2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: FAVORITE ARTISTS

Favorite artists discovered in 2015!

With 2015 about to wrap up my mind goes to some of the illustrators/artist that really made my radar in 2015.

Two that I met at a regional art show and who I have bought prints off of, whose work continues here at the end of the year to captivate me; are: Edwin Lester and Phil Kutno.

You can see for yourself what grabs me about each artist’s work. The below images are copyright the respective artists, and if you like what you see I highly recommend you visit the artists respective sites, tell them this blog sent you, and grab yourself some affordable and stunning prints or originals. Now onto the artists:

EDWIN LESTER

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PHIL KUTNO

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COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

If you have watched television recently, you probably know the very popular FLASH TV series. After some misgivings regarding the show, I’ve grown quite fond of it.

What you might not know, is the comic book series.

The Flash is a comic book series that has had several incarnations; and without doubt, one of the most popular ones is the silver age series, that introduced the scarlet clad Flash, Barry Allen.

The silver age series ran from the late 1950s to about 1970. Here is a selection of my favorite FLASH comic book covers from that period. The covers (as were the interiors) overwhelmingly were the vision of one man, Carmine Infantino, who was the art director of all of DC’s comics, and (at the formative years of an oft maligned medium) defined the look of what an exciting comic book cover was.

His artwork, while perhaps crude and simplistic compared to the more refined and rendered artists of today, has a sense of design, the placement of text and graphics, and the art of getting you excited, that is still head and shoulders above most artists today.

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Carmine, at the end of 1967 with his workload as art director/executive editor increasing, after almost 8 consistent years as the sole artist of the Flash, passed on the reigns of cover and interior artist to talented newcomer Ross Andru.

Ross Andru after some initial growing pains proved himself a talented artist, growing into a strong cover artist in his own right. His issues get progressively better.

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But by far the best covers of this period are the haunting, almost baroque covers by the great Joe Kubert. Paired with stories by John Broome and the always great Robert Kanigher, these issues are a must own for any fan of great art and story. Some exemplary Neal Adams and Gil Kane covers round out the list of best covers as 1970 closes out the silver age of comics.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the best of Silver Age FLASH Comic Book Covers! Drop us a line and let us know some of your favorites!

And to own these issues yourself? Well the bad news is most of these have not been collected yet. The good news is brand new collections are on the way. The first one, THE FLASH OMNIBUS was released last year, is hardcover, full color, and contains over 800 pages!! At $60 it is not cheap, but considering you get reprinted tens of thousands of dollars of comics, it’s a deal.

Get it The Flash Omnibus Vol. 1
here!

DEAL OF THE DAY : Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art! 14″ by 14″ rare Art Book!


“The Hall of History – Bermuda’s own “Sistine Chapel”

‘The Hall of History’ is a larger than life mural by Bermudian artist, Graham Foster, to be found in The Commissioner”s House at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard.

The two story, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7,000 hours -over three years – to complete.”
—-BSOA.BM

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On my recent trip to Bermuda, as can be imagined I saw many wonderful sights and sounds and toured many impressive places. One of the most striking is the Commissioner’s House, which offered some of the most beautiful views of the Island of Bermuda and the surrounding seas.

And not to be undone the interior of the Commissioner’s house held many Marvels both historic and cultural. Weapons of War and documents of peace, tales of soldiers who gave their last best measure, stories of slavery endured and triumphed over, and rooms lovingly adorned with books and art, going back to the early days of the seafaring age.

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And of the many Marvels to be seen in the Commissioner’s House one of the many impressive ones, is also one of the newest. A relatively recently commissioned mural, only 6 years of age as of this writing, that spans two stories and a thousand square feet, and five hundred years of Bermudian History. By local Artist Graham Foster his BERMUDA’S STORY IN ART is nothing short of a stellar marvel, that is to be ogled and awed at in person.

Walking up and down the two flights I loved it, and also knew I had not the time to truly grasp a fraction of the detail that Foster put into the work. It was too big, too immense, too esoteric in parts, it was the history of a nation distilled in paint and sweat and time.

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Coming back from Bermuda, one of my great regrets was not picking up the art book, that was produced in 2011 (2 years after the murals opening) by the National Museum of Bermuda to give detail into Foster’s staggering work. Long unavailable, thankfully a few copies have become available on Amazon. I recently got one of them, and my verdict, on the massive 14″ by 14″, 200+ page book, written and annotated by Bermuda scholar Rosemary Jones in collaboration with artist Graham Foster is… it is a masterpiece. A work of art in its own right, to properly convey… the work of art of Foster’s Mural.

A fantastic addition to anyone’s library, whether a traveler, a bibliophile, or an art lover. Highest recommendation. Pick up your copy (if you are lucky) at the link below!

Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art

 

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“Hall of History Mural Bermuda

If you love wall murals, this is the one you mustn’t miss in Bermuda. Hall of History is a 1000 square feet larger than life mural created by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. You will find it in the Commissioner’s House located at the National Museum of Bermuda in Royal Naval Dockyard.

Graham started the work in 2005 and it took him 7,000 hours of research and painting to complete this mural over more than 3 years time. On November 2009, it was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen. At the time of opening, Graham had presented a painting “The Wreck of the Sea Venture” to the Queen. The mural depicts over 400 years of life in Bermuda and you will be able to see virtually everything that made a mark in the island over the past centuries.

Graham Foster’s Mural “Hall of History” is now captured in a 14″ x 14″ Coffee table book. It depicts the deep history and heritage of his murals with many high quality pictures of the mural. The text of the book has been written by Rosemary Jones. In case you are not able to spend enough time at the Commissioners House to absorb all the details of the mural personally, this hefty book can be a great possession to explore those details. It’s currently retailing for $65 and is available at the bookstores island wide.”
http://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_0002c4.htm

“Graham Foster is a Bermudian artist best known for his larger-than-life mural, ‘The Hall of History’ at the Bermuda Maritime Museum in Dockyard. The two storey, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7000 hours [over three years] to complete.

Born in 1970, he is the son of physician Elizabeth Foster and Alec Foster. A professional artist since 1995, Mr. Foster was educated at The Bermuda College and The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston.

His paintings tend to follow one of two directions – one inspired by Bermuda’s fish,flora,fauna, and people, captured in a characteristically surreal style,the other is looser and more expressionistic,often inspired by dreams and the subconscious.

He is a sculptor [primarily in welded steel] as well as a painter. In 2002, he became the first Bermudian artist to have a work purchased for the permanent collection of The Bermuda National Gallery, a welded steel triptych entitled ’21st Century Fetish Family’. Many of his sculptures are strongly influenced by Tribal Art.”
http://bernews.com/bermuda-profiles/graham-foster/

Art Deals of the Day : Gustave Dore MASTER OF IMAGINATION

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It’s about time that the 19th century’s most staggering and arguably prolific artist of the fantastic received a worthy hardcover tome, and with the almost sold out 2014 book, DORE:MASTER OF IMAGINATION edited by Phillippe Kaenel, Gustave Dore finally has that acclaim, and his fans finally have that book.

The book however, by shear breadth of Dore’s output, is in no way a comprehensive overview of his output, and is more a very cursory sampling of the different projects and mediums this renaissance man of the 19th century put his hand to.

“I am sorry to have made a mere 100,000 drawings by the age of 33” – Gustave Dore

So it is not perfect, but it is essential and makes a great companion to those quickly going out of print, but wonderful, 1970s Dover paperback compilations of Dore’s work. Whoever the editor at Dover Publishing in the 1970s who spearheaded reprinting Dore’s acclaimed works in affordable but quality paperback volumes, they created a great boon to art lovers everywhere.

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Dore was the master of the meticulous and the detailed and the imaginative, a single one of his painstaking engravings having more complexity and depth and range than most modern day artists produce in a year.

There is this school of thought, that I do not subscribe to, that detail is bad, or unnecessary, or overkill. Largely spearheaded by modern artists incapable of doing detail, so they attack the idea of detailed illustrations to justify the value of their limitations. Simplicity and minimalism have their uses, but they will never replace, or supplant, or overshadow, prodigious talent, prodigious passion, and prodigious detail, all in service to a prodigious imagination. And Gustav Dore brought all that immense talent to every drawing he did. As an artist he has my highest recommendation.

All of the Dover Dore books are collectible, but the four best are the DORE BIBLE, DORE DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY, DORE’s ORLANDO FURIOSO, and Dore’s IDYLLS OF THE KING.

And the DORE: MASTER OF IMAGINATION book serves as a bit more upscale exploration of Gustav Dore’s life and work. Price your copy of that and the Dover Titles below!

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination beautiful Hardcover Tome!

The Dore Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy (136 Plates by Gustave Dore)

The Dore Bible Illustrations

Doré’s Illustrations for “Idylls of the King” (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

Doré’s Illustrations for Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”: A Selection of 208 Illustrations (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

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These are a few of my favorite things : Amazon Prime DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

 

 

The Best of EC Artist Edition Vol 1 Hardcover – 2013

 

EC Comics is arguably the finest line of comics ever produced. Whether it was science fiction or war, crime or horror, their entire line stood head and shoulders above the rest of the comics on the newsstands. Now IDW Publishing is pleased to present an Artist’s Edition unlike any other, featuring the best stories by the brightest stars of EC Comics. Remember these classics? 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta, The Corpse on the Imjin by Harvey Kurtzman, The Flying Machine by Bernie Krigstein, Touch and Go by Johnny Craig, Judgment Day by Joe Orlando. All these plus more! And a stunning cover gallery crammed with glorious EC goodness! Brought to you by the same team responsible for the Eisner Award-winning Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition.

The Best of EC Artist Edition Vol 1 – Price your copy here!

 

 

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New-York Historical Society New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age: A Book Plus Stereoscopic Viewer and 50 3D Photos from the Turn of the Century Paperback – June 3, 2014

Be transported to New York during the Gilded Age and experience daily life in one of the world’s most vibrant cities through mesmerizing, contemporary 3D photography and exciting tales of the time.

Black Dog & Leventhal has partnered with the New-York Historical Society to present New York in the Gilded Age as it’s never been viewed before. This innovative package includes a sturdy metal stereoscopic viewer and 50 stereoscopic photographs of turn-of-the-century New York. The package also includes a 128-page paperback that provides a brief history of the stereograph craze and an overview of the city’s evolution during that time.

New-York Historical Society New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age: A Book Plus Stereoscopic Viewer and 50 3D Photos from the Turn of the Century

 

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Paris in 3D in the Belle Époque: A Book Plus Steroeoscopic Viewer and 34 3D Photos Paperback – April 14, 2015

 

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LNTGO Ks Luxury Brand White Skeleton Alloy Dial Analog Hand Wind Mechanical Relogio Fob Copper Key Steampunk Pocket Watch Men- Ksp064

 

  • Adjustable and Washable Elastic Fabric Strap
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LNTGO Ks Luxury Brand White Skeleton Alloy Dial Analog Hand Wind Mechanical Relogio Fob Copper Key Steampunk Pocket Watch Men- Ksp064 – Price this beautiful time peace here!

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Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination Hardcover – June 10, 2014

The diverse oeuvre of Gustave Doré—illustrations, paintings, sculpture—combines with biography and critical essays and attests to the artist’s enduring impact on contemporary culture. Proclaimed “the most illustrious of illustrators,” Gustave Doré is best known for his engravings, which appeared in editions of the Bible, Dante’s Inferno, Poe’s The Raven, The Adventures of Don Quixote, and even in Hollywood, from King Kong to Seven. Yet the extent of his genius remains largely unknown. Here, along with his renowned illustrations, his paintings and sculptures are also examined, bringing to light the rich diversity of his talent. Using watercolor, vivid oil paint, or sculpture, he demonstrated mastery in a vast scope of media, and in treatments ranging from monumental historical tableaux to landscapes to modest compositions. His work transcended techniques and eras, covering an inexhaustible range of subjects from Europe to the United States to Russia and revealing his insatiable curiosity. This comprehensive monograph accompanies an exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris from February 18–May 11 and at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from June 12–September 14, 2014.

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination – Price it Here!

Art Book of the Day : FROM THE BLACK SEA THROUGH PERSIA AND INDIA by Edwin Lord Weeks

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Less an art book than a travelogue/diary and historical exploration of an at the time still largely mysterious region, FROM THE BLACK SEA THROUGH PERSIA AND INDIA is an 1890s scholarly work (done during a time of an earlier Afghanistan War)on that area between the lands of Nubia and Asia that today we call the Middle East, by one of the preeminent artists of the 19th century, Edwin Lord Weeks.

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I first became aware of his glorious oil paintings when visiting the Richmond Art Museum a couple years back. His HOUR OF PRAYER painting in person, is simply massive in scale, and cannot truly be appreciated except in person (when you stand in front and beneath the painting, it’s like you could walk into it), carrying as it does not just the seminal strokes of a realist at the height of his powers, but the weight of history and a moment of time, and region, and culture (all of which is under threat of going away) preserved here; hauntingly captured.

For more on my first exposure to Edwin Lord Weeks go here!

I have since seen several other Edwin Lord Weeks paintings in person, Weeks was a very prolific artist, and another standout is INTERIOR OF THE MOSQUE AT CORDOVA.

While not as large as HOUR OF PRAYER it is a gorgeous painting at any size, unlike HOUR OF PRAYER where pictures on the web don’t do it justice. Part of what makes HOUR OF PRAYER the award winner that it was, is the play of yourself against its vast spaces. There is an alchemy that happens when you see that picture in person, that is not reproducible on your computer screen. INTERIOR OF THE MOSQUE AT CORDOVA, in contrast, is a far more repeatable image. What you see on the web or in a book, is a good approximation of what you’ll see in person.

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Along with Virgil Finlay, Robert Duncanson, and Zdzislaw Beksinski; Edwin Lord Weeks quickly became one of those IT artists for me. A massive artistic talent whose work was largely unknown, or under appreciated to this day, and definitely still largely unheralded/uncollected in a comprehensive tome. He became an artist I set out to find books by and about.

Today’s selection is one of those books.

“With the permission from the War Department to visit Central Asia came an urgent telegram from the American legation at St. Petersburg, advising us not to go on account of the cholera which, after devastating Meshed, had left Persia and invaded the Russian provinces. We were then leaving for Constantinople by the Camboge, and finding that she would not proceed to Batoum, by reason of quarantine we were again forced to change our route. This time we elected to follow the old caravan from Trebizond on the Black Sea, to Tabreez, through the mountains of Kurdistan, that country of indefinite boundaries.

In short, there was no other route left open to us; we must either turn back, or, setting our face forward, head straight for the Persian frontier, five hundred miles away, and we decided to go on.”
—-Lord Edwin Weeks, from the preface to FROM THE BLACK SEA THROUGH PERSIA AND INDIA.

Being in the public domain there are numerous variations of this work online. The quality is all a bit less than stellar, as largely it looks to be photocopies of photocopies, and the pencil drawings/sketches that accompanies the words, all a bit muted… still there is enough there to get the brilliance, and you can flip to any page, read a paragraph and be entranced by Weeks’ evident love and romance for the region.

So until a proper tome dedicated to Lord Edwin Weeks is done, for reasons both historical and cultural this 462 page book, to any fan of the work of Weeks, is a must own.

Get your copy here:

From the Black Sea through Persia and India

Nineteenth-Century American Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

And American Gallery offers a great look at Weeks’ paintings here.


COMIC OF THE DAY: Al Ewing and Greg Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS and the Black White Nick Fury?!


Marvel Comics.

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You know them? They are owned by Disney, they are brother to Marvel Studios that produces those box office shattering movies that have been all the rage for the last several years.

Well Marvel Comics while not the money maker of the film or video division, is the idea-space for those other mediums, and as such has an importance that belies its modest publishing revenue. As such, they are not going any place.

That said they could be doing better. But at every turn the publishing arm seems to be almost antagonistic to their customer base.

Tactics such as over-saturation of the market and expensive cover price of its titles ($4 is way too much to pay for an ad strewn comic with no additional content) translates into the audience (me) making a conscious choice to avoid all their books at best, and limit my consumption to one or two titles at worst.

Enter… THE MIGHTY AVENGERS.

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS by Al Ewing and the criminally castigated and underrated Greg Land is my favorite Marvel Comic, and the only one I purchase monthly.

Now don’t get me wrong there are other Marvel books I like, Aaron’s THOR, Remender’s CAPTAIN AMERICA and UNCANNY AVENGERS, the new MOON KNIGHT and IRON FIST has me interested, and if all those titles were $2.99 rather than $3.99 I would pick them all up. But I really do feel if any company can successfully ‘hold the line at $2.99′[an euphemism for not raising prices]… it is Marvel Comics, and their refusal to do so… is a misplaced arrogance, a belief that the entrenched fan-base will buy the books regardless.

It is a price gouging mentality, and I am proof to the contrary.

Rather than them getting $15 a month from me for five $2.99 comics, they get $3.99 for one comic. That greed, that one dollar extra cover price, has cost them $11 from me, $11 that now gladly goes to Image Comics or Dark Horse Comics.

And more than that, I am now trained to wait. I’ll wait till a Marvel series gets collected and is available at my local library and I’ll read it for free. So yeah Marvel Comics, that $3.99 cover price… here is one concrete case where you have actually lost business because of it. So great job there.

And the one Marvel Comic that I do get, is Ewing and Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS.

Al Ewing creating a frenetic and pulp-inspired book that every month delivers a satisfying story, and one of the only books on the stands that offers multiple characters of color, treated respectfully (rather than as punch-line’s such as other Marvel Books are doing. Example being ‘Nick Fury’ gate. :).

Movies made workable the character of Nick Fury, by using the popularity of actor Samuel Jackson.

Now Marvel Comics wants to integrate that successful character from the movies with the 1960s comicbook version. So the brilliant way Marvel Comics decides to do that is by labeling the Black Nick Fury as the ‘son’ of the White Nick Fury. Wtf? Really? :).

That’s the direction you’re going? Can you say demeaning, bigoted and stupid? Hey Marvel here’s a solution for you… How about they are both just Nick Fury, with no relationship to each. Nick Fury being a title, like ‘Christopher Chance’ that gets passed to whoever is worthy. Took me two seconds to come up with a better way for both Nick Fury’s to coincide without demeaning and denigrating the Samuel Jackson version.

Who would have thought it would be the movie Marvel Universe that would get it right, and the comic-book Marvel Universe that would increasingly be the disappointment.)

Which is why Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS is such a treat and a surprise. Despite being hamstrung with having to participate in Marvel’s various events (could not be less interested in Marvel’s Crossovers) Al Ewing manages to use the handicap of the crossover as a springboard to tell his own highly imaginative and absorbing tales of werechickens (don’t laugh, it’s pretty cool)and inter-dimensional evils, while at its heart always being a very generational story. A book that is about… Fathers and Sons.

Add to this Greg Land, who has had to suffer the recriminations of people with not a fiftieth of his talent, self styled art ‘critics'(parrots jumping on a bandwagon) who unable to create art, and ignorant even of the process, yet think themselves schooled to heckle their betters.

If you think Greg Land uses ‘porn stars’ for some of his inspiration, I would say two things to you, 1/ who cares and 2/you probably watch way too much porn. :).

Every artist from Jack Kirby to Gene Colan had a little stock/trace file, for poses or buildings or cars or fashion. You know why? Because it is a bloody job and stock photography and images are tools, and drawing, making your deadlines, is a job. And being able to take those inspirations, regardless of where they come from, and craft a functional and beautiful story out of it, takes immense talent. Greg Land is an immense talent, and his work on MIGHTY AVENGERS is drop dead gorgeous, brimming as it is with 70s Indie Black Empowerment images.

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So from writing to art, there is a one-two energy Ewing and Land have going here, that hopefully will continue for sometime. But when and if MIGHTY AVENGERS goes the way of other Marvel Titles, here’s hoping these guys create a similar creator owned title at Image.

I would love to see Al Ewing creating his own pulp-inspired or sci-fi tinged characters, and Greg Land drawing them. For all the good things Image has, a book with a majority of ethnic characters is not one of those things.

Perhaps it is time there was such a book.

So Marvel for all my bashing on them has to be applauded for THE MIGHTY AVENGERS. But if all involved really want the series to grow, 1/add a letters page and back-matter, 2/focus on stand-alone stories primarily, and 3/making it a $2.99 rather than $3.99 book wouldn’t work.

But other than that a fantastic read, month in and month out.

Oh and Al and Greg, two more suggestions, One/change the preamble that starts the book to be something with a little more import and oomph, and two/ Let Luke Cage take back the name Power Man. It’s a good name, and it’s his.

Thanks for reading and if intrigued by the above you can buy back copies of the Mighty Avengers or the Trades here:

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24852602&affid=200301p0
http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25358810&affid=200301p0

Enjoy!