Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas with Robinson's Starman!

It's Christmas Eve and Jack Knight, the Starman thinks he will be spending it helping out a homeless Santa but instead it's Santa who will be helping Jack discover the true spirit of Christmas.

On this Christmas day I thought it would be fun to look at a Christmas story from Starman #27 (Feb. 1997).

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas from Buster Brown!

Practically a century before that mischievous Calvin hooked up with Hobbes there was another young couple terrorizing parents everywhere, R. F. Outcault's Buster Brown and his dog Tige!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday Jack Cole!

Writer/artist extraordinaire, Jack Cole, creator of Plastic Man, would be 100 years old today! He was born on December 14, 1914 and died on August 13, 1958(1958-08-13) at the tragically young age of 43.

Jack Cole appears on the cover of his Plastic Man #1 (1943) which sports a cover that wonderfully illustrates Cole's sense of the absurd next to his dark morbidity.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy 93rd Birthday Matt Baker!

Matt Baker, who was one of the very first African American comic artists and was the leading practitioner of Good Girl Art in comics of the 1940’s, was born on this day, December 10, 1921, 93 years ago (he died August 11, 1959 at 38 years old). He is most famous for his work on the Phantom Lady he did for Fox Feature Syndicate.

Matt Baker (right) on the cover of his creation, Phantom Lady #17, Apr, 1949, the cover that Fredric Wertham used in his book Seduction of the Innocent with a caption that read, "Sexual stimulation by combining 'headlights' with the sadist's dream of tying up a woman."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Get well soon Frank Miller! A tribute.

It appears that Frank has become very sick in recent years. I haven’t found any news about it on line but there are pictures going around of him using canes to walk and even a wheel chair. He is only 57 but he looks old beyond his years.
Frank, You have brought so much joy to my life and so many others lives that I just want to let you know how much your work has meant to me and wish you all the best, and to...
Get well soon Frank Miller!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy 61st Birthday Alan Moore!

Alan Moore is special in the world of comics. Not only is he an amazing writer, but it can be said that he has influenced virtually every writer in mainstream comics since he started writing in the early 80’s. He's actually changed the medium he works in. What makes his work so special? In what ways has the medium changed as a result of his influence? These things I'd like to discuss in celebration of this incredible mage's 61st birthday. 

Alan Moore (center) and his creations by Alex Ross.

Happy Birthday Magus!

Alan Moore,

Born 18 November 1953

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mari Naomi's Dragon's Breath

Mari Naomi just published a book of autobiographical short stories titled

Dragon's Breath and Other Stories.

Dragon’s Breath is filled with touching short stories ranging from childhood memories about her favorite grandfather to thrilling memories of running away from home or bitter sweet memories of friends found and lost.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy 76th birthday Jim Steranko!

What can one say about Jim Steranko (born on November 5, 1938) that hasn't already been said? He is one of the greatest comics creators that has ever lived.

Here Jim Steranko is in front of many of the amazing covers he did in his short career making comics.
Though he was only in the comics business for a few short years, his influence on the medium has been profound.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween with Alvin Hollingsworth's The Ghost of Fire!

On this Halloween when the ghost and gullies come out to play, I thought I would share a great old horror story from the Golden Age of comic books as told by the great Alvin Hollingsworth.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Zippy the Pinhead

Zippy the Pinhead burst onto the comics scene in the Underground comic Real Pulp #1, March 1971. Zippy is not just a comic; it's an experience; a way of thinking and interacting with the world.

Zippy, based on the freak show performer Zip the Pinhead, is a free spirited, free thinking simpleton who gets himself in and out of all kinds of crazy trouble.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tony Salmons Batman

Tony Salmons is one of my all time favorite comic artists. He has this loose, kinetic style that is super exciting. Though he has been making comics for 30 or so years, no one has approached what he's been doing all these years. He is a true original in the comics world.

Batman commission by Tony Salmons showing off some of his skills at depicting buildings, cars and crazy kinetic action as well as his unusual inking techniques.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Happy 55th Birthday Jaime Hernandez!

Jaime Hernandez (born Oct, 10th, 1959) and his brothers Gilberto became independent comic sensations in the 80's with their fun depiction of Mexican/American women in their, Love and Rockets. While Gilberto took inspiration for his Heartbreak Soup from stories he was told about village life in Mexico, Jaime took inspiration for his Locas from the LA punk scene that were a part of.

Jaime surrounded by some of his spirited female characters; clockwise from lower left, Daphne "DAFFY" Matsumoto, Beatríz "PENNY CENTURY" Garcia, Margarita "MAGGIE" Chascarrillo,  Esperanza "HOPEY" Glass, TERRY Downe, Isabel "IZZY" Reubens

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers NSFW

The other big Underground Comix artist besides R. Crumb of the late 60's and early 70's was Gilbert Shelton, the creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #2, 1972

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Black Widow, Hawkeye and her co-creator dashing Don Heck

The Black Widow is one of  Marvel's most interesting characters. Of all of Marvel's early female characters, the Black Widow was one of their most independent and modern superheroines. While Janet van Dyne, (the Wasp) was chasing Hank Pym (Goliath) and Sue Storm (the Invisible Girl) was having Reed Richard's baby, Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a. Black Widow) was working in international espionage for S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters of International Espionage and Law-Enforcement Division) as well as being Marvel's first superheroine to get her own solo feature in Amazing Adventures. How did her character come about? Was she always so emancipated? Who were her creators? Let's take a look.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy Birthday David Mazzucchelli!

David Mazzucchelli (born September 21, 1960) has been one of the most exciting artists of the last 30 years. Though he hasn't been one of the most prolific artists, he has created some of the most amazing work the comic book medium has ever seen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sheldon Moldoff's Hawkman and the art of the swipe

Sheldon Moldoff came on the comics scene at the very beginning of the Golden Age of comics. He quickly became a hot young artist at National Periodicals (now DC Comics). His big claim to fame was Flash Comics' Hawkman feature which he used his ability to "swipe" Alex Raymond from his Flash Gordon to great effect.

Hawkman from Flash Comics #24, Dec 1941 by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Mike Mignola!

Mike Mignola who was born on September 16, 1960, has been one of the most dynamic and exciting artists, writing and drawing his Hellboy for the last 20 years...
though he wasn't always so well thought of.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kaz' Delirious from Weirdo #10

Kaz has a unique sense of humor and fascinating design sense. He loves to put the grotesque into 'cute comics'. He seems to be inspired as much by classic cute comic strips like Nancy and Sluggo, and Popey as much as by the offensive underground comics like S. Clay Wilson's Captain Pissgums.
Check out Delirious, an early comic by Kaz which appeared in R. Crumb's Weirdo #10, July 1984.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Alan Moore's Century: 1910 and the Black Freighter

When the Watchmen came out, Alan Moore was interviewed in the Comics Journal #116, July 1987 in which he gave a strikingly familiar account of Bertolt Brecht's the Threepenny Opera which he based the Black Freighter portion of the Watchmen on. I have copied the passage from the interview here and superimposed pictures from Moore and O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Century: 1910 for comparison. Enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy 71st Birthday R. Crumb!

Robert Crumb (born August 30, 1943) is the founding father of the underground comic art movement of the late 60's and early 70's. He started off his career drawing LSD inspired comics but went on to do some very influential auto-biographical comics as well as some very impressive biographical work of blues singers as well as literary people such as Kafka. His latest work is a faithful adaption of the book of Genesis.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy 97th Birthday Jack Kirby! The Marvel story.

Jack Kirby (August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994), born Jacob Kurtzberg, was one of the greatest comic creators ever. Not only did he create important comics and heroes of the Golden Age like Captain America but he revitalized the whole industry with his Marvel Comics creations of the 60's and influenced all the succeeding artist for decades afterwards.

Self portrait of Jack Kirby with many of his creations.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a Golden Age Canadian classic!

Golden Age comics have created many big names like Superman, Batman and Captain America though there are many amazing heroes from the Golden Age virtually unknown and forgotten in modern times. Nelvana of the Northern Lights is one of those comics.

Now there are some Canadian comic fans who are making that right. Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey spearheaded a Kickstarter campaign to reprint the complete adventures of Nelvana of the Northern Lights by Adrian Dingle that was successfully funded on November 1, 2013.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wildcat from Sensation #1 by Finger and Hasen

Wildcat is one of my favorite comics of the Golden AgeWildcat had a very real setting and down to Earth story created by Bill Finger and the very physical, gritty figures drawn by Irwin HasenWildcat is a hero who takes on a masked identity for a believable reason with believable physical prowess.

From Sensation Comics #1, Jan 1942

It figures that the same creator who created this non-super-powered hero, Wildcat, was also the creator behind the other Golden Age non-super-powered cultural icon of Batman.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Paul Pope's 1977

Everyone has strong childhood memories; the smells; the sounds; the impressions. They come upon us unexpectedly, making the present disappear behind the impressions of yesteryear.
Here, in Paul Pope's 1977, we get a vivid glimpse inside the world of the author, with vivid details so strong that in just four pages we can see the kind of things that helped form who the artist became and what were his motivations.

from THB: Comics from Mars 2010 by Paul Pope

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doctor Strange #55 a classic by Roger Stern and Michael Golden

When Steve Ditko and Stan Lee created Doctor Strange they knocked it out of the park, so much so that it was really hard for future creators to come close to the awesomeness of it. Then Roger Stern and Michael Golden came along and brought it up a notch. Doctor Strange #55, Oct 1982, is not only one of the best Doctor Strange stories I've ever read, it's one of the best comics I've ever read.

Doctor Strange #55, Oct 1982, by Roger Stern and Michael Golden

Friday, July 18, 2014

Men in Tights - a history

When Superman first hit the scene with his blue and red tights it created a shockwave around the country that it hit off the whole superhero craze that is going on stronger than ever today with blockbuster movies like Batman and the Avengers. Before that no one had ever seen a hero in tights and cape. Where did they get the idea from?

Siegel and Shuster created a character called Superman in 1933 though it bore very little resemblance to the Superman we know. He had mental powers but had normal strength. A year later they would re-envision him into a super crime fighter.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gary Panter's Jimbo

What do you get when you combine Jack Kirby, with Pablo Picasso?  You get Gary Panter's Jimbo. It’s one part Kamandi and one part Guernica. Jimbo is a fun adventure story as well as a statement on art and esthetics of our time.

Jimbo is from RAW Magazine #8: "The Graphic Aspirin for War Fever"  (September 1986)

Jimbo is a young punk who finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world of rotting ghost horses running down the street of demolished cities. In an odd way his work reflects our own world and media with it’s grotesque news stories of war and oil spills and man-made disasters. Gary Panter’s work reflects this in a fascinating, grotesquely beautiful way. It's abrasive, shocking, senseless and yet totally compelling.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Re-thinking the Copper Age of comics

Growing up reading comics in the 80’s, I have a very well rounded point of view of the comics of that time, so when I heard that people wanted to group early 70’s comics with comics from the early to mid 80’s in what would be called 'the Bronze Age of comics', something rang very false to me. It made me stop and consider the whole ‘Bronze Age of comics’ because to me 80's comics were a very different animal to comics of the 70's.

Copper Age of Comics

1978 to 1988

Some significant comics from the 80's from upper left to bottom right - Daredevil #181, Apr 82, Watchmen #1, Sep 86, American Flagg #1, Oct 83, Tales of the Teen Titans annual #3, July 84, Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, May 84, Amazing Spider-Man #250, Mar 84, Batman; the Dark Knight Returns #1, Feb 86, the Mighty Thor #237, Nov 83, Swamp Thing #34, Mar 85

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner

Bill Everett was a giant in the world of Golden Age comics. He was on the forefront of the superhero movement in comics and created the Sub-Mariner for Timely's Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939) which was a hit and became one of Timely's most popular characters.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July with John Cassaday's Captain America

"You were 19 the first time you felt this. This disbelief. This anger."
"You'd had the body almost a year. the training. You had scares."
"You'd been shot at so many times that you laughed when you found yourself staring down the barrel of a gun."

Captain America vol. 4 #4, Sep. 2002
On this July 4th I'd like to look at a great comic that has been forgotten;
Captain America vol. 4
by John Ney Rieber and John Cassaday

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Liberatore's Batman

"Once you confront the unpleasant reality, I'm sure the nightmares will cease."
"Then they'll never end... because I can't remember!"
'In Dreams'

From Batman Black and White vol. 1 #3 (Aug 1996)
by Andrew Helfer and Gaetano (Tanino) Liberatore

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sweet Christmas! The Civil Rights Movement comes to comics

Black Avengers Assemble!

Black Avengers in color photo black_avengerscolor1.jpg
Black Avengers mock cover by Jim Rugg. Colors by Thomas Morrison
In the 70's the comics, like the rest of America, began to become desegregated. but it didn't all happen at once. It took some time before blacks were integrated into the mainstream superhero books and even got books of their own.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Black Condor by Lou Fine

Lou Fine was one of the most impressive and influential artist to ever work in comics. His fluid figures were admired and copied by such greats as Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Reid Fleming, the Worlds Toughest Milkman by David Boswell

Reid Fleming came out of nowhere. In the 1986 world of comics this work had no piers and no other work to compare it too. It sure as heck didn't fit in with the superhero dominated market, and didn't resemble anything from the irreverent 1960's underground comics either. I remember seeing the add and thinking, "How much fun could a Milkman be?" Boy was I surprised at what I found.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Jack Kirby's Red Skull - a history

In 1941, when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were young, enthusiastic comic creators they came up with Captain America and of all the colorful villains they pit him against, the Red Skull was the most enduring.

'An Ear for Music' from Captain America #7, Oct. 1941

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Fate by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman

The early years of the Golden Age were wondrous years. Many really innovative things came out of that time. After the huge success of Action Comics #1 DC Comics was turning all of their titles into superhero titles. More Fun Comics was no exception. The mystical Doctor Fate would join the phantasmal Spectre making More Fun Comics the supernatural title of their line.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kim Deitch' "Hell to Pay" featuring Waldo the Cat NSFW

"I bring greetings from an admirer of yours, down below."
"You mean?"
"That's right pal, old Nicky himself."

Kim Deitch has been a part of the comics scene for a long time. He got his start in the late 60's as a part of the underground comics movement contributing to the East Village Other.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Women's Lib comes to Marvel!

 "Come on in, the revolution is fine!"
calls out Valkyrie to her Lady Liberators.

Art by John Buscema
Marvel was very progressive when it came to race as demonstrated by Black Panther's July 1966 appearance in the Fantastic Four and Bill Foster's September 1966 appearance in the Avengers but as good as they were with blacks, they were a little slow when it came to the women's liberation movement. The first we see of it is in Avengers #83, Dec. 1970. Valkyrie was created specially for it, an empowered woman warrior out of Norris mythology.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Atomic Robo

To continue out robotic theme I'd like to explore a popular contemporary independent comic, Atomic Robo. 

In 1923, Nikola Tesla created a robot with atomic intelligence called Atomic Robo. He has since become the core member of Tesladyne Industries, "a thinktank dedicated to exploring the fringes of scientific inquiry", whose Action Scientists often respond to paranormal and supernatural emergencies.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Warlock from New Mutants #21 by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz

Continuing with our robot theme I'd like to explore Warlock from Marvel Comics' New Mutants created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz.

When Bill Sienkiewicz jumped onto the New Mutants with issue 18, it was a huge shock for New Mutant fans. As the advertisement said, "They aren't X babies any more." Of the New Mutants, Warlock was the one character that Bill most made his own, and every comic artists since has struggled to depict him.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jim Rugg's Street Angel

I loved Jim Rugg's Street Angel, trade paperback so much I picked up a whole set of the 5 issue, 2004 run off of E-Bay recently.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dekko! from Scott McCloud's Zot!

Before Scott McCloud became the comics guru with his classic Understanding Comics, a study of the medium of sequential art, he worked on a comic called Zot! It was a take off of the super hero genre though with a flavor only Scott McCloud could give it.

To continue with our robot theme I'm sharing an excerpt from Zot! #3 and #4 about a colorful cyborg called Dekko.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Magnus, Robot Fighter - It's Not Too Late For A Movie!!!

One of the great experiences of the Silver Age of Comics was Gold Key's MAGNUS,ROBOT
FIGHTER 4000 AD, easily my favorite sci-fi comic book from that era and arguably the greatest.

from 1963′s Magnus, Robot Fighter #1
Written by guest author, Dave Goode.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brynocki the little robot from Master Of Kung Fu

To continue the robot theme I've been on lately I'd be remiss to forget the charismatic little mechanical henchman from the pages of Master of Kung Fu, Brynocki, the ever changing every-man, man servant was a robot creation of Mordillo's to administer over his exotic amusement park in the 70's classic "Mordillo's Island" from Master of Kung Fu #33 - #35, by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy.

Brynocki first appeared in Master of Kung Fu #35 (Oct. 1975) by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"I, Pneuman", by Brian K. Vaughan and Peter Snejbjerg

What happens when your robot takes his orders too literal? What happens when his orders contradict themselves? This is the problem we find with Pneuman in "I, Pneuman" from Tom Strong #28, as written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Peter Snejbjerg.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Brainiac vs. Superman by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane

In an attempt to make superman relevant to the early 80's comic reader, Marv Wolfman redesigned Brainiac to look like a robotic skeleton with a robotic ship of living metal. The great Gil Kane was brought on to help with sales. Marvel may have been more popular at the time but you have to give it to DC for doing their best to make great books.
Gil Kane is shown here in all of his glory. Just check out this stunning cover that he created. though his work is not the most highly detailed or flashy work, he is one of the best designers out there.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jaime Hernandez' Rocky and Fumble

Childhood friends and teen angst and longing are shown beautifully in Jaime Hernandez early Rocky and Fumble episode.

Rocky and Fumble came out while Jaime was still doing sci-fi comics in the early days of Love and Rockets.