Friday, November 30, 2012

Manga Studio

I'm learning today for the first time of the existence of Manga Studio. It's a program that lets you draw and letter comics on your computer. The sharp drawing above was produced by artist/letterer Chris Eliopoulos using this software.

I would have been only too happy to take Manga Studio for a test drive if it had been freeware, but the starter version clocks in at $50. If you're curious for more details, they are over here for you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jack Kirby's Mother Box

Jack Kirby went on a creative rampage when he started developing the concepts for his DC Comics Fourth World in 1970. Just one of the many Kirby creations was the Mother Box, a more-or-less living computer that The Forever People would hold over their heads when they needed to trade dimensions with The Infinity Man.

Well, now there's a way for you to have your very own!

Here is a link to the information you need to make your iPhone look like a Mother Box.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DC Comics Instagram

DC Comics invites you to send any DC-related convention photos you snap and then they are shared with the world. Here is the page that displays the submissions and a couple of these pictures are definitely worth a second look. I like it when the Court of Owls fills an entire panel room!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Captain America by an Ordway

Jerry Ordway's daughter Rachel Ordway has written and drawn a 10-page Captain America story! It is quite sharp and you can read it for yourself over here. (I like the interface of how clicking on the current story page progresses you forward to the next page.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Website for Reading Jack Kirby

I have just discovered a website that shares complete Jack Kirby stories for the reader's enjoyment! It seems to be entitled Mars Will Send No More and I will transport you to it if you click right here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sandman Stained Glass

This specimen of stained glass featuring Neil Gaiman's Sandman represents 36 hours of work (so far) by artist Naomi Houser. Like it? Naomi will probably be selling it and you can contact her over here on twitter.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Secret Origin: The DC DVD

I just watched Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics for the first time. I enjoyed it very much.

I am a lifelong fan of DC Comics but still I learned a thing or two. I took a minute to think about it when Neil Gaiman told how he struggled to convince his acquaintances that comic books were a medium and not a genre. The home movies of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were great. And it was just a couple of days ago that I shared with you my "new find" of that black and white still photo of the 1940 Thanksgiving Day Parade Superman float, but this DVD includes color film footage of that same huge balloon!

Neal Adams  and Mark Waid were excellent choices for repeat interview subjects, and I particularly applaud the inspired inclusion of Chip Kidd and Gerard Jones considering both have themselves written books that parallel what they were discussing on this disc.

Here is a fast-paced two-minute trailer for the movie but, if you are even a lukewarm fan of DC Comics, you should watch the entire documentary. You might check for a deal on ebay, but Amazon definitely has it for you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Steve Ditko's Stalker on YouTube

I was crazy about Stalker when it came out from DC Comics in 1975. The artwork by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood was stunning. The miniseries lasted just four issues but it was a beautiful ride all the way.

Another fan of the comic has just posted a YouTube video of himself paging through the first issue. It's difficult to extract much by viewing it that way but the splendor of the artwork does still shine through. (I'm sorry to say that the bobbing of the camera made me a bit seasick). This guided tour also served as a reminder that Mr. Ditko included a fair number of large panels in that story, and the interior title design made it quite clear that Mr. Ben Oda performed the lettering honors.

I was Viewer Number Five of this video. I wonder what your number will be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Superman for Thanksgiving

Look, up in the sky! How about this photo from a 1940 Thanksgiving Day parade? Wow! Young Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster must have themselves been floating on air as they watched their creation grow in popularity so meteorically.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Batman Artists in Dick Tracy

Sprang! Robinson! Mr. Kane!

It was a trifle of fun to see those names in yesterday morning's installment of the Dick Tracy newspaper strip. (Of course you don't need me to tell you that Bob Kane created Batman and that Dick Sprang and Jerry Robinson were the most highly regarded Batman artists of the Golden Age.)

I'm not sure everybody realizes that Dick Tracy is now drawn by Joe Staton. For many, many years I kept expecting Mr. Staton to become the artist of Superman but it just never happened. Possibly my favorite Staton artwork of all time was his 1978 Secret Origin of Doctor Fate; spectacularly inked by Michael Netzer (then known as Michael Nasser), you can enjoy that entire story over on this website.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Okay, I Like Arrow

I have previously expressed some hesitation regarding Arrow, the new CW Network television series starring Green Arrow. While this new show will probably not be displacing Ben Casey or St. Elsewhere from my list of favorite network dramas, it is growing on me and I'm finding it to be a worthwhile diversion.

Producer Marc Guggenheim has come up with the interesting device of splitting the G.A. origin story into minute snippets spread out over multiple weeks, and of course it's fun to see characters from the comics like Deadshot and Deathstroke come trotting out onto the screen.

I've been a little curious why Mr. Guggenheim changed the name of Star City to Starling City for the series so I direct-tweeted that question to him. "Just sounded more like the name of a real city" is the reply he tweeted back to me. (Yes, twitter is growing on me too.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mudman Awaits

Of course I've written before that I like Mudman. I related that it is one of my favorite current comics and I recommended that everyone buy and read every issue. If you have not yet gotten around to sampling it though, now would be a great time.

A trade paperback collecting the first five issues of Mudman has been published and the aggregation costs less than if you had bought the individual issues! What an excellent bargain! You can shop for yourself over here or here.

If you liked the Steve Ditko issues of Spider-Man, you will like Mudman.

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Comic Book WayBack Machine

At least in terms of comics, I have found a way to go back in time!

The website Mike's Amazing World of Comics features a Time Machine program which will display for you covers of comics from any month and year you specify. What fun! I looked up all the DC Comics that went on sale the month and year I was born but, unfortunately, I have ever owned only four of the twenty-six comics that pop up. That's not so good.

Mike's Amazing World also boasts a gallery of Henry Boltinoff's half-page gag strips that appeared in all the various DC comics for decades. I like that. 

 In fact, I like a lot of things about Mike's Amazing World of Comics.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I Have Always Liked Turtles

When I was a kid I had at least one pet turtle, maybe more.

Also back then, the wonderful Chicago television host Ray Rayner (real name Ray Rahner but he changed the spelling so everyone would pronounce it correctly) used to feature turtle races on his 7:00 a.m. kids show that was a fixture of my every youthful morning. At least one of the turtles would invariably veer off the track and render the race irrelevant.

Nonetheless, I have always liked turtles.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Free Online Comic Book Course

In Spring 2013 you can take an online course about comic books for free from Canvas Network. Entitled Gender Through Comic Books, the course will include video interviews with Mark Waid and other comics crerators.

You can get more information and then enroll over at this location. The website includes a one-minute teaser video narrated by the the uncredited but unmistakable voice of Stan Lee.

You can see a list of all the upcoming online course from Canvas Network over here.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Letter from Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko celebrated a birthday this past week and the gentleman is now EIGHTY-FIVE years old. How about that!

I have previously shown you a wonderful one-page biography of Mr. Ditko that was written and drawn by Javier Rodriguez. Now on the occasion of the big 8-5, Javier has written a delightful blog article which includes the display of a letter written to him by Mr. Ditko in 2003! You'll definitely want to read the article and the letter, over here.

Hooray for Steve Ditko!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Jack Kirby's Mr. Miracle #1

I very much like Jack Kirby's 1971 cover to Mr. Miracle #1, and I'm not the only one. A number of artists like to redraw it. For example, Alex Ross painted a version of it a little while back. I remember being impressed when I saw that painting but it is nowhere on the internet so I can't share the image with you right now. But here is Mr. Ross's pencil rough which preceded his painting.

The cover has also been painted by artist Gerald Walker and Mr. Walker's painting I am able to show you, down here. You can own this one if you want! Go ahead and search for this painting on ebay if you are interested.