The Wild, Wild West

GER0302Everett Raymond Kinstler is one of the more noted portrait, landscape and watercolor artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Over the course of his highly successful career, he has been commissioned to paint more than 1,200 portaits. His clients include such iconic figures as James Cagney, Katherine Hepburn, Arthur Miller, John Wayne, Ayn Rand, Paul Newman and Tennessee Williams.

Seven U.S. Presidents – ranging consecutively from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush – have also posed for Kinstler.

Before reaching such heights, however, Kinstler honed his craft toiling for Golden Age comic-book publishers. Although he briefly worked for Fawcett and DC, his most memorable  – and fondly remembered by the artist himself – comics output was produced for Avon Comics.

During his five-year stint with Avon, Kinstler drew dozens of black & white interior pages for the publisher’s titles that served as lavish advertisements for the issue’s contents. Who wouldn’t want to purchase a comic that offered such wonders as below?

Kinstler also drew his share of illustrated stories as well. The following tale came from the publisher’s Geronimo title, which focused on the legendary Native American leader’s savage battles against Mexico and the United States to prevent those countries from expanding into Apache lands.

The comic is interesting because Geronimo – a real life figure from American history – is portrayed as a villain, yet serves as the book’s main character and over the course of the series’ four-issue run is given much more depth than any of the more conventionally heroic American soldiers.

Geronimo’s anti-hero status, along with the Golden Age’s typically generous helping of violence, never would have passed muster with the Comics Code Authority. In fact, once the code took effect Avon dropped out of the comic-book business to concentrate on paperback novels.

Still, thanks in large part to the Internet, Avon Comics and the superb work of Everett Raymond Kinstler survive today.

From Geronimo #3, Avon Comics (November, 1951 ), here’s “Attack On Fort Bannock!”









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