Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Weird Science Fiction Mysteries of Angelo Torres

I'm pretty excited about posting the following Angelo Torres stories he drew for Atlas in the late 1950's. As with many other artists, this seems to be an untapped period when it comes to recognizing their work. Very few Atlas Comics have been reprinted outside of a select few titles. Of course, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko have been given their deserved due. So many artists were given work at Atlas after the advent of the Comics Code in 1955. The industry took a hit and many publishers went out of business, leaving a lot of artists looking for work in a shrinking market. Many went into advertising or teaching, while the few that remained had to take on lower-paying jobs. Atlas was one of the companies that a lot of the artists found work at. Angelo Torres was no exception. Torres had previously assisted Al Williamson at EC Comics and his one solo story that would have been published in the last issue of EC's Incredible Science Fiction was substituted at the last minute for a reprint. The Comics Code found that the story didn't adhere to their strict rules. So his story, An Eye for an Eye, wasn't printed until years later.

Torres is best known for his work at Mad Magazine where he began a long career with them in 1969 until 2005. He was also a prolific artist for Warren in the mid-1960's, where he illustrated beautiful stories in the horror genre. He had, by then, altered his style to where is was much more modern and illustrative and less romantic and lush as seen below. During his Atlas period, his work is very reminiscent of his peers and friends Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson, whom he worked with in the early 50's. As time passed and the demands of cartoonists and styles changed, Torres and others (Williamson included) moved towards a more illustrative look. But here, in these early stories, Torres is in full bloom as a romantic. His art is bursting with youthful passion, clearly influenced by the past strip artists Hal Foster and Alex Raymond. 

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