Tagged: Milton Caniff

Ed Catto: Frank Robbins

detective_429_pg4_1000When I was a kid I’d make the trek to Lewis’ Drug Store to buy comics with my allowance money. Maxwell’s Food Store had a better selection, but that was on the other side of the treacherous “Five Points” intersection, and I wasn’t yet allowed to cross that on my own.

Detective Comics, starring Batman, was a favorite, and you can make a case that some of the very best Batman stories were appearing each month during that early 70s period. They were fantastic thrillers by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Irv Novick, with the occasional Michael Kaluta or Bernie Wrightson cover. I didn’t know how good I had it.

So you can imagine my surprise when I picked up Detective Comics #429 and looked at the interior story’s artwork by Frank Robbins. I remember thinking “Is this a joke?” and “Is this a Golden Age reprint?” His cartoony figures and heaving brushwork was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was not my cup of tea, to put it mildly. In fact, I thought it was hideous.

johnny-hazard-ad“Besides, isn’t this ‘artist’ Frank Robbins guy really a writer?” I thought. I had recognized his name as the writer credited to so many cool Batman mysteries. My pre-teen brain immediately declared he should stick to writing. I thought he was an awful artist.

I seem to remember a few issues later, in the letter’s page, a fan wrote that he felt the same way. Like me, that fan didn’t know what to make of Robbins’ artwork. One of his snarky comments stuck with me: he said that Batman looked as if he had just finished working on the Batmobile’s engine and was covered in grease!

But things change. And in this case, it wasn’t the artist and it wasn’t the artist’s work. It was me.

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate Frank Robbins. He’s now one of my favorites.

As my tastes have matured, I’ve grown to realize that there are so many types of art. It’s so much more than just “who can draw the most realistically.” Way back when, Neal Adams was probably my favorite artist. He probably still is one of my very top favorites (as both an artist and as a person). But with age, one develops an appreciation for different artists’ skills and visions.

I’m not the only child of the 70s that has learned to love Frank Robbins’ work later in life.

hazard-sundayFrank Robbins has a flavor that’s all his own. Oh, many will point out that he’s from the same school as Milt Caniff and Noel Sickles, but I think he’s more than that. I think he’s gone beyond that wonderful style and his artwork has established its own coherent universe.

Contemporary artist Chris Samnee is the same way. He’s clever and pushes the envelope routinely. When I read a Samnee story, I feel like there’s a whole Samnee universe out there. A universe where all the visuals fit together and more importantly, are fascinating and beautiful to behold.

Mark Waid, Samnee’s frequent collaborator, recently told me “Chris Samnee is one of the most talented storytellers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. His linework is spot-on, the way he spots blacks and uses contrast is masterful, but it’s his ability to tell the most story with the least amount of extra lines that I most appreciate. It’s a lean look without an ounce of fat.”

As usual, Mark is spot-on.

I’m not yet ready to argue that Frank Robbins is the Golden Age Samnee or that Chris Samnee is the modern age Frank Robbins, but I’m getting close. In reality, both artists’ work is brilliant and can be enjoyed without any forced comparisons. But you get the idea.

And that’s why I’m loving Hermes’ Press Frank Robbins’ Johnny Hazard: The Newspaper Dailies collection. This adventure strip ran for an astounding 33 years – from 1944 to 1977. Again, it was initially cut from the same cloth as Caniff’s Steve Canyon or Sickles’ Scorchy Smith. But in reality, Johnny Hazard started more like Indiana Jones and ended up more like a Sean Connery 007 movie.

johnny-hazard-vol-1-coverThis wonderful newspaper comic strip jumped right into the action, as Johnny Hazard was a WWII pilot. These gorgeous Hermes volumes start with the very first strips.

I’m very appreciative of the format of these books. They are landscape style with two daily strips per page. Robbins artwork has an extreme sense of urgency, but there’s so much detail that the reader is caught up in this wonderful push-pull. On the one hand, you can’t wait to find out what happens next, but on the other hand, the eye is lured into lingering over the figure work, the lush backgrounds, the stunning aircraft art or Robbins’ pretty girls. These books fulfill each of these artistic interests.

And while I’ve been gushing about Robbins’ artwork, I’m surprised how much I enjoy the characterization of the initial female lead. Brandy, a love interest introduced early in the Johnny Hazard continuity, is fresh and fun. She’s a plucky mix of Eve Arden’s confident wit mashed up with Veronica Lake’s stylized sexiness. She’s a memorable character and I want to see more of her adventures.

an-inky-samnee-illustrationI recently spent some time reviewing original Frank Robbins pages from the 60s. By that time, his style had progressed and he became masterful with his rendering and pacing of the globetrotting adventures. It’s astounding how comfortable Robbins was rendering everything from downtown Hong Kong to mountain climbing adventures – sometimes back to back.

But the Hermes collection showcases work from years before that. Right now, four volumes are available and the fifth one is scheduled for this November. The good news is that with the abundant adventures that Johnny Hazard enjoyed, there’s years of material to be collected.

In retrospect, it’s a shame that it never made the leap to other media. A radio adventure or a 60s TV show seem like no brainers. Johnny Hazard toys and merchandise would have been fun. Why wasn’t there a Big Little Book? Why were his forays into comic books so rare? At the very least, in ’66, Johnny Hazard should have had his own Captain Action costume set.

My younger self wouldn’t believe that my middle-aged self would be so enthusiastic about Frank Robbins artwork. But then again, I used to think girls were icky and wine tasted awful. I’m grateful for my maturing tastes.

Hermes Press Johnny Hazard: The Newspaper Dailies Volume 5 is available November 29, 2016. Like all this series, this is reproduced entirely from the King Features Press Proofs.

 

Mike Gold: What Goes Around…

Mike Gold: What Goes Around…

Gold Art 130911Having spent the past four days in Baltimore attending my favorite comics convention – the one that’s actually about comics – I had the opportunity to spend some serious conversation time with a lot of my friends. However, because the show is a four-hour-plus drive from La Casa Del Oro, the best conversation is with my daughter and ComicMix cohort Adriane Nash. Whereas much of her work is behind the scenes, Adriane is the one who kills here each year on April Fool’s Day and at least one of her hoaxes has graduated to the level of Urban Myth.

As her dad, this makes me very proud. But (sing along, folks), I digress.

After returning from Baltimore Monday night, while cuing TiVo for Ricky Gervais’ appearance on David Letterman, we had one of those “let’s tie-up everything we’ve been talking about” conversations. This one was about how, given time, them younger generations eventually discover the really great stuff that was done before they were born. Adriane started with Jack Kirby, which, of course, made me feel even older than my present dotage. Younger readers have to discover Kirby, the most influential creator in the history of American comics. And they do… with a little help from their friends.

There’s nothing wrong with that. When I was about half Adriane’s age, I interviewed disc jockey Bob Hale (WLS, NBC, and the guy who emceed the Iowa concert the day the music died). Bob said he didn’t despair for those kids who like crappy rock’n’roll because they eventually grow up and discover the Good Stuff. That was an important lesson (thanks, Bob!), one I’ve remembered for the past, ummm, well, 45 years. And so it is with comic books.

As it stands today, no less than three major comics publishers are reprinting various aspects of the canonical EC Comics. Will Eisner’s The Spirit stays out there on the racks, as well it should. Carl Barks – same thing. Because Jack Kirby’s output was so astonishingly massive, it seems there’s a new reprint of his stuff about every six weeks.

This is true with the classic newspaper strips (I define The Spirit as a comic book that was published in newspapers), these days largely through the efforts of the gifted and knowledgeable Dean Mullaney and our friends at IDW. Milton Caniff, Alex Raymond, Chester Gould, Al Capp… you can bust your back dragging out all those massive hardcover tomes of Terry and the Pirates, Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, and Li’l Abner, and that’s a small price to pay for the thrill of such discovery. And then you go over to Fantagraphics for Walt Kelly’s Pogo, Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Charles Shultz’s Peanuts and Elzie Segar’s Popeye.

So… as you age you’ve got a responsibility to pass along the good stuff, to educate the young’uns to the great stuff that provided not only the foundation for our great medium, but the first half-dozen floors as well. I guarantee you that just about every talented artist and writer impressing the hell out of you today has devoured these folks and many others possessing equal gift: Alex Toth, Joe Kubert, Mort Meskin… the Internet doesn’t have enough bandwidth for me to list them all.

It is our responsibility, our duty to pass along the good self.

That’s how art works.

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY EVENING: Martin Pasko

 

Martha Thomases: Stripping for Summer

dondiHow was your holiday weekend last week? Mine was great. I spent Sunday sitting in the sun by a lake, talking about graphic storytelling.

There were six of us, plus a pre-teen who just wanted to play video games, a form of graphic storytelling perhaps but not one we are going to discuss. At least four of us had a jones for newspaper strips. Four of us liked comic books. And at least five of us liked gag panels. It’s also possible that all of us liked all forms, but I’m not sure, nor does it really matter.

I was especially intrigued by the love given to newspaper strips. When I was a girl, they were my favorite part of the newspaper. I read everything, even Mary Worth and Dondi. I loved Li’l Abner even when Al Capp went right-wing crazy.

But I loved the funny strips more. Peanuts, Blondie, and later Calvin & Hobbes My parents had a subscription to The New Yorker, and a book that collected New Yorker cartoons from 1925 to 1955, and it is from these that I learned what funny drawings looked like.

When I was old enough to appreciate the skills involved in graphic storytelling, I enjoyed Milton Caniff. And I wanted to like Little Orphan Annie and Dick Tracy, but they never grabbed me on an emotional level. I never had to read the next day’s strip.

By this time, I was rabidly into comic books. Instead of waiting weeks to read a whole story, as required by newspaper strips, I got the whole thing between two covers. I liked this better.

In modern times, there aren’t very many comic books that tell a complete story in a single issue. There are fewer and fewer newspapers comic strips (and fewer and fewer newspapers), and serial dramas seem much less popular than humor strips. And there are fewer and fewer markets for gag panels.

Each of these forms combine words and pictures. Each needs to communicate story and character quickly, in a small space. And yet, each is completely different, one from the other.

I personally don’t enjoy collections of newspaper story strips. I find that the form requires a grey deal of repetition, and it hurts my head after a while.

I frequently don’t enjoy collections of comic book stories for the same reason. The passing of time between individual episodes requires something that will jog the reader’s memory, but it is less effective in a collection. A graphic novel should stand by itself, and so should individual issues.

I love gag panel collections, and feel that is the best reason to have bookshelves in the bathroom.

Is there is any title that works best in all three genres?

Yes.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Martha Thomases: Breaking The Four-Color Wall — Comics About Cartoonists

Thomases Art 130118-aComics About Cartoonists • Edited by Craig Yoe • 192 pages • $39.99 retail in hardcover • IDW Publishing, on sale January 22nd

The creative life has its own circle of hell. The blank page, the blank canvas, the empty stage, all exist to remind us of our failure. When one is a professional with a deadline, the taunting is even more painful.

For those of us in the audience, it can also be excruciating. I don’t like songs about how difficult it is to be a rock star. I don’t like novels about how misunderstood teaching assistants can’t get laid.

But then it can also be fun. The Stunt Man is a wonderful movie about making movies. My Favorite Year is a laff riot about writing television shows, and it’s one of my favorites. All That Jazz? It’s show time!

Thomases Art 130118-bAnd now, Craig Yoe has put together an anthology of comics about creating comics, Comics About Cartoonists. It collects sketches and finished stories, newspaper strips and comic book covers from some of the most celebrated creators of the last century.

The book has comedy, horror, and romance. It has work by Jack Kirby, Winsor McKay, Steve Ditko, Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Cole, Al Capp, Milton Caniff, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Charles Schulz and lots, lots more. It has deep personal insight into the real lives of working stiffs, and also what happens to cartoonists when aliens attack.

To meet this deadline, I read the whole thing in one sitting, and that’s not something I would recommend to you, Constant Reader. There are only a few plots. Cartoonist has no idea, so he fells asleep and his characters have an adventure. Cartoonist isn’t appreciated by his editor. Cartoonist stumbles on plans for an alien invasion. Beautiful girl doesn’t realize that the dumpy guy who looks like the cartoonist is beautiful on the inside. I’m sure I would have enjoyed these stories more if I read them one at a time, instead of in a lump.

And then, it has Basil Wolverton, with a story that not only exhibits his energetic wit and exuberance, but dialogue that is so much fun it should be read out loud. I would pay for Childish Gambino to record it.

My favorite comic stories about comics were the ones Cary Bates and Elliott S. Maggin wrote themselves into with the Justice League. Yoe also doesn’t include Grant Morrison’s appearances in Animal Man. The rights were most likely not available, and all of these are too self-consciously meta for the book’s shaggy-dog aesthetic.

On the other hand, the book’s endpapers are old ads promising to teach you — yes, you! — how to make big money and attract beautiful women as a cartoonist. “Cartoon Your Way to Popularity and Profit” says one ad that goes on to promise you a “Laugh Finder.” That ad alone is darker and more meta than anything on the market today.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

HERMES PRESS ANNOUNCES TERRY AND THE PIRATES PLANS

Hermes Press has announced it will publish an archival reprint of George Wunder’s Terry and the Pirates. Wunder took over the strip after Milton Caniff left in 1946 and continued for nearly 27 years.

Terry and the Pirates: the George Wunder Years: Volume One 1946-1948, a deluxe hardcover in landscape format, will includes the daily and Sunday strips (reproduced in full color) which ran in continuity.

Learn more at www.hermespress.com.

MIKE GOLD: Important Advice For Comics Artists

Hardly a day goes by without my asking myself “How did all this crappy art get published?”

Now, before all you upstarts get bent out of shape, please appreciate the fact that I’ve been asking this question since about the time Freedom 7 was launched. (Note to self: After gawking at Brian Bolland’s Blog, please don’t look at anybody’s comics art for at least three hours. You’re not giving them a chance.) The difference is, there are a hell of a lot more comic books being published these days. Whereas I think the comics medium beats out Sturgeon’s Law, there’s a hell of a lot of crappy art out there, and much of it is below what I consider to be professional standards.

Over my career I’ve spent a great deal of time evaluating newbie portfolios, and while I feel doing this at the larger, crowded conventions generally gives the young wannabe short shrift, like most geriatric editors I’ve developed a mental go-to list of comments that, if followed, will likely give direction to the newcomer. Since I’ve grown anti-social of late, I’ll share some of these points with you.

Stare at something other than the comics you grew up with. And don’t spend all that much time staring at comic books published before your birth – yeah, study the classics like Toth, Kubert, Kirby, Kane, Maneely, Wood, Adams, Barks and Toth, but learn from the great newspaper strip creators like Milton Caniff, Frank Robbins, Floyd Gottfriedson, Alex Raymond, and Frank Godwin. Spend some time gawking at the great illustrators like J.C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and NC Wyeth. Go to a few art museums. There is no more enjoyable way to pay your dues.

Get a large jar and label it “Photoshop Copy Machine.” Every time you use Photoshop or any other graphics program to copy your art so that you can use it later in lieu of drawing something new, put $20.00 in the jar. When you fill it up, donate the money to The Hero Alliance or CBLDF. The eye tires of the same old stuff, particularly when you repeat the same image within a few pages. Sometimes there is a solid storytelling reason to rerun your work within the same story, but like all dramatic effects these are few and far between and should only be used sparingly.

Get a smaller jar and label it “Son Of Photoshop Copy Machine.” Every time you use Photoshop or any other graphics program to copy somebody else’s art, put $10,000 in the jar. Then find some other fulfilling way to make a living. I suggest procuring a domino mask, a striped shirt, and a gun.

There’s an old adage that proclaims “color will save it.” More often than not, this statement is attributed to the late DC Comics production whiz Sol Harrison, who got his start as an engraver on Superman #1 and in his spare time did watercolors. Unfortunately, Sol was wrong. Color will not save bad art. Not even the most heavy-handed computer color. Bad art is bad art. Or, to be less subtle, shit stinks.

Go buy a copy of [[[Gray’s Anatomy]]]. Not the teevee show, silly, the book written and drawn by Henry Gray first published 154 years ago. Whereas the book has been updated frequently, the human body has not. I am not concerned with your religious predilection, but no matter which hoary thunderer or cosmic muffin you might worship, if you intend to draw the human figure for a living this is your new bible. I cannot stress this more highly.

Study storytelling. As the artist, you carry the burden of telling the story. You are not an illustrator illuminating somebody else’s story: you’re the person putting it across the plate. Your friend over there should be able to get a good sense of the story by looking at your unlettered original art. Go get Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. Take these three books, add the aforementioned Gray’s Anatomy, and don’t pick up the pencil or the Wacom tablet until you have studied and thought about each and every word in these four books.

Do not stop drawing. Question your alleged need to watch television, play video games, associate with people, eat, and bathe. Each of these activities takes valuable time away from your perfecting your craft. Trust me; once you get an assignment with a deadline, you won’t have time to watch television, play video games, associate with people, eat, or bathe.

Don’t give up. A newbie comic book artist who had just blown a couple deadlines once told me “If I can’t do this, I might as well flip burgers.” Well, today this guy is not flipping burgers. He became a comic book writer.

Drawing comics is no different than any other vocation: you’ve got to learn your stuff. Don’t look at the worst people being published and say “I can do better than that.” We’ve got enough crap. Aim high and don’t jump into the water until you know you can swim to the other side.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

Jerry Robinson: 1922 – 2011

Comics legend Jerry Robinson died this morning at the age of 89.

Best known for his work with Bob Kane during the earliest days of Batman, the Trenton, New Jersey born artist started off as a teenager lettering and inking the Batman feature in Batman, Detective Comics and World’s Finest Comics. As Batman rapidly grew in popularity, he progressed to the role of character designer and, shortly thereafter, penciler of the feature. It was Robinson who named Dick Grayson “Robin,” not after himself (as often reported) but after N.C. Wyeth’s famed illustrations of Robin Hood. Shortly thereafter, Jerry designed Batman’s most famed enemy, The Joker. His original art for that initial design, in the form of a playing card, has been on display at various museums across the nation.

(It should be noted that the late Bob Kane disputed this and most other creator-credits regarding The Batman. As a matter of contractual obligation, DC Comics gives Kane sole creator credit for the feature, a matter of significant dispute with Robinson as well as writer Bob Finger.)

In later years, Robinson started an international newspaper syndicate (the Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate) and wrote an important history of the comics medium, titled The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art. He also served as president of the National Cartoonists Society in the late 1960s.

His other comic book work included Bat Masterson and Lassie for Dell Comics, Black Terror for Standard Publications, Green Hornet for Harvey, Vigilante and Green Arrow for DC (with his friend and frequent collaborator, Mort Meskin), Green Lama and Atoman for Spark Publications, Journey Into Mystery, Battlefront, Crime Exposed, Strange Tales and Battle Action for Marvel, Rocky and His Fiendish Friends for Gold Key, and Astra for Central Park Media.

Jerry received numerous honors and tributes during his long life, including four separate awards from the National Cartoonists Society: the Comic Book award in 1956, the Newspaper Panel Cartoon in 1963 for Still Life, the Special Features Award in 1965 for Flubs and Fluffs, and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2004 and, in 2010, was the recipient of the first annual The Hero Initiative Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award for his “outstanding efforts in changing comics one day at a time.”

The Giordano award focused on Jerry’s less-well known work as a political activist obtaining the release of jailed and tortured cartoonists in Uruguay and the Soviet Union. He also joined Neal Adams and others in the creator rights movement and aided Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their struggles with Warner Communications / Time Warner in obtaining recognition and financial security for their efforts.

[[[Jerry Robinson: Ambassador to the Comics]]], the definitive history of this critically significant cartoonist, was published by Abrams late year.

On a personal note, I had the honor and privilege of dining with Jerry and discussing both politics and comics on numerous occasions during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. When, last year, we met up at the Baltimore Comic-Con at the reception prior to his Giordano Award presentation, I found Jerry to be as gracious, as warm and as sharp as he had ever been, and he entertained my daughter with stories peppered with quotes from material I had written about him many, many years earlier.

It was one of the most wonderful moments of my life.

Review: “Government Issue: Comics For The People, 1940s-2000s”

[[[Government Issue: Comics For The People, 1940s-2000s]]]
By Richard L. Graham
Abrams Comic Arts, 304 pages, $29.95

The rich history of comics is also one of the public’s perception of it being mainly for children. What is only recently being uncovered are the many ways comics have been used beyond cheap entertainment for the masses. As early as 1940, Will Eisner saw their potential and he was among the first to use the graphic form for educational purposes with what became P*S, the preventative maintenance magazine produced by the Army. During World War II, Stan Lee wrote comics to explain how forms need to be filled out and DC Comics did special editions of Superman to help teach America’s soldiers to improve their reading.

Now, we’re learning that the Federal Government has long been a proponent of using comics as educational and propaganda tool, dating back to the field’s infancy. Thankfully, Richard Graham has done the spadework that has uncovered the full flavor of material offered using your tax dollars. Government Issue is actually an important addition to our comics history, demonstrating the reach of the format and the value placed on its ability to communicate with the masses

Graham organizes his book by different subject matter – “military,” “employment and economics,” “Civil Defense, Safety and Health,” and “Landscapes and Lifestyles” – so you can get a better sense of how far-ranging this had become. And like most government operations, there was no central plan or design; no comics czar to ensure federally-produced comics met certain criteria for quality of accuracy. As a result, we see a variety of writing and artistic styles brought to bear in conveying the information to its intended audience. One of the worst results of this lack of control has to be the ham-fisted writing and terrible artwork accepted by the military for a piece on how homosexuals should consider admitting their persuasion to superior officers during the period of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

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Minck Oosterveer with Nikki Saxx at MoCCA

Minck Oosterveer: 1961-2011

Minck Oosterveer with Nikki Saxx at MoCCA

Renee Witterstaetter passes on the sad news that Minck Oosterveer, a Dutch artist best known in this country for his work on The Unknown for BOOM! and Ruse for Marvel, was killed on September 17 in a motorcycle accident. He was 50.

Born July 19, 1961, he grew up in The Netherlands with European comics, but was soon more interested in American comics, especially the newspaper comics of the 1930s-50s. The pulp-ish, direct style and the usage of black and white in the realistic artwork of Milton Caniff, Alex Raymond, and Will Eisner attracted his attention, although he also showed a Herge style in some of his more cartoony work. After working for a studio on productions like ‘Tom & Jerry’, ‘Sesame Street’, ‘Paddington’, ‘Ovide’ and ‘Spider-Man’, Minck moved in the direction of another stylistic forte, working with Willem Ritstier on the series ‘Claudia Brücken’ for the franco-belgian publishing-house ‘les editons Lombard’ and Tintin-magazine . Minck also became known for ‘Jack Pott’, ‘Zodiak’, ‘Rick Rolluik’, ‘Arachna’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Nicky Saxx’ (pictured above in a picture to benefit MoCCA), ‘Storm’, and ‘Ronson Inc.’.

Minck Oosterveer debuted in American comics with Zombie Tales for BOOM! Studios. He’s best known in the US for his collaborations with Mark Waid on The Unknown for BOOM! and Ruse for Marvel.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Batman Artist Lew Sayre Schwartz Dead at 84

Lew Sayre Schwartz, one of the lesser known Bob Kane ghosts on Batman, died on June 7 at age 84 after a fall according to his son, Andrew. Schwartz began working for Kane as a ghost in 1948 and remained the principal artist under Kane’s name on the Batman features in Batman and Detective Comics until 1953. Art historians believe he produced at least 120 stories during this period.

Kane signed a new deal with DC in 1948 and hired Schwartz to help handle the workload. Schwartz’s work began with penciling the stories, letting Kane do the actual Batman and Robin faces, then ink the lettered pages. Kane was understood to have made frequent changes to the artwork, altering the main heroic figures and secondary characters.

Without benefit of credits in the stories, art experts can usually identify Schwartz work given the detailed backgrounds and his frequent staging of the action that carried less impact than the ones Kane himself composed. Some, including Eddie Campbell, consider Schwartz one of the finest practitioners ever to work for Kane’s shop.

Schwartz toured Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War, visiting the troops and returned feeling he no longer wanted to draw comic book stories. After leaving Kane’s studio, Schwartz went on to teach at what is now known as the School for Visual Arts.  During this period, he also did ghosting work on several comic strips such as Secret Agent X-9 spelling artist Mel Graff, as well as several weeks of The Saint.

In 1961, Schwartz helped form Ferro, Mogubgub and Schwartz which produced live and animated commercials, earning the company four Emmy Awards and six Clio Awards. Schwartz began drawing storyboards and expanded his creative role over time. They may be best remembered for their animated title design work on Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 masterpiece Dr. Strangelove. Schwartz even went on to direct a Barbra Streisand television special. (more…)