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Showing posts from August, 2008

The Things You Find In The Rain: Sgt Fury #1

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I kid you not. I wasn't even aware that this puppy even existed until today. We wandered down to a local car boot sale (where, ironically, people were actually selling crap from the boots of their cars instead of trestles) and found the above comic in stunning condition on a table surrounded by knitting catalogues. Can't complain. What leap out at me, after the initial shock, was the cover by Maurice Bramley. As anyone who reads my crap on any on-going basis would know I have a very soft spot for Bramley and this is no exception and I still maintain that he did better covers than most of his American contemporaries. The cover here is kind of odd as it shows what we're expected to believe is Sgt Fury driving a jeep with the Russian hammer and sickle on it. You might ask what's so surprising about that. Only that the comic book in question was published in the mid 1960s and that the story itself was based during World War II. The cover art to this gives an impress…

Original Art Stories: Batman #459 - Evolution Of A Splash Page

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I'll freely admit that this kind of stuff fascinates me no end, so, hopefully, it'll be of interest to other people out there. Recently I managed to buy a cache of Norm Breyfogle art quite unlike any other lot. This art had been stored since publication and to my knowledge had never been offered for sale since sometime in the early 1990s, some of the art had never previously been on the market at all, such was the scarcity of it all. It was all offered to me, we negotiated a price for the entire collection, I paid a decent sum and now own it. I ran it past Norm at the time and he was more than happy with me purchasing the art, so no problems there.

One of the packages in the lot was probably the only existing example of thumbnails for Norm Breyfogle's Batman run. I say this with a certain amount of authority as Norm has told me more than once that he threw away what he believed were all of his preliminaries, scripts and notes for his Batman and Detective Comics runs back in…

Original Art Stories: Steve Ditko & Eric Stanton

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This arrived in the email today from none other than Dave Simons. Interesting reading, as always, from the pen of Dave.

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Have been reading the "controversy" about Ditko's association with Eric Stanton. I worked for Stanton myself, briefly and indirectly. I never met the man, though. Ken Landgraf used to go pick up the jobs from Stanton. Then we would work on them together, occasionally with Armando Gil, usually not. They were done on typewriter-size bond paper. Stanton would do layouts and we'd do pencil finishes. These were basically "commissions" and were never published.

This, rather than SWEETER GWEN was probably most indicative of the bulk of Stanton's career. I have to say that most of the time, even tho the material was of a sexual nature, I found little of it offensive. Some of it took a very dark turn and became disturbingly violent and as I recall I refused to work on those jobs. Probably not Stanton's choice but his…

Original Art Stories: Arthur Adams

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I'll be honest, I have no agenda in posting this cover other than I've always liked it. It's currently on the net for sale, but I can't recall where (if anyone knows feel free to post the link and I'll add it) and it's selling for around $9,999, that's $10,000 to anyone else. Good luck. I'd love to buy it and if I had a spare 10k hanging around I expect that I'd be very tempted indeed.

Arthur Adams has always been one of my favourite artists. I'm not sure what it is about his art that I like more, the detailed line-work, his ability to make the characters look normal (ie: no basketball sized breasts here) or just his general ability to draw other than merely swipe or trace photos from swimsuit magazines. When I first saw his work I thought Michael Golden, but he soon went beyond that and developed into a powerhouse which, I'll freely admit, is an acquired taste to most people. In a climate where the comic book industry are turning their ba…

What's Worse Than Erasing Art? Inventing Quotes! Part II

Following up from my previous entry about the 'Vinnie Colletta' site. The quote attributed to Gene Colan is a total fake. Here's the explanation from Gene himself, "I never said this. I 'have said when asked that Colletta was fast and it seemed to me he didn't care whether he kept things in or not. I was specifically referring to a job I did where I drew the Champs Elysee. When the story was published, it was gone. The quote below goes way further than anything I'd say negatively about anyone." The site itself now boasts the following message, (bad spelling and grammar left intact) "I have decided to suspend this site indefinately. This evening I had a 1 hour chat via internet with a person who convinced me that 4 of the quotes posted to this site were inaccurate and that 3 others were edited not by me in a onesided manner. I need to investigate the source of the inaccurate quotes which were represented to me as accurate and also verify the ful…

What's Worse Than Erasing Art? Inventing Quotes!

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Weird things inside the world of on-line 'reporting'. By now you might or might not be aware of a web-site supposedly set up to 'promote' Vinnie Colletta, or rather this site exists only to print negative things said about Vinnie. So far the site has comments and interviews from a number of people, including Gene Colan, Curt Swan, Mark Evanier, Alex Toth and a host of others, including Dick Giordano. We'll get back to the latter quote in a few minutes because that's the one that's the most interesting.

The blog itself went on hiatus with an odd explanation. The reason given was as follows, "An influential member of the comic book community has asked that I stop posting this material. I have agreed to suspend my plans pending a discussion with him at the San Diego Con next week. Following that event, I will announce future plans." Reading this I couldn't help but wonder why the author was asked to stop, and by whom. This weekend I noticed more c…

Original Art Stories: The Lost Superman Story

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Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On...

This is the saga of the Neverending Battle for the 'lost' Superman story.

In 1988 the character of Superman turned 50, if you were reading comic books back then you'd recall it. Television specials, Time Magazine, articles everywhere - hell the fever even reached Australia with the television special being broadcast in prime-time, believe it or not. However all that paled in comparison to what Cleveland was preparing. Why Cleveland? That's the spiritual, and physical, birthplace of Superman! You see the characters creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, originally conceived the character in that very town. Part of the celebrations revolved around the creation of a Superman Museum and associated items (as late as June 2008 the museum idea is still being floated). In an interview with George Khoury for Jon Cooke’s Comic Book Artist #21, writer Tony Isabella expands on his role, “The goals of the organization were to honour Siegel and Shu…

Big Glee? You Betcha!

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My pal Al Bigley finally has a blog of his own. I won't say it's his new blog as he never had an old one, but let's not split hairs or debate semantics here. What I will say is that Al's blog is a delight to read, very interesting and a delightful view into the world of a young man who grew up to be an artist. The stuff he's showcasing is off the wall and is features vintage art that you rarely see artists put out there for display. Plus he's not shy about his Monkees fascination, not that I can talk, I own the above piece of art that Al did for fun back in 1990.

I like Al. Over the years my all too brief conversations with him have been informative and enlightening to me. I've also managed to buy a fair amount of art from him over the years and I'm happy to own it all. Al is one of those good guys that come along in the world of comic book art all too rarely. Scoot on over and read his blog and then make contact and commission him to draw something -…

Original Art Stories: Ditko Fanzine Art

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Ya know, there's no other reason why I've posted this other than I really like looking at it. This art (currently for sale - wish I could afford it) was drawn by Ditko for the The Comic Reader#42, published October 1965. Here's where the funny stuff begins. As everyone is well aware Ditko doesn't do commissions. Shame really as I expect that he'd made more money than anyone else if he did, and that includes Neal Adams. Just imagine, a Ditko Spider-Man of your own hanging on the wall - what's that worth to you bucko? Having said that back in the 1960s Ditko was very active in the fanzine scene and would more often than not do these little drawings (they're a bit more advanced than a sketch) for use as spot illos or even covers. Bill Schelly's excellent, and essential, book The Golden Age Of Fandom shows a few examples, including a very similar image to the one above, along with a great Captain Atom shown below.

The Captain Atom shown here was drawn for Th…

Another Ditko Review: Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

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There's clearly a lot of feeling surrounding this book if Mike DeLisa's review is anything to go on. Mike does raise a lot of questions and until they're answered then the controversy will continue. There's nothing new about popular books getting not so good reviews, or being attacked for missing facts - if you read the recent Open Letter To Gerard Jones, you'll see that none other than Joe Simon (who was there) has taken issue with Jones over his much lauded Men of Tomorrow book and a recent Marvel Masterworks introduction. These things happen. Where things go pear shaped is when people take pesonal pot-shots at others - if you don't agree with a review, or indeed don't agree with the book itself, then by all means, voice your opinion. However once you bring things into a personal attack then you can assured that your views will just be redundant.

Having said that I did state that I'm happy to post any and all reviews, within reason, with permission of …

The Last Realm: Dragonscarpe: Exclusive In-Store Signing

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If you're in Adelaide this Friday then you'll be wanting to check this one out.


Appearing in store, August 8th 5:30pm to 7:30PM

Artist MICHAL DUTKIEWICZ (Batman, Wolverine & Lost in Space) and writer PAT MCNAMARA (Co-Creator of The Unknown Soldier). Both men will be signing copies of their just released book, THE LAST REALM: DRAGONSCARPE.

This event is exclusive to Adelaide Comic Centre, and more details can be found on their web-site, or by visiting the store or giving them a call: Shop 15, Citi Centre Arcade, Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia, phone 82235593. I'll be popping in for a few minutes to take some happy snaps, not that my attendance will get people flocking in, but hey - it'll be a damn good day I'm sure.

Some Thoughts on Some Thoughts on Blake Bell's Book, or Did Steve Ditko Once Play Baseball?

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I've yet to see the book, Stranger And Stranger: The World Of Steve Ditko primarily because I don't believe it's arrived in Australia yet. At least, if it has, it's not arrived in any shop that I know of (although I might check out Borders, again, today as they get a lot of the imports). As such I'm unable to comment on it but I did find it a tad odd to see someone writing about a man who refuses to speak about himself and would, presumably, not be offering any form of comment on a major biography, either positive or negative. We may never know what Ditko thinks of this book, presuming that he even decides to read it. The reviews I have seen have, for the most part, been very positive but virtually all of them appear to comment on how good the art is. Not very surprising, Ditko was one of the true visionaries that the comic book world has seen. His life and art deserve a volume, several in fact. However such a volume could only really work with some form of involve…

Potted Review: The Flash Companion

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THE FLASH COMPANION
224 page Trade Paperback - by Keith Dallas

Let me be upfront with this review - I bought my own copy. Even though I am listed in the credits, and Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks both asked me a lot of questions about Ross Andru and quoted from my Partners For Life volume, I have not and do not expect to, receive a free copy. So this isn't being paid for in any way, shape or form.

Now that's out in the open, God, what a book! Of late there's been a sheer glut of such 'companion' books coming out from various publishers, TwoMorrows appear to be leading the way with them. The quality of them vary somewhat, some are good, some are light on detail and some appear to be merely excuses to print decent scans of original art, not that there's anything wrong with that. This companion is everything that anyone could want in such a volume, it's informative, well written, entertaining, features high quality art and even better, leaves the reader wanting a …

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