Friday, October 16, 2020

Steve Ditko's Mr. A

 


 Mr. A is hard to read and it's hard to like. Serious business. Not fun. Remember the thirstiest day of your life, and then think about putting a handful of sand in your mouth.

Steve Ditko's magnum opus was called Mr. A. He first wrote and drew it for Wally Wood's Witzend #3 in 1967 and he kept taking it off the shelf every once and a while up through 2008. A 41-year commitment to his creation.

"Fools will tell you that there can be no honest person!"

A 9-minute video on youtube tells the history of Mr. A and we have it for you right down here:

 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

John (Superman) Lennon


 


John Lennon took some photos in 1965 dressed in a Superman costume. I don't remember seeing them before and maybe you didn't either?


These photos are printed in 1973's The Penguin John Lennon.


Friday, October 02, 2020

Computers in Comics


Computers have not always appeared in comic books. Of course not. Comic books were first printed in the 1930s and there were no computers in the 1930s. So when did computers (and "thinking machines") first appear in comics?

Ultivac by Jack Kirby was a computer in a 1957 Challengers of the Unknown story and it came to life as a robot, but that was not the first computer in comics.

Maybe the computer that Wonder Woman used in a 1948 story (detail shown below) was the earliest? I'm not telling!

This matter has been researched by Dr. Andrew Davison and you can find out the answer by reading that gentleman's thoughtful article over here.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Three-Dimensional Mutt & Jeff


Mutt & Jeff comics are kind of fun (although personally I find it funnier when the characters were re-imagined as funny animals in The Fox and the Crow).

But have you ever seen any Mutt & Jeff statues? It turns out there have been many over the decades. The above pair are from 1911 and are described as "chalkware," which apparently is on the order of porcelain.

Down here is a one-piece cast-iron version from 1912, but the facial likenesses are more iffy than the very good likenesses on the chalkware.


These statues can be found on ebay once in a while if you're diligent!

This week I'm auctioning off a 1954 issue of Mutt & Jeff and it can be yours even if you're not all that diligent (all you have to do is click on the "it" and place a bid)!

P.S. Maybe you'd like another look at my classic Mutton Jeff comic strip? Keep in mind that my artwork is merely two-dimensional but it's flatly ready for you over here.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Batmobile on Irving Park Road



Everybody remembers Adam West and Burt Ward starring as Batman and Robin in the 1960s Batman television show. Fun series! It was so popular that at one point it was airing two evenings per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hold on as we fast forward a few decades and transition to the next paragraph.

On a recent afternoon as I was exiting the doorway Rudy's Bicycle Shop I was quite startled to watch as the Batmobile drove right past me and kept going down Irving Park Road. Yes, I said The Batmobile!

Lickety split I hopped into the hayfamobile and made chase. It wasn't particularly difficult to catch up to them because Irving Park Road is not exactly the autobahn.


I was able to snap a couple of photos from different angles.


When they stopped at a red light, we filmed a short video of a chat with the mysterious passengers.


The stoplight turned green and the duo went off to fight some crime.


Jack Kirby Painting-Collage

 


 Grandson Jeremy Kirby describes this piece of artwork in the following way:


"50% drawing, 50% collage, 100% Jack Kirby awesome!"


He is so right.

 



Friday, September 11, 2020

The Alex Ross Broken Mirror of Superman


I thought it was an interesting near-coincidence in the 1970s that the new actor playing Superman was named Christopher Reeve (without an s) and the actor from the 1950s television show was named George Reeves (with an s).

Apparently Alex Ross was also struck by the dichotomy between the two Superman actors because his painting shown here capitalizes on it excellently.

Very nice!




Cracker Jack Prizes of 1955 Revealed at Last!


I stopped eating popcorn about 10 or 20 years ago when I broke a tooth on an unpopped kernel, but I do still think about popcorn quite often.

I used to eat Cracker Jack and unwrap the prize to see what trinket I had been awarded. Did you ever wonder what all the possible Cracker Jack prizes were? The world of comics might have the answer you've been looking for!

Up top is the cover of a 1955 comic published by Archie in 1957. Of great interest will be the back cover of that comic, shown below. That's right! The advertisement is showing the variety of Cracker Jack prizes available that year.

Now you know!


Thursday, September 03, 2020

Watchmen by Kevin Maguire


Justice League #1 was released by DC Comics in 1987. Maybe an overly-silly take on the JLA corner of the DC universe, but it was a fun comic and I definitely liked the Kevn Maguire artwork. Take notice of the cover layout of the camera looking slightly downward on the group of shoulder-to-shoulder heroes. I liked that too!

Well, Mr. Maguire and other artists got quite a bit of mileage out of that cover design, applying it to a number of other covers through the years.

 


And now, in 2020, Mr. Maguire has posed the characters from Watchmen in that familiar design. 
If you're not saying it then I will: I like it!