Staffers at PS Magazine throughout the sixty years of its existence have attached a high priority to reflecting a realistic awareness of the widely varied and challenging array of physical circumstances under which America's warriors (and their equipment) must function. Probably the most adversarial of the natural factors involved is the weather.
Whether one is contemplating Hannibal's tribulations in the altitudes of the Alps, Napoleon's disastrous winter retreat from the gates of Moscow, or Washington's frigid winter at Valley Forge, the nexus between the vagaries of weather and military difficulties is indisputable. There has been an ongoing challenge for PS to reflect this natural conflict.
Will Eisner, the PS artist for "the little book's" first twenty-one years, reveled in the opportunity. He had been widely recognized prior to his arrival on the PSscene as a master in the visual use of weather factors to convey mood, emotions, mental conditions, and personalities. His ability to employ drips, splashes, sloshes, puddles, reflections, and torrents was given the generic term, Eisenshpritz, by his friend, Harvey Kurtzman.
In a hat-tip to Joe Kubert, the current PS artist, and reflecting back through his SGT Rock years, one close observer remarked: "Joe probably does 'military mud' better than any other artist, with the possible exception of Bill Mauldin."
The "gather" of appropriate "weather" samples from PS turned out to be so extensive that we've decided to spread it across four BlogPosts—this one and the next three.
Included in this first segment are three Eisner pieces: PS29.FC (February 1955), above, and in this order, below, PS77.FC (March 1959) and PS119.FC (October 1962).
The two-color interior page (pencils by Brian Buniak, inks by Joe Kubert) shown above, PS628.IFC (March 2005), directly reflects the ongoing challenge of weather, in general, including commentary by Mark Twain. Kubert's Continuity, below, PS637.27-34 (December 2005) presents a mid-winter fantasy with a pronounced nod to Dickens.
Remember! Our next three BlogPosts will focus on more woes and worries associated with warriors and weather.
Will's approach to depicting weather was similar to Disney's and other capable cartoonists That idea is: make the drawing credible. It matters little if the integrity of the figure is a bit "off," as long as the background looks believable. Because if the backgrounds (e.g., the weather) look right, the whole drawing will be credible. Ergo, rain must look like rain and mud must look like mud.
UPCOMING BLOG POSTS-
¶ Warriors and Weather: Parts B, C, and D
¶ Early Covers Put Eisner, PS in Hot Water
¶ The Best of Zeke Zekely in PS
¶ A Covey of Connie Covers
¶ Perspective Instructional Communications' Best in PS