking a sprinter to throw a shot put in the middle of a race. There were comic book pencilers who knew they were serious artists and those who only thought they were. You can guess from which ones the editors heard the loudest cries when some of their (tardy) pencils were erased.

Jerry Novick: The Colletta issue – I agree with the sentiment that some inkers look good on some pencillers and not so good on others. Colletta has a huge body of work, some fantastic, some controversial, some journeyman-level, some above and beyond his peers. But his contribution to helping get the books out on time can never be under-sold.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ON EARTH, VINCE COLLETTA – LIFE AND ART is a great read. You’ll enjoy it immensely!

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Jack Adler (Former DC Editor and Colorist): Vinnie….Vinnie was a peach!

Elliott S! Maggin (Former DC Writer): Hey Frank, it’s great to trip over you.  I liked Vinnie quite a lot.  He was a great character and had a good deal of character to boot.

Stan: My man, Vinnie Colletta, beautiful women, intricate well thought-out inks, always on time-every time. Rest in Peace, Vince.

Jason Shayer: Let me preface this post by saying that I haven’t read much about Vince Colletta the man (and from the brief mentions of him that I have, he was a rather nice guy) and that this is a criticism of his work and not him personally…… Colletta’s inks always seemed to impose its own style rather than embellish the style of the penciller…. Vinnie erased background figures and simplified backgrounds and turned fully realized drawings into silhouettes….. As long as editors gave him work, he’d take the money and spit back the work as quickly as possible. Doing that meant taking shortcuts and Vinnie took shortcuts aplenty.”…… There’s no doubt over his career that Vince Colletta rescued hundreds of Marvel comics that were on the brink of missing deadlines. However, his work, in my opinion, left a lot to be desired……

Liquidwater: Web of Spider-Man illustrated by Silvestri and Colletta provides us with breathtakingly beautiful women – one of Vinnie’s trademarks. I also loved his Thor inks, the hell with what he erased, the finished products are masterpieces.

Jason Shayer: Hey Liquidwater, fair enough. Colletta’s early work on the Atlas/Marvel Romance books was quite good as well, especially the ladies.

Gormuu: It’s commonly accepted that Colletta drew the most beautiful women in the history of illustration.

ElectricPeterTork: Well, of course! He erased all those unsightly lines and wrinkles!

John Morrow (Publisher): Has this book changed my opinion of Vinnie and his work? In a lot of ways, it has, and I think that, love him or hate him, you’ll walk away from this book with a new appreciation and understanding of this colorful and controversial comic professional. I know I did.

Allen Smith: I can’t make any judgments about whose life was more exciting (Kirby or Colletta), but I’d buy a book about Vinnie.

CaptainJersey: As I was growing up I think two of the first artists that stood out for me were Dick Giordano and Vince Colletta… both for the beautiful women they drew. To this day, I’ll always think of Vince Colletta as a man who drew beautiful women. I have learned more about his inking habits over the years, but whenever someone shows me one of his panels, I always marvel at the lovely ladies, rather than what is not present.

Michael Netzer (Former Marvel and DC penciler): When looking at Vinnie’s work from outside of the context of being a comics penciler, it’s usually very proficient and has a special quality to it. The way he was judged was similar to how Michelangelo’s students would react to Van Gogh or Picasso. That’s probably why some people simply love his Thor run on Kirby while others despise it because they judge it based on Kirby’s pencils.

Vinnie was a very helpful art director at DC. He always took time to engage artists about their work and help them approach it more professionally. For all that’s said about him, he was very suitable for that position and elevated the art craftsmanship at DC during his tenure. He was also a very nice guy who helped artists move ahead in their career. It was Vinnie who once suggested to me that I come up with a new female character because DC was looking for one – and that’s how the idea for Ms. Mystic was born.

On the one hand, it’s unfortunate that an unflattering reputation stuck to him. On the other, this has spawned a new look at his work since his passing away, and has raised a strong voice of admiration and support for him in fandom. That’s certainly better than if no one cared about it one way or the other.

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Vince Colletta and Stan Lee in Saddle River 1965

Stan Lee, Marvel’s former Editor in Chief and Colletta’s former boss: – “Just mention the name Vinnie Colletta and the first thing that comes to mind is his gorgeous portrayal of beautiful females in his artwork.

When I first met Vinnie and he showed me his art samples I was overwhelmed. I had never seen anyone depict beautiful women in romance stories as dramatically or as glamorously.

Years later, when the trend turned to superhero stories, Vince showed his amazing versatility by becoming a terrific inker of many of our main characters, with the countless issues he inked of Thor being his most memorable.

Not only was Vincent Colletta extremely talented, but he was also one of our most dependable artists. If ever another artist became ill and couldn’t meet his deadline, I can’t remember the number of times I’d give the assignment to Vinnie who would work through the night and inevitably deliver the work on time.

Indeed, Vincent Colletta was a fine artist, a valued co-worker and a dear friend whose work will be long remembered.”

Martin Pasko, Veteran writer: I think Vince Colletta was one of the best inkers of his generation in the comics business, but — sadly, IMO — his reputation suffered unfairly for his consummate professionalism. Vinnie was the guy so many editors came to rely on to make up the time in the schedule lost to writers’ and pencillers’ slowness. Vinnie often had to cut corners — such as scrimping on backgrounds — to turn the pages around in time. And after SOME, but not all, editors had happily put the books “to bed,” they — and the fans — would talk trash about Vinnie being a hack — conveniently forgetting that NO creative choice Vinnie made was EVER in sacrifice to the clarity of the storytelling and what the reader was paying for. I always thought the way he was regarded in some quarters was grossly unfair…
…because I WORKED with him, and I saw what he could do when allowed to do it (he was a good penciller, too, but he never got much of a shot at it except on the romance books)…and I remember all the magnificent ink work he did, over guys like Jack Kirby and Gil Kane and many others, when he was Given. Enough. Time. To Be. The Best. He could be. Which was, IMO, magnificent.

Frankie, Vince is honored by having a son who respects his memory as you do, because it’s a testament to a guy who apparently did in his personal life what I always knew he did in his professional one: his best.

For readers not familiar with Vince Colletta, my father was an artist and inker, known primarily for his exquisite romance art and, later on, his contributions to the superhero genre. Debates over his techniques and methods will probably never subside.

Stefan Etrigan: For those of you who can’t be bothered to look, it’s the beautiful cover to FOREVER PEOPLE #3 by Jack Kirby, with surprisingly lovely inks by Vince Colletta.

Jose: I’ve always said Vinnie Colletta was pretty good, when he wanted to be. So I’m glad he’s in my sketchbook.

Ken Quattro:  Mike’s quest of Romita art has undoubtedly affected the going prices of Romita art. But unless others also treasured that art as well, then Mike would be paying far less. It takes more than one person to affect the market. If he was “hoarding” Vince Colletta art, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

Richard Howell: If you’re one of those who enjoy the Kirby/Colletta THOR collaboration–and there are many who agree with you (many who don’t, too)–you’re in luck, because there are many, many pages from those issues on the market.

Doc V.: To which I’ll add that if anyone wants to get rid of that “crappy” Colletta romance art they might have, I’d gladly take it off your hands.

Ray Cuthbert: When the great inker Vince Colletta left the Kirby “Fourth World” books. Colletta’s rounded and romantic finesse was sadly lacking after that…

Ben Herman: No offense, Ray, but I have to disagree completely. When Kirby got rid of Vinnie “my best friend is my eraser” Colletta, the art improved.

Ray Cuthbert: No offense taken. My point is merely this: I liked Vince Colletta’s inking on Kirby most of the time. Vince had plenty of faults as an inker (like his erasures), but I liked what he brought to the table on Kirby’s work. There are only three inkers who worked on Kirby that I can think of who made Jack’s women look attractive — Wood, Sinnott and Colletta. Vince’s work as a top-flight romance artist made his inking of Kirby particularly appealing in my eyes.

Loston Wallace: I never cared much for Colletta’s inks over Jack, but I don’t hate them. In fact, I feel Colletta has gotten a little of a bum rap. Sure. He erased, hacked, and altered, but he was a professional. He got the job done. Mediocre or not, he was dependable. Don’t get me wrong. If Vinnie were alive today, I’d pray that he wouldn’t be the guy assigned to ink me. But there are two sides to every story. It seems Vinnie was interested in making money, not art. He was true to his convictions.

Tony Fornaro: How anyone can look at those Kirby/Colletta Thor’s and say “what crappy inks.” is beyond me. I personally believe that was the best Kirby art ever.

Greg Huneryager: I found the gallery very entertaining/ informative. It’s interesting but Colletta  doesn’t seem to be that bad a match with Toth,

Ken Quattro: I agree about Colletta’s inks over Alex Toth. As bad a rap as he gets for what he did with Kirby’s pencils, Colletta “fit” Toth nicely. Given the fact that he inked Toth frequently, I’d assume that Toth approved of his work. Toth didn’t much care for inkers who overworked his pencils and put their imprint on them. Colletta’s “strength” was that he used a spare line.

Ken: Just curious,…(and pardon my ignorance on this) but is Vince Colletta still with us? I know little about him other than, unlike many out there, I sincerely enjoyed his work on early Kirby Thor pages. As a matter of fact when and if I ever break down to get my example of Kirby (my TOS by Colan has to come first!) then a Thor page with Colletta inks would probably be my choice!

AH: ouch better be careful mentioning something like that can get you into trouble on this list =O. AH remembers the last Colletta arguments!

Paul Smith (Former Marvel and DC penciler): Vinnie did brilliant work at DC. Adams, Kane, Kirby, Vosburg, Grell and a host of lesser artists that no inker could’ve saved. You’re free not to like it but it doesn’t change the fact that Vinnie was one of the best.

John Byrne (Former Marvel and DC penciler): I always enjoyed the time I spent hanging out with Vinnie in the bullpen.

Erik Larsen: (Former Marvel and DC penciler):Years later, I look back and get a kick out of it. It was the last issue of Thor that Vinnie Colletta ever inked and the last issue Stan Lee ever scripted, so it was like I was filling in for Jack Kirby as part of the classic Thor creative team. In retrospect, it really wasn’t as bad as I seemed to think it was. And it one case, what I took to be a shortcut on Vinnie’s part aided the storytelling. Vinnie had made an incidental foreground figure bald, which, in retrospect, eliminated a distraction that helped focus the readers attention on what it should have been focused on: the battle, which raged behind him. This foreground figure was unimportant — the battle was.

Stan had a good eye for talent. Starting his career at Standard Comics, Colletta was soon chosen to illustrate almost every cover in the Timely-Atlas romance library. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Vince’s good girl art in the romance books helped draw attention to the fledgling publishing company that would one day become Marvel Comics.

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