Tagged: Mark Evanier

Mike Gold: Neal Adams’ The Brave and the Bald

Would you like to know how to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode?

O.K. That was a trick question. There are plenty of ways to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode. It’s our fault, really. Many of us had children. But I digress.

One way to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode is to ask him (well, I said fanboy) which Neal Adams’ project is his favorite. My knee-jerk response would be Green Lantern / Green Arrow #80 for personal reasons, and The Spectre #3 (the one from 1968) to prove I’m still a fanboy at heart.

That is, until last week. Now I’ve got a clear favorite. And it’s not a comic book… although it is about a comic book. And a damn good one at that.

Last week, our pal and mystical production overlord Glenn Hauman, who occasionally writes something or other here at ComicMix when he’s not busy being killed off in New Pulp short stories (we’ll tell you about that some other time), sent “us” a link. In this case, “us” is the Imperial Council of ComicMix Wizards and Schleppers (ICCWS). The link was to something that was just getting some traction in the ethersphere. And, obviously, it concerns Neal Adams.

Background: About a month ago, DC Comics released their second set of super-hero crossovers with the famed Warner Bros cartoon characters, due to their common ownership. Maybe we’ll define “common” some other time. Among these new titles was a one-shot produced by Tom King and Lee Weeks titled Batman / Elmer Fudd Special #1, implying someday there will be a second issue.

And maybe that will happen. I hope so. It was terrific. I ran around telling people – and co-workers – that they should read it. It had a real story, it was clever as all get-out, it was perfectly drawn, and if the reason you passed on it because you thought it was stupid… you were mistaken. It is the opposite of stupid. Of course, my fellow comics readers looked at me as though I had two heads. Whereas this may be the case and I got used to it decades ago, I don’t think I ran into anybody else who read it at the time.

Except Neal Adams.

And Neal didn’t simply read it and take it up as a cause. Nope. No way. Neal actually turned it into a full cast audio play that was illustrated with Weeks’ art from the Special. I didn’t do an A/B comparison, but I think Neal used all the art in the book. And, in its own way, Neal’s production was just as clever as the comic book.

Neal did much of the voice work, and it’s first rank. As a radio guy since shortly after Nixon’s inauguration, I think I’ve developed something of a trained ear for this sort of thing. I’m no Mark Evanier (Mark directed voice work from the likes of June Foray, Stan Freberg and Frank Nelson), but I know good. And Neal’s good. So good he might have made a serious career mistake.

Well, no. That’s crap. Neal’s a well-respected and much-desired cartoonist for good reason. But his “adaptation” of the Batman / Elmer Fudd Special was an absolute delight. So was the comic book. Enjoy them both.

Whereas it would be wrong for me to reprint the comic book here – something about copyrights – I can make it easy for you to see and hear Neal’s adaptation.

Neal did justice to Tom and Lee’s story. And to Batman and to Elmer Fudd.

Go figure!

 

Ed Catto: Spellbound by Batman

When Leonard Nimoy died, several comic conventions paused for a moment of silence as fans offered up the Vulcan salute. Those were lovely gestures as the nerd community showed how beloved the actor, and his signature role, was to them.

I wish that Batman’s Adam West had a signature gesture like that. A hands-on-hips pose means Superman. The Vulcan salute embodies all of Star Trek’s mythology. Television’s Wonder Woman had a spinning motion (it enabled her to change from her meek self into her heroic costume) that we of a certain age remember. Iron Man kind of owns that punching-the-ground-while-crouching pose. But TV’s Batman really could’ve used an iconic pose.

Perhaps it would be holding a bomb, with a lighted fuse, above one’s head? Perhaps that silly/sexy Batusi dance move, evoking a bat’s eyes and ears? Somehow they just don’t seem right. But he had something better.

The past weekend, the Batsignal was shining onto Los Angeles’s City Hall. And the folks behind it knew their stuff. This Batsignal was the version of the Batman emblem that Adam wore. The L.A. Times showed the crowds and the entire affair looked impressive.

Everyone seems to have an Adam West story to share. I have a few too. I was really struck by how kind and sweet the stories were. To his credit, Adam West seemed to be able to instantly understand, and respect, the different connections that fans had with his TV alter ego.

As Mark Evanier, and others, reminded us, Adam West was an actor and Batman was just one part he played. Kudos to MeTV for recently running episodes of 60s western and science fiction TV series featuring Adam West appearing in other roles, before running the very first two episodes of Batman.

And in many ways, playing Batman damaged his career. He was typecast and couldn’t get other roles subsequent to the series’ cancellation. It wasn’t until years later that he was able to figure it all out, with the help of his enthusiastic agent, Fred Westbrook. They found ways so that Adam could finally reap the financial benefits of his all-too-brief superhero years.

Sadly, Fred recently passed away too. He was an agent with a real respect for his clients. He was clearly a fanboy, but he used that drive to create engaging and profitable projects for his clients. Like Adam, Fred was a great guy too. And boy, did he love TV game shows. I don’t know if he was the nation’s biggest expert on TV game Shows, but it seemed like that to me.

I fell under the spell of Adam West’s Batman TV show, but it quickly translated into a love of comics. For many fans, seeing some of those covers we saw as kids bring indelible memories front and center.

Viewing these comics is like winning a ticket for a time machine. I’m immediately transported back to Pauline’s, the newsstand that was so close to my grandmother’s house. My dad would treat us to one treasure there (I’d always choose a comic) after our Italian Sunday Dinner each week.

Detective Comics #358 is that kind of a comic for me. There’s something about those DC silver age covers with red backgrounds that bring out the six-year-old in me. This issue features the debut of Batman’s unforgettable foe, Spellbinder!

What’s that, you say? Did you forget him? Yeah, well, I guess that’s understandable.

I think that everyone who read this story forgot about it. It’s not that it’s so bad. It’s just so bland. The Spellbinder is a bank robber with a gimmick – he can hypnotize people. And like a fairy tale, the Spellbinder fools Batman three times, until the Darknight Detective finally figures out how to defeat him.

But that cover – wow! As a kid, I had thought this would’ve been the battle of all ages! It’s all about wild colors and an undoubtedly an epic battle about to be waged. I certainly expected to see Spellbinder pop up in an episode of the 60’s TV series, but he never did.

I wonder who could’ve played Spellbinder on TV?

Holy Fashion Faux Pas! What a mishmash of colors and patterns. If it were published today, Tim Gunn would have a fit. Oh, and I’m not even talking about Spellbinder’s costume. I’m talking about those clashing Detective Comics and Batman logos. Spellbinder’s nutty costume is an absurd thing of beauty… and doubtlessly it struck fear into the hearts of comic artists everywhere. In fact, no one would draw him again for years.

My copy of this comic is really special. It’s the file copy of longtime Batman editor, Jack Schiff. In those pre-internet days, publishers kept old comics on file for easy reference. Curiously, by the time this comic was published, Schiff was no longer editor on the Batman line. But he sold his file copy collection to Tim Ash Gray of Ithaca’s Comics For Collectors back in ’92, and Tim sold them to fans.

This issue is overflowing with nostalgic treasures, including:

  • More Superheroes – There’s an Elongated Man back-up (with some sharp Sid Greene art for a change) and Superman fights for Unicef in a one-page adventure on the inside front cover
  • Lots of Toy Car Ads – Geez, if future archeologists study this comic, they’d come to the conclusion that little boys in the 60s only read comics and played with toy cars. Still, one these ads showcases artwork from beloved DC artist Murphy Anderson.
  • It’s not the first time Batman fought villains on a building and certainly not the last. After the memorial service, the skyscraper battle now makes me think of the LA tribute to Adam West and the Batsignal shining on L.A.’s City Hall.

So many of us are willingly spellbound by Batman. There are a lot of good things about that. Like a long train, we all jump on at different points. That’s kind of special too. For me, it all started with that TV series and Adam West.

The Point Radio: COMMUNITY Gets Their Pilot Back

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This week, COMMUNITY comes back to NBC for a fifth season and this time they have Dan Harmon running the ship again. Series regulars Joel McHale and Jim Rash talk about the joys of the new season and the woes of the last, plus ROCKY & BULLWINKLE bring Mark Evanier back to comics and Marvel kicks Barnes & Noble while they are down.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Mike Gold: Two For TwoMorrows

Mike Gold: Two For TwoMorrows

Layout 1If I quit my day job, I just might possibly keep up with the output from TwoMorrows Publishing. Sundry regularly published magazines (Alter-Ego, Back Issue, Draw!, etc.), trade paperback and hardcover profiles of significant creators, publishing lines, eras and events – I can’t begin to list them all here. Well, I could, but they do a better job on their own website.

Did I mention they do everything up in both hardcopy and digital? Well, they do, and they’ve made many an otherwise tedious commute into Manhattan a lot more palatable.

I only get to bring to your attention a small fraction of their books. I’m still pissed that travel and work schedules didn’t allow me to review their Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour. So, to paraphrase the great Jack Kirby (and, yeah, they also publish The Jack Kirby Collector), just buy it.

But I will seize this moment to briefly wax poetic about two of their latest releases: The Star*Reach Companion by Richard Arndt, and Dan Spiegle: A Life In Comic Art by John Coates.

DanSpiegle_MEDDan Spiegle is a proper legend. As a kid I missed most of his “early” work because I didn’t like westerns (aside from Maverick; lucky for me, Dan drew the comic version) or teevee tie-in comics. Therefore, I missed out on his beautiful Hopalong Cassidy newspaper strip and his work on Lost In Space and other Dell/Gold Key titles. I did latch onto his work in Korak, Green Hornet and Doctor Solar, but he met me more than half-way when he started working at DC Comics in the 1980s (Jonah Hex, Teen Titans, Unknown Soldier). The work he and Mark Evanier did on Blackhawk single-handedly justifies the overworked and overwrought concept of rebooting. He and Evanier (who wrote the introduction to this book) also did one of my all-time favorites of the era: Crossfire, published by Eclipse Comics during the Great Independent Age of Comics.

Dan Spiegle: A Life In Comic Art contains everything you would expect in such a volume: history, index, interviews. It is lavishly illustrated, and, yes, it’s okay to just look at the pictures (yeah; just try that!). There’s eight color pages reprinting some of his watercolors; most of us haven’t seen them before and, damn, are they worth the wait. There’s at least four of them that I would steal if I was clever and fast enough to get away with it.

The Star*Reach Companion is a long-overdue analysis of and tribute to Mike Friedrich’s classic anthology comic. Mike thought it was a great idea to get some of the best people doing comics at the time to create, writer and/or draw stuff that was of a more mature nature – and I don’t necessarily mean salacious – and there “some of the best” includes Neal Adams, Frank Brunner, Howard Chaykin, Steve Ditko, Michael T. Gilbert, Dick Giordano, Steve Leialoha, Marshall Rogers, P. Craig Russell, Dave Sim, Walter Simonson, Ken Steacy, Dave Stevens, Mike Vosburg, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Workman …you get the idea. I’m hard-pressed to think of an anthology series with a better line-up.

Not that a lot of folks didn’t try, and a great many of them were quite, quite good. The Star*Reach Companion covers most of these publications as well, and here it serves an important historical function.

The problem with books like these is that, if they are successful, they leave the reader with a thirst they can never quench. Sure, we can pick up the back issues and the reprint books – and after reading these two, I’ll bet you wind up doing at least a bit of that. If you don’t, you’re missing something.

In fact, this is why I implore comic book stores with large back issue inventories to stock TwoMorrows’ books and magazines. They publish the true comics Who’s Who of What’s What.

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Martin Pasko

 

Mike Gold: Cold Ennui

Here’s a sucky way to spend one’s birthday: voiceless with a serious summer head cold. Bitch, bitch; moan, moan. Okay, I had a great day-before-my-birthday in Manhattan lunching with Danny Fingeroth and dinnering with fellow ComicMixer Martha Thomases. Nine hours of fantastic conversation in the best thing in life with your clothes on.

Sadly, as the overly-breaded but otherwise tasty General Tzu’s was being presented to me at our Greenwich Village dungeon of culinary delight, I was starting to sound like a frog in a blender. By the time I was on the subway back to Grand Central Terminal, I was grateful somebody bothered to invent texting. The gifted Miss Adriane picked me up and dragged me home. That was birthday-eve.

On birthday day, we first had to ransom my car back from the shop – I can’t complain; 100,000 miles on one battery is pretty damn good and I guess you really do need functioning breaks. After a quick stop at Walgreens to clean them out of toxic chemicals and chocolate Twizzlers, we returned home. As Miss Adriane procured the prerequisite chicken soup, I retired to celebrate the anniversary of my mother’s major inconvenience in a time-honored way: I picked up my stack of comic books (e-comics; I’m nothing if not hip and trendy in my dotage) and commenced to read.

As luck would have it, there wasn’t a winner in the bunch. Only one or two sucked; the rest were poignantly mediocre. This is not to say that I hadn’t read some worthy stuff while on the train to Manhattan – I consumed all the good stuff as a matter of fate and ill-planning. But you’d think that out of a dozen or so hand-picked titles, there’d be at least one that reaffirmed my fannish enthusiasm. Let us remember: I was under the weather, and my cockles needed to be warmed.

There were three New 52 titles in the electronic pile. All 12th issues. None motivated me to pick up the 13th, two months hence. There are a number of New 52ers I really enjoy: Batgirl, Batwoman, All-Star Western, and everything with the words “written by James Robinson” on the credits page. These weren’t them. The most enjoyable of the DC books was, oddly, the only Before Watchman mini I’m reading: Night Owl, and that’s because I’d read prescription warning labels if Joe Kubert drew them. Reading Kubert, for me, is a lot like drinking chicken soup. You might have to be Ashkenazi to fully grok that.

The Marvel titles were okay; slightly better in that none chased me away. But, damn, why is it that each and every good Marvel “event” series has four times as many issues as necessary? Okay, we know the answer to that one. Still, the Avengers Vs. X-Men series was established to put Marvel on a somewhat different course for a while and it’s doing its job. It’s not a reboot, it’s just your standard dramatic shuffling of the Marvel deck. But it should have been over by now.

The so-called indies were all over the map as they are supposed to be, so my luck of the draw was simply a bad hand. No, not bad. Just mediocre. Too many unnecessary middle-issues in overly long story arcs. I regret the day publishers decided to put six solid pages of story in each 24-page issue, and I look forward to our next GrimJack series to once again prove you can actually put 28 pages of story into a 24-page issue… without being Stan Freberg, and, yes, that was just to see if Mark Evanier’s paying attention.

Okay, all that sucked. On the other side of the scale, I got more than 200 emails and Facebook shout-outs from friends old and new. That’s great anytime, but after a speechless day of aches and not-breathing and a dozen mediocre comics, all that made be feel on top of the world. And not in the Cody Jarrett sense, either. To one and all, my deepest thanks.

Daughter Adriane and I finished the day watching Paul, a genuinely funny and essentially heartwarming movie written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I’m a sucker for anything with Jane Lynch that doesn’t involve high schoolers spontaneously combusting into song, and Pegg and Frost have never disappointed me.

Moral of the story: when you’re feeling low, reach for something positive and funny. Tomorrow is… another day.

Thursday: Dennis O’Neil… Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing?

 

Marie Severin Gets What She Deserves – At Last!

It was 1978, and the electric current going through DC Comics’ offices could have lit Times Square. Vice-President and Production Director Jack Adler was strutting around like a proud papa. For the first time in what seemed like a millennium, Marie Severin was paying a visit.

If you were from outside the donut shop, you’d think the President was in the house. Work came to a complete stop. Everybody swarmed to the production department to meet, or to see once again, the famed artist and gifted humorist. That she toiled for the company’s competition and yet received this reception is an acknowledgement of her talent and abilities.

The masterful colorist of the legendary EC Comics line, Marie worked at Marvel Comics for decades as an art director, a penciler and an inker. Her credits read like a Who’s Who at the House of Ideas: Doctor Strange, the Incredible Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Robert E. Howard’s Kull the Conqueror. That’s quite a range, but she was best known for her satirical work in Marvel’s underrated Not Brand Echh, a book worthy of Masterwork edition if there ever was one.

She was even better known within the industry for her sense of humor. I have never met a person who wasn’t a fan of her work – and a fan of hers, personally.

TwoMorrows just published Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics ($24.95; digital from TwoMorrows for $7.95), a long overdue review of her work written by Dewey Cassell with Aaron Sultan. It was worth the wait.

174 pages of analysis, history, interviews, photographs and about a zillion examples of her work, including a healthy amount of unpublished work – much of it in-house stuff reflecting her breathtaking sense of humor. Tributes abound: Marvel and EC honchos Stan Lee and Al Feldstein, Jack Davis, John Romita, Mark Evanier, Tony Isabella, Roy Thomas and maybe a dozen more folks, all fronted by a foreword from ComicMix columnist and comics luminary Denny O’Neil.

Marie has been one of the most important and most creative people in the history of this medium. Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics tells you why. If you’re already a fan of hers, you either have this book or it’s on your short list. If you’re not all that familiar with her legacy, you need this book.

 

MIKE GOLD: Steve Niles’ Courageous Act

If you you’re inclined to keep an eye out, heroes pop up like Kleenex. Steve Niles just made the cut.

At the 2010 Baltimore Comic-Con Harvey Awards dinner, Mark Waid offered a courageous keynote address which offered a simple message: digital comics are here to stay, there is an international bootlegging community and we as creators and industry doyens must learn to deal with it. For this, Mark was roundly booed, hassled and harassed by his peers. Astonishingly, one of his tormentors was the otherwise quite gentlemanly Sergio Aragonés.

I don’t recall if Steve Niles was at the dinner, but if not, it’s likely he heard about it. Suggesting that any acknowledgement of those who pirate comics is akin to taking a dump on the bible. This is true throughout the media: records (yeah, it’s okay to call them “records;” look it up), movies and teevee shows, even books. And you thought nobody was reading.

The media industry’s response to this has been to advocate passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act, a.k.a. SOPA. Simply put, SOPA allows any intellectual property (IP) owner to legally compel any Internet Service Provider (a.k.a. ISP; we’re shooting for the entire alphabet this week) to kick off any website suspected of copyright infringement.

Well, here’s a clue for you. Well over 99% of the websites on the Internet infringe copyrights and trademarks. Pick-ups of news items, graphics used to illustrate anything, sound bytes and even some You Tube links – they are all infringing upon somebody’s IP. You rip off the Superman logo font because you’re artistic and just being cute? Well, that logo is a registered trademark, and you are now Lex Luthor.

So Steve, bless his 30 Days of Night heart, took a stand. “SOPA does more than go after so-called ‘piracy’ websites,” said he. “SOPA takes away all due process, shuts down any site it deems to be against the law without trial, without notification, without due process… Nobody seems to give a shit, or either they’re scared. Either way, very disappointing. I guess when it affects them they’ll get mad… I know folks are scared to speak out because a lot of us work for these companies, but we have to fight. Too much is at stake.”

He tweeted all these comments; I got them from our pals at Digital Spy, except they asterisked “shit.” We here at ComicMix are beneath that.

Here’s some facts. Every time somebody unlawfully downloads IP – and note I said “unlawfully” because it is unlawful – the media racket sees that as a lost sale. This is overwhelming bullshit. People sample, people are curious, people’s friends make a recommendation and said people check ‘em out. There’s plenty of stuff that you’d check out before laying down your plastic sight unseen. The actual number of downloads that defraud the owner (which is usually not the creator) is a fraction of the total. These downloads are still illegal, but IP moguls should pull the stick out of their ass and tell the truth when they are babbling about how much bootlegging is costing them. They are liars.

There are a great many services that allow you to legally purchase IP, and the largest of these is Apple’s iTunes, which offers music, television, movies, books, magazines, newspapers, software (a.k.a. “apps”) and probably jpg’s of papyrus scrolls. As of around October 2011 – the date varies by category – iTunes has sold over 16 billion songs, about one half-billion movies, videos and teevee shows, some 20 billion apps, and Crom knows how many books, magazines and newspapers.

Here’s the rub: in each and every one of these approximately 40,000,000,000 cases, the purchaser could have downloaded the damn thing for free. In most cases, it is far easier to illegally cop a boot than it is to purchase one. Let’s start with the fact that you don’t need to have a credit card or room left on your credit limit to procure your illegal bootie.

So. 40 billion downloads from just one – the biggest one – online merchant in a world that only houses seven billion people. That’s an average of four and one-half perfectly legal downloads for each and every person, including babies in the Amazon who don’t even have access to Amazon.

Hey! People are inherently good. Go know!

Of course SOPA is being supported by all the big IP companies, including Disney (Marvel) and Time Warner (DC). If only they were so moral about how they treat their creative talent, without whom both companies would constitute another real estate bust.

On the other side: Facebook, Google, Twitter and Wikipedia, the latter of which threatens to disappear should SOPA pass. Then students will actually have to do research, and we can’t have that.

Also standing proudly on the other side: Steve Niles. Good for you, pal.

Good grief. Now Mark Evanier is going to hate me.

Thursday: Dennis O’Neil

MIKE GOLD: Gifts for Comic Book People

Yep, the gift-giving holidays are upon us once again. Here’s three recent releases that are among the top of my list.

The Stan Lee Universe, by Danny Fingeroth and Roy Thomas  TwoMorrows Publishing, $39.95 hardcover; also available in softcover and digital

If you’re asking “who’s Stan Lee and why should I care about his universe?” then I’m asking “why are you reading a website called ComicMix?” I’m not going to waste bandwidth establishing Stan’s street cred. The Stan Lee Universe is not the definitive biography of Stan Lee; even at 89 years of age (in three weeks), he’s continuing to create new comics properties and appearing on television shows and in movies and his story remains a work in progress. As a life-long comics fan and practicing professional, I find great comfort in that.

The Stan Lee Universe is a massive gathering of articles, interviews, tributes, and – best of all – items from the Stan Lee Archives from the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center. All this stuff was hoisted up and organized by two of the medium’s best, Danny Fingeroth and Roy Thomas, both having served time at Marvel Comics with Mr. Lee and both having an encyclopedic knowledge of the field. The folks at TwoMorrows (Alter-Ego, Write-Now, The Jack Kirby Collector) did the design and layout, and the result is a black-and-white and color extravaganza that actually taught me a thing or two about both Marvel and Stan… and I’ve been here forever.

Danny and Roy knocked themselves out, and it shows. No matter what you think you may know about all this, you’ll learn a lot from The Stan Lee Universe and I recommend it most highly to anybody the least bit interested in comics or our American heritage.

Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Volume 1 by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson, consulting editor Mark Evanier, forward by Jimmy Breslin  Fantagraphics Books, $39.99 in hardcover.

Everybody’s been reprinting the great classic newspaper strips with such effort that it almost gives a fanboy like me religion. This Pogo series was announced back when Albert the Alligator lost his egg tooth, leaving Walt Kelly’s many fans panting.

It was worth the wait. We get all the dailies from the long-defunct New York Star from the beginning on October 1948 through January 1949, the series nationally distributed by the Hall Syndicate from May 1949 through December 1950, and the initial year’s run of Sunday strips in color from 1950. Reproduction is first-rate; the paper isn’t quite as good as I’d like, but that’s being really picky.

A lot of the conventions with which we are familiar from Pogo were birthed during this period, and most of the characters with which we are most familiar have already been fully realized during the initial Dell Comics run. Walt Kelly’s wit and charm is unmatched in the history of sequential storytelling, and is in evidence here fully developed.

I’d get this book for Jimmy Breslin’s introduction alone. Go. Read this. You’ll charm the pants off of yourself.

The Art of Joe Kubert, edited by Bill Schelly • Fantagraphics Books, $39.99 in hardcover

I have previously gone on record in this and other venues that Joe Kubert is my all-time favorite comics artist and, once again, I will not establish Joe’s bona fides. I’m running out of room, and that is what Google is for. Fan/historian Bill Schelly who, like Roy Thomas is from the first generation of organized comics fandom, knows his stuff and it shows. This is the definitive biography of Joe Kubert, and I would say it is lavishly illustrated but the word “lavishly” pales in comparison by even a quick flip-through of this 232-page tome.

Pure and simple, this is the tribute that Joe deserves. From his youngest adolescent days working for Will Eisner’s shop (obviously, Will was oblivious to child labor laws) to his golden age work to his innovations at St. John’s Publishing to his latter and most familiar DC work to his current efforts as a graphics novelist, The Art of Joe Kubert truly covers, well, the art of Joe Kubert in all its four-color glory. This is an entertaining read, one that will motivate the young wannabe and illuminate the cultural historian. It even taught me a bit about my own roots as an Ashkenazi-American.

For about a hundred bucks, less if you can talk your comics shop owner into ordering them for you for a discount (c’mon, it’s a guaranteed sale), you cannot go wrong with these three books. A couple decades ago, I would have been thrilled with any one of them during a given year. In 2011, all three were released in recent weeks and that is simply breathtaking. Kudos to all.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

 

Interview: Will Meugniot on “N.E.D.O.R. Agents”

Interview: Will Meugniot on “N.E.D.O.R. Agents”

With a resume that could best be described as the very definition of awesometasticness, Will Meugniot is a working legend. Given the opportunity to sit down with him–if only through these odd and twisted halls of the interwebs and Skype–I was tempted to simply pelt him with geeky question after geeky question. Allow me a quick explantion: Reading through his resume, Will Meugniot has worked on an amazing array of projects anyone in Generation X or before would swoon over. As a storyboard artist, writer, producer, and director for (amongst other things) Captain Planet, EXOsquad (aka EXO-Force as you’ll see in our next installment), Jem, Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters, and comics like Tigra, The DNAgents, and Vanity… suffice to say I had a hard time not grilling the poor man for several days.

As we mentioned previously, Will is writing and drawing a brand new comic with an old school feel. The N.E.D.O.R. Agents will be hitting your local comic shop shelves, today (November 9th, 2011), and Will was nice enough to sit down with me to give all you ComicMixers the 411. And don’t worry, we totally dish on his work in animation, later this week. Read on!

COMICMIX: Before we get ahead of ourselves, could you tell me, and all of those butchering your name from above how we pronounce your last name?

WILL MEUGNIOT: It’s pronounced Min-Ee-Oh. I think many people have [butchered my name] in the past. Mark Evanier and I used to dub ourselves “The most unpronounceable team in comics!”

CMIX: First and foremost, let’s talk about what brings you here today… the N.E.D.O.R. Agents… Give the ComicMix readers the ‘elevator pitch’ of the project.

MEUGNIOT: First and foremost, it’s a piece I myself would want to be reading right now. N.E.D.O.R. Agents is a period piece; taking these characters from the 40s and reviving them into 1965. I’m treating them the same way other publishers treated revival characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Flash, and characters of the period were. This is an update for the atomic age. It places these classic characters of the 1940’s in the world of 1965, and the race to space. Of course the race is interrupted by aliens who are already invading Earth!

CMIX: And are the characters being “retconned” here into starting their careers in 1965, or have they simply been elsewhere?

MEUGNIOT: Well, actually the reason these characters haven’t been seen since the 40’s (as you’ll find within the story) is because they have been secretly forming a covert team of superpowered individuals to fight an impending invasion. Now 20 years after the creation of that agency, we’re catching up with them and their super kids!

(more…)

Steve Rude Arrested; Selling Artwork To Pay Legal Fees

Steve Rude Arrested; Selling Artwork To Pay Legal Fees

Steve Rude

Steve Rude, co-creator of Nexus, was arrested last night in a dispute with his neighbors. The charges are assault and failure to comply with a court order.

He’s out on bail now, but will still have to raise legal fees. Mark Evanier notes:

This means you have one of those great opportunities to simultaneously help out a deserving guy and get yourself a great bargain. Go to his website and buy something. In fact, while you’re there, buy several somethings.

via news from me.

The Beat notes that the Rudes live in Maricopa County is the homebase of Joe Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, who’s known for housing inmates outside in 145 degree heat, feeding them spoiled food, and other practices that have gained notoriety and lawsuits from organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International, and rulings from federal courts over various violations of the US Constitution– you know, cruel and unusual punishment, violating civil rights, racial profiling, election law violations, and abuse of power.

And just to tie it back into comics, Arpaio created an armed illegal immigration operations posse in 2010, to help his deputies enforce immigration law. One member of the posse? Lou Ferrigno.

More information as we get it.