Tag Archives: Golden Age

Captains All!

Some of you will rec­og­nize this as a re-cre­ation/rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the cov­er of Whiz Comics #2, first appear­ance of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel in the Gold­en Age.

This was inspired by a sto­ry a friend told me a few weeks back. Like me, his default set­ting when some­one says “Cap­tain Mar­vel” is to think first of the Faw­cett Comics orig­i­nal. His wife does­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly read a lot of comics, but she’s famil­iar with the char­ac­ter through him. Recent­ly, he and his wife were out at the movies. They were look­ing at the posters for com­ing attrac­tions. One was for Mar­vel’s Cap­tain Mar­vel film. My friend’s wife looked at the poster and was puz­zled. “Um, why is Cap­tain Mar­vel a girl?”

Look­ing around online, there seems to be more than one per­son out there who’s a lit­tle con­fused as to why these dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters have the same name. I’ve seen forums where this ques­tion’s been asked. Peo­ple who know what’s going on try to explain, only to per­haps go into too much detail, caus­ing the eyes of those who asked the ques­tion to glaze over and regret their hav­ing asked. So I’m not going to get into all that here.

This just appealed to my sense of fun to make this swap. It’s not like I haven’t made a char­ac­ter swap like this before! I’ve even swapped pub­lish­ers on this one. In my mind, this would’ve been pub­lished by Timely/Marvel. I even gave the Cap­tain a new/old logo, in line with the kind of logos they used back then.

And like many of you, I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what Mar­vel has done with their Cap­tain Mar­vel in the movie!

Weird Colors

It was recent­ly point­ed out to me that in Sav­age Drag­on #235, Erik Larsen had reprint­ed a bit of my old Big Bang Comics work. This was orig­i­nal­ly part of a larg­er sto­ry­line (I believe called “The Time­bomber”) spread over three issues, where Erik had loaned Big Bang Edi­tor Gary Carl­son the use of his Sav­age Drag­on char­ac­ter, and Drag­on was being bounced around through time, inter­act­ing with mul­ti­ple Big Bang char­ac­ters in dif­fer­ent eras. 

Gary had me con­tribut­ing to this sto­ry in sev­er­al ways, but the one that’s rel­e­vant here is that I pen­ciled and let­tered a three page seg­ment (nice­ly inked by Patrick Tuller), where Drag­on met up with Big Bang’s Dr. Weird. It orig­i­nal­ly appeared in Big Bang Comics #12. I chose to draw it in the style of Gold­en Age comics artist Bernard Bai­ly, prob­a­bly best known for his work on DC’s Spec­tre and Hour-Man strips. I also attempt­ed to match the let­ter­ing seen on those strips, which I’d assume is Bai­ly’s, but I don’t know for cer­tain.

Back when I was orig­i­nal­ly work­ing on this, there were hopes that the issue might be print­ed in col­or, but it end­ed up in b/w. Because there had been that chance though, I actu­al­ly had done some col­or guides for the seg­ment, and I think I mailed col­or pho­to­copies of them to Gary.

Fast for­ward to this three-pager’s appear­ance in Sav­age Drag­on #235: Final­ly it gets to be seen in col­or! Even if any­one had remem­bered their exis­tence, the copies of my orig­i­nal col­or guides were like­ly nowhere to be found, so this was recol­ored from scratch. I thought per­haps vis­i­tors here might enjoy com­par­ing the two ver­sions, see­ing where some choic­es are the same, and oth­ers are dif­fer­ent.

Just a cou­ple of comments/observations about the new ver­sion. I appre­ci­ate the fact that the col­orist who did this for re-pub­li­ca­tion stuck with the old school col­or palette. When you’re try­ing to do some­thing that looks and feels like a gen­uine old com­ic, noth­ing ruins the illu­sion faster than a col­or approach that isn’t from that time peri­od!

Also, I noticed that a sort of end­ing cap­tion was added at the end of page 3 that was­n’t part of the orig­i­nal. Who­ev­er did it either recy­cled por­tions of the let­ter­ing I had done ear­li­er in the sto­ry to get what they need­ed, or attempt­ed to let­ter it from scratch so that it looked like my faux Bernard Bai­ly let­ter­ing. Either way: again, try­ing to pre­serve the illu­sion that this was the real deal. So: thumbs up for all of that!

 

Junior! Come Down from There!

It’s been awhile since I post­ed any­thing here! Time to rec­ti­fy that.

You’re see­ing a cov­er for an upcom­ing issue of FCA. Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca is a sort of “mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine,” appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego, a comics his­to­ry mag­a­zine pub­lished by Twom­or­rows. Roy dubbed me FCA’s de fac­to “cov­er edi­tor” awhile back, and I will glad­ly accept that title!

Pen­cils for this cov­er were by my good friend Vic Dal Chele. Inks/embellishment and col­ors by me. I went with an old school col­or palette, along the lines of what you might have seen used for a cov­er either for an issue of Mas­ter Comics, or Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr. I thought peo­ple might enjoy see­ing it here with­out the mast­head or any of the oth­er type that will be there on the print­ed cov­er.

We tried to cap­ture some­thing of the look of Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr.‘s pri­ma­ry artist, Mac Raboy. Vic’s worked on a lot of shows over the course of his ani­ma­tion career (many of which you would imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize), but one of his first was the Shaz­am! car­toon that Fil­ma­tion pro­duced in the ear­ly ’80s. So it’s far from the first time that he’s drawn Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr.!

This will be the cov­er of FCA #214, appear­ing in the pages of Alter Ego #155, out in Octo­ber from Twom­or­rows.

 

Kirby 100, Part 1

This month would be Jack Kir­by’s 100th birth­day, and though things have been busy for me late­ly, I’m going to try to post some things this month by way of cel­e­brat­ing.

Most vis­i­tors here like­ly already know who Jack Kir­by is. I don’t think it’s pos­si­ble to over­state his impor­tance as a comics artist and cre­ator. So many of the char­ac­ters we’ve been enjoy­ing in the Mar­vel films, more often than not, Kir­by either co-cre­at­ed them or flat-out cre­at­ed them him­self.

But you can find all that his­to­ry else­where. The point I want to make here is that Kir­by’s work mat­tered a great deal to me per­son­al­ly. I believe he was the one of the first com­ic book artists who I came to rec­og­nize by his name and his work. When I first came across it, it was pow­er­ful. It was, to my think­ing, comics the way they should be.

I went through a phase in high school where I was try­ing very hard to draw like Jack Kir­by. Not the most uncom­mon thing among fan artists back then, but (this is the embar­rass­ing part) my rea­son­ing was that at some point Mr. Kir­by would retire, and there need­ed to be some­one to pick up the baton. I thought (in my naiveté) maybe that should be me. As I said, it’s embar­rass­ing to admit, but I was young, and this shows how impor­tant I tru­ly felt his work was.

Of course, I grew out of this phase of think­ing I need­ed to be the next Jack Kir­by (A change I’m sure Jack would approve of). But there are still valu­able artis­tic lessons I picked up from study­ing his work that I can see in my work even today.

An expla­na­tion of this piece: years back now, a pho­to­copy of a Jack Kir­by Red Skull sketch came into my hands. Dat­ed 1970, as my trac­ing over his sig­na­ture indi­cates. It was clos­er to a lay­out than the full pen­cils we usu­al­ly see, but some­thing about it spoke to me, com­pelled me to take a crack at ink­ing it. I col­ored it for its appear­ance here.

I’ll be back soon with anoth­er piece.

Hap­py Kir­by 100!

Família Marvel no Brasil

First post of 2017!? That’s a lit­tle embar­rass­ing, but so it goes. Any­way,…

I’m pre­sent­ing here the cov­er art (sans copy) for an upcom­ing issue of FCA (the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca). Reg­u­lar vis­i­tors here will know that it’s some­thing of a mag­a­zine-with­in-a-mag­a­zine, pub­lished with­in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. This issue of FCA (#205) will be appear­ing in Alter Ego #146.

FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck had told me that this issue would be about comics fea­tur­ing the Mar­vel Fam­i­ly that were pub­lished in Brazil, and pos­si­bly some oth­er South Amer­i­can coun­tries too. The prover­bial car­toon light­bulb clicked on over my head, and I pro­posed con­tact­ing my friend, the huge­ly tal­ent­ed Aluir Aman­cio, to see if he might be will­ing to do this cov­er for us. Aluir has done a lot of comics and ani­ma­tion work in his career, not only for his native Brazil, but for comics pub­lish­ers and ani­ma­tion stu­dios here in the US. I was very hap­py when Aluir said he was on-board, and I absolute­ly love what he did.

Aluir decid­ed to have the Mar­vels touch­ing down near the famous Sug­ar­loaf Moun­tain in Rio de Janeiro.  While it’s most def­i­nite­ly Aluir’s work, I thought he did a great job of also cap­tur­ing the Gold­en Age sense of fun these char­ac­ters should always have. I espe­cial­ly love his take on Mary Mar­vel here!

Orig­i­nal­ly, I was going to have the cap­tion on the cov­er be in Por­tuguese, until it was point­ed out to me that not all the comics in ques­tion were pub­lished in Brazil. But noth­ing says I can’t use that cap­tion here, so it’s the title of my post.

To be clear as to who did what, this draw­ing is all Aluir. My only con­tri­bu­tion is col­or. Aluir, my friend, again, thanks so much for your great work on this cov­er!

 

What They Shoulda Done,…”

FCA Captain Marvel Adventures #23 Cover Re-creationThis is a re-cre­ation/re-inter­pre­ta­tion of the cov­er of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures #23, done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with my friend and ani­ma­tion biz men­tor, Lar­ry Hous­ton. You’ll note there are some sig­nif­i­cant changes, if you com­pare this cov­er to the orig­i­nal.

This re-cre­ation came about because of an upcom­ing issue of FCA (the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca), with an arti­cle dis­cussing minor­i­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Gold­en Age comics. Since the arti­cle’s appear­ing in FCA, the pri­ma­ry focus was to be on Steam­boat, an African-Amer­i­can char­ac­ter who appeared for a while in the ear­ly Cap­tain Mar­vel strips.

Now, fea­tur­ing Steam­boat pre­sent­ed a prob­lem. He was always depict­ed in that stereo­typ­i­cal and racist way that most African-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters were por­trayed in comics at the time. So what were we to do about a cov­er for this issue?

Nei­ther FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck nor myself thought it was a good idea to use images of Steam­boat from the orig­i­nal comics on the cov­er, and for the same rea­sons, I did­n’t feel right in ask­ing an artist to gen­er­ate new art depict­ing him as he appeared back then.

Anoth­er thought was to do a new draw­ing depict­ing Steam­boat in a non-racist way. But then that raised the ques­tion of how peo­ple would even be able to rec­og­nize who he was sup­posed to be, since it would be so far afield from his orig­i­nal appear­ance.

P.C. came up with the idea of doing a re-cre­ation of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures #23, only done in a sort of “what if there weren’t the racial stereo­types in old comics?” kind of way. Look­ing over the orig­i­nal cov­er and its ele­ments, I real­ized this was the way to go. We could make this idea work. Even though Steam­boat would look dif­fer­ent from how he’d been por­trayed in the Gold­en Age, read­ers would still be able to iden­ti­fy him because there was a con­text for it.

I’d also been think­ing of try­ing to get some new and dif­fer­ent voic­es involved in some of these FCA cov­ers. Though Lar­ry Hous­ton is prob­a­bly best known for his ani­ma­tion work, he’s always had a deep love for comics too. And I knew that pos­i­tive por­tray­als of African-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters in car­toons and comics has always been a sub­ject Lar­ry cared a great deal about. So I thought maybe this cov­er could be a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for me to team up with Lar­ry. I asked him if he’d be inter­est­ed, and he agreed to do it.

Lar­ry pro­vid­ed me with a good, tight lay­out, which I took the rest of the way, even adding dot pat­terns and aging.

You get to see it here as the com­ic cov­er alone, sans the FCA copy. This issue of FCA (#203) will be appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego #144, out in Decem­ber from Twom­or­rows.

What It Was, Now Is

CMA #2 Original Head RestoredIt’s high time I put up some­thing new here! I guess this qual­i­fies. It’s kind of simul­ta­ne­ous­ly old and new, you could say.

For the 200th issue of FCA (appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego #141), I was approached by edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck with a chal­lenge. A col­lec­tor named Har­ry Matesky had bought the orig­i­nal art for the cov­er of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures #2 (you can see the pub­lished com­ic here.), and made a dis­cov­ery. The head of Cap­tain Mar­vel on the pub­lished cov­er was actu­al­ly a paste-up, and under­neath it was a dif­fer­ent draw­ing! P.C. asked if I would be will­ing to try to com­plete the orig­i­nal head, so we could see what the cov­er might have looked like if C.C. Beck had gone ahead and fin­ished it. Game on!

I was pro­vid­ed with high res scans of both the orig­i­nal cov­er art as pub­lished, and a pho­to­copy of the art with the orig­i­nal head removed. It was a bit more tricky than a sim­ple “con­nect the dots” exer­cise, as the out­er con­tour of Cap­tain Mar­vel’s face was basi­cal­ly miss­ing. I heav­i­ly ref­er­enced the way Beck drew him, try­ing to make it look as much as pos­si­ble like his work. And it had to dove­tail into the exist­ing linework as seam­less­ly as pos­si­ble.

Once I had it inked (dig­i­tal­ly), I had to dig­i­tal­ly paste up the restored head over the clean scan of the pub­lished cov­er art. At this point in the restora­tion, I ran into an unfore­seen dif­fi­cul­ty. As some of you might know, pho­to­copiers can some­times intro­duce a bit of dis­tor­tion or skew­ing into their out­put. For most every­day copi­er uses, you don’t notice some­thing like that, and it’s not a prob­lem. But here, where I real­ly need­ed the two ver­sions to line up accu­rate­ly, it was a prob­lem.

After I was final­ly able to get it sort­ed out to my sat­is­fac­tion, I then had a clean new/old black and white orig­i­nal for the cov­er, which I col­ored to match the orig­i­nal pub­lished ver­sion. It appeared as the cov­er for FCA #200, which I believe is avail­able right now. But here, you get to see it with all the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures mast­head copy intact. It was fun to get to col­lab­o­rate with C.C. Beck a lit­tle bit here, across the gulf of time and space!

FCA: Tells the Facts and Names the Names

FCA Harlan Ellison CoverA lit­tle while back, I was asked to do the cov­er for an upcom­ing issue of the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca, fea­tur­ing an inter­view with none oth­er than Har­lan Elli­son. FCA is a sort of mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. The issue of Alter Ego which also fea­tures FCA #197 is sched­uled to be avail­able in mid-Feb­ru­ary 2016.

This cov­er went through sev­er­al ear­li­er iter­a­tions (though none of them actu­al­ly made it onto paper) before I came up with the con­cept for this final ver­sion. My ini­tial thought was that maybe I should do a por­trait of Mr. Elli­son as a boy, read­ing a copy of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures or Whiz Comics. Some­thing along those the­mat­ic lines. One of the main prob­lems with this approach though was that there aren’t a whole lot of pho­tos (if any!) of a young Har­lan float­ing around out there on the inter­nets. So if I went that route, I was like­ly going to have to try to work up a rec­og­niz­able fake ver­sion of Mr. Elli­son as a child from just my imag­i­na­tion. It turned out P.C. was­n’t too sold on the idea any­way, so we aban­doned that con­cept.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nei­ther of us were com­ing up with any great replace­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties. It was sug­gest­ed that maybe if I read the inter­view for myself, it might spark an idea. And it did. The new cov­er con­cept was to do it as a sort of homage to the Edward Hop­per paint­ing Nighthawks, set at a late-night din­er. I’d show Mr. Elli­son sit­ting down with Cap­tain Mar­vel and the main vil­lain from the “Mon­ster Soci­ety of Evil” sto­ry, Mr. Mind. The tone felt right. Only one prob­lem: Mr. Mind is very small, so there was a major scale issue that would have to be addressed if I did this.

But then anoth­er idea popped into my mind that seemed to fit even bet­ter tonal­ly. I’d do the cov­er in the style of the old “scan­dal sheet” gos­sip pulps, like Con­fi­den­tial. Once this con­cept came into my head, I knew it was the right way to go, and P.C. agreed. It’s a bit dif­fer­ent from what you usu­al­ly see as an FCA cov­er, but it’s fun, and hope­ful­ly peo­ple will get what we’re doing and enjoy it.

Hap­py 2016, folks!

Captain Marvel is 75!

Captain Marvel at 75I was just giv­en leave to post this draw­ing. This year’s the 75th Anniver­sary of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel. FCA Edi­tor Paul Hamer­linck (for whom I’ve done sev­er­al cov­ers over the years, a num­ber of which can be found here on my site) was writ­ing an essay in hon­or of Cap’s 75th for Jon B. Cooke’s Com­ic Book Cre­ator mag­a­zine. Paul asked if I would like to con­tribute an illus­tra­tion to poten­tial­ly accom­pa­ny his essay, and left it up to me what to do. A 75-year-old Cap seemed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly like both an unex­pect­ed and yet obvi­ous way to go.

I was­n’t sure if either Paul or Jon would go for this idea. Maybe it would be a lit­tle too weird for a trib­ute. But I guess their sens­es of humor must some­times go a lit­tle towards the weird too.

Paul’s essay, accom­pa­nied by my illus­tra­tion, will be appear­ing in issue #10 of Com­ic Book Cre­ator, ship­ping in Novem­ber to your fin­er local comics shops every­where.

Thanks, guys! This was fun!

Hap­py 75th, Cap!

Now That’s Just Darling!

Darling Romance #1 ReworkedHey, every­body! It’s anoth­er com­ic cov­er recreation/reinterpretation. This time, it’s the cov­er of issue #1 of Archie Comics’ Dar­ling Romance. You can see the orig­i­nal cov­er here.

I’ve per­son­al­ly nev­er been all that big a col­lec­tor of romance comics, though the best of them have had some real­ly great artists. An inter­est­ing bit of his­to­ry: the guys who pio­neered the genre? None oth­er than Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by! Those who are only famil­iar with the more two-fist­ed, action-packed side of their work might be sur­prised to hear this, but it’s true. They launched the first romance com­ic, Young Romance, in 1947. And in the wake of its sales suc­cess, many oth­er pub­lish­ers fol­lowed suit with their own romance titles.

Simon and Kir­by’s work in this genre is unsur­pris­ing­ly ener­getic and live­ly. Many of the sto­ries go places one would­n’t typ­i­cal­ly expect a romance com­ic sto­ry to go. If you get the chance to see some of these sto­ries for your­self, it’s worth the time. I’m told it can be hard to track down the orig­i­nal comics, but thank­ful­ly, there are reprints avail­able in books like Young Romance: the Best of Simon & Kir­by’s Romance Comics, and it looks as though there might be oth­er sources on the way too.

Maybe I should talk a lit­tle bit about this Dar­ling Romance cov­er. I know noth­ing at all about this com­ic, but the cov­er image spoke to me. I thought it would be fun to take the orig­i­nal pho­to cov­er and do a draw­ing instead, push the mod­el’s looks even more in the direc­tion of Bet­tie Page. Also, I felt like giv­ing the whole thing a pulpi­er, hard­er-edged look. Just for fun. 🙂