|Born||Rocco A. Mastroserio
June 8, 1927
Staten Island, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||Early March 1968 (aged 40)|
Rocco A. "Rocke" Mastroserio (born June 8, 1927, died early March 1968) was an American comic book artist best known as a penciler and inker for Charlton Comics. He sometimes signed his work "Rocke M.," "RM," "Rocke," or "RAM."
Rocco Mastroserio was born in Staten Island, New York City, New York. He became interested in art as a child, and won medals in elementary-school art contests sponsored by the department store Wanamaker's. Living with his family in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, he attended elementary school in that New York City borough, followed by the School of Industrial Art. There he became friends with classmate Joe Orlando, a future comics artist. Mastroserio broke into the field at 17, as an inker for penciler Lennie Cole of Continental Comics. He also became a staff art assistant at All-American Comics, a precursor of DC Comics, doing pasteups, some lettering and art corrections. Within three months, he was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps, and after basic training at Parris Island, was assigned to the Marine Corps Institute, where he did illustrations and calligraphy. After his discharge, Mastroserio worked in comics by day and for three years took night classes at New York's Cartoonists and Illustrators School, later renamed the School of Visual Arts, studying under instructor Burne Hogarth and others.
Because comic-book writers and artists during this time were not regularly given published credits, a full bibliography is not always possible. Mastroserio's first confirmed comics work is in Avon Comics' Famous Gangsters #2 (cover-dated Dec. 1951), inking penciler Mike Becker on the seven-page crime fiction story "Waxie Gordon". With his first name variously credited as "Rocco" or "Rocke", he inked stories for a variety of publishers and titles, including Prize Comics' Prize Comics Western; American Comics Group's Adventures into the Unknown and Operation: Peril; Key Publications' Mister Mystery; and the Harvey Comics' horror anthologies Black Cat Mystery, Chamber of Chills, Tales of Horror, and Tomb of Terror, and Comic Media's Horrific.
His first known work at Charlton, where he would spend the bulk of his career into the 1960s, was the four-page humor story "The Ride of Paul Revere!", penciled and inked by Mastroserio and Dick Ayers as, respectively, "Rock" and "Rye", in the Mad-like satiric comic Eh! #4 (June 1954).
Mastroserio's work for Charlton included such Western series as Billy the Kid, Black Fury, Rocky Lane's Black Jack, and Texas Rangers in Action; crime fiction such as Public Defender in Action, Racket Squad in Action, and Rookie Cop; science fiction/fantasy titles such as Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Outer Space, and Strange Suspense Stories; jungle title such as Nyoka the Jungle Girl, and Ramar of the Jungle; the historical-adventure titles Long John Silver & the Pirates and Robin Hood and his Merry Men; war comics including Army War Heroes, Fightin' Army, and The Fightin' 5; and such supernatural anthologies as Ghostly Tales, Unusual Tales, and The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves.
He inked all but the last two issues of Captain Atom, the full run of which numbered #78-89 (Dec. 1965 - Dec. 1967), penciled by comics artist Steve Ditko, co-creator of Marvel Comics' Spider-Man, who almost invariably inked his own work.
Other work in Charlton's occasional superhero titles including co-creating Mercury Man, with an unknown writer; the character appeared only twice, in Space Adventures #44-45 (Feb. 1962), with Mastroserio drawing only the debut. Other Charlton superhero work includes one-page fillers in some issues of Blue Beetle. Mastroserio also pencilled and inked stories of the masked Old West hero Gunmaster.
In the late 1960s Mastroserio drew stories for Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror magazines Creepy and Eerie, often working with writer Archie Goodwin. Both penciling and inking, he made his Warren debut with the six-page "Monsterwork" in Eerie #3 (May 1966). He helped his friend Pat Boyette, a fellow Charlton artist, join the stable of Warren creators, initially having him ghost-pencil, uncredited, "The Rescue of the Morning Maid" in Creepy #18 (Jan. 1968), which credited artist Mastroserio as inker.
Mastroserio's final Warren work was inking Boyette on "The Graves of Oconoco" in Eerie #15 (June 1968). Mastroserio died of a heart attack in early March (possibly March 4), shortly after completing that story, and the following issue ran a memorial page. His final published comics work was the full cover art and nine inked story pages, over penciler Mo Marcus, of Charlton's Ghost Manor #3 (Nov. 1968).
Mastroserio's first known comics work, from Famous Gangsters #2 (Dec. 1951), was reprinted in Skywald Publications' black-and-white comics magazine The Crime Machine (May 1971). His Mercury Man story appears in reprint specialist AC Comics' Men of Mystery #32 (2001).
Mastroserio stories appear in the DC Comics hardcover collection Action Hero Archives Volume 1, the company's first archive of Charlton material. The book collects penciler Steve Ditko's 1960-66 Captain Atom stories.
- Thompson, Maggie. "Rocco Mastroserio Dead". Newfangles #8 (March 1968) via MaggieThompson. com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Dates per Schenk, Ramon, ed. "Charlton Personnel". Archived from the original on March 5, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2011. Additional WebCitation archive made June 15, 2010. Note: The Social Security Death Index lists a Rocco Mastroserio of New York City, born September 15, 1901, died December 1966.
- "The Creepy Fan Club" (16). (Rocco Mastroserio biography) Creepy (Warren Publishing). August 1967. Reprinted in Creepy Volume Four. Dark Horse Comics. 2009. p. 50. ISBN 9781621154488. Note: Information in this biography supplied by Mastroserio. A capsule biography in Action Heroes Archives, Volume 1 (DC Comics, 2004, ISBN 978-1-4012-0302-3) erroneously gives Bari, Italy, misspelling it as "Barre, Italy".
- Last name Mastroserio at the Grand Comics Database
- The series had taken over the numbering of the science-fiction anthology Strange Suspense Stories, in which the superhero Captain Atom had debuted, in #75.
- Creepy #18 at the Grand Comics Database
- Mangus, Don (2003, n.d.). "A Tribute to Pat Boyette". Comicartville.com. Archived from the original on 2010-06-15.
- Arndt, Richard J. (February 3, 2010). "The Warren Magazines: Interviews". Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2010. Additional Webcitation archive.
- Parente, Bill. "Eerie Fanfare: In Memoriam, Rocco Mastroserio 1927-1968", Eerie #16. July 1968
- Bails, Jerry; Ware, Hames. "Mastroserio, Rocco". Who's Who of American Comic Books 1929-1999. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Captain Atom at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived October 25, 2011.
- Cooke, Jon B., & Christopher Irving. "The Charlton Empire: A Brief History of the Derby, Connecticut Publisher", Comic Book Artist #9, August 2000. Access date 2010-04-27. WebCitation archive.
- Arndt, Richard J. (September 22, 2008). "The Warren Magazines". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2013. Additional Webcitation archive.