Monday, February 16, 2015

Best Infinity Cover Ever?

Mike the Barber had two large mirrors that faced each other on opposite walls and, when I was a kid in the barber chair, I used to how many reflections deep I could see. 

Every once in a while a comic book is published with a similar theoretically-infinitely-repeating  pattern. Sometimes the design works well and sometimes it falters. The cover to 1947's Whiz Comics #91 is the most successful infinity-design I have ever seen in comics.

Or maybe you can tell me one you like better?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Wonder Woman and Jill Lepore

Harvard history professor Jill Lepore has written The Secret History of Wonder Woman. The life story of WW creator William Moulton Marston is well-trod ground, I would say, but I picked up an autographed copy on ebay just in case. I'll let you know later if I learn anything new in the book. (By the way, the jacket design by Chip Kidd is perfectly bold and bright but I strongly dislike the way the pages' edges are staggered rather than flush.)

In the meantime, maybe you'd like to watch an interview with author Lepore that aired a couple months ago on c-span? It's right over here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Batman Cologne?

The logo for the line of Gucci Guilty items strikes me immediately as a Bat-symbol. I am not by nature litigious and I don't customarily give business advice to multimillion dollar corporations but, if I were DC Comics, I would either sue Gucci to cease and desist or else demand that DC receive a cut of the profits. While in negotiations maybe the two companies could agree to tweak the Guilty logo ever-so-slightly and legitimately call the stuff Gucci Batman. Why not?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Answer to my Boy Commandos Riddle

Boy Commandos #1, cover-dated Oct. 1973

In a recent article I was wondering what artist was responsible for the bad guys and the big guns added to the foreground of the cover to 1973's Boy Commandos #1. (A small image of the original artwork can be seen above.)

Afterwards I wrote to some comics experts who I felt might know the answer. Nick Caputo wasn't sure but he posted a comment saying that he thought it might be Joe Kubert but he wasn't sure. Mark Evanier didn't know but he would say Joe Orlando if he had to guess. Mike Tiefenbacher couldn't be certain but he deduced that it might be Nick Cardy. In fact, here's what Mike wrote:

You're right--I never thought about the cut-and-paste nature of this cover either till you pointed it out, so it is a question that nobody I know has asked me before. Since the cover of a first issue would hardly be parceled out to a young staffer (the Woodchucks were quite young and inexperienced at this point), and the machine guns are convincingly rendered, I figure it was one of their A-list guys. Since it isn't Kubert, who'd have been the obvious choice, my guess is that it's Nick Cardy who was called upon to provide the lower third of the cover--since he was tasked with providing almost all the covers on the rest of the line at the time, and because that's who the inking on the hands suggests. As a staff artist, he'd have been the one Nelson [Bridwell] would've gone to first, I believe.

I appreciated the input from those gents but the artwork just didn't look like Kubert or Orlando or Cardy to me so I went back to square one and put my thinking cap back on.

I asked myself what artists were adept at drawing technical details accurately from reference material. The machine guns on the above cover are very convincingly drawn, after all! In no time at all the name George Evans came to me. I felt far more comfortable with the above gunmen being by Mr. Evans than those other three artists, and the below Weird War Tales cover from the same exact month displays more evidence of detailed gun-drawing.

Artwork by George Evans, cover-dated Oct. 1973

I was ready to come forward and say with 90% certainty that the Boy Commandos addition was drawn by George Evans. And then arrived another message from Mike Tiefenbacher, this one containing the correct answer with 100% certainty:

I'm not surprised to be wrong, given the small amount of material to work with, but the obvious answer turns out to be the erroneous one.  According to John Wells, who went to the original art which had been on Heritage's auction site, the perpetrator of the lower third of the BC #1 cover is none other than Luis Dominguez, the other regular DC cover artist.  Though his tenure as #1 cover artist only started when Cardy left, I guess he had to start somewhere. 

Case closed! It's so fulfilling to know the right answer to a challenging puzzle! And just to close out the day with some beautiful colors, here is another cover by the prolific Mr. Dominguez:

A 1974 cover by Luis Dominguez

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Spider-Man Goes Shopping

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Jack Kirby's Boy Commandos #1 Times Two

The Boy Commandos by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were introduced in 1942's Detective Comics #64 and they were awarded their own comic book in less than a year. The cover of their first solo issue is seen above (with its bold and daring color scheme), and that series ran 36 issues before ending in 1949.

The boys were not seen again in comics until showing up in backup reprints in 1972 issues of Mister Miracle, and those led to them getting their own two-issue reprint series in 1973. The cover of that first-of-two-issues is seen below (with its crystal-clear color scheme). Please don't ask me which coloring I like better because I think they're both superb in different ways!

Of course there's another difference between the two covers. I never before gave any thought to the five gunners that were added in the foreground of the newer version, but now I'm crazy-curious to know who drew those figures. E. Nelson Bridwell edited the two-issue series and the cover to the second issue was drawn by the unusual team of Carmine Infantino and Joe Orlando, but those facts offer no insight as to the artist responsible for these bad guys. Ideas, anyone?

(UPDATE! The answer to this intriguing riddle has been discerned and you'll want to read it over here!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sergio Aragones Drew DC in 1976

The Amazing World of DC Comics was a great in-house fanzine that DC produced in the mid-1970s. It was printed on heavy cardstock and had to be ordered through the mail and every issue was wonderful. (You can check on ebay over here if any issues are available right now.)

The cover to issue 13 shown above was drawn by Mad and Groo artist Sergio Aragones. Don't miss Sugar and Spike at the top of the artwork and The Fox and the Crow at the bottom. This page of artwork just became available at Galerie Laqua and you can purchase it over here if you like!