Gutsy


Good Housekeeping Dec 1956, originally uploaded by leifpeng.

If you asked me to describe Austin Briggs' work in one word, that would be it. I've yet to see a wishy-washy piece by Briggs. Even his tamest subjects have a sense of forboding about them. The guy could create tension by adding a certain twinkle in an eye or just the right curve in a brow. The young lady above is a perfect example.

Not by coincidence, I placed Briggs immediately after Alex Ross because he ( Briggs ) also had a connection to Alex Raymond. First he assisted Raymond on Secret Agent X-9 in 1936, then he apperently took over drawing the strip. The next part is a bit confusing... I've read conflicting reports that Briggs either created Flash Gordon but was not credited or ghosted Flash Gordon - then later drew the sunday strips while Raymond drew the weekday strips.

In any case, by 1948 he had left comics and comic strips and would spend the next 25 years as one of the most sought-after and successful artists in magazine and advertising illustration. Briggs was one of the senior faculty of the Famous Artists Correspondence School and is in the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. He died in Paris in 1973 of leukemia.

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