Friday, August 07, 2020

Popeye Visits Mutts

Just about every year Patrick McDonnell draws a week or two of comics character-oriented Mutts strips around the time of the San Diego Comicon.

2020 was the first time in fifty years that the SDCC was cancelled however, so what's a Mutt to do?

Mr. McDonnell had Popeye and his troupe stop over for a visit!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Superhombre in 1963 and 1944 and 1985

Maybe you own a copy of the comic below and never even noticed the weird quirk enlarged above!

1963's #304 is the only issue of Adventure Comics with the "Superman/Superhombre" logo, so what's up with that? I have the answer. DC printed that logo on exactly one comic in 1963 to be able to renew their trademark for "Superhombre."

The same logo (including the same drawing of Superman) appeared two decades earlier in 1944/1945 on the cover of an ashcan comic that is quite rare and quite valuable.

The logo has shown up one more time, in 1985 on a variant cover of Superman #409. Very few copies of this variant are believed to exist and one copy of it sold in 2014 for about $2000!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Joe Kubert's Bible

When I purchased Limited Collector's Edition #C-36 off the newsstand in 1975, I was amazed at the beauty of the artwork by Nestor Redondo. I had been appreciating the superlarge tabloid-sized LCE's since they had begun three years earlier and was enjoying them even more as they started showcasing non-reprint stories.

LCE #C-36 featured Stories from the Bible and is a 68-page issue featuring 60 pages of story written by Sheldon Mayer and drawn by Nestor Redondo with Joe Kubert credited as 'graphic designer' (which was taken to mean that Mr. Kubert provided layouts for Mr. Redondo to work from).

Fast forward a couple of decades. Whooooosh.

I was window-shopping on last month and saw that Mr. Kubert's Bible had been reprinted as a hardcover at the same original tabloid size. Whoa! In fact this collection had been published back in 2012 and entirely escaped my notice until last month. (By the way, the credits in the hardcover have been revised to read "Art by Joe Kubert and Nestor Redondo.")

This is a wonderful comic book presented beautifully. When I purchased the HC for $20 it was on a temporary markdown and I want to do a little math with you for a minute to talk about what a fabulous deal that was.

Back in 1975 when the LCE was published with cover-price $1, standard comic books sold for 25ยข. These days a standard comic book seems to retail for (gulp) $5. This means that comics cost twenty times as much today as they did in 1975. At the same rate of increase, the $1 LCE of 1975 would retail for $20 today. I paid $20 for the reprint, but I got a deluxe hardcover with heavy white pages rather than a softcover with flimsy newsprint paper. Deal!

The temporary markdown I pounced on has ended, but this publication is well worth its list price and you can grab a copy for yourself over here while the supply lasts.

(I never tire of seeing photos of Mr. Kubert at his massive drawing table. How about you?)

Friday, July 17, 2020

Jack Kirby's Infinity Man

I was a huge fan of Jack Kirby's Fourth World and The Infinity Man was one of the most mysterious characters in that realm. The five Forever People had to band together to be whisked away and replaced by The Infinity Man. So fun!

Nobody talks about black light posters these days but they were a bit of a thing in the 1970s. I owned a black light bulb and a few of the posters. I seem to recall there were far more Marvel-oriented than there were DC-oriented posters, but please enjoy the above Infinity Man black light poster.

I have never owned a page of Jack Kirby original artwork that featured Infinity Man, but take a look at the original splash page below that I do own. From 1991's New Gods #25 it's Infinity Man by Steve Erwin and Will Blyberg.

Hooray for Jack Kirby and his Infinity Man!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Vince Giarrano is a Different Kind of Artist

I often let my mind wander back to comics artists whose work I liked but from whom I have seen no material in a long time, and I investigate their whereabouts and doings.

Vince Giarrano was a promising young artist in the 1980s and 1990s but then his output dwindled and I have not seen his name in any comic for probably fifteen years. So what's he up to, I wondered.

The answer is: he crossed a line.

Mr. Giarrano is still an artist, but not for comics. He is now professional painter with what I would call a photo-realistic style, as you can see in "Woman at Diner" shown below. (A number of decades ago when I described Neal Adams' style as photo-realistic a prominent authority in comics fandom strongly disagreed with me but I doubt anyone would dispute the descriptor photo-realistic for the below artwork.)

You can see many more of Vince Giarrano's paintings over here and here.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Segways and Comics

Segways are cancelled. After a 20-year production run, the vehicles will no longer be manufactured. Have you ever seen one? I saw one just yesterday on a Chicago sidewalk! Have you ever ridden one? A few years ago I participated in a one-hour training tour because I was curious. So what exactly were Segways?

First sold in 2001,  Segways were two-wheeled personal transportation vehicles that required balance and coordination on the part of the rider. Inventor Dean Kamen is the mastermind behind the Segway. That's Mr. Kamen out for a spin in the above photo, and down below the gentleman was testifying before the United States Congress on the subject of science education.

Scratching your head? How exactly does all this tie in with comic books? Get ready!

Dean Kamen is the son of Jack Kamen! That's right, Jack Kamen the 1950s comic book artist! (And, as a hayfamzone bonus, over here you can view some of the advertising artwork drawn by the elder Mr. Kamen after he left the comics industry.)

1955 cover by Jack Kamen

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Frank Quitely is Not His Real Name

The actual name of Scottish artist Frank Quitely is Vincent Deighan. The gnetleman's excellent rendition of Superman is second only to Curt Swan's in my humble opinion.