Well into the somewhat aggressive European winter of 1962-63, I found myself in southern Germany, holed up in a modest-but-venerable hostelry in Göppingen with two United States Army bull colonels. The antiquated ambience was not marred by any modern notions, such as central heating.
Colonel William B. Latta was head of the Materiel and Maintenance Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics. Colonel George C. Benjamin was the President of the U.S. Army Maintenance Board, located at Fort Knox.
Colonel Benjamin also was the new boss of PS Magazine. Our entire operation had been transferred to his command less than three months earlier—moved lock-stock-and-Connie Rodd—to Kentucky from Raritan Arsenal in New Jersey
We were in Göppingen to provide assistance to the nearby 4th Armored Division in planning for a Force Readiness and Maintenance Awareness program for the coming summer. At that point on the map and that point in time, this subject was high on the list of the 4th Armored’s priorities. It was based in strategic proximity to German’s borders with Austria and Czechoslovakia.
One of the fruits of our expedition’s labors fell into my lap, calling for a unit-specific publication, derived from PS archives. The PS staff pulled it together. Final touches, production, and distribution were handled by 4th Armored.
The result was a 16-page, self-cover, 5.5 x 8.5 booklet printed in black-plus one (red).
The original cover of PS 55 (April 1957), shown above, was, of course, in full-color. It was adapted to black-plus-spot red, shown below, followed by the selected PS spreads and a discussion of them.
The Back Cover, above, also originally was a full-color PS piece adapted as a duotone.
The two-page spreads shown here, all from Will Eisner’s shop, reflect a PS custom of the time in which most—but not all—issues carried a cross-gutter “message” spread on the Inside Front Cover and Page 1. A vertical index-panel occupied half of the right-hand page. The efforts to achieve a seamless art-flow across the two facing pages were, to a degree, thwarted from the git-go by the surface-difference between the cover-stock and interior-stock. Quality controls in imposition, printing, and folding operations provided another range of variables.
There is ample evidence here, though, of PS management’s encouragement of Eisner to break out of the columnar-text and rectangular-panel box. There are distinct feelings of space and movement that are surprising for such a small page. There is one especially subtle duotone. With sufficient imagination, one might even catch a whiff of smoke!
Y'gotta have guts, and Will Eisner had plenty of that. It's apparent from the examples shown that Will completely ignored the penalties of color (or lack thereof) and misprints of a double-page spread. He had ideas for design that would impact on his readers, maybe even drive them to read the text, provoked by these illustrations both eye-catching and entertaining. So what if they're off-register? Or the color (even the one-color) bleeds outside the outlined illustrations? It's the idea that counts, and nothing could stop Will Eisner's ideas
¶ PS Sixtieth Anniversary Edition
¶ A Covey of Connie Covers
¶ Eisner Saluted Gunsmoke in PS
¶ PS Sixtieth Anniversary Celebration
¶ Best of Zeke Zekely in PS