Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 1969 Comic Book Luncheon Photograph

I stumbled upon a minor treasure and it led me onward to a fabulous treasure.

Back in April at C2E2 I bought a 1966 Marvel comic that I got around to opening up and looking at just last week. (That's right! The comic is not a CGC-sealed comic. I do not now and never will own a single 'slabbed' comic book and I told why not over here.)

As I looked through the comic I was a bit startled to find the above newspaper clipping folded and inserted between two of the pages. The article is about a New York City gathering known as The 1969 Comic Art Convention which was masterminded by comics-retailing legend Phil Seuling. (That is Mr. Seuling himself in the checkered shirt above.)

No date appears on the clipping but  the reported convention took place in July of 1969. It seems to me that that get-together was the first-ever large-scale comic book convention, pre-dating the San Diego Comicon by a year.

I did a little more online digging and found this luncheon photograph that was taken at the Seuling convention:

If only I had the time I would think of some thesis to write about this fabulous picture. Dick Giordano is in there and Gil Kane too. So are Roy Thomas and John Buscema and Joe Sinnott and Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. That kid in the bottom right corner is Gary Groth!

I am not the only one who realizes what a wonderful time capsule of comics history this photograph is. A Master Key for the photo has been constructed and almost every individual appearing has been identified. See for yourself right over here. And enjoy!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Mark Evanier and Jack Kirby

A few days ago Mark Evanier posted on his blog this photo of Mr. Jack Kirby and him at an early-1970s comic convention. I do not remember seeing the photo previously and maybe it's new to you also. I want to see every existing photo of Mr. Kirby during this period because it's when he was creating my favorite comics of his entire career.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Bill Watterson's Return to Comic Strips

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson is my favorite newspaper comic strip of all time. I've written about that before. But this week, for three days, Mr. Watterson returned to the comic strip page.

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis is a newspaper comic strip that I have never read before today. But now I have read three episodes. Because Bill Watterson was the guest cartoonist on them.

Over here you can read the story behind the story and read the three strips for yourself. And wish or more, ever more.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Bulls Eye by Jack Kirby and Others

I am the proud owner of the above beautiful drawing of Bulls Eye by Jack Kirby and Michael Netzer. It was published by Greg Theakston in 1994 in Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains, Black Magic Edition, (which featured a different inker on each full-page Kirby drawing).

A few decades back when Mr. Netzer was known as Mike Nasser, I owned two 1970s originals penciled by the gentleman: a Kobra cover inked by Joe Rubinstein and a Legion of Super-Heroes page inked by Bob Layton. I was a fan of his artwork back then and I feel that Mr. Netzer has gotten better and better.

Now let's dig a little deeper.

Below on the left you can see the original pencil drawing that was published by Greg Theakston in 1987 in Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains. Mr. Netzer made some cosmetic alterations to the drawing as he was inking it, such as accentuating the arch to the legs and moving Bulls Eye's right hand closer to the cheek. I feel these were excellent decisions that made the great drawing even more robust. Not everyone viewed Mr. Netzer's final drawing as favorably as I did, however. 

Mike Royer is one of my favorite two Kirby inkers of all time and the Fourth World issues he inked are my favorite Kirby comics of all time. But Mr. Royer was referring to the above Kirby/Netzer piece when he said in an interview that it was "inked by somebody who inked his own personality over Jack's pencils, rather than inking it the way Jack would have inked it." DC Comics asked Mr. Royer to rework the drawing as their Green Arrow character for the cover of a reprint edition (and you can read the entire Mike Royer interview over here.) The Kirby/Royer piece did serve as the cover to a fine trade paperback and it would go on to be immortalized on a U.S postage stamp a few years afterward, as seen below on the right. Do you notice, though, that Mr. Royer seems to have based his reworking on (ahem) my Kirby/Netzer artwork rather than on the original Kirby pencils?

Maybe you'd like to see how Bill Black inked the original Kirby pencils for the cover of one of his comics.

And maybe we'll even spin Bulls Eye around a little to see this John Severin inking of a different drawing.

(By the way, I own another page from Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains, Black Magic Edition and I'll be sure to tell you about it in the future!)

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Holy Germs, Batman!

That's right, Batman (though not shown) is involved in a campaign to educate citizens about the value of washing their hands. On the above poster he is named but not shown, while the below specimen has him shown but not named. Only in the hayfamzone.