Sunday, April 29, 2007


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.

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