2016 and 2017 : Remembering Writers and Artist – Wrightson & Wollstonecraft and The Best Pen & Ink Artists!

Things lost in the Fire, may yet be  found in the Ashes

“There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been the first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we’re got on damn thing the phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we’ll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember every generation.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

“Father… you speak with absolute assurance, completely convinced that your vision is the only proper way, and like all men who speak thus … you are mad.”
— Steve Englehart, MASTER OF KUNG OMNIBUS VOL 1

 

RIP to:

Bernie Wrightson, Len Wein, Rich Buckler, Darwyn Cooke, Steve Dillon – great creators lost in 2016/2017

They were not actors, and they were not sports figures, they were creators and myth makers working in an oft castigated medium, but delivering words and images and concepts, that would transcend their newsprint origins and outlive naysayers.

This installment is dedicated to Bernie Wrightson. Over a year into his passing and I wanted to reflect on Wrightson, the artist, again:

Bernie Wrightson had a suitably Baroque name for someone whose beautiful, exquisitely detailed and ornate artwork and sensabilities was the best of the Baroque meets the gothic. I’m an art lover, I own a large selection of art books from Dali to Duncanson, and Wrightson”s mesmerizing FRANKENSTEIN where he created full page plates to accompany Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s celebrated and cautionary tale, remains not just the only version of FRANKENSTEIN one needs own, but one of the most significant art books made in the latter half of the 20th century.

Wrightson quickly proving himself one of the preeminent Pen and Ink artists of all time, up there with the 19th century’s celebrated Louis-Auguste Gustave Dore and the criminally under-heralded mid-20th century Virgil Finlay.

Thankfully, Wrightson’s most lauded work, FRANKENSTEIN, often rumored of rather than seen, was republished by DARK HORSE BOOKS in the 21st century, in an even better quality version.

In this writer’s opinion it is a book, not just any American household should have, but all households should have. The myth of Frankenstein is old and oft told, but you will not find it better told in print anywhere, than in this pairing of Wollstonecraft and Wrightson.

 

Bernie Wrightsons Frankenstein

It is currently out of print, but I see this book as one that Dark Horse will bring back in print. Especially considering next year, 2018, marks the 35 year anniversay of the book’s initial release.

As far as Gustave Dore, here’s a nice affordable coffee table overview of his work:

The Drawings of Gustave Dore:Illustrations to the Great Classics

And Virgil Finlay,

Book of Virgil Finlay

This remains the best introduction and overview of his work, including many of his quality works that fail to show up in later versions. Unfortunately a softcover, however do what I do, pay a book binder to make a hardcover out of it.

And a few other departed genius that deserve mention in the above company… Segio Toppi, Franklin Booth and Basil Wolverton:

Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights

The Collector

FRANKLIN BOOTH

Franklin Booth: American Illustrator

 

Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life And Comics Of Basil Wolverton Vol. 1

BASIL WOLVERTON WEIRD WORLDS ARTIST ED HC

And some living, breathing pen and ink geniuses that you should be seeking out, buying their books, hiring for projects? Glad you asked, they are:

Tim Bradstreet

Maximum Black
A very prolific and in-demand artist, Bradstreet’s MAXIMUM BLACK art book dates from the turn of the century. A new collection of his art, covering the work he has done in the two decades since, would make a welcome addition to this first book.

Oscar Chichoni

Chichoni: Mekanika – A game, film, and dimensional artist, Chichoni does very little printed work. This is his only art book to-date. That it is also one of the best artbooks, only makes it more pressing that he does another one. His art is that good.

Andy Brase – This guy is going to be huge. Looking forward to his first artbook.

Stephen Bissette  & John Totleben ( yes I’m cheating here)- Bissette’s pencils married to Totleben’s inking, on DC’s revamping of floundering title SWAMP THING, with evolutionary writing by relative newcomer Alan Moore, and all of it mid-wifed into being by the late great Len Wen, remains, 30+ years later, seminal, ground breaking and unsurpassed work. And Bissette not only as instructor for new generations of creators, but as scholor and historian and reviewer and Indie Comic supporter remains an essential and insightful voice for the medium of words and pictures. His podcast interviews on a variety of shows, starting with the late Indie Spinner Rack, remains, like his artwork, top notch. I’ve sought out podcasts he has done, and each one reveals more about comics as hobby, as job, as calling, as artform, and as cultural touchstone.

Look for his podcast interviews on MAKING COMICS, INDIE SPINNER RACK, and DECONSTRUCTING COMICS to name some. And in addition he is a prolific reviewer and writer.

Teen Angels & New Mutants

Geof Darrow – When you think of detailed, intricate artists, Geof Darrow’s name comes up near the top of the list. Long before there was an IDW publishing doing tabloid sized treatments of famous artists, there was Frank Miller and Geof Darrow ‘s ground breaking tabloid work for Dark Horse Books. A superlative addition to any library.

Big Damn Hard Boiled

Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot (King Size B&W) (Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot)

 

Mark Schultz

Mike Hoffman

The Mike Hoffman Comics Reader: 300 Pages Volume One

Tim Vigil

 

Lucas Ruggieri

Predrag Djukic – I will be at the front of the line to get this gentleman’s first artbook

Art Adams

Like any list, this one is also a distillation of the writer’s biases, his experiences, his major passions, and his minor blindspots, as such it can by definition not be comprehensive, only revealing. Chalk up any omissions of your favorite pen&ink artist to my head and not my heart. Brevity demands limiting the list, but shine light on those I have missed, by leaving your comment of those past and those present… deserving of attention!

Thanks for looking!!

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Currently Reading: NELSON by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix

Currently Reading: NELSON by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix

 

Last week I was hunting for new podcasts to add to my subscriptions for next year, and one I tried (and subsequently added) was MAKE IT THEN TELL EVERYONE.  They had a podcast interview with a writer/artist/cartoonist Woodrow Phoenix, who I unfortunately was not familiar with.

But listening to the podcasts, and viewing snippets of his work online, I quickly ascertained that this was a creator to become familiar with asap.

I immediately ordered his acclaimed books NELSON and RUMBLE STRIP.

NELSON just came in and, yep I was right to rush out and purchase it. A bit of an experimental graphic novel, as 54 writers come together to tell something of a jam-piece of a story.

 

The back cover describes it as such :

“NELSON is a 250-page collaboration between 54 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. It is an unprecedented experiment to create one complete story [from 54 distinct visions] -a collective graphic novel.”

Each artists gets to illustrate one day, one piece of a day in a character’s life, then it jumps one year, and the next writer has to pick up the threads of these characters.  As it goes on through all 54 artists, 54 years of a person’s life are revealed.

It’s a genius idea by Editor Rob Davis, and turned from idea to reality by co-editors Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis. As someone who grew up loving CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE style books as well as the WILDCARDS style books, NELSON’s experimental and experiential nature plays to my loves and my joys. A few pages in and I’m loving it.

 

Get your copy here:

 

Nelson. Edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix

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.

flash123

Flash_v.1_137

Flash_Vol_1_139

Flash_155

Flash_v.1_156

Flash_v.1_159

Flash_Vol_1_163

Flash_v.1_164

Flash_v.1_171

Flash_174

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.

Flash_Vol_1_184

Flash_v.1_188

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.

Flash_v.1_189

Flash_v.1_190

Flash_v.1_191

Flash_v.1_195

Flash_v.1_197

Flash_v.1_198

Flash_v.1_199

Flash_v.1_200

Flash_v.1_203

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!

Classic COMIC BOOK Comic & Cover of the Day: BATMAN and TEEN TITANS

Today’s classic comic cover (alliteration is your friend) is a Jim Aparo cover from writer Bob Haney’s crazy 1970s run on BRAVE AND THE BOLD. This is one of the best books DC was putting out back in the 70s, and even back then the stories were outrageous non sequiturs, diverging wildly from established DC tropes of storytelling and often character. I loved Bob Haney’s stories, and being even of their time the stories were out of their time, and therefore remain oddly timeless.

Brave_and_the_Bold_v.1_149lrg

This particular cover and comic of the day is BRAVE AND THE BOLD #149, from 1979, starring BATMAN in conflict with the TEEN TITANS, and titled ‘LOOK HOMEWARD, RUNAWAY’. Both the absurd and highly entertaining writing of Bob Haney and fluid and graceful art of Jim Aparo are at full gallop in this fun story.

If interested grab a copy here!

Enjoy till next time!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

OKay, I don’t know what is going on with this segment of WEDNESDAYS WORDS, but in my defense all I can say is interesting titles, regardless of genre, if they catch my eye, can end up featured here.

So this ‘testosterone lacking’ episode of WEDNESDAYS WORDS (with the exception of the Tim Vigil art book and Blacksad Graphic Novel) is for all my female readers and uhh husbands and boyfriends of females. 🙂 Wow that’s a nicely put together sentence… NOT.

Anyhow, yeah, wacky books for the woman in your life… enjoy. 🙂

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Blacksad: A Silent Hell [Hardcover]
Juan Diaz Canales (Author), Juanjo Guarnido (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 24, 2012 | Series: Blacksad
Detective John Blacksad returns, with a new case that takes him to a 1950s New Orleans filled with hot jazz and cold-blooded murder! Hired to discover the fate of a celebrated pianist, Blacksad finds his most dangerous mystery yet in the midst of drugs, voodoo, the rollicking atmosphere of Mardi Gras, and the dark underbelly that it hides!

Product Details

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse (July 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595829318
ISBN-13: 978-1595829313
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

“The strip puts forth a dark dirty-realist style. The artwork uses clean, realistic lines. Very detailed watercolor drawings, including real-life places and cities, contribute to the realism and arresting (no pun intended) nature of the series… The knowledge of US culture and New York design is stunning. Neither creator is old enough to remember it. They are nothing short of brilliant. And subtle. I love this series.”– Noel Hynd

Blacksad: A Silent Hell


Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback] [Paperback]
Tim Vigil (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: 1991
The best unseen works from early in his career
Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback]


Keeping Score [Paperback]
Regina Hart (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
To be a pro b-ball champion takes endless drive and passion. But being a winner on the court can often mean losing off the court. . .

He’s an NBA legend, considered the best of the best. Now veteran player Warrick Evans is determined to lead his team all the way to the championship. It’s his last shot before he retires, but the media can’t get enough of his story–and all the attention is turning his teammates against him, not to mention his wife. . .

Dr. Marilyn Devry-Evans has always stood by her man, even when it meant standing in his shadow. Now she wants to focus on her own career, and on scoring her own dream job. But with the spotlight bearing down on them, Marilyn is reaching her breaking point. Especially when a secret comes to light–one that could destroy not only her career, but her marriage.
Keeping Score


Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win [Paperback]
Jenny Lee (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 25, 2005
In her acclaimed books I Do. I Did. Now What?! and What Wendell Wants, Jenny Lee hilariously chronicled the milestones of getting married and getting a dog. Now she takes on the most terrifying milestone of all: getting older.

Tackling everything from the peer pressure to have children to resisting the siren call of suburbia, Skinny Bitching delivers unsparingly witty commentary on:

• What to do when you actually start breaking out again like you did in junior high school (how is that even possible?)

• Saying good-bye to going to bars, seeing bands, and generally being cool

• Finally facing the fact that those extra ten pounds are never coming off

• Dealing with the fact that just when you finally know what you want out of a husband, it’s too late to exchange him

In a hilarious and poignant homage to thirty-something women everywhere, Jenny Lee lets us in on her most intimate secrets as she transforms her modern-day angst into something timeless, moving, and unfailingly funny.

Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win


The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color [Paperback]
Iman (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: September 5, 2006
The first beauty and make-up book to address skin tones from across the spectrum-including Latina, black, Asian, Indian, Native American, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern, as well as multiple ethnicities – The Beauty of Color features:

Skin care basics with specialized beauty regimens for skin of color
Makeup 101 – what you really need for every skin tone
How to create ten amazing make-up looks with easy step-by-step instructions and photos
Famous beauties, including Salma Hayek, Tyra Banks, Eva Mendes, Venus and Serena Williams, Eve, Rosario Dawson, Padma Lakshmi, Jade Jagger, Alicia Keys, and Kimora Lee Simmons

The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics! [Paperback]
Grant Geissman (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: April 5, 2005
Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand the special place E.C. holds in the comic fan’s heart — or who just wants to read some real good comics!

Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists — a veritable who’s who of mid-20th century popular illustration — and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story “Wanted for Murder!” originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Update! VOTE HERE!! & TOTAL RECALL trailer

Yeah I know my MONARCHS OF MAYHEM schedule for April is completely shot. I do get all the comments, even the ones that I don’t post… everyone of them. And yes, I know you want the Durham and Wrath and Fortier installments.

They are here gals and guys, along with three other writer interviews (including the great, inimitable Charles Saunders) as well as three more that I’m still waiting to come in.

So trust me Heroic Ones, I’m working hard behind the scenes here. In the words of the one true Robin Hood show (the magical tinged ROBIN OF SHERWOOD)… Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.

Robin of Sherwood: Series One

So yes I remember I owe you more great MONARCHS OF MAYHEM entries, and kudos to all of you who continue to frequent the old episodes. Derrick Ferguson’s and Richard Gavin’s entries are particularly popular.

Kid’s when you go to these entries, don’t just read my admittedly excellent words :), use the links and patronize the items mentioned.

The artists will thank you, and this blog will thank you. I hate doing a donate button like other blogs and sites, I much rather you use the links, and purchase something you wanted anyhow, And by doing, with no effort or extra expense on your part, also support the artists (where applicable) and this blog.

Definitely a win/win.

So far I’ve managed to be really consistent with WEDNESDAYS WORDS and that pleases me to no end.

The numbers skyrocket (as well as people subscribing) every Wednesday because of that consistency, and I’m going to try and do the same thing with MONARCHS OF MAYHEM. So I’m putting this out for a vote, what day should MONARCHS OF MAYHEM go up… on a Monday or a Friday?

Leave your comments they’ll come right to me, without getting posted unless you specifically mention you want your comment posted. thanks! The day that gets the most votes… will be the day. 🙂

As always pat yourselves on the back for being just great supporters of this blog, and of something more, great supporters of this fancy that we call Art.

Oh, and before I duck out, a word on TOTAL RECALL….

First, I think the poster for the TOTAL RECALL film, like most posters these days is boring and unimaginative. Posters in the 21st century being either a close up of the actors face, or a profile shot, generally they are just insipid and boring.

The marketing guys who come up with today’s lazy, poorly photo-shopped posters should be fired. There was a time, not too long ago, when posters were works of art as well as being an ad for the film. These days more often then not they are just boring and bankrupt of any allure. So yeah, poster of TOTAL RECALL gets a huge… fail.

However, that TOTAL RECALL trailer…. AWESOME!!

Okay I was never a huge fan of the original TOTAL RECALL, though I liked it well enough. I saw it when it first came out, in a theater in Garmish, Germany. Garmish is wonderful, southern Bavarian tourist town, and made all the more wonderful when you’re young and in love. And at the time I was both. Yeah, me young, go figure.

But yeah, the original was an enjoyable enough movie. Nothing great, but definitely fun. But the concept of a remake seemed… silly and uninspired.

And perhaps the idea is still that, but I have to tell you… that trailer looks GREAT!. If the movie lives up to the trailer, it is (Mars or no Mars) going to be better than the original.

I mean I’m not a Colin Farrell fan, but I did quite enjoy the one film I saw of this movie’s director, Len Wiseman, his DIE HARD: LIVE FREE OR DIE. I mean honestly that’s a sequel that you can argue is just as good, and perhaps even better than the original.

I think Len Wiseman has the chops to make his TOTAL RECALL a better film than the original. That’s right, you heard it here first. 🙂

For those who haven’t seen the trailer view it here.

Okay, now I’m out of here.

This installment is brought to you by this week’s sponsor. please visit his store here:

STORE OF THE DAY

EVERYONE OF YOU who enjoyed this post (yes I’m talking to you hiding in the corner) go to the store and buy something.

Also, If you’re interested in sponsoring future posts please leave a comment with your contact info. It doesn’t get posted, it comes direct to me, and I’ll respond to you.

New sponsors are always needed. 🙂 .

Okay, now I’m really out of here! Bye till next time.

COMIC BOOK SERIES OF THE DAY II of III: GLAMOURPUSS

I have my issues with Dave Simm. Mainly because his issues with women and people of color tends to seep into his work.

As long as he’s not bringing that to the forefront, which (with a few glaring exceptions) he manages to do with Glamourpuss, I found the book engrossing and good. The literally tongue in cheek covers aside, GLAMOURPUSS first and foremost is an art and cartooning clinic/history lesson. The interior artwork, and Simms clear love for the cartoonists of the early 20th century is impressive, and quite informative.

And in between he shows off his art chops, with impressive photo-realistic renderings of models he makes say stupid things.

No one would have figured when he started this experiment going on four years ago, that it would last 4 months. But here 4 years later and the book is still going strong, and along with Brubaker’s CRIMINAL it’s one of the few books, I must own in individual issues.

Fault Simm for what you will, he does sequential entertainment… well. I own all 24 issues, and if you’re a fan of art or cartoonists, or the history of cartoonists… you may want to own all 24 issues as well.

There is no collection yet of these issues, so check your comic book store, or go here and get the first issue from Amazon to sample.