There's nothing like an Alex Schomburg Golden Age comic book cover. Feast your eyes on Sub-Mariner #12, Winter 1943. I'm not a WWII historian, but I don't recall the Germans having pink helmets, pink rifles, or pink and green swastika flags.
Stan Lee on Schomburg: "Alex Schomburg was to comic books what Norman Rockwell was to The Saturday Evening Post...When it came to illustrating covers, there simply was no one else in Alex's league."
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Ed Piskor drew this cool pin-up of an X-Men family tree (abridged). Each row represents a decade of the X-Men from 1963-1992. [Download] Read the rest
When you are trying to imagine the details of an alternative world, try Moebius. Moebius (one of the pseudonyms for the French artist Jean Giraud) practically invented the now-common idea of a well worn future – that place far ahead that is gritty, patched up, organic, and old and new at the same time. Think Star Wars, cyberpunk, Blade Runner. Moebius is a fabulist. His strange drawings, designs and comics have shaped movies such as The Fifth Element and Alien, and influenced directors such as Fellini and Miyazaki. Moebius was a prolific artist, starring in his own series Heavy Metal, and appeared in many other publications, yet little of his work remains in print in English. Out of all Moebius’ (Giraud’s) work, I suggest this book, 40 Days in the Desert. Long out of print, and rare even when first published, this is an extended visual poem. The version of the book that I have is Japanese, but that is okay because there are no words in this story. It is timeless and eternal and other-worldly. With thin sure lines, this wordless sequence tells a mythical story in some alien place. There are about 100 drawings depicting surreal worlds with an ominous tension. Something is about to happen, or just happened, but you are not sure what. All you know is that you have never seen anything like this, and that maybe it is true. It makes me want to unleash my imagination.
40 Days in the Desert
2009, 152 pages, 6.5 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches
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I loved this interview with 6th-grader cartoonist Sasha Matthews, creator of two historical comic books: Sitting Bull (which we ran on Boing Boing) and Pompeii: Lost and Found. You can buy copies of her comics here.
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My friend Alvin Buenaventura is the proprietor of Pigeon Press, which publishes excellent comic books and books. He has just released In the Garden of Evil, a book that combines the talents of Charles Burns, Killoffer, and Will Oldham (Bonnie 'Prince' Billie). He gave me a copy and it is a gorgeous artifact. Check out the sample pages below.
This limited-edition artist book features a series of drawings inspired by the classic biblical story The Garden of Eden as well a song written in response to the images. All of the of the artwork for this book was created in collaboration by artists Charles Burns and Killoffer. Every book is hand-bound, individually numbered, and signed by both artists. Musician Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy") wrote an exclusive song for this project inspired by the series of drawings. The song is included on a 7” vinyl flexi-disc, as well an MP3 which you can download from the code provided with each book.
In the Garden of Evil by Charles Burns & Killoffer ($50)
Song by Will Oldham
Dimensions: 7.25" x 7.25"
Cover: Self-cover with french flaps (each embossed, one of which is a custom insignia designed by Charles Burns) offset printed on premium heavyweight art paper
Interior: Offset printed on premuim heavyweight art paper
Binding: Each copy hand-sewn with black 100% linen 50grm binding thread
Production date: July 2015
Publisher: Pigeon Press
Limited edition of 1000 copies available for direct retail sale from the publisher, each signed & numbered by both cartoonists, includes black flexi-disc. Read the rest
Cartoonist Tony Moore (co-creator of The Walking Dead comic book series) designed this very fun poster for the Cincy Comicon (September 12-13), which pays homages to the old comic book ads for novelties and practical jokes. He did such a good job that I asked him to write a bit about it.
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House of Mystery (No.130, Jan 1963)
Cover art by George Roussos
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It's simply a cross-interaction between the Higgs field and the Pym field!
The sun has set on San Diego, and we've put together the most interesting news that fans of comics -- you know, the books -- shouldn't miss.
Born in 1917 as Jacob Kurtzberg, Jack Kirby is recognized as the most important person in comic book history. One could make a good argument that the title belongs to Carl Barks, Robert Crumb, Stan Lee, or Wally Wood. They are all inarguably giants of the comic book world. But take a look at the characters Kirby created or co-created over a career that spanned nearly 50 years: Captain America, Sandman, The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and the Silver Surfer. Who else can boast of such a star-studded stable of comic book characters, all of whom are global household names? Only Kirby!
My favorite Kirby character is one of his less well-known creations, at least among the non-comic-book-reading public. I was 12 years old when I discovered Kamandi in early 1973 at a friend’s house in Boulder, Colorado. He had the first three issues of the comic. The first issue’s cover showed Kamandi paddling a life raft through a flooded and abandoned New York, with the Statue of Liberty tilted like the tower of Pisa. It was a rip-off from the ending of Planet of the Apes, the 1968 movie that was (and still is) one of my favorite films. Nevertheless, the image was powerful and exciting. I opened the comic book and started reading.
I read all three issues twice that afternoon, sprawled on my friend’s living room floor. It was the greatest thing I’d ever read. Kamandi was a teenager, the last surviving human on a post apocalyptic Earth now under the control of different animal species that behaved, dressed, and walked like humans: dogs, tigers, wolves, rats, lions, and apes. Read the rest
Superhero movies are nothing new (Superman, Batman, Spiderman...) but they began to snowball in 2000, after the success of X-Men. And with the growing trend of comic book box office hits, manic studios are now juggling 51 comic book films, expected to be released between July 2015 to the year 2020. At the front of the queue is next month's Ant-Man, followed by The Fantastic Four on August 7th of this year in the U.S. Others coming up in the next 12 months include Marvel's Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Captain America: Civil War. Read the complete list, along with synopses and dates, at Den of Geek. Read the rest
"I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography." For Crafton Hills College student Tara Shultz who was expecting to bone up on Batman and Robin instead of being forced to read four award-winning graphic novels that offended her, we are happy to provide this cheat sheet of some of the Dynamic Duo's finest moments!
Another quote from Tara Shultz: "At most I would like the books eradicated from the system. I don’t want them taught anymore. I don’t want anyone else to have to read this garbage." Read the rest
The kamisama of manga. The Japanese Disney. The godfather of anime. Tezuka-san has had many labels bestowed upon him both before and after his untimely death, but very few do justice to his contributions to a truly transatlantic medium, one which has dramatically surged in popularity in the last decade.
A doyen of over 500 individual print titles and scores of feature films, his creations – numbering amongst them the maverick doctor of Black Jack, the epic treatise on immortality Phoenix (Hi no Tori), and the all-conquering, sci-fi inflected Pinocchio retelling of Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) – are adventurous, topical, riotously funny and fundamentally human.
Part biography, part showcase of a lifetime spent in creative abandon, author Helen McCarthy traces his early inspiration drawn from Disney's wide-eyed characters – a look that would define manga's similarly neotenous bent – to a public, if officially unacknowledged repayment in the form of Kimba The White Lion re-imagining The Lion King. Packaged with a DVD of Tezuka at work, and a relief cover of the aforementioned Mighty Atom, Osamu Tezuka: The God Of Manga is a compelling and comprehensive work.
– Nick Parton
The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga
by Helen McCarthy (author) and Osamu Tezuka (illustrator)
Harry N. Abrams
2009, 272 pages, 9 x 12.2 x 1 inches
$25 Buy a copy on Amazon
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
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From the Dr. Bronner school of illustration: Journey Into Unknown Worlds #36, September 1950. Artist: Russ Heath.
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Last night I went to Meltdown comics in Hollywood to interview Daniel Clowes, the creator of Eightball, which is one of my favorite comic book series (check out the amazing new 25th anniversary slipcase edition of Eightball!). The room was packed, and Dan shared hilarious anecdotes about his career as a comic book artist and screenwriter (Ghost World, Art School Confidential). He could have had a career as a low-key standup comic in the vein of Bob Newhart.
Dan talked about his surreal experience with Shia LaBeouf, who plagiarized one of Dan's stories and issued a bunch of plagiarized fauxpologies. He also shared details about the upcoming movie Wilson, based on his graphic novel. Dan wrote the screenplay and it will star Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern.
Below are some photos from last night's event as well as a link to my 2012 interview with Dan at Meltdown. (I'm wearing the same shirt! Hahaha.)
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A story from Drawn and Quarterly's new 800-page 25th Anniversary Anthology
It’s hard to imagine what contemporary culture would be like without the existence of the comic, graphic novel, and low-brow art publishers Last Gasp, Fantagraphics, and Canada’s small press darling, Drawn & Quarterly. In Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years, D&Q are given their due. This lavish doorstopper of a book contains numerous historical essays about the company, with lots of great photos, a timeline, reminiscences, interviews, and more. The rest of the book is mainly comprised of full strips and excerpts from some of the many award-winning and pathbreaking comics and graphic novels that D&Q has published over the past quarter century. Some rarely-seen comics are included. Peppered throughout are appreciation essays from the likes of Jonathan Lethem and Margaret Atwood along with many artists appreciating the fellow creators of the delightful devil’s picture books known as comics. Artists featured in the collection include Seth, Julie Doucet, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Peter Kuper, Tom Gauld, Daniel Clowes, Anders Nilsen, Ariel Bordeaux, and dozens more.
Again, imagine for a minute a world in which the work of these talented artists had never reached the masses, and how far less rich, interesting, and strange our world would be as a result. Congrats to Drawn & Quarterly for bringing these artists to us, for celebrating 25 years of beautiful high weirdness, and for producing this impressive and yummy book. The ink smell of it alone will make a book nerd’s eyes roll back in her head.
See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest