Friday, August 28, 2015

Jack Kirby Day 2015

Jack Kirby was born 98 years ago today. Jack Kirby, the best comic book artist of all time!

Earlier this evening, the celebration in Mr. Kirby's honor that I told you about took place over at the Schmaltz Brewery. I hope a wonderful time was had by one and all in attendance.

Artists all over the world mark the importance of this day by drawing something that they dedicate to The Great One. The above (by Russell Payne) and below (by Jerry Ordway) are two of my favorites of these new artworks, and you can see many more for yourself over here.

Hooray for Jack Kirby!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

King Kirby Birthday Party 2015

August 28th will mark the 98th anniversary of the birth of the great Jack Kirby. Of course there will be a party! Last year I told you about the hoppy concoction known as King Kirby Ale and there will be a big blowout in New York state at KKA's Schmaltz Brewery with many comic book professionals like Joe Staton and Ron Marz in attendance. Over here you can read the great words Mr. Staton and Mr. Marz and some other talented folks had to say when asked about their King.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Spydra Indeed

I have not been reading the Guardians Team Up series from Marvel but I did go ahead and pick the latest issue off the stands when I noticed it was by Javier Pulido; I find Mr. Pulido's spare style to be a breath of fresh air.

My eyebrows arched upward when I reached the page excerpted above. Spider-Man is the guest-star of the issue and that Hydra-looking agent yells out "Spydra!" My alarm came with the recollection that I myself a few decades back riffed on a similar theme and drew "Spidra." The page below was published in a 1982 issue of Alan Light's The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom.

Was I a little ahead of my time? Perhaps.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Photo With Neal (Your Camera) $30.00 Each

The annual WizardWorld convention is in Chicago this weekend and the in-attendance Neal Adams tweeted out the above photo of a commission-in-progress to drum up more business. The artwork seems nice enough but something else in the photo struck me as far more interesting.

Neal Adams charges fans $30 to take their picture with him?

Maybe you'll recall back here when I told how, in 1994 at this same convention held in this same convention center, Harlan Ellison (to this day my favorite living writer) agreed to pose for a wonderful photo that I took. True, we had waited in line for quite a while, but the charge for taking that picture was $0.00.

Now I believe in capitalism and I'm all in favor of somebody selling something for whatever price they care to. But I do wonder how many fans are taking Neal Adams up on his offer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Richard E. Hughes Wrote Hawkman

Richard E. Hughes was to The American Comics Group what Stan Lee was to Marvel Comics. Hughes edited all the ACG titles (such as Adventures into the Unknown and Forbidden Worlds and Unknown Worlds and Herbie) and, starting in 1957, he wrote just about every story the company published. The gentleman almost certainly worked under more pseudonyms than any other writer in the history of comics, names like Shane O'Shea and Zev Zimmer and about nine others.

Mr. Hughes began writing for comics at the dawn of the Golden Age in 1940's Thrilling Comics #1 and he began editing for ACG in 1943 (which would be his professional home for the next twenty-four years). But ACG abruptly stopped publishing in 1967.

Mr. Hughes was not quite ready to call an end to his career though so he crossed the street and wrote a few stories for DC Comics, starting with 1967's Jimmy Olsen #107. Bob Haney had been writing Hawkman but Hughes stepped in to write 1968's issues 23 and 24 and 25. In 1972 Hughes wrote a story for Ghosts #6. Richard E. Hughes passed away in 1974.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein

When I was a teenager a few decades back there were two non-superhero comics I fell head over heels for as soon as I stumbled upon an issue of each. One was Sheldon Mayer's Scribbly (for which I still hold out hope that there will be a collected Archive Edition) and the other was Dick Briefer's Frankenstein. Both of these titles consist of unabashed and unadulterated FUN.

A couple of years back there was a Craig Yoe hardcover of the Briefer Frankensteins but it was a random selection of stories, not what an archivist is really looking for. Hats off to Dark Horse Comics for upping the ante and publishing a volume collecting the entirety of the first six issues of Mr. Briefer's Frankenstein as originally published by Prize Comics in the mid-1940s.

If you like fun comics but are unfamiliar with this series, you are in for a treat when you get this great book!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Bought the Life Size Moon Monster

In 1970 the above advertisement for the Free Giant Life-Size Moon Monster appeared in just about every comic book (always on an interior page, never on the back cover or an inside cover). Was it a huge statue, I wondered? Of course I had to send in the $1 plus postage to join The Monster Fan Club and get that Moon Monster (and lots of other prizes) for myself.

Like everyone else who placed the same order, I was disappointed by what I received.

The 6 Foot Tall Moon Monster was just a poster. From what I see posted online most people received a black and gray poster on somewhat-heavy paper (like the one shown below), but I clearly remember that the one I received was printed with green ink on a thin white rubbery plastic material. I also received two glow-in-the-dark circular stickers to place on his eyes (which I did). 

A bit of a disappointment, yes, but still we used that Moon Monster to adorn the front door of our house every Halloween for many years. I have tried unsuccessfully to determine the name of the artist responsible for this iconic image and I encourage anyone with knowledge of  his identity to please write in with details.

Many have written about this Moon Monster at greater length than me and you might be especially interested in the efforts of filmmaker Jason Willis, over here. (A couple years back I told you about a 1950s horror cover that Mr. Willis brought to life and you might enjoy seeing that treat again.)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Amanda Conner and Nick Cardy

I have been a fan for years of the great artwork of Amanda Conner but I do wish that Ms. Conner could have devised a way to annotate that one of her recent Harley Quinn covers was an homage to a wonderful 1973 Nick Cardy design so that those who didn't realize it could investigate.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Double Half-Page Ads

Back in 1971 Marvel Comics went out on a limb for a month or so and printed two half-pages of story artwork along the top tier of the centerspread of their comics with paid advertisements filling out the bottom tier of those pages. Above you can see some great John and Marie Severin artwork from Kull #2, and below is some Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott splendor from Fantastic Four #101. This was back when the story pages of comics were numbered and the double half-pagers gave the illusion of there being a 20-page story when there in fact were just nineteen pages of artwork. (I think I possibly recall that Marvel did another round of this formatting in 1973 or 1974, but I gave the Hayfamzone Research Department the afternoon off so we'll let that one go for now.)

Fast forward a few decades to last month and, wouldn't you know it, everything old is new again! This time it's DC Comics playing the double half-page card, apparently at the behest of the advertiser as you can tell from the coordination of the ads in the below pages from the latest issue of Secret Six.

Of all the things from the comics of yesteryear that could be brought back, I doubt that double half-page ads would even crack my top ten. But still it was a little fun to see them again.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Unpublished 1973 Gil Kane Cover

The first four issues of Marvel's 1970s Jungle Action series presented reprints from 1950s Atlas comics featuring, among others, Jann of the Jungle. It was with this editorial direction that Gil Kane drew the cover shown above that was planned for the fifth issue.

A last-minute decision was made to modernize the title a bit and have it become a showcase for The Black Panther, and a different cover for Jungle Action #5 was drawn by John Romita (shown below).

Before today I had never seen the very nice Gil Kane drawing and, as of this writing, the original artwork is available for sale over here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jack Kirby's Fourth World as a Steampunk Western

 Why not recast Jack Kirby's entire Fourth World mythos as a western with steampunk overtones? That's what artist Kyle Latino wonders as he presents the above and below character redesigns. See a dozen more of these "4th West" characters as well as some comments from Mr. Latino right over here.