MICHAEL H. PRICE: Roy Crane: A life in comics

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5 Responses

  1. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    If you know the work of Roy Crane, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, and Milton Caniff – then you know comics. Pretty much everything that is important about telling a story in little pictures is to be found in the work of those four men. And I put Crane at the top of that list if only because the other people on the list were building on his work.I also have had the most fun reading WASH TUBBS and BUZ SAWYER of any of the story strips in the papers. And (once you get past the early gag-a-day strips in TUBBS) Crane's work holds up today, still delivering character, romance, suspense and adventure. It just doesn't get any better.

  2. Linda Gold says:

    I couldn't agree more with Mark. I began reading the daily Buzz Sawyer a few months ago and it is simply wonderful.

  3. Andrew Pepoy says:

    Wow! Considering that Crane is one of my biggest influences and "Wash Tubbs & Capt. Easy" my favorite adventure strip I'm amazed I somehow missed this and the previous week's column. Found it after a mention in the latest National Cartoonists Society newsletter. Great to get to read Crane's comments made, interestingly, the day I was born. I sure wish more people could be exposed to Crane's work. The NBM reprints of WT&CE;are too-long out-of-print and expensive. The early years of Buz really need a high-quality reprinting.

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      I agree that high quality reprints of all of Crane's strips are needed. As much as I appreciate Rick Norwood's efforts to keep the Buz Sawyer strips coming in COMICS REVUE – the reprint books he has been publishing are frustratingly bad – with the strips half-toned rather than being printed as line art. This has the effect of turning Crane's perfect use of large black areas, lush gray forms and stand-out white focus areas into an overall muddy gray. I assume someone thought the Craftint Double Tone shading that Crane used needed screening to print – though the Comics Revue run is in line art. Really I guess it makes no sense. I have heard a rumor that the folks who did the large size LITTLE NEMO and GASOLINE ALLEY Sunday reprints are considering a Captain Easy Sunday reprint volume. That would be a treat. I think Crane's EASY Sundays at full page are incredible works of art. And his Sundays have never been reprinted in color or in their original form.

  4. Michael H. Price says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Thanks, Mark. Grateful for your additional insights, there. You both have taken the Crane influence and run with it, and in striking new directions, at that. (These memos also illustrate the value of keeping the ComicMix columns up and running for the long stretch — one never knows when they might trigger some fresh thoughts.)I've always had that persistent screening problem (pre-DIY scanning, of course) to contend with in line-art reproduction. I've seen newspaper engravers prepare halftone zincs or veloxes from line-art syndicate proofs of Crane's "Buz Sawyer," in the mistaken assumption that the Craftint called for a screening. I used to run into that same problem with pen-and-ink stipple work of my own, until I wised up and started scrawling "LINE ART–NO SCREEN" across the engraving-order forms. There is a shimmering, almost 3-D, example of a "Buz Sawyer" Craftint strip on Page 81 of Gene Byrnes' COMPLETE GUIDE TO CARTOONING. A Web serialization of the book appears at http://www.animationarchive.org. Quite a valuable book overall — I've kept my copy in constant use since grammar-school days.