During the three years that Noel Sickles wrote and illustrated Scorchy Smith, he revolutionized the field when he moved away from the heavy black outlines predominant in the comic strips of the day. He adopted storytelling techniques from the motion pictures, while relying on brushwork to create a looser, chairoscuro representation of people, action, and scenery. Pete Hamill observed, "Sickles was the first artist to use the brush boldly, in an impressionistic way."
"Scorchy Smith became a primer from which a multitude of comic book and strip artists cribbed mercilessly for decades," writes Jim Steranko in his introduction to the book. Longtime Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr. says, "The whole industry was copying from Sickles."