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Showing posts from March, 2010

Original Art Stories: Trevor Von Eeden and Black Lightning

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Created by Tony Isabella in 1976 after meeting several black readers and working with talented artists such as Keith Pollard, Arvell Jones and Ron Wilson, Black Lightning was mooted as DC's answer to the various black characters at Marvel, The Black Panther, The Falcon and Luke Cage. DC had inititally approached Isabella to work on a character that had been created by another writer, The Black Bomber. Isabella recalls, "The hero, who would be their first "black" character to star in his own title, was a white racist Vietnam vet, who, as a result of taking part in chemical experiments to allow soldiers to blend in better with the jungle, turned into a black super-hero in moments of stress. It gets worse.

"In each of the two well-intentioned scripts, the hero would, in his white racist persona, save a person he couldn't see clearly and, on finding out the person was black, exclaim something along the lines of-and this is a quote -"You mean I risked my …

Dick Giordano: 1932 - 2010

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27/03/2010
Dear Friends & Colleagues,
It is my sorrowful duty to announce that legendary artist/editor/entrepreneur Dick Giordano passed away today.

Few could ever hope to match what he accomplished in his chosen profession, or to excel while maintaining great humor, compassion for his peers and an unwavering love for the art form.

His unique vision changed the comic industry forever and all of those who work in the business continue to share in the benefits of his sizable contributions.

I have been honored to call him a business partner, mentor and dear friend throughout the majority of my lifetime.

We will not see his like again.

Regretfully,
Bob Layton
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There’s been a lot written about Dick Giordano in the past few days and I feel there’s not a lot that I’d be able to add. I never met Dick, nor did I work with him, but I did correspond with him on several occasions, notably when I was writing the Andru & Esposito: Partners For Life book. …

Original Art Stories: Winnie The Pooh Pencil Sketches

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CHAPTER X, pages 168.169: Eeyore Was Moved To The Front
CHAPTER IV, page 71: Tygers can't climb trees
A pair of lithographs, as drawn by the original Pooh artist, E.H. Shepherd.  The lithographs retain all the corrections and annotations to the original drawing by Shepherd to the publisher.  The lithographs themselves were issued in England in the early 1970s and sell for quite a bit of cash these days - indeed they can fetch more than some original art from the same time period.  The lithographs, while not signed, are authorised and are also of high quality. I found these two at a garage sale for the princly sum of $1 for the pair.  Framed and matted they could easily pass for original art, such is the quality of the printing, so be warned if you see them for sale.

Still, as the average asking price for these lithographs is anywhere from $50 to over $100, I don't expect to add to this collection in a hurry.

Original Art Stories: JLA #22 Splash Page

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There's not much I want to say about this, but to state that it's always a good thing to see such pieces of art that managed to survive the years.  I generally question the veracity of such Silver Age art as I'm aware that a lot of it never made it's way back to the original artists, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating it.  You can find this art on eBay at the moment, do a search for JLA #22 splash page and go ahead and make a bid.  It's a bit out of my price range, but then again, it'd look nice framed up and on the wall.

The art down the sides and at the top are original, drawn by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Bernard Sachs, the lettering was done by the legendary Gaspar Saladino and the story was the second part of the first ever Justice League of America and Justice Society of America team-up, the original Crisis!  This is where it all started.

What Happened To Bill Jaaska?

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The recent reporting of the passing of Bill Jaaska got me thinking; the comic book industry, and the world, can be both cruel and fickle. I’m currently finding it hard to grasp that an artist such as Bill Jaaska can disconnect from the world, and both Marvel and DC, to the point where his death remained relatively unknown for months. I have to ask, what was Marvel and Dark Horse doing with his royalty cheques? His Hulk and X-Men work have remained in print since their were first published, in Visionary, Classic and Essential volumes, and will more than likely stay in print until Marvel close down. Did anyone ever bother to at least try and track him down?  Did anyone find him, or know where he was?  That he passed away penniless in a boarding house emphatically answers the last question, but another still remains; what happened to Bill Jaaska?

Bill lived his whole life in Milwaukee, which is where he died. His parents put him up for adoption at birth, while he was never offici…

Rich Buckler's Skywald Fan Informer Cover Art

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I bought this cover art, as drawn by Rich Buckler in 1971 (dated) a while back.  At the time I was told that the image was of a character called 'The Moth', but, for the life of me, I could never find any details about either the character or the cover.  Faced with a lack of knowledge I decided to email Rich himself and ask him if he remembered the art, something I'm always loathe to do as it's one image from forty years ago.  The odds on anyone remembering that, especially someone as prolific as Rich, is always a needle in a haystack quest at the best of times.  Rich, to his credit, came back immediately with the following response, "It is indeed something that was drawn by me, from my early days at Skywald. It was Butterfly, a character I drew for them (but didn't create)--and I had given her a makeover (made her and supporting players more black). I also wrote the story (but not the final script) that dealt with the KKK and corrupt politicians.

"This…

Bill Jaaska: 1961 - 2009

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Sadly another artist has passed, and in tragic circumstances.  Bill Jaaska wasn't a name that everyone knew instantly, he wasn't a superstar artist by any stretch of the imagination, but he was solid enough to generate sales, and, in what is the worst aspect of this story, he slipped away quietly, with no fanfare at all, un-noticed in a boarding house.

Jaaska had some good runs in his all too short career as a journeyman comic book artist, including titles such as the Teen Titans, the Hulk and Sable. He popped up where people never expected to see him, did his job, and then moved on. He had some highlights, including a couple of issues of the Uncanny X-Men, at the time when Jim Lee and Co were starting to explode, same with his Hulk fills ins, which were done at a time when Dale Keown was beginning to set the title alight. But he never quite broke through and, like a lot of comic book artists, quietly faded away into obscurity and what appears to be relative poverty.

You c…

Dick Giordano In Hospital

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Some very sad news has just crossed my desk and as well as posting it over at the Inkwell Awards site, I thought it might be worthwhile giving it a run here. Long-time DC Comics editor/artist Dick Giordano is in the hospital and is very ill, Well wishers can send cards and letters to him:
c/o Florida Hospital Oceanside,
264 S. Atlantic Ave.
Ormond Beach, FL 32176.

I urge everyone to send him a get well card and, like always, tell the man what you think of him, and how much he means to you, as an artist, and has done throughout the years. I've been wracking my brains to find something to write and have, instead, decided to run a recent article that I wrote for Dick's Hall Of Fame page at the Inkwell Awards web-site. Have a read and send Dick some well-wishes asap.

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"Dick Giordano has done it all in the comics field, except perhaps writing. He is a superb penciler, as witness his Sarge Steel at Charlton, the Jonni Thunder he did with Dann and me at…

Clifford Meth's Welcome to Hollywood

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Clifford Meth recently posted this cautionary tale of his dealings with a semi-major Hollywood producer. For a long while Cliff has been proudly promoting the fact that producer Richard Saperstein had optioned his property, Snaked, and had given the usual promises that the property would be developed further with a view of making a film. And Saperstein isn't some bum off the streets. His credits include movies such as Se7en, Lost In Space, Hancock, The Punisher and The Long Kiss Goodnight - in short his films make money, with the execution of the excruciating Lost In Space, which means he'd generally be listened to when he pitches an idea to a studio. Saperstein's role in Snaked was to option the product, make the pitch to the film studios and then either walk away with a credit and a pile of cash, or remain involved with the movie acting as the main go-to man when it came to raising finances and making decisions, from casting through to catering, protecting the invest…

More Movie Posters

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I got a bit of feedback after my last post, which showed a pile of vintage Vampire posters and it got me thinking - why don't I start taking photos of my own collection of movie posters and put them where people can see them.

I mainly collect what are known as daybills. Those are the thin, long posters you see out the front of the cinema, or rather, did see. I generally go for iconic posters, but seriously, I'll consider anything really. I buy them where I can, in singles or in bulk, I keep the best ones and then move the others on (we have a selection of doubles up for sale at Blaq Books). They're all original as I tend to keep away from reproductions, although some are from movies that have been re-issued. Posters such as Westworld, Godfather, and posters from the 1960s onwards are 100% original. No fakes in my lot.

At last count I discovered that I have around 350 posters, daybills and full sized posters, ranging from the 1950s through to now (last lot of posters I …

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