Friday, June 8, 2007


The late Syd Shores was the mentor of my dear friend, Gene Colan, and this already makes him important to me, but Shores' work on such diverse features as CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLONDE PHANTOM and, his last feature as penciller, RED WOLF, which he worked on shortly before his passing in the early 1970's, are complete proof that Syd belongs on this list.


Saturday, June 2, 2007


Sam Glanzman is one of the nicest cartoonists I have never met, well, what I mean is, I "know" Sam via the internet, and he really is a very nice man on-line, and I am sure that he is equally nice face-to-face.
Sam's career has spanned over fifty years, and, while he does not seem to have any comic book assignments these days, he is available to draw commissioned assignments.
Sam's career highlight include drawing HERCULES for Charlton Comics, writing and drawing the autobiographical "USS Stevens" featurettes for DC COMICS, and writing and drawing A SAILOR'S STORY graphic novel, and it's sequel, whose name escapes me just now, for MARVEL COMICS, these last two also being autobiographical accounts of Sam's USS STEVENS days.
Sam also wrote and drew ATTU, a graphic novel series of his own creation, during the 1990's, and, also, Sam drew JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN, for Charlton Comics, which ran for five issues during the 1960's, a series that came out without permission of The Estate Of Edgar Rice Burroughs, when the Burroughs lawyers were apparently caught "napping".
Some people, including me, see Sam Glanzman's work as being inspired by that of Joe Kubert. I maintain that there is definitely a similar surface look to the drawings of both men, but there is some kind of "otherness" to Sam's work that dis-associates it from the work of Joe Kubert. I have never quite been able to pinpont exactly what it is, but I am sure that it is there nonetheless.
Sam, you are one of the top cartoonists out there, I am so glad you are still out there!!!


The "father" of one of the best of the most recent, and _truly_ successful modern humor newspaper strips, that is, one that is really entertaining, as well as a moneymaker, is CALVIN & HOBBES. The many trade edition collections of this comic strip, as well as the luxurious, and expensive, slipcased editions that you can find in the bookstores, and on-line, are proof enough of the dollar value of the series.
Watterson, who is retired from producing comic strips, held for years that he would not get involved in allowing any animated cartoons, dolls, or what-have-you, being made from his series, which, while a very staunch and even admirable attitude, is certainly depriving the millions of "Calvin" fans from a lot of potential fun.
It is, however, Watterson's right to keep his stance firm, and, it is, after all, the strips that Watterson already wrote and drew that make him a topic of this blog.
Watterson's concept of a boy and his stuffed tiger, the tiger being able to communicate with the boy only when no one else is around, is charming, and "speaks" to many of the people who had "invisible friends", or other special companions when they were children. The idea may or may not be entirely unique, but it is that that makes it acceptable to us all, we can believe it, because it may have happened to _us_ as well.
Watterson draws the slightly "manic" Calvin as though Calvin is on a "sugar high", from eating too much of his favorite breakfast cereal, "CHOCOLATE FROSTED SUGAR BOMBS". As a person at nearly the age of 50 years, and one who ate way too much CAP'N CRUNCH as a child, and still eats that occasionally now, I can attest to the power that some cereals hold over today's children. First of all, we want that sugar high, and we want it badly!!! We also want any of the little plastic toys that come in the box, and we want more than one, just in case we lose the first one, or the school bully pries it from our fingers. Calvin has wonderful flights of fancy, with his few friends, and the school bully even, but mostly with that stuffed tiger, Hobbes.
Calvin's color adventures, in the Sunday papers, as "Spaceman Spiff" are wonderful, not only because of the great recalling of our own childhoods, but, also, because they allow Watterson to have more room, plus that famous "polychromatic effulgence" once spoken of by William Randolph Hearst, that makes them instantly recall our own childhood play times, and lends reality to the fantasy from watterson's pencils and brushes. We almost want to cheer, and maybe some of us do, when Calvin escapes from the monstrous aliens he battles as Spiff. We want him to succeed as much as we want to succeed, whether it is in school or at our office or store, or what-have-you, or with whatever endeavors our Calvin-loving offspring may be dealing with.
For it's immediacy in our own lives, and the way Calvin figures into them, I name Bill Watterson one of my favorite new strip cartoonist of the 1980's forward.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I was pleased to see a nice interview with Ramona Fradon in ALTER EGO, one of the best magazines about the history of comic books that is on the current market. Though I wrote the beginnings of this entry _prior_ to the release of the AE issue with the Fradon interview, I have added this small bit as an introduction to my blog entry, and will be adding more soon.

Ms. Fradon was one of the few female cartoonists working in the comic book business during the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's, but she was one of the best cartoonists overall in the comic book industry.
Ramona worked primarily for DC/NATIONAL COMICS, drawing such series as "Aquaman", in ADVENTURE COMICS, METAMORPHO: THE ELEMENT MAN, first in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD< where he made his debut, and, later, in his eponymous title. Ramona later came back to DC during the 1970's to draw a new series of PLASTIC MAN issues, and, also, SUPER-FRIENDS, a comic book based on a Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera cartoon that featured such DC COMICS stalwarts as SUPERMAN, BATMAN, AQUAMAN, and WONDER WOMAN.
Ramona is married to cartoonist Dana Fradon, of THE NEW YORKER, and has been making the rounds on the US Comic Book Convention in more recent years, and has collaborated with Marie Severin on a couple of projects.
I will be posting some scans of Ramona's cartooning work here later, and probably fleshing out this post, so, this is...

Saturday, May 26, 2007


It is difficult for me to write an entry about this man, and not refer to him as "Johnny", or as "Ring-A-Ding" Romita, names I know him by from reading MARVEL COMICS, but since he is one of the elder statesmen of the comic book world it seems foolish to think of him that way, and, there is a JohnRomita, Jr., so I guess it is more practical to refer to that "friendly neighborhood cartoonist" in a more serious manner.
Mr. Romita's journey as a cartoonist began with his work for ATLAS, the generally used name to refer to the 1950's incarnation of MARVEL COMICS. John drew a few CAPTAIN AMERICA stories in those days, but most people think of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN when John's name comes up.



Mr. Smith, whom I had the pleasure of meeting years ago in Boston, was an integral part of THE STUDIO, with his mates, MW KALUTA, JEFFREY JONES, and BERNIE WRIGHTSON (blog entries either here or being developed as of this writing).
Smith was virtually two different individuals, or it seemed so for a while. His inexpert work on the MARVEL COMICS titles NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.LD. and DAREDEVIL did indicate that there was talent there, but it seemed that Smith's forté was creating homages to other cartoonists.
Suddenly, however, Smith "set the {comic book} world on fire" with his stunning drawing on the licensed MARVEL COMICS series CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Famed comic book scribe Roy Thomas, one of MARVEL's first writers to work on writing many of the MARVEL titles other than Stan Lee, the great "face" of the company, and co-creator of many hit titles, took the pulp magazine creation of the late Robert Ervin Howard and teamed with Smith on 22 issues of the title. Howard's character had newfound popularity due to the 1960's best-selling reprintings of the Howard stories, by LANCER BOOKS, which had dynamic covers by legendary fantasy painter, FRANK FRAZETTA. Sadly,for the artistic end of MARVEL's early CONAN run,the non-Smith two issues were drawn by Gil Kane, and one issue was a partial reprint. I do not mean to dismiss the work of Kane, a brilliant cartoonist whose work on CONAN was embellished by RALPH REESE, but a new title should have more artistic continuity than that. It is unfortunate that Frank Frazetta did not paint covers for MARVEL's slew of CONAN-related titles.
In my opinion, the title lost much of it's lustre when Smith left the book, having outdone himself on the last few books, even though the new artistic choice was John Buscema, who knew how to draw as well as any of the best cartoonists in the comic book business. It is all relative, like how some film buffs will only accept Sean Connery as "the" JAMES BOND, or the way in which many other movie enthusiasts only want to see Basil Rathbone as SHERLOCK HOLMES, but I could never get into Buscema's CONAN.
Smith also drew a few beautiful atmospheric and stylish issues of THE AVENGERS, not to be confused with the television characters of that name from Smith's native England.
After Smith's departure from CONAN, and then MARVEL COMICS, his work began to appear under his own imprint, GORBLIMEY PRESS, and there was another burst of talent evident there, Smith now began to call himself Barry Windsor-Smith, and therein lies further reasoning behind my assertion that he almost seemed like two people.
Smith was not drawing his own comic books, but creating lavish "fine art" type works.
Oddly, though, the perception of there being "two Smiths" is not limited to my earlier points, as Smith went through other periods in his career, drawing other titles for MARVEL, like a revamped version of JACK KIRBY's character, MACHINE MAN, who was spun off from MARVEL's adaptation of the film 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY.
Smith also _wrote_ and drew "Weapon X", a chapter series that appeared in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, a series about the origins of the very popular character "Wolverine", from the comic books about the X-MEN, which of course are now an immensely successful theatrical movie series, and some earlier animated cartoons.
Smith also re-invented himself again, drawing comic books such as ARCHER & ARMSTRONG and a new version of DOCTOR SOLAR, MAN OF THE ATOM, now simply called SOLAR, at VALIANT COMICS, for former MARVEL editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter.
These new works made Smith's drawing seem more homogenous, but, also, showed a more confident, less experimental _comc book cartoonist_.
I love the early Smith CONAN books, and much of his other comic book work. but the older Smith seems content to "just draw comics", rather than create artistic masterpieces, though I do believe that some of his fine art works truly _are_ masterpieces, within the world of fantasy illustration.
To make his career yet more innovative, though,Windsor-Smith also created the large format comic book BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH: STORYTELLER, for DARK HORSE COMICS, which carried three different BWS drawn features, and on of these begat the "spin-off" graphic novel. AD ASTRA IN AFRICA.
Barry also drew works for MALIBU and IMAGE COMICS, keeping his drawing visible in regular comic books, and then working with Gary Groth and Kim Thompson at FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS to collect examples of his work, with text, in two books called OPUS, not to be confused with Berk Breathed's comic strip penguin.
In any case, Smith's work is bound to be long-remembered, he is indeed a "cartoonist great", even though I am uncertain as to how the nearly sixty year old Windsor-Smith would feel about my calling him that.
Thanks to Wikipedia, th internet encyclopedia, at

for refreshing my memory on the career of BWS!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007


He was called "Shelly" by his friends, and, I'll bet you that just about everyone wanted to be friendly with this great writer-cartoonist-editor.
Sheldon Mayer created the comic book character SCRIBBLY, who appeared early on in THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMICS, then reappeared somewhat later, when Shelly moved over to work at an early incarnation of DC COMICS, the ALL-AMERICAN comics group.
SCRIBBLY later had his own hilarious title, for 15 issues, and they are wonderful and funny comic books.
While Shelly labored as an editor at DC/NATIONAL COMICS for years, he is probably best known for creating, writing, and drawing SUGAR & SPIKE for nearly 100 issues, from 1956 to 1971. Shelly would sign the stories with his initials, causing some readers to wonder who "S.M." was.
I'm telling you, no matter how bad a day I've been having, the antics of these infants can put a smile on my face.
With "Tomorrow's Teenagers", Shelly depicted a wild world, where the toddlers had their own language, one not understood by adults, and the poor little ones, who tried hard to communicate with their parents, just could not understand why their parents could not "speak perfectly good baby talk".
Shelly was forced to put his pencil down due to eye trouble, but later produced some new SUGAR & SPIKE material for the non-US market, and some of this material has surfaced in English language digest sized comic books from DC COMICS, but it does not seem that DC has any interest in reprinting this series, as of 2007, but I hope DC will some day.
DC did, however, produce a set of lovely, soft toys of S&S, which would really make good bookends for a set of reprint volumes of S&S.
As if his legacy of being an editor and writer cartoonist for SUGAR & SPIKE would not be enough, Shelly co-created the wonderful mystery character, "The Black Orchid", for ADVENTURE COMICS, during the 1970's. Further, Shelly wrote much of DC's intended series adapting THE BIBLE, but only one issue was published of this series, however, though it was in a glorious and beautiful "tabloid" format, and this was illustrated by Joe Kubert. I believe Shelly also wrote a similar project, KING ARTUR, and, more sadly, that never saw print at all, that project was partially illustrated, at least, by Nestor Redondo, a brilliant cartoonist from the Phillipine Islands. Shelly also wrote other stories for DC in that time period, and some of these were drawn by master cartoonist Alex Toth, who appears as another entry in this blog.
Of further interest, SUGAR & SPIKE appear in a toy ad,in the 1960's,in work produced on film strips that kids would have been able to project on the wall.
Sadly, the toy itself was not ever produced.
Also, many S&S fans believe that the S&S comic books are the inspiration for the long- running NICKELODEON acrtoon series, RUGRATS.
I do not know if there is any truth to this, but I would not be surprised.
One further thing is that, Shelly also tried to market S&S as a syndicated newspaper feature, which, alas, never came to fruition.
Shelly based S&S on the behaviors of his own children.
Talk about art imitating life!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007


I've been saving this one, not being exactly sure how I would start this entry off.
I mey Murphy Anderson a few years ago, it was a great pleasure for me, as I had gotten Murphy's frequent penciller-collaborator from the SUPERMAN titles in the 1970's, the late Curt Swan, to sign a page from SUPERMAN # 233, way back in 1977!!!
That page, from 1971, was part of a now legendary run of SUPERMAN, that not only saw the (temporary) elimination of Kryptonite from SUPERMAN comic books, but also introduced Julius Schwartz, already a legendary science fiction agent and comic book editor, as the new editor of SUPERMAN!!!
Curt Swan signed my page in 1977, as I already indicated, and it took almost thirty years for me to meet Murphy to have him add his signature to Curt's!!!
Let me tell you, though, it was worth it!!!
I not only got to chat with Murphy, thanks to my dear friend marc, who has known Murphy for years, but I got to question Murphy on a subject I had heard discussed on the internet, converning the 1950's PHANTOM STRANGER stories that Murphy had drawn.
What a great time it was to meet Murphy, who has been a hero of mine since I bought comic books he drew in the 1960's, fresh off of the newsstand!!!
These titles include HAWKMAN, THE SPECTRE, and SHOWCASE, what beautiful drawing Murphy did in these issues!!!
Not only did I love Murphy's pencil work, I was just in love with his inking of the pencilled pages of the great Carmine Infantino. The covers that Carmine pencilled, and Murphy inked, which came out for a long run from the 1960's into the 1970's, are gorgeous. Infantino's impeccable cover design, which pay more attention to design than most, and less attention to the finish needed to make a cover look beautiful, were fabulously complemented by the smooth inks of Murphy's magic brush.
The cover of a 1970's SUPERMAN, pencilled by Infantino, and inked by Murphy, with a black background, is one of my all-time favorite covers.
Besides work I have already mentioned, Murphy drew the syndicated newspaper strip BUCK ROGERS during the 1950's, and drew "The Atomic Knights", written by the great Gardner F. Fox, for Julie Schwartz at DC, and inked Carmine's pencils on various issues of THE FLASH, and also Carmine's pencils on "Adam Strange", in MYSTERY IN SPACE, reprinted later in STRANGE ADVENTURES, where I first read them.
Some of these are currently available in DC's ADAM STRANGE ARCHIVES, of which one volume is now in print.
Murphy was also involved in producing the advertisements for a number of Aurora Models kits that were in DC COMICS during the 1960's, including not only DC heroes, but, also television series like THE RAT PATROL
I am just remembering that Murphy drew a couple of the short-lived installments of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter Of Mars", for DC COMICS' WEIRD WORLDS, when DC had the comic book rights to the TARZAN and related caharcters during the early 1970's. Murphy's John Carter work was beautiful and literally breathtaking for me, and, while I am a big fan of Gray Morrow's, and admire the the experimental stylishness of Sal Amendola, Murphy was perfectly suited to drawing John Carter, and I prefer his work on the feature to when Dave Cockrum, Gil Kane, and Ernie Colon drew it for MARVEL COMICS' title JOHN CARTER: WARLORD OF MARS, though I enjoy the work of those cartoonists on the Burroughs characters as well.
Murphy is also well-known as a true comic book fan, having a good collection of certain key issues, and being a scholar himself about comic books and strips.
I cherish my meeting with Murphy, and will add more later, so, this is...


Thursday, May 17, 2007


I know that Dan has not drawn anywhere near as much, at least that I am aware of, as the other cartoonists in this blog, but his graphic novel KINGS IN DISGUISE, with writer James Vance, is one of my most favorite books ever.
While "KINGS" was originally serialized in comic book format, the hardcover collection I have that reprints the comic book under one cover actually reads like a novel, albeit an illustrated one.
The dark subject matter, beautifully drawn and truly moody, is a terrific homage to the world of hoboes and of the past.
I will add in some illustrations later, but I did want to get this entry up, if only to let anyone who wants to read a really good book know that this one is out there!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Dan drew BETTY & VERONICA, and many other comic books, for ARCHIE COMICS for many years, and the title JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS he developed for the company was named after his wife.
"JOSIE" was the inspiration for two different Saturday morning cartoon shows during the 1960's, and a live action theatrical film very recently, as well.
Before Dan worked at ARCHIE, his work could be found in the pages of ATLAS COMICS' titles like MY FRIEND IRMA, and also adorned those of many "girlie" magazines and "joke books".
Besides the hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of comics pages Dan drew for ARCHIE, Dan's style has been imitated in the ARCHIE SERIES comic books by several other cartoonists, making Dan's work a permanent legacy to the comic book world, even though Dan himself is gone.


Sunday, May 6, 2007


Bernie, the current spelling of this cartoonist's first name, is how he called himself when I first encountered his magnificent cartooning in the early part of the 1970's.
DC/SUPERMAN/NATIONAL COMICS, the company we know today as DC COMICS, began issuing the 100 PAGE SUPER-SPECTACULARS with "number 4", for reasons unknown. An apt choice, though, as the actual first issue in this format was entitled WEIRD MYSTERY TALES, and that's where I believe I "met" Bernie.
Bernie drew some fabulous, full page introductory pieces for each section of this groundbreaking comic book, one with a science fiction theme, one with a monster theme, etc.
I knew that the appearance of Wrightson work in DC COMICS would have a profound effect on the comic book industry!!!



Jim drew sweet and lovely "Supergirl", the cousin of SUPERMAN for years, but there never was a SUPERGIRL title per se, at least in the time frame when Jim would have been available to draw one.
I love the Mooney SUPERGIRL stories, they are almost quaint in the way that they portray "The Girl Of Steel", and, I am sure, there were many young, female readers scooping them up when they were being published, but, unfortunately, something changed, and the demographics for female comic book readers must have dropped drastically, in the early 1970's.
Jim's SUPERGIRL, however, is only one of the many features he worked on over the years, and all of them have the Mooney "stamp" on them, whether you are talking about his early series TOMMY TOMORROW, or his SPIDER-MAN inking jobs at MARVEL COMICS.


Saturday, May 5, 2007


Saturday, May 5, 2007
Well, it has really become an annual tradition!!!
Here in the US, and elsewhere, the first weekend of May is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, in which participating comic book specialty shops all around the world can get free comic books to pass out to their customers.
I love this, and it is a wonderful way to attract new customers and develop new audiences for comic books, when so much of unused potential for getting new readers is wasted.
I will be dropping by the shop my buddy Steve owns, in Waltham, MA:
THE OUTER LIMITS, now at a new location, at 437 Moody Street !!!

Here is a link to visit, maybe you will visit the shop near you!!!

Here also is a partial list of retailers involved, from Diamond Comics Distributors FCBD website:

Alakazam! Comics
Atomic Comics (Arizona)
Cape (Dallas, TX.)
Captain Blue Hen (Newark, DE)
Chatuaqua Comics (New York)
Chucks Comics (Essex, MD)
Comic Book Ink (Tacoma, WA)
Comic Cubicle (Virginia)
Comic Fusion (New Jersey)
Comic Quest (Evansville IN)
Comics Cave (GREECE)
Comics Kingdom (Baltimore, MD)
Comics, Legends and Heroes (Arizona)
Earthworld Comics (Albany, NY)
Happy Harbor (Edmonton, AB)
Hobby Centre (Ottawa, ON, CANADA)
House of Heroes (Torrance, CA)
Krypton Comics (Omaha Nebraska)
Neptune Comics (Waukesha WI)
Rays Mini Video & Comics & VideoRays-ComicEmporium1
Readers Den Comic Shop (South Africa)
Richard's Comics and Collectibles (Greenville, SC)
Rookies Sportcards Plus (Phoenix, AZ)
Samurai Comics (Phoenix, AZ)
SpazDog Comics (Arizona)
Strange Adventures (Halifax, NS)
The Silver Snail (Toronto, ON )

Friday, May 4, 2007



The late Reed Crandall drew gorgeous comic book stories, including the best of the Golden Age of Comics' BLACKHAWK tales, and drew more gorgeous stories all the way up to about 1970, unless I am mistaken, and I also like his WARREN MAGAZINES adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe works, which were written for the comic book format by the late Archie Goodwin, one of my favorite comic book writers.
I will be adding to this entry later on, so, it is...






Thanks to My Pal Hoy Murphy, from the Yahoogroup DC History, for the scan to the KULL cover, originally published by MARVEL COMICS, (C) COPYRIGHT THE ESTATE OF ROBERT E. HOWARD

I would have put the lady of this brother and sister team first, but brother John started earlier in the comics industry than his charming sister Marie did, and, I initially contemplated giving them separate entries, but they worked together so beautifully I decided that I'd cover both of their careers in one entry.
John Powers Severin has been drawing comic books for about 50 years, yes, I do need to research his work more, but this blog is continually updated as I get more information.
John drew many different genres of comic book stories for years, including some beautiful westerns, featuring a native American character, "American Eagle", for WESTERN COMICS, a comic book title, not a publisher, that is.
John pencilled many pages that were inked by Will Elder, who will be the topic of a not yet written entry here later on.
Marie Severin, who pencilled the beautiful drawings on ten famous issues of MARVEL COMICS' licensed title, KULL THE CONQUEROR (in the 1970's),a creation of Robert E. Howard, the man behind CONAN THE BARBARIAN, is a brilliant humor cartoonist as well.
After Marie pencilled the KULL stories, Big Brother John added his beautiful inking touch to give the series an elegant, period atmosphere.
Marie, who began her comics career coloring the pages at EC COMICS, where brother John was doing some work, is also well-known for her cartooning for MARVEL COMICS' parody title NOT BRAND ECCH, one of my favorite comic books ever.
Brother John also inked Herb Trimpés work on a long run of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, also in the 1970's.
John Severin, however, has long been involved with CRACKED Magazine, one of the most successful imitators of MAD, drawing that title's mascot, Sylvester Smythe, the company janitor, as well as the strip SAGEBRUSH.
I did just hear that, as of May 21st, that DC will be publishing new stories of the great 1960's Western, BAT LASH, which will be illustrated by none other thatn John Severin!!!
It will be a field day for old fogeys like me!!!



Bruce Timm helped, with his associates and friends, Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, to almost singlehandedly revolutionize the adventure cartoon for television, when he helped bring BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, as well as one of SUPERMAN, and others, to life in the early-to-mid 1990's.





José began his US comic book career drawing for GOLD KEY COMICS, drawing stories for THE TWILIGHT ZONE,and I've seen a couple of these, but José is best known in the US for the wonderful drawing he has done for DC COMICS, especially on SUPERMAN "team-up" stories for DC COMICS PRESENTS, the licensing project ATARI FORCE, the early DC Graphic Novel STAR RAIDERS, many wonderful covers, one of my favorites, CINDER & ASHE, and, even DC's "in-house" style guide, which cartoonists use to keep their renditions of a character looking the way DC wants them to look.
An entry on the internet encyclopedia states that José was born in 1948, I believe he is originally from Argentina, I hope that someone will correvt me if I am wrong.
I love the sleek and graceful dtaftsmanship in José's work, it is along the lines of Alex Raymond, the artisitic creator of FLASH GORDON, and, also, it recalls the drawing of another FLASH GORDON cartoonist, Al Williamson, another accomplished comic art draftsman.
Any time I see a comic book drawn by José I am certain that the panels will be beautiful to look at, if not wonderful to read as well.



Some say that Joe Kubert, who was editor of the DC comic RIMA THE JUNGLE GIRL, drew layouts for that 1970's title.
Nestor Redondo, a gifted cartoonist from the Phillipine Islands is the credited individual for drawinh the series.
In my opinion, Nestor, who drew hundreds of pages of comic book work in his native land was from a whole family of wonderful illustrators, and, in my opinion, Nestor was the best of them.
His work on RIMA is absolutely lovely, it has the lyric beauty of the likes of Hal Foster, who drew PRINCE VALIANT, and of Alex Raymond, who was the original illustrator of FLASH GORDON, and is considered by many to be the creator of FLASH.
In a sort of throwback to the heyday of anthology comic book fashion, the featurette in the back of RIMA was Alex Niño's exquisitely drawn extra-terrestrial epic, SPACE VOYAGERS. I do not believe that there have ever been any more differently drawn companion series in one comic book. Please see my future blog entry here for my further comments on the work of Alex Niño.
Getting back to Nestor, his RIMA series is one of the last of the "jungle girl" features, though such modern comic books as CAVEWOMAN harken back to the era when comic books were full of scantily clad women running through places like the African Rain Forests.
The RIMA comic book was based on a novel by William Hudson, from 1904. Entitled GREEN MANSIONS, this book was also made into a 1959 novel that starred lovely Audrey Hepburn, under the direction of Mel Ferrer!!!
The comic book RIMA does not bear much resemblance to the filmic one, but she is nonetheless beautiful. RIMA only ran as a comic book for seven issues, but I remember soaking in the gorgeous drawing in it like it came out yesterday.
Whether I was admiring the work of Nestor, or that of Alex Niño, RIMA was an artistic feast for the eyes.
DC also gave Nestor the assignment to follow the departed Bernie Wrightson on the original SWAMP THING comic book. Nestor's ST was gorgeous also, but did not seem to compare well to the muck monster as delineated by Wrightson. New writer David Michelinie took the character down a different path than original writer, and co-creator of the series, Len Wein, and, for reasons unknown to me, but I suspect it was due to flagging sales, SWAMP THING was soon discontinued.
Nestor also drew _many_ mystery stories for such DC titles as HOUSE OF MYSTERY and HOUSE OF SECRETS, his lush style being ideally suited for the "gothic" aspect of many of the tales intitles of that type.
I do not have much in the way of examples of Nestor's work from The Phillipines, but I will be posting some of his illustrations here soon.
I must also mention here that Nestor definitely completed some pages for the never published KING ARTHUR series that was to be published by DC in it's large "tabloid" format. This is unbelievably sad, as I once saw some of that work on the internet, and it was beautiful beyond belief.
As one of many creators brought in to the US from The Phillipines, an idea of Carmine Infantino, then the publisher at DC, with cartoonist Tony Dezuñiga initiating the arrangement there, Nestor stands, in my mind, as the most gifted.
His drawings never disappoint the eye, or the imagination!!!


Eli Katz was born in Riga, Latvia, acoording to his notes that appeared in a couple of different places, I recall reading that from memory, I guess these remarks were in the first BLACKMARK paperback, I am not sure where else, but, what, you ask, does this have to do with Gil Kane?
Eli Katz took on the name Gil Kane, and ended up having about a fifty years long career drawing comic books under that name, that's what!!!
Gil was a teenager when he began drawing comic books, he worked with Simon & Kirby on their features in ADVENTURE COMICS, which was quite an achievement in itself, but Gil ended up drawing a long list of characters.
For DC, Gil was _the_ cartoonist on GREEN LANTERN and THE ATOM during the 1960's. He also drew THE FLASH for DC in that decade. He drew THE INCREDIBLE HULK and CAPTAIN AMERICA for MARVEL COMICS in that decade, as well as the re-designed version of MARVEL's character, CAPTAIN MARVEL, not to be confused with the earlier version, from the 1940's, and drew SPIDER-MAN for MARVEL in the 1970's, not to forget his drawing "The Raven", for the wonderful T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS series, created, in part, by the legendary Wallace Wood.
Also during the 1960's, Gil developed the more adult comics magazine HIS NAME IS... SAVAGE!, which was a stunning and violent comic book about US Presidential assassinations, and, while it seems to have been a failure, I believe that this was caused by distribution problems, not by any lack of talent on Gil's part.
Gil also developed the paperback graphic novel BLACKMARK, which is a lovely work, and, though subsequent paperback books of the series never saw print, FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS later reprinted the first one, and, I believe, may have printed the second one also.
Gil also drew covers for some best-sellers by John Jakes, no small accomplishment, that!!!
Gil drew TARZAN and STAR HAWKS for newspaper syndication as well, and returned to draw more GREEN LANTERN jobs for DC, and a new version of one of his old characters for DC, in the series SWORD OF THE ATOM.
In the late 1980's, Gil worked drawing "storyboards" for the Ruby-Spears animated series SUPERMAN, for Saturday morning broadcast, teaming Kane with comic book writer Marv Wolfman, whom he had worked with earlier in the decade, on SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. For reasons unknown, this animated SUPERMAN series is ignored, and little known, by today's fans, but I liked it!!!
Another major of achievement of Gil's was drawing the hardcover comic book, THE LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH, a beautifully produced long-form comic book,
One of Gil's final jobs was also for DC, working with the great inker, Kevin Nowlan, on a lovely SUPERMAN "Elseworlds" story, "Distant Fires", which was printed in "prestige" format.
Mr. Kane passed away in January, 2000.


The late Don Newton left us at a tragically young age, after an all-too brief second career as a comic book cartoonist. Previously, Newton had been a schoolteacher, and left that position to begin drawing comic books on a full-time basis at the age of 40.
Newton had been drawing for fanzines for many years, I first saw his work in a fanzine in about 1970, but his work on THE PHANTOM, for CHARLTON COMICS, in the mid-1970's, was his first professional job in comic books, unless I am mistaken, and that led to more later on.
Don's THE PHANTOM was a moody incarnation of that character, who, despite the many of the African jungle locales of his adventures, often appeared in a very brightly depicted fashion.
Newton's work looked beautiful, even in the Charlton books, which were printed in a cheaper way than those of DC COMICS, MARVEL COMICS, etc. Newton's interior drawings, and the acrylic paintings he provided for the covers, though, were so good that did not matter, and Newton's work on the title soon gained him a large fan following.


Thursday, May 3, 2007


Mike made a big splash professionally, in the comic book world, when he began a long association with THE SHADOW, by drawing that character for some of the issues in a brief run at DC COMICS during the 1970's, but Mike's career began prior to that, when he rendered some beautifully nostalgic fanzine pieces. In any case, the Kaluta drawing on THE SHADOW, and some BATMAN related comic books is lovely, and these make up a very small part of Mike's long history in the comic art world.
Mike also drew the covers for DC's mystery title, DOORWAY TO NIGHTMARE, featuring "Madame Xanadu".



"Big Mike" is probably best known for illustrating about sixty issues of the original JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series from DC COMICS, when it was still officially "National Periodical Publications", during the 1960's, but that came after a long run of drawing comic books that began during the 1940's, fondly known as "The Golden Age Of Comics".
I love Sekowsky's work on JLA, and his wild turn on "The Maniaks", a DC COMICS attempt to cash in on the success of THE MONKEES, I believe (in DC's SHOWCASE), and, in this three issue run, Woody Allen even appeared in the story!!! Then, we have Mike's mid-1960's work on Gold Key's THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., and for his contributions to TOWER COMICS, on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS, but my favorite Sekowsky period has to be that in which he worked for DC on WONDER WOMAN, serving as _editor, writer, and illustrator_ in some issues, and when he produced the drawings for the DC "try-out" book SHOWCASE, drawing the brilliant JASON'S QUEST, the wonky MANHUNTER 2070, and then handling the artistic chores on THE VIGILANTE in ADVENTURE COMICS. Mike also drew the "Supergirl" feature in ADVENTURE, but that is not as satisfying for me, personally, as these other series, though I do admit I have a sentimental fondness for it, for a reason I cannot be sure of, anyway.
The last part of Mike's life as a professional cartoonist included drawing a few jobs for MARVEL COMICS, and for Martin & Chip Goodman at their new ATLAS COMICS, and then Mike spent the rest of his time in the animated cartoon business, where he worked with Jack Kirby, on fan-favorite THUNDAAR THE BARBARIAN, from Ruby-Spears Productions.
I am in the midst of researching some of Mike's other comic book work, so, that means that this is...


Tuesday, May 1, 2007


While many think of Dick as "Neal Adams' inker", he drew much lovely comic book work on his own for years, and, during the 1960's, was Managing Editor at CHARLTON COMICS, then, a comic book editor at DC COMICS, and then, following a long association with Neal Adams' CONTINUITY ASSOCIATES, he became Managing Editor at DC, starting in 1981.
Dick has produced beautiful drawings, particularly of female characters, including WONDER WOMAN, BATGIRL, and MODESTY BLAISE during his career. His polished inking style lends much grace to his own work, and the work of many other cartoonists. Dick has probably worked on most of the major comic book characters at one time or another, consistently bringing the same sleek look to one comic book after another, but never falling into an artisitic rut.
One of my favorite series that benefitted from Dick's artwork is the tough private eye feature SARGE STEEL, from his days at CHARLTON COMICS. This character seems to come straight out of a Frank Sinatra movie of the early 1960's, and was written in a hip, terse style, with gorgeous drawings of those great 1960's automobiles, and, of course, the signature Giordano women.
When Dick was running things in the comic book division of magazine publisher Charlton he brought out a wonderful group of ccharacters that he called Charlton's "ACTION HERO LINE", these were fun to read series such as CAPTAIN ATOM, JUDOMASTER, THE PEACEMAKER and others, and Dick's series "Sarge Steel" was the featurette in JUDOMASTER.
Dick was hired over to DC COMICS, though, and that line came to an end, but Dick was able to bring most of the Charlton adventure characters he had a connection with to DC, following the closing of Charlton's comic book division, in later years.
When Dick came over to DC, great cartoonists, including Steve Ditko and Pat Boyette, came over with him. It was an artistic bonanza for DC, with Ditko working on BEWARE THE CREEPER and THE HAWK & THE DOVE for them, and Boyette's work on BLACKHAWK was wonderful, however short-lived.
At that time, Dick was editing AQUAMAN, TEEN TITANS, and other titles for DC, he developed a great, personable style for communicating with the fans, in the lettercolumns of his titles, and was regularly concluding those columns with the catch-phrase "Thank You and Good Afternoon". Dick produced some beautiful books during his tenure as editor, they were not huge sellers at the newsstands, but were acclaimed by fans and critics alike.






A friend of mine once called Russ Manning "the Ernie Bushmiller of comic books", and he meant this in a derogatory way!!! I think my buddy was very misguided, as I am a BIG fan of the work of both Bushmiller, the creator of the NANCY strip, and of that of Russ Manning, the cartoonist behind one of the best futuristic comic books ever, MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER 4000 A.D.
Manning produced only 21 issues of this series for GOLD KEY COMICS, over 40 years ago, in the early 1960's, but it stands as one of the truly unique and great science fction premise comic books of all time.
Manning's sleek drawings, combining both believably depicted robots and idealized human characters, is definitely linked in the John F. Kennedy era. Like Carmine Infantino's drawing on DC COMICS' "Adam Strange" feature, there is a very "clean cut" look to the characters, both male and female, that makes me think of JFK and his Camelot, when heroic young men stood up for things they believed in, and their distaff partners stood with them.
I do not mean to imply that I believe Manning's Leeja Clane or Adam Strange's Alanna were secondary to their male mates, or that they should have been, or that Jackie Kennedy should have been an accessory of Jack's, _or_ that women should EVER be considered less important than men, but I want to keep things in perspective.
The era of MAGNUS, that is, the era in which MAGNUS first appeared, was one in which women were often "stay at home moms", and Magnus' paramour. Leeja Clane, was a forerunner of more adventurous women of the real world, who would soon be abandoning their kitchen counters and oven mitts and seeking something much more rewarding, and, rightfully so.
The MAGNUS comic book stories, which happened in a world where human beings were to be slowly subjugated by rebellious robots, are told in a very compelling fashion, that makes us cheer as MAGNUS karate chops his way through the machinery, which is rendered on it's own unique way, a way that is at once similar to, and different from, the machinery drawn by Jack Kirby, or the machinery drawn by Wallace Wood, though it is closer in style to that. We can practically believe that humankind could one day be enslaved by robots.
Russ also drew another series, THE ALIENS, that ran as a featurette in MAGNUS, this was yet another beautifullt delineated Manning project.
Later MAGNUS works would be produced by the likes of Mike Royer, a former assistant of Manning's and well-known as an inker of Jack Kirby's comic book work, plus a top-notch cartoonist for THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, and other MAGNUS issues, by cartoonists such as the great Dan Spiegle, and others, are good, but they do not resonate with me the same way that Manning's MAGNUS works do.
We can root for MAGNUS in a very special way, that only true heroes can bring out in us.
Russ Manning also drew the syndicated TARZAN newspaper feature for a long time, and worked on the series BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR, and even drew such one-shot comic books as RICKY NELSON IN HONG KONG, but Manning also drew several issues of SEA HUNT, derived from the television series that starred Lloyd Bridges. Manning's research and exquisite drawing of underwater locales really paid off for him here.
Russ also drew some lovely issues of the tv series based comic book 77 SUNSET STRIP, and a long run of the TARZAN comic book, from 1965 through 1972.
Perhaps even more famous than some of the above, but not as much linked to them, Russ Manning also drew the newspaper adaptation of STAR WARS, early on in it's lifetime. Russ' version of the George Lucas movie is not as well-known as that of Al Williamson, who took over later, but it is no less lovely to behold. Russ had a gift for drawing nifty likenesses of real people, and this, combined with his elegant science-fiction backgrounds and flowing drapery, makes his STAR WARS stand out.
More recently, DARK HORSE COMICS has re-issued some of Russ' TARZAN work, by arrangement with the copyright holder, EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, INC.
Russ Manning passed away in 1981, leaving not only a wonderful legacy for present and future comic book readers to enjoy, but also, "The Russ Manning Award", which is given annually to new cartoonist discoveries who show great promise.

Thanks to Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopedia, which I used to doublecheck some historical facts!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Joe is one of the best cartoonists around, only not enough people know it.
I first encountered his work in the CHARLTON COMICS title PRIMUS, which was a licensed from tv property, based on a then-current program starring Robert "Here Come The Brides" Brown.
We had the Ivan Tors produced tv show that the comic book was based on running locally in Boston at the time, and I liked it, though it probably is a second rate attempt at the earlier SEA HUNT, from Tors also, but I bought the comic, starting, I believe, with issue #3.
At the time, in my opinion, the quality of the Charlton printing was not as good as it was when Dick Giordano was running the company, during the 1960's, and I was grabbing up their "Action Hero Line", but I liked the drawing in the book, which showed a lot of good touches even with the badly trimmed pages and the less than vibrant color my copy had.
When I heard that Charlton was getting a new super-hero title, E-MAN, ready, I subscribed to it, and was delighted that the printing was better, that they mailed the subscriber copies _flat_, and that it was draawn by "that guy who drew PRIMUS".
I later got into buying any Charlton mystery comic that had a Staton job in it, and, already a Charlton fan since 1966, I was buying CPL, Bob Layton's fanzine which had some Charlton material ("four out of five robots read CPL, the other one sells 'em"), and was later a subscriber to the "official" Charlton fan magazine, THE CHARLTON BULLSEYE.
But, to get to my topic again, I loved E-MAN, and Joe Staton's cartooning.
I was disappointed when E-MAN was discontinued, but during the run of the title, I bought a copy of one of the SF magazines that had a Staton drawing in it, and I was certain that Staton would still be drawing more for Charlton, or elsewhere.
Joe did draw EMERGENCY!, a Charlton comic derived from the Jack Webb produced tv series, note that this was the color comic, as opposed to the Neal Adams' Continuity Associates drawn magazine that Charlton put out, and handled similar chores on their comic of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN.
I had issues if MIDNIGHT TALES, a fun-to-read mystery comic from Charlton, I believe there is some Staton material in there also.
But I wanted _more_!!!
And I got it!!!
I met Joe at a comic book convention in New York City, in 1976, which was run by the great Phil Seuling. I asked Joe to draw an encounter of "E-MAN MEETS PLASTIC MAN", and he came up with a beauty, which we called "Best Two Out Of Three", and I have the piece to this day. I was thrilled when Michael Ambrose ran it, after I made him a copy, with his Joe Staton interview, in BACK ISSUE magazine a while back, by the way. The thing about all this is, a few years later, Joe was at DC COMICS drawing PLASTIC MAN!!!
What a kick that is for me to this day!!!
Anyway, Joe drew a lot of work for DC, and still does to this day, employing a couple of different styles, which enable him to draw anything from GREEN LANTERN (Staton was once an assistant to GREEN LANTERN cartoonist great Gil Kane), to "Power Girl" and "The Huntress", plus their series with the "JSA", in that legendary title ALL-STAR COMICS, to titles based on the WB Animated series comic books of BATMAN, SUPERMAN, in the great 1990's style those had down so well, to those intrepid "Mystery Machine riding meddling kids" in SCOOBY-DOO.
Joe also drew a wonderful fantasy tale for an issue of WITZEND back in the 1970's, which is a real treasure, and a favorite of mine.
Joe also drew the brilliant story in the last issue of the long-running DC COMICS title THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, in it's original incarnation with BATMAN team-ups, and a tremendous "prestige format" BATMAN two issue title with BATMAN versus "Two-Face". Just excellent comic book work!!!
You can also see Joe's work on the web these days, at places like:


Joe has also drawn anew E-MAN story recently, that came out as the one-shoe E-MAN RECHARGED, and I hope we see more!!!
E-MAN, by the way, has such a potent, however small, fan base, that he has appeared from other publishers besides Charlton, including the sadly-defunct FIRST COMICS, COMICO, and others!!!

I hope that we see cartooning by Joe gracing comics pages for many more years to come!!!


In a wonderful book about this cartoonist, Hank has given us a name that readers of his most famous creation now know, so the book got the title THE MERCHANT OF DENNIS, and that book goes into great detail about Hank's strip, DENNIS THE MENACE.
I've been a fan of "Dennis" for about 45 years, a fan of both the syndicated panel and the Sunday strip in the newspapers, and the old live-action television series of "Dennis", starring Jay North.
Hank once referred to that program as "that tv thing", but I loved it, particularly I loved THE DENNIS THE MENACE STORYBOOK, which adapted episodes of the tv series into short story form with beautiful color illustrations. My childhood friend, David B., had a copy, and I did not, but I managed to finally find one at a comic book convention in the late 1980's!!!
Oh, I love the "Dennis" paperback books, from the 1960's, also, and I have a big stack of the DENNIS THE MENACE comic books put out by FAWCETT, these go from the early 1950's into the late 1970's, and there are some later "Dennis" comic books put out by MARVEL.
Just now inserting here that I recently purchased a real DENNIS bargain, a fourth printing, from the early 1960's, of DENNIS THE MENACE: HOUSEHOLD HURRICANE.
It is interesting to note that this paperback book has 62 cartoons that were _not_ in the original hardcover printing!!!
An absolute JOY to read!!!
Hank Ketcham did not produce all of the DENNIS material, a pair of gentlemen named Al Wiseman and Fred Toole, and several others, including Owen Fitzgerald, who had been with DC COMICS humor titles, produced a lot of the (long) comic book stories. But the thing about the Dennis character and his family, friends, and even that grouchy neighbor, Mr. Wilson, all have one thing in common: the superb draughtsmanship of Ketcham and his "ghosts".
Ketcham left his mark on the animation industry also, having worked for WALT DISNEY at one time, plus "Dennis" also made it to television, in an animated special called "Mayday For Mother", this was followed by a later series of cartoons, that were made in Japan, but broadcast in English.
Ketcham also produced another syndicated feature, HALF HOTCH, about a US Navy man, this series was also beautifully drawn. Even though Ketcham's work is not done in a realistic manner, all objects are so carefully delineated it is easy to tell what everything is, and the people and places look like the people in your own town!!!

--additions and edits and more will follow!!!



Frank Robbins developed and drew JOHNNY HAZARD for newspaper syndication, and worked on that feature for approximately thirty years, and it is a grand example of an adventure strip for the papers, in the tradition of TERRY & THE PIRATES and STEVE CANYON, both creations of another great newspaper strip cartoonist, Milton Caniff.
Frank also wrote many BATMAN scripts for DC COMICS, during the late 1960's and into the 1970's, and drew a few BATMAN jobs, and some issues of THE SHADOW as well, during the 1970's.
I first became acquainted with Frank's drawing in the pages of THE MENOMONEE FALLS GAZETTE, a now-defunct newspaper that was nearly all reprints of the best in adventure comic strips, back in the 1970's. I loved the series, especially the "jaunty" way in which Johnny was drawn, as well as the bold figure work on the other characters and the carefully designed and well structured layouts, and have since sought out as many reprints of the series as I could find.
But, when Frank began drawing for DC COMICS in those early days of the 1970's, I had a difficult time, at first, with looking at his pages, particularly on THE SHADOW, where he replaced cartoonist Mike Kaluta, who had a totally different style. It seemed to me that Frank's comic book pages looked like "aluminum foil splashed with ink", and I compared them to the puppets in the "Super-Marionation" television series THUNDERBIRDS. I later concluded that Frank was having a bit of difficulty adjusting to the difference in format between newspaper strip and comic book pages.
Now I love both his syndicated work and those old comic books.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


It saddens me greatly that this cartoonist, best known for drawing some wonderful BATMAN stories, written by Steve Englehart, in DETECTIVE COMICS, passed away recently.
He was only in his 50's.
That's not why I have listed him here, however.
The BATMAN run Marshall drew is one of the finest efforts ever in comic books. Marshall's drawing is superb, it is flawlessly designed, the _architecture_ in his panels is beautifully linear and elegant, and one feels for his delineation of Bruce Wayne and Silver St. Cloud, understanding that these two characters have "real" body language and really do love each other.
During the 1970's I was at a comic book convention with a friend, and this young man walked by us, he was carrying a largw stack of bristol board, we believed that he was Howard Chaykin.
We sprinted after him, calling out "Mr. Chaykin! Mr. Chaykin!". He turned and smiled and told us "I'm not Howie Chaykin, my name is Marshall Rogers." This was around the time Marshall first began working for DC COMICS, before those BATMAN stories came out, but, anyway, Marshall was so nice to us.
But that's not why I put him in this blog, I put him here because he was one of the best cartoonists ever to work on BATMAN, which, after almost 70 years of BATMAN stories coming out, in _thousands_ of pages of drawing, Marshall Rogers' contributions are among the best!!!
Thanks to GRAND COMICS DATABASE for the image:




Dan DeCarlo was one of the greatest "good girl" cartoonists ever to work in the comic book industry, he also drew "naughty' cartoons for men's humor magazines.
DeCarlo drew hundreds of pages for ARCHIE COMICS, including JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS, named after his wife, Josie, and also worked on many, many pages for BETTY & VERONICA, SABRINA THE TEEN-AGE WITCH, and of course, the company's flagship title, ARCHIE, and many others.
At one time, when JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS was first in an animated series on television, back in the 1960's, Dan's name was in the end credits, unfortunately, there was litigation between Dan and ARCHIE COMICS near the end of Dan's life, and, now, the prints of that cartoon that air on Cartoon Network have had Dan's name removed from them. Some of them, at least, I've seen them myself.
Dan worked on _endless_ numbers of pages for ARCHIE COMICS, the ones he drew from scripts by Frank Doyle and George Gladir are among the best, fortunately ARCHIE did begin printing credits for their writers some time ago, so you can often pick out comics with work by DeCarlo and these two writers fairly easily in your comic shop's back issue section.
But wait!!!
Dan also drew many, many pages of comics for ATLAS/MARVEL COMICS during the 1950's, including MY FRIEND IRMA, based on a radio show, and made into a movie with Dean Marrtin & Jerry Lewis, and HOMER THE HAPPY GHOST, among others. There is a good-natured quality to his work, and his "girls" are just so cute!!!
Dan should not just be a footnote in comic book history, his friend Gene Colan refers to him as "Danny" to this day, so, I do also.
Danny, we miss you!!!



The great Leonard Starr drew comic books for many years, for a variety of different publishers, but he has two really big claims to fame:

1} Developing and drawing the excellent syndicated strip MARY PERKINS: ON STAGE for about twenty years!!!

2} Taking over the flagging feature LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE and re-invigorating it and making it consistent with the hit Broadway musical, ANNIE, and drawing the comic strip version for years.






The late Kurt Schaffenberger, a dapper, mustachioed chap I had the pleasure of meeting in the 1980's, drew both the original CAPTAIN MARVEL and SUPERMAN, and, amazingly drew CAPTAIN MARVEL at both FAWCETT and DC COMICS!!!
FAWCETT had begum publishing CAPTAIN MARVEL in the pages of WHIZ COMICS, not long after the premiere of SUPERMAN in ACTION COMICS, from the 1938 incarnation of DC COMICS, as a way to get a pice of the, er, action, on caped strong men.
CAPTAIN MARVEL's stories were written and drawn in a lighter style than SUPERMAN's were, and, guess what, these comic books often outsold SUPERMAN, thus, it went that DC took FAWCETT to court, and along running lawsuit followed, and FAWCETT essentially dropped publishing comic books almost completely, in the early 1950's.
While FAWCETT was still publishing CAPTAIN MARVEL and related titles, Kurt Schaffenberger was a major force in the good captain's army. Along with CAPTAIN MARVEL's best known cartoonist, Charles Clarence, or "CC", Beck, and such great illustrators as Mac Raboy, Marc Swayze and Jack Binder, and, taking a light approach like Beck's, long-time cartoonist Pete Costanza, CAPTAIN MARVEL, his sister, MARY MARVEL, and CAPTAIN MARVEL JUNIOR (beautifully rendered by Mac Raboy), "the Marvel Family" had many whimsical and charming adventures.
Ironically, FAWCETT decided to settle the lawsuit, and DC ended up owning the rights to the characters, and, ultimately, a good deal of FAWCETT's other comic book properties as well.
Both Kurt Schaffenberger and Pete Costanza, as well as writer Otto Binder, ended up working on SUPERMAN related comic books at DC!!!
It was there that Kurt got me as a fan, drawing wonderfully "goofy" LOIS LANE comic books, which, in my estimation, made SUPERMAN, Lois, and LANA LANG into a comics version of television's I LOVE LUCY.
These are brilliant works, totally entrenched in 1960's culture, with Lois and Lana wearing Jackie Kennedy era clothing, particularly Lois, with her ubiquitous pillbox hat, and Lana being slightly more modern-looking. Kurt drew about 80 issues of LOIS LANE, and also drew other features for DC, until he departed the company in the late 1960's.
Kurt also drew for ACG COMICS, acompany that, apparently had an "incestuous" business connection with DC.
In the 1970's, Kurt returned to DC, again drawing the SUPERMAN family of characters, from LOIS LANE, to SUPERMAN'S PAL: JIMMY OLSEN, to the "Captain Marvel" feature, now called SHAZAM!, because MARVEL COMICS had trademarked the name CAPTAIN MARVEL for their own use.
Kurt had not lost any of his great talent in his brief hiatus from DC, and ultimately drew some beautiful SHAZAM! stories, inking the pencilled work of the late Don Newton (see that blog entry soon), and these jobs are very nicely written, by the late E. Nelson Bridwell, or ENB, as he was known.
Mr. Schaffenberger later retired and his life came to an end in New Jersey.

--additions and edits and more to follow!!!


The late Jim Aparo drew nearly 100 issues of DC COMICS' BATMAN team-up title, THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, as well as that "darknight detective's" own title and his feature in DETECTIVE COMICS for that company.
Earlier in his career Jim had attempted to sell a few newspaper features, which were not successful, but have been printed subsequently, and had his first big break drawing the comic book incarnation of the King Features character, THE PHANTOM, which had been created by Lee Falk in the 1930's,in a number of issues that he pencilled and inked, as usual, for CHARLTON COMICS.
Jim also drew a number of AQUAMAN stories at DC, in a wondefully written group of comic books from DC, that teamed him with the very imaginative Steve Skeates (pronounced like ice skates are), and Editor, Dick Giordano.
When DC discontinued publication of THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, with it's 200th issue (!!!), Jim was continuing to draw BATMAN team-ups, in the series BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS, which involved the 1960's character, METAMORPHO THE ELEMENT MAN, a character that first appeared in THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, in a story written by Bob Haney and drawn by Ramona Fradon, and several new creations of writer Mike W, Barr, ad visually created by Jim.
Jim's version of BATMAN is fondly remembered and much missed by many members of the "baby boom" generations.

--additions and edits and more will follow!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007


Carmine Infantino is one of the great living cartoonists, and is best known for drawing BATMAN stories in that character's eponymous title, as well as in DETECTIVE COMICS, and THE FLASH, during "The Silver Age Of Comics (1956-1969, in my opinion) ". His BATMAN work in the early-to-mid 1960's, and later, was perhaps most famous for bringing about the "New Look" BATMAN, with more sophisticated and well-designed drawing than the series had previously had, and the introduction of the yellow moon to BATMAN's chest insignia. Mr. Infantino also drew the stories of "Adam Strange", an Earthman who was transported to a far off planet for many issues of MYSTERY IN SPACE, subsequently reprinted in STRANGE ADVENTURES, and "The Elongated Man", the "stretchable sleuth" who also appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS. Mr. Infantino has been quoted more than once, indicating that the feature 'Detective Chimp" was one of his favorites. This strip about a chimpanzee and his "pet human", Sherrif Chase, is also one of my favorites of the many series that Carmine illustrated. The gentle and charming strip had one story reprinted in DC SPECIAL #1, the "All-Infantino Issue", and that comic book was my best introduction to Carmine's work, and that Detective Chimp, Bobo, even though I had read comic book stroties that Carmine had drawn for about four years already by the time DC SPECIAL #1 was on the newsstands. Mr. Infantino also created the visual look for the new BATGIRL, to make the comic book continuity work with the current season of the then popular 20th CENTURY FOX television series BATMAN, in 1967-1968. All of these works were published by DC COMICS, then known as NATIONAL PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS, though the cover colophon did read "DC", short for the original name of the firm, DETECTIVE COMICS, rather than that comic book itself.
Carmine also worked on the syndicated newspaper feature BATMAN, first during the "Batmania" craze in the 1960's, and again, following the success of the 1989 Tim Burton film, BATMAN, starring Michael Keaton, and also drew that "caped crusader" for small comic books that were inserted as "premiums" in the breakfast/snack food, Kellogg's Pop Tarts.
An aside is that Carmine had earlier developed a very nice looking comic strip, called HOMETOWN, that was intended for newspaper syndication, and was not sold. I would guess that the pain caused by the failure of HOMETOWN was lessened by his success with the two runs on the BATMAN syndicated feature. Samples of HOMETOWN can be found in the 1970's DC COMICS "house magazine", THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS, issue #1, that spotlighted Carmine's career.
Mr. Infantino became editorial director of "DC" in 1967, then the actual publisher shortly thereafter, and, sadly, rarely drew for publication until the mid-to-late 1970's, though he did draw the first appearance of Christopher Chance, "The Human Target", which ran in an issue of SUPERMAN's companion title, ACTION COMICS, in 1972 (the series was drawn by other cartoonists in later issues). "The Human Target" also was a television series, though very short-lived, during the 1990's, and starred soap opera "heartthrob" Rick Springfield.
Mr. Infantino's post as DC publisher was taken over by Jenette Kahn in 1976, and the illustrator soon appeared with work in the pages of DC's chief competitor, MARVEL COMICS.
During his stint at that comic book publisher, Carmine drew SPIDER-WOMAN, and stories for SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP, but, most famously, he illustrated the comic book version of the blockbuster 1977 movie, STAR WARS.
Carmine's work on that feature visually recalled his "Adam Strange" series, and a lot of earlier work, at DC, a company that he would later return to. For MARVEL, one character that Infantino worked on was "The Shroud", a supporting player from SPIDER-WOMAN that much resembled his earlier BATMAN at DC.
Carmine drew a number of short stories for the large format black & white comics, CREEPY and EERIE, for WARREN MAGAZINES, these stories are lovely to look at, as a number of interesting cartoonists collaborated with Carmine, "inking" his work to finish it from the pencilled form for publication.
After this period at MARVEL, then at WARREN, Carmine again was working at DC, returning to drawing THE FLASH, and drawing a revised version of the 1960's series Dial H For Hero", in ADVENTURE COMICS. This series was unique in that readers could create their own characters, and send their ideas in, and some of these were accepted and actually used in the stories. The well-known science fiction writer, Harlan Ellison, was one of these individuals!!!
Mr. Infantino is still with us today, and is sadly no longer drawing, but I am very happy that David Spurlock's company, VANGUARD PUBLICATIONS, produced a book, THE AMAZING WORLD OF CARMINE INFANTINO, a combination art collection and biography of the octogenarian's life and career, the "international standard book number" code is here to search on the internet for this book:

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"Wayne's work was never boring, and he never left you snoring", is my comment about the late cartoonist, not only one of _the_ great illustrators of SUPERMAN, but also a talented painter and syndicated strip cartoonist, Boring had a long career.
According to Wikipedia,

Boring was born in 1905, I recall his passing in 1987, and was struck by the impact his passing had on me, as I knew he had drawn SUPERMAN comic books for 25 years, and had drawn the character CAPTAIN MARVEL for MARVEL COMICS briefly, in the early 1970's, but I had only seen Wayne's cartooning in old comic books or reprints for many years.
To understand this, you must be aware of the two things that most struck me about Wayne's SUPERMAN.
1} He always drew Clark Kent's eyeglasses so they appeared to be way off of his face.
That was one of the first things that, while I was only a six year old child, reading SUPERMAN comic books for the first time, in 1963, that enabled me to recognize cartoonists' art styles.
2} Wayne also had another "signature" in his SUPERMAN jobs that made his work easy to spot, he drew SUPERMAN with an immense, "barrel" chest.
These small points endeared Mr. Boring's work to me, and, that I knew his work so early in life, made for a combination of a nearly lifelong enjoyment of Boring's illustration.
If you look at his depiction of TITANO THE SUPER APE, from the classic story in SUPERMAN # 138, from 1960, you will see a great example of Boring's SUPERMAN, plus it is a truly fun story, and the character, Titano, doubtlessly inspired by the wonderful 1933 movie, KING KONG, you will also see why the story was adapted into animated cartoons _twice_, first in the Filmation series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (1966), and more recently, in the mid-to-late 1990's KIDS' WB program, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
It occurs to me now, having reviewed this entry on June 8th, 2007, that I left out another of Wayne's "signatures" in this discussion, his fabulous futuristic cities. When you see his elaborate cityscapes of the planet Krypton (Superman's birthworld), they are truly breathtaking, and, this is helped by the sparkling primary colors these drawings are rendered in. Most often the colorists names are unknown in these older stories, though we often have an inkling of who the colorists are in the more modern eras, it is sometimes purely guesswork for the comic books of the 1930's to around 1970, or, even later. Nonetheless, whoever was/were the colorist(s)on these Wayne Boring SUPERMANs deserves praise. That individual added much to the work of one of the cartoonist greats in SUPERMAN's long history.
Wayne parodied his own work in the pages of NATIONAL LAMPOON following his departure from DC COMICS, in some scathingly funny cartoons focusing on his former DC editor, Mort Weisinger, who had been with DC for many years, and had also been "story consultant" for many of the telvision episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.
During the 1960's a bevy of Wayne Boring's SUPERMAN works were reprinted, and I was fortunate to grow up reading many of these adventures. The series of 80 PAGE GIANTS that DC issued in those days provide a cornucopia of non-boring Boring artworks, including one of my favorite stories, "Superman's Return To Krypton".

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Neal Adams drew some of the finest super-hero comic book pages during the 1960's and 1970's, in a much praised, bold, cinematic, and realistic style that owes much to some earlier purveyors of such material, but the style was made the signature of Neal's work in comic books, and makes him hit near the top of many people's lists of "best" and "favorite" comic book artists, comic strip artists, or cartoonists.
Neal drew samples of "Adam Strange", the DC character, when Neal was a boy, and submitted them to DC. He did not land a job there then, but he did have some early super-hero work published by ARCHIE COMICS.
I believe that Neal's big break came drawing the syndicated newspaper feature of BEN CASEY, based on a hugely popular tv program of the 1960's, and this was a truly woderful showcase for Neal's style. Vince Edwards, who played the tough, uncompromising tv doctor, was much like Adams' later portrayal of SUPERMAN. The strip was written by Elliot Caplin, brother of the famous cartoonist behind LI'L ABNER, Al Capp, and there were truly topical themes in the strip. Adams was the perfect artistic choice for delineating this maverick medic, and the work was foreshadowing his future, much loved comic book work.
Neal went on to produce pages drawn along the lines of MAD Magazine cartoonist work by Mort Drucker, for THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE and THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY LEWIS, of all things, for DC COMICS, but these are really fun to look at!!!
The next big phase of Neal's career that I know of still found him drawing pages for DC, including some gorgeous covers for WORLD'S FINEST COMICS and DC SPECIAL, but it was shortly after these, that Neal really hit the nail on the head with comic book fans, when he took over drawing the character "Deadman", co-created by the late Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, in the pages of DC's STRANGE ADVENTURES. The series centered on the wandering spirit of a murdered circus acrobat who was stuck wandering Earth to find his killer, and the series had him going from place to place and helping people he encountered along the way.
"Deadman" would inhabit the body of the person he was trying to help, or their friends or enemies bodies, and do things that would assist the troubled individual. Neal drew some beautiful pages for the feature, which was later "borrowed", in my opinion, for the plot of the famous movie, GHOST, with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Around this time, when the DC series GREEN LANTERN was on the brink of being discontinued, Neal was given the opportunity to re-invent it with writer Denny O'Neil, and the team, along with such inkers as Bernie Wrightson (for one issue), Frank Giacoia (same) and Dick Giordano (for the rest, I believe) made GL a conservative and otook the recently altered character GREEN ARROW, portrayed him as a passionate liberal, and sent the two of them traveling the country, a la the movie EASY RIDER.
These issues of "GL/GA" seem rather dated today, but remain very popular with many fans, and are among the best drawn of the "realistic" style of comic books ever, and have been reprinted numerous times, in many formats, from standard comic book format to "luxury, slip-cased hardcover book editions", and all good comic book fans ought to read these.
I do want to pint out that Neal was almost certainly, in my opinion, influenced by such artistic predecessors as Stan Drake, Leonard Starr, and John Prentice, as well as advertising illustrator Tom Scheuer, and the work of the ad agency, Johnstone & Cushing. All of this has been covered elsewhere, in other discussions of Neal's career.
Neal also drew some brilliant issues of X-MEN around this time, for MARVEL COMICS, but that title was failing as well, and DC discontinued GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW, for multiple reasons I suspect, and MARVEL dropped X-MEN, which would become, ironically, one of the copany's most successful series from the mid-1970' s forward to now, and become the basis for several blockbuster theatrical features and more than one animated cartoon for television.
The next big thing for Neal would wear a long cape and a symbol with a bat on his chest...

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While he is famous now as an educator, helping train young cartoonists how to draw and how to establish themselves in the world, Joe Kubert spent years as a cartoonist & comic book editor for years before that, and is now renowned for his work _writing_ comics as well.
The man who gave the "look" to SGT. ROCK and HAWKMAN in the 1960's, despite that Murphy Anderson morphed the rugged Kubert HAWKMAN into a slicker looking character when he drew the series, has drawn so many comic book interior pages and covers, and developed so many innovative ideas in both comic books and comic strips, as well as starting The Joe Kubert School Of Cartoon Art, it would be very difficult to enumerate all of his published endeavors.




A brilliant cartoonist whose work graced the pages of many a comic book line was Alex Toth, a very spirited and independent individual who, despite his enormous talent, never became well-known to the average person, though his later work, mostly in animated television cartoons, was seen by millions (more later). Mr. Toth, recently deceased, drew a good deal of pages for DC COMICS, in it's various incarnations (in the 1960's), such as "Eclipso", in HOUSE OF SECRETS, and a tremendous team-up of "The Flash & The Atom" in THE BRAVE & THE BOLD and a teriffic romance comics serial "20 Miles To Heartbreak", in the 1970's, as well as an astounding BATMAN story in that decade, plus a beautiful "Challengers Of The Unknown" story, and an absolutely astounding SUPERMAN & BATMAN team-up, in a SUPERMAN ANNUAL, in that decade also, and, for MARVEL COMICS, EC COMICS, and he has owned his own creations, such as BRAVO FOR ADVENTURE, THE FOX, and THE VANGUARD. In the 1980's Mr. Toth drew some beautiful work for RED CIRCLE, recalling the hard-boiled pulp mahazines of days gone by, these works included the title THE BLACK HOOD. Alex also drew many superb pages for the romance comic books of STANDARD PUBLICATIONS (in the 1950's), and these works are beautifully designed and sophisticated examples of comic book story telling. Mr. Toth also drew materials for The U.S. Armed Forces.Toth's best-known comic book work, though, is probably his superb and vigorously rendered art for DELL's issues featuring Walt Disney's ZORRO.Toth drew only a small number of ZORRO books for DELL, but the exquisite drawing by Toth for these books is so appreciated by comic book enthusiasts that the stories he drew have been collected in book form by two different publishers, ECLIPSE COMICS and IMAGE COMICS.Toth also drew such television based titles as 77 SUNSET STRIP, and a whole slew of movie adaptations.Much of the late part of Toth's career was occupied with drawing "storyboards" for animated cartoons, for such series as SPACE GHOST and BIRDMAN & THE GALAXY TRIO, for Hanna-Barbera Productions, SKY HAWKS and HOT WHEELS, for Ken Snyder Productions (HOT WHEELS was also a DC comic that Toth also drew five issues of), and also the cult classic show SPACE ANGEL.
Alex was also well-known for the wonderful hand-lettered missives he would send out to friends and fans, I received one of these in about 2001 or 2002. You have to see these to believe them, they have doodles as well as Alex's intricate personal style of hand-lettering. I will print some pictures here when I can get at them, perhaps of some of the excellent animation model sheets by Alex that are in my collection.
Many have described Alex as an eccentric or curmudgeon, but he was a rugged individualist who had no time for nonsense, especially after the passing of his wife, Guyla, but he always had time for a friend.


My good friend Gene has drawn just about all the major comic book characters in history, over a 60 years long career, working on the detective comic book KEN SHANNON at the beginning, in the late 1940's, then, from the 1960's to the early 1980's, working on a long run of characters for MARVEL COMICS, including DAREDEVIL, SUB-MARINER, DOCTOR STRANGE, IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, TOMB OF DRACULA and HOWARD THE DUCK.
Gene's work is very moody and Gene draws "outside the box", breaking up his comic book page panels in truly unusual ways and taking the reader past many traditional forms of comic book "grammar", enabling Gene to show the comic book enthusiast worlds never before dreamed of.
Mr. Colan also drew a movie adaptation for MARVEL, in magazine format, of the film METEOR, and produced work for magazine runs of DRACULA and HOWARD THE DUCK for MARVEL COMICS also.
During the 1960's Gene also set a standard for producing comic book work in a "wash" style, using various tools such as markers to give a very gray set of tones to his horror tales for WARREN MAGAZINES.
These titles, CREEPY and EERIE, were more expensive and more adult in nature than your average comic book of the era, and publisher James Warren lavished special attention to this line of black & white magazines, bringing a level of highly talented cartoonists rarely seen all at the same company to the US newsstands.
The 1980's saw Gene leave MARVEL to go and work for MARVEL's biggest competitor, DC COMICS, on the company jewels, such as SUPRMAN, in the mini-series, THE PHANTOM ZONE, and BATMAN, and WONDER WOMAN. Gene also worked on NIGHT FORCE, re-uniting him with his former TOMB OF DRACULA collaborator Marv Wolfman on this horror title, and the science fiction series, J'EMM: SON OF SATURN. One of the best comic books Gene drew during this era was an experimental series, NATHANIEL DUSK, an old-fashioned private detective saga produced in part from Gene's pencilled illustrations, rather than the traditional way of having an "inker" go over the graphite renderings with heavy, balck, india ink to make the drawings reproduce easily. This series, written by Don McGregor, is a real triumph in comics storytelling, and is one of my favorite series of Gene's.
Other series worked on by Gene include RAGAMUFFINS, a nostalgic look at kids of days gone by, and CURSE OF DRACULA, yet another take on the famous vampire.
Mr. Colan is now aged 80, and, while he is officially "retired" he is creating stunning commissioned work, which you can contact Gene directly about through his website, GENE COLAN'S VIRTUAL STUDIO", at

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Mr. Cardy is one of the greatest comic book _and_ comic strip artists of our time, having illustrated for both of these ends of the comic art field, as well as having a long career designing movie posters.
Born with the name Nicholas Viscardi, Nick has drawn his comic book material under the name Cardy, and his non-comics work as Cardi.
(continues after legal business)

Cardy's syndicated strip work includes assisting the great Will Eisner in his studio, and producing LADY LUCK as a companion feature for Eisner's "The Spirit Section, as well as producing art for the series TARZAN and CASEY RUGGLES, and writer Sean Menard and Mr. Cardy have recently released a book with a generous, annotated compilation of these and other strips, that is now available. I will be posting the title of that book once I can doublecheck it.
Cardy's work for comic books includes drawing the series DANIEL BOONE, AQUAMAN, BAT LASH, TEEN TITANS,
THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, and literally _hundreds_ of covers for DC COMICS, as well as drawing material for MARVEL COMICS' CRAZY Magazine, and other pieces for that company.
Recent years have seen continuous interest in the work of this master illustrator, and his career has been covered in depth in a number of places, but I want to give you my own spin on Mr. Cardy's work.
I first encountered Nick Cardy's work in the pages of both TEEN TITANS and AQUAMAN, but I am not sure which came first for me.
I was so taken with the "accessibility" of the characters Nick drew, they were so real to me, at about the age of eight, and I knew that I would follow Nick's career as long as I could.
My young eyes saw Aquaman's teen ally, Aqualad, as a symbol for what I could be, under the right circumstances, and I even had the vague notion at my tender age, that I could some day become a hero like Aquaman, of course, that was a silly notion of childhood, but childhood hopes are what make us the adults we later become, and allow us to establish our own identities and our character, and virtues.
It was easy, then, to let the escapist fare of the comic book world mold what would become both my vocation and avocation in later years, and I owe Mr. Cardy a great debt for that, even though he'd never know it.
I met Mr. Cardy's former agent, the late Walter Lawrence, at a comic book convention in Boston, MA. a number of years ago, and was disappointed that Nick was not with him. I was able to purchase several items from Mr. Lawrence, some TEEN TITANS, BAT LASH, and AQUAMAN pages, all wonderful elements of my small, private, comic book museum. I may also have picked up a page from THE BRAVE & THE BOLD then, but that may have been bought at another time.
In any case, Cardy's work, then, and now, "spoke" to me in a very special way.

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The late Don Heck had a long career in comic books, drawing everything from a movie theatre premium of THE VIRGINIAN, to advertise the movie with Joel McCrea, to violent crime comic books for COMIC MEDIA in the 1950's, to a diverse group of science fiction and suspense work for ATLAS COMICS, the MARVEL COMICS of the 1950's, to the 1960's MARVEL COMICS' features IRON MAN and THE MIGHTY AVENGERS, to DC COMICS romance titles, and on to their "Batgirl" and "Jason Bard" series in DETECTIVE COMICS, with BATMAN, and WONDER WOMAN and the super-team title, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, as well as STEEL: THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN, a Heck co-creation.
Mr. Heck's work was sadly mis-understood and therefore much-maligned by those who could not understand the true beauty of his work, and was later facing many personal demons following the death of his beloved wife.

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Steve Ditko, a reportedly mild-mannered, but very firm in his personal beliefs, individual portrayed THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, a character he co-created with MARVEL COMICS' Stan Lee, in a manner no other cartoonist has been able to equal or surpass since the iconic web-swinging wall-crawler debuted in 1962.
Ditko, known to hold very dearly on objectivist beliefs, says he wants his work to speak for itself, and I am happy to leave it at that.
Mr. Ditko's long list of co-creations, including SPIDER-MAN, DOCTOR STRANGE: MASTER OF THE MYSTIC ARTS, and his earliest super-hero work, CAPTAIN ATOM, as well as his version of BLUE BEETLE, all display a unique acrobatic style that makes them at once fantastic and believeable, sweeping gracefully over cityscapes and plowing through gangs of thugs with equal aplomb, but, the fantasy creation DOCTOR STRANGE takes it even further, materializing in other dimensions to battle the forces of evil.
Ditko's most personal creation, the objectivist and Ayn Rand-ian MR. A, is profound and simple at the same time, telling the evildoers he confronts that "A IS A", and that there is no compromise, only GOOD or EVIL.

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The late Curtis Douglas Swan drew SUPERMAN and his related characters for approximately 50 years, in a humanistic, and believable fashion, very much befitting one of the world's greatest super-heroic icons.
Having worked on earlier projects such as BOY COMMANDOES, following a stint on the US ARMY publication, STARS & STRIPES, Curt was able to take on drawing the adventures of The man Of Steel quite comfortably, and drew the syndicated newspaper feature version of SUPERMAN also.
Curt's portrayal of SUPERMAN was no as dynamic as earlier SUPERMAN cartoonists like that of co-creator Joe Shuster, or that of Wayne Boring, who had a long run, drawing SUPERMAN with a massive barrel chest, and visiting exquisite futuristic cities, but Curt's gentle SUPERMAN had a quiet, inner strength that belied his calm exterior, and the SUPERMAN stories of the 1960's that were inked by the late George Klein, and those from the 1970's inked by Murphy Anderson, are among some of the finest adventures in the nearly 70 years long history of The Last Son Of Krypton.

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COVER IMAGE (C) Copyright Marvel Characters, Inc.

Jack Kirby Lives!!!
Jack Kirby really left the living world in 1994, but his creations will live on forever, in one form or another, many of them have already stood the test of time. The recent "death" of CAPTAIN AMERICA, co-created by Joe Simon with Jack, seems to be a short-lived publicity stunt, and Cap, a wonderful symbol of the United States of America, is not a relic that should be buried in the memories of a small number of comic book fans, he is a figure who was created over 60 years ago, and he, like Jack Kirby, should be long remembered.
Kirby, who not only co-created CAPTAIN AMERICA, but also THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, THE MIGHTY THOR and many other characters, with former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief and writer, Stan Lee, had a dynamism in his work that is rarely equalled and never surpassed, in the world of comic book art.
There is a power and glory to the unique acrobatic poses and stunts that Kirby characters are depicted in, and performing, and this is what I love about Jack's work. There is also a rich humanity in Jack's super-characters, whether one believes that God created humanity in God's image or not, or if there even _is_ a God, it is hard to deny the God-likeness of Kirby's heroes.
They have an innate raw beauty, most exquisitely portrayed in Jack's initial four titles for DC COMICS during the 1970's, in such titles as NEW GODS, MISTER MIRACLE, FOREVER PEOPLE, and SUPERMAN'S PAL: JIMMY OLSEN, yes, that Jimmy Olsen. These titles, comprising the beginning of what was called "Jack Kirby's Fourth World" brought DC COMICS and the world of comic book fans the character Darkseid, an immense villain whose soul reson for being is to be in control of everything, and Kirby pulled out all the stops to depict his heroes grappling with this hideous force, probably the only DC COMICS baddie that is as easy to root against as The Joker.
The world of Kirby's Gods, shown in both MARVEL COMICS' THE MIGHTY THOR and in these above described Fourth World titles, is an immense, sparkling place, where saints and sinners alike abound, in an excess of grand and glorious power and pageantry, the stuff of which has rarely been seen before or since, in comic books or elsewhere.
Earlier in Kirby's career, he and partner Joe Simon brought the comic world two genres, that of the "kid gang" strips, perhaps inspired by "The Dead End Kids", from movies, in the form of THE NEWSBOY LEGION and BOY COMMANDOES, BOYS' RANCH, one of the best comic books of all time, and BOY EXPLORERS for one genre, and that of "Romance Comics", which comprised a huge portion of those comic books both published and sold during the 1950's and 1960's. The drawing and plots of these comic books, generally more adult in nature, were superbly drawn by Simon & Kirby and their "shop", a highly gifted group of cartoonists who worked harmoniously with Joe and Jack, to produce some wonderful comic books. The shop staff, consisting of Bill Draut, Mort Meskin, John Prentice, and others were all very fine cartoonists in their own right, and seem to have been truly inspired by working with Jack Kirby.
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To See Jack's Work And Support His Legacy, See:


I've already discussed the career of this GIANT of the cartooning world in one of my other blogs, but here are some of the reasons I love his work.

***THE SPIRIT stories are the comic book equivalent to good, short movies. They are full of great "camera angles", inventive "set design" and are among the first adventure comic material to have a really fun, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. This opinion is evinced not only via the drawing, which, from the wonderfully designed opening, or "splash", pages is always dramatic and dynamic, but also by the writing. Naturally I know that writing is not in and of itself _cartooning_, but writing and drawing bond together to make comic book, strip, and animation art. Good writing can usually not save bad drawing, and good drawing cannot often save bad writing.

***The "graphic novels", longer format stories, written and drawn by Mr. Eisner, are fine examples of this sort of comic book work. Will's heartfelt, autobiographical stories are often sad and touching, but not sentimental or "schmaltzy". His most famous graphic novel, A CONTRACT WITH GOD, first presented in brown ink, to give it an old-fashioned look, and the later work, TO THE HEART OF THE STORM are very rich in their portrayal of the times they tell of, and the individuals who walk through their pages. THE DREAMER, a mix of fact and fiction, perhaps, that delves into the history of the early days of comic books, is sad and nostalgic, recalling a tough time in the world, but a time that was saved for many with the appearance of comic books for a mode of escape from the world's harsh realities.

***Eisner was an educator, who used comic book formats to teach not only drawing, but also to teach individuals in the US Armed Services preventive maintenance. His vision in using comics as an educational tool are unsurpassed, and his talent for this is something that could and should be continued worldwide.

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