Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spider-Man for Girls

I stopped in at my local McDonald's this morning and saw something interesting hanging on the wall behind the counter. They were selling a complete set of Happy Meal toys that tied in with the recent film release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

But please notice how the color scheme of the toys is pink and purple rather the more-expected Spider-Man red and blue. And also notice how the 'toys' include a tiara and bracelets and heart-shaped tin cans. It seems that these Happy Meal toys were specifically targeted for girls. I like that.

On a related note, one of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live skits is a mock advertisement for a Chess for Girls game. If you've never seen that skit for yourself, have some fun over here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I See a Super Duck

I try to look at things in a different way.

Back here a few years ago The Hayfamzone Blog told you how a pineapple and a cantaloupe reminded me of 1939's New York World's Fair Comics, the precursor to DC's World's Finest Comics.

While driving past a bank building this morning I looked at the above logo that I've seen hundreds of times before, but I opened my mind to try to put a new spin on the image. It looks like a flag to you? Come on, think!

As I pondered that colorful logo I saw a Super-Powered Duck with x-ray lasers emanating from his eyes. And that's what I will see of every time I cross paths that 'flag' in the future.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Superman's Back in the Art Gallery

I took a ride down to the University of Illinois in Urbana over the weekend and I stopped in to stroll through the President's Art Gallery. Wouldn't you know there was a photo of the Metropolis, Illinois Superman statue hanging in the gallery show?

The motif of all the photos in Mr. Alejandro Lugo's show was seeing something from behind, and that's the reason for the vantage point shown in the statue's photo. 

I hope you caught the two different meanings of the title I selected for this article. Playing with language is always great fun for me!


UPDATE ON 5/29/2014
Professor Lugo himself has written the following to me:
Thanks for your email about your visit to my photo exhibit. I also appreciated your use of the double meaning of "Superman's Back" in the title to your entry. I've always hoped that my work will inspire more creativity! Here's the link to the gallery exhibit itself:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Steve Ditko and Alfredo Alcala Also

Last week I showed beautiful ink-wash covers by Dick Dillin/Jack Adler and by Jack Sparling, and before I leave the topic of grey tones behind for the time being I want to make particular note of a couple more gentlemen whom I would say mastered the medium.

Steve Ditko in the late 1960s drew a few stories for James Warren's Creepy and Eerie magazines with a fabulous gray wash, a sample page of which appears up above. When I first stumbled across these Ditko jobs in the mid-70s I was stunned by their beauty and I feel they are among Ditko's finest work.

And, in the late 1970s when Marvel Comics was starting to wind down its black-and-white magazine line, they teamed up Walter Simonson on pencils and Alfredo Alcala on grey-tone inks for a black-and-white Hulk series and the pairing was phenomenal. Below is an image of a great page I used to own from Rampaging Hulk #1.

Aside from an occasional Batman Black and White miniseries, these days there is no regular outlet for ink-wash, grey-tone artwork. I wish there were.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Eyes of the Watcher

Original Sin is the latest "Event" at Marvel Comics. I own the first issue but haven't read it yet.

To promote the Event, your Local Comic Shop might have for you a (glow-in-the-dark?) superball that purports to be the eye of The Watcher.

Do you realize that the free comic books on Free Comic Book Day are free to the patrons but must be paid for by the comic shop? These eyeballs, on the other hand, have been provided to the stores by Marvel for free. The bags that contain 25 eyeballs are relatively heavy and Marvel even paid the postage.

Back when I used to rent VHS videotapes from a shop near my home, the owner used to opine to me that when a tape arrived in a fancily decorated box it usually signalled to him that the movie itself was a stinker. I'm not sure why that anecdote came to my mind just now.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dick Dillin's Best Page?

I've been meaning for a while to write about the "sputtering lines" that would emanate from the mouth of a Dick Dillin character who was spouting off about something, but that will wait for another day. After yesterday displaying that Jack Sparling masterpiece I feel a more pressing urge to share this cover collaboration between Mr. Dillin and Jack Adler. Isn't it fabulous? (And, as a fun little exercise in cross-referencing, do you find it slightly interesting that this cover to House of Mystery #92 would be followed than ten years later by the premiere appearance of Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92?)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jack Sparling's Best Page?

While bouncing around on the internet I came across the above cover by Jack Sparling. I don't own that issue of Unexpected and I'm fairly certain I never even saw that cover before. But I sure do like it! (Before I bounced on to my next destination I noticed that the Sparling original had sold for the tidy sum of $3211.)

Friday, May 09, 2014

1945 Sprang Batman Original Artwork

I snapped the above photo at C2E2 last week. (At conventions I enjoy browsing through pages of fabulous comic artwork that I will never own.) Batman #32 was released in 1945 and the twelve-page story from which the above comes featured the title character interacting with The Three Musketeers. The gentleman selling the artwork at one time owned all twelve pages but is now splitting them up for in the vicinity of $10,000 apiece.

It's a bit of a miracle that these art pages still exist because, during the Golden Age, "comic art was routinely destroyed by publishers after publication or casually discarded by the creators themselves" (as so well put in the copy for a Heritage auction that I came across). The story goes that Dick Sprang (who pencilled, inked, and lettered the story (and whom I one time told you invited my then-young to sit and draw with him for an entire day at a Chicago Comicon a couple of decades back)) was such a fan of The Three Musketeers that he asked his editor if the pages could please be returned to him. Good idea!

You can enjoy viewing crisp photographs of all twelve original pages over here.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Tuna Salad in the Hayfamzone

Yesterday after making a bowl of tuna salad I proceeded to also draw an identifying placard. Everybody does that, right?

I even went ahead and signed it.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Not-So-Dark Horse at C2E2 2014

I was grateful to Dark Horse Comics for their mammoth lighted canopy in the sky at C2E2 last week. It served as my North Star and helped me triangulate my position from afar in the expansive convention exhibition room. Much appreciated!