Monday, March 16, 2015

Flash Gordon masterpiece by Al Williamson

Check out this wonderful illustration by Al Williamson on Flash Gordon...

Awesome! Nuff Said.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Superman Unchained variant covers celebrating Silver / Bronze ages

I recently picked up the Superman Unchained: Deluxe Edition hardcover, featuring Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's epic 9 issue tale. I found the main storyline to be pretty good, the best I read yet in the New 52 incarnation of Superman. It cannot compare to the best Bronze Age / post-Bronze age stories, of course, but it raised some interesting thoughts about Superman and how the U.S. military would view his role on Earth.

The 180+ page story isn't the reason to buy this volume, no, the real motivation are the backup extras! Each issue of this series had at least 8 variant covers celebrating all eras of Superman: Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age, New 52, etc. I had a great time looking at all of these and taking a trip down memory lane. Here are a few of my favorites.

1930s Era Superman (Triangle-S chest emblem)

Francis Manapul: this is a glorious composition, with the bi-plane above Metropolis and Superman's wonderful pose as he takes it down.

Howard Chaykin: featuring the original version of Luthor with red hair!

Silver Age Superman

Brian Bolland: glad they corralled Bolland into doing a cover for the Silver Age, his sense of humor fits right in there.

Yanick Paquette: bringing out the best in the Lois Lane drama.

Frazier Irving: The classic version of Braniac looms large in this illustration.

Bronze Age Superman

Jim Starlin: who can forget that Starlin gave Superman another worthy foe to battle.

Superman Reborn

Jon Bogdanove: featuring his creation, Steel! Looking very much like a Simonson illustration here, ironic considering that he worked with Louise Simonson.

Tom Grummett: featuring the new version of Superboy with the leather jacket and sunglasses! I can't help but miss this version and even the one that Geoff Johns did with the t-shirt and jeans (which apparently now Superman will wear).

New 52 Superman

Jim Lee: a classic Superman pose as he sheds his Clark Kent clothes to reveal the Superman costume underneath. I think it looks brilliant in black and white, lucky guys who went to ComicCon that year could buy it. How does he hide that raised collar under his shirt? :-)  Nuff Said!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Batman 66 Mondo Poster by Martin Ansin

A great poster by Martin Ansin that celebrates the 60s pop-art sensation of the Batman 1966 TV show.

For decades afterward, this show was reviled for the feeling it left with muggles that comics were all "Bam! Biff! Pow" silliness.  Now that comic book movies are big box office and adults read graphic novels, all is forgiven, and we can appreciate the show for the goofy entertainment value it delivered.

I don't think I would have become as big a comic book fan without this show.  It spurred me on to buying Batman comic books in drugstores; from there I discovered Superman comics; and from there to the Justice League / Flash / Green Lantern.  And then when I got a bit older, over to Marvel Comics.  An addiction was born.  Nuff Said!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

After reading thousands of comics and graphic novels for many decades, I find it hard to be blown away by a new work or creator.  Fortunately I stumbled upon a pair of creators that many of you no doubt have been enjoying for a while: Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido.

Blacksad ranks among the work of Will Eisner, Jim Steranko, and Frank Miller. Originally published in 3 different albums during the aughts, Dark Horse has assembled them in one big volume. These are three classic noir crime tales: one a whodunit about a former lover who was murdered; the second one about a racist southern town and a missing girl; the third one about the Red scare. It all takes place during the 1950s, but there is one catch: all the "people" are animals! Blacksad is a 6 foot tall black cat in a nice suit, but he acts like Robert Mitchum. The other characters include anthropomorphic dogs, lizards, crocodiles, even polar bears.

The art style is beautiful, not "funny animal" style, but much more like the film version of LA Confidential. Both of the creators worked for Disney in France and were expert in creating storyboards - that discipline shows in each and every page. Muted colors, perfectly framed and composed shots - if you have the right imagination you will see these characters actually move.  Jim Steranko, who does the introduction to this volume, is a big fan - as well as Neal Adams.  Don't balk at getting the hardcover edition or paying $30, it is worth the price.  Nuff Said!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Alex Toth tribute by John Paul Leon

I saw this on Facebook and had to share it.

A tribute to Alex Toth by John Paul Leon!  Stunning and it features so many characters that Toth created or worked on.  If I didn't know better I would say that Toth had drawn this piece himself.  Space Ghost, Black Canary, Johnny Quest and the Super Friends all in one place.  Nuff Said!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Barry Smith: Bran Mak Morn and Belit

A couple of classic prints from Barry Smith that I stumbled across, featuring his incredible line work.

Bran Mak Morn print/poster from 1975.  One of Robert E Howard's many creations, he was in a classic Savage Sword of Conan two parter.  My recollection was that Smith began the story with a few pencilled pages and Conrad finished it?

Belit from Howard's Queen of the Black Coast story featuring Conan.  When we saw Belit in the color Conan comic she was drawn by John Buscema, wearing what looked like a fur bikini!  I always wondered how Barry Smith would have depicted this character - and you can see how from this print.  She is still not wearing much but does look more like a pirate.

I am mostly on Tumblr these days, but still will come back here occasionally, please follow me there!  Nuff Said.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Question by Kevin Maguire

Another great commission by Kevin Maguire with an ironic twist.

How funny is it that the artist so good at doing facial expressions can knock out a wonderful drawing about a faceless character?  Nuff Said!

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