Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Letter from Jerry Bails

Dr. Jerry Bails was one of the architects of comic book fandom. In the 1960s he was the founding editor of the fanzine Alter Ego, and in the 1970s Dr. Bails went on the write the four-volume Who's Who in American Comics reference work in the 1970s and which I referred to so many times in those long-ago decades.

I mail-ordered my Who's Whos directly from Dr. Bails (who had a Ph.D. in Natural Science) and thereby found myself on his mailing list. From time to time he would cull his herd and sell off some of the original comic artwork in his collection. One time in the mid-1970s I pulled the trigger and bought a page from Dr. Bails.

I don't remember what page it was and I sent a check for it sight unseen going by Dr. Bails' description indicated that there was a splash on the page. When I received the artwork and was disappointed that it was not a full-page splash, I (gulp) wrote Dr. Bails a letter of complaint (mild I hope) and the gentlemen replied to me with the below very polite note. Please notice that Dr. Bails was sensitive to my concern and said that thereafter he would specify "splash page" only when he meant "full-page splash." Maybe this means that I myself had a hand in tightening up the language used in comics fandom? How about that!

The reverse side of that note page was Dr. Bails' then-current original art sale list. Maybe you would be interested in a Steve Ditko page from Amazing Spider-Man #22 for $230?

Friday, February 08, 2019

Look for "Heroes in Crisis"

Of course Heroes in Crisis is a Big Event at DC Comics these days, and I'll admit that something kind of nice showed up in the most recent issue that came out a week or two ago. Here, take a look at the double-page splash from pages 2 and 3 of issue 5:

Do you notice the interesting thing in the artwork? Come on, take another look:


Fun, right?

Friday, February 01, 2019

DC Bullet Eye-Opener

I have now been reading comic books for 50 years and it's a fun treat for me when I discover something about older comics that I hadn't known previously. Did you realize that genius-of-comics Sheldon Mayer drew the cover of every DC Comics issue of  Mutt and Jeff from #1 in 1939 to the last issue #103 in 1958? I  was amazed by that tidbit when I learned it earlier this year! But that's not the only morsel of amazement I will share with you today. Take a look at the above 1952 cover to Mutt and Jeff #56 and see if you notice anything unusual.

Here, I'll give you a close-up so you can focus your eyes.

For comparison's sake, here's a detail of the cover to an issue of Sensation Comics from the same year.

Of course the Sensation cover has the more standard version of that era's DC logo (or DC bullet, as it's known) with "SUPERMAN" rounding out the upper portion. To the best of my knowledge, incomplete bullets appeared on no other covers but Mutt and Jeff issues. The "SUPERMAN" is missing from the DC bullet on every Mutt and Jeff cover from #56 in 1952 to #72 in 1954.

I do not know why.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Wonder Woman by Jack Kirby 1967 (almost)

The other day Kurt Busiek was wondering what a Wonder Woman drawn in 1967 by Jack Kirby might have looked like.

Mr. B mentioned his thought to Alex Ross, and the next day Mr. R sent the above drawing to Mr. B.

So that's that.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Comic Strip Clue for Final Jeopardy!

Alex Trebek commented yesterday that he believed the category of Comic Strip Title Characters was being employed for the very first time. The gentleman should know since he's been the host for the past 35 years (and I've watched Jeopardy every day since that debut of Mr. Trebek in 1984)!

All three contestants began writing their response instantly and all three answered correctly. I got it right also. My favorite comic strip series of all time!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Unboxing the Scary Godmother Doll

It was many moons ago that I participated in the Kickstarter campaign for the manufacture of a Scary Godmother doll. Regular updates about the design and production processes were sent by email through the years, and now the long wait is over. I thought you might enjoy watching the unboxing!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Donald Trump is Tariff Man

The New York Times often has flirtations with printing comics on its pages but can't seem to quite pull the trigger and make a commitment to any ongoing comics-content.

A recent example of a one-off is its Tariff Man article in their Business section which I thought you might like to see. The artwork is by Paul Hoppe.