The first time Stan discussed what my artwork would need — I brought in a second or third story, and Stan look a little time with it. And said, “You know what I’d like you to do,” because I was feeling my way as an inker, “I’m going to call up Joe Maneely.”
He had a studio in Flushing, which was about 15-20 minutes away from where I lived in Queens. I’m going to tell him to put a day aside and have you go over to his studio. So I went up there and spent about four or five hours, from noon to about four. He kept working and talking and just gabbing — he wasn’t doing any actual instruction, he was just showing me and talking generally.
He was a genius. Absolute genius. I learned more in those four hours than I did in ten years of doing comics. I may have learned more in that day than any other. He was absolutely the most unselfconscious, productive person.
He was penciling a double-page spread or a full-page drawing — somebody said they weren’t doing double-page spreads, but it looked like a double-page spread to me — of a western scene, with a stockade being protected by frontiersman and a circle of Indians around the stockade firing at them. He did that whole thing while I was talking to him. He penciled it in the first hour or so. And then he started inking it, and it was almost half-finished by the time I left. It was like a revelation. Talk about formulas — he had his figures in these beautiful shapes, he had general shapes for arms and torsos and things like that. Then he would add features to the block of the head. Then he would fingers to the end of the arms. And when he went to ink them, he turned them into the most lively, fresh drawings you ever saw in your life out of nowhere! Just with a basic foundation, a formula underneath. It was like a diagram he drew, and then he put flesh on it with the penline. He started to do some brushwork to show me. The process was pencil it quickly, do the outline in pen, where you do the actual finished drawing, where you do the features and the eyes and the nose and everything, and the buckskin and the wood texture on the stockade. And then he would go over with a brush, a big number five brush, and do nice, big crisp accents. I realized that this was the process that Jack Kirby and Joe Simon had used, and other people had used down through the years. It was the formula that I had referred to but I had never learned. I had struggled, and penciled my drawings, labored over the pencils, and labored over the inks. I sometimes had to correct them. But he was doing them so crisply, so swiftly, it dazzled me. I went home and couldn’t wait to get to the drawing table.
That one day was probably one of the most important days of my life.