Tagged: Zorro

Ed Catto’s Convention Treasures!

I’m still reeling – in a good way – from Syracuse’s Salt City Comic-Con. It was a fantastic comic convention where I had way too much fun. And I’ve got some observations to share with you about it, but they’ll have to wait until next week.

This week I like to share some of the treasures I found at the show.

Let’s start with the “full disclosure” routine. I’m at the point where my comic collection is way too large, and I’ve been taking the steps to prune it back over the last few years. I’ve found this process difficult to adjust to, but my wife and I are in that downsizing mode. Surprisingly, I’m finding that maybe I am not that much of a hoarder after all. I actually feel better when I get rid of stuff.

But… I can’t help but wander a convention and stumble across a few treasures. And I was delighted with what I found at Syracuse’s Salt City Comic-Con.

In a 50-cent long box, I found this fantastic copy of Fantagraphics’ reprint title from 1987, Untamed Love, showcasing Frank Frazetta stories. Even though this reprint collection was published thirty years ago, the comic felt pretty new. The coloring is vibrant and the high-quality paper really holds up. The stories are a bit silly, but that Frazetta artwork is gorgeous!

Neal Adams was our guest of honor and, as he often does, told us few stories. Iwas especially intrigued when he revealed he’s working on a new Deadman series. I pressed him for details, and instead of offering just a few coy or cryptic teases, he outlined the whole first issue. And then he showed me the page he was working on. I was really impressed and think it will be his best work in years.
So… in anticipation that new series, I picked up a reading copy of Strange Adventures #209. It was a thrilling story with innovative storytelling and clever page layouts. The big climactic fight atop a Ferris wheel kicked my vertigo into high gear. I have trouble with heights these days, and that frenetic battle above the midway isn’t going to help matters.

Of note: there was a circulation statement in this issue. It turns out Strange Adventures was reported to be selling 146,600 issues each month. I find that so astounding, especially compared to today’s print runs.

I just loved the cover to Girls’ Romances #160 and couldn’t resist snagging it. The brilliant Jay Scott Pike is the artist. While the composition is solid and strong, the non-traditional sketchy, scratchy line work was what grabbed me.

It turns out this was the last issue of this long-running series. By this time, they must have decided it wasn’t worth it to create new stories. Inside are reprints of old John Romita stories – but the women’s hairstyles were retouched to give it a “modern” 1971 feel! These bizarre edits create a double layer of retro.

Most fans fondly remember those Antonio Banderas Zorro movies from a few of years ago. My dad was just watching it on cable, in fact. And comic fans all agree that Alex Toth’s Zorro comics were a pinnacle for that character. So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself buying Zorro – The Complete Dell Pre-Code Comics from the Hermes Press booth at the con. It’s a totally different version of Zorro.

Hermes Press was an energetic and committed exhibitor. I may be a bit biased, as I do like so many of their books. They created two convention exclusives and they were selling everything at a discount, so all attendees found a lot to like about their stuff.

In the forward of the Zorro collection, ace author Max Allan Collins provides a brief history lesson about the main artist of these stories – Everett Raymond Kinstler. I wasn’t familiar with this artist, but he is work is evocative and often confused with, Joe Kubert’s style from the 50s. “You had me at Kubert,” I thought when reading the forward.

It’s a tremendous book and after I read it, I think it deserves a spot on my coffee table. Then after a while, I’ll lend it to my dad. Another treasure from another comic-con.

Zorro Comes To Your Home!

Zorro strip 1

Zorro z LogoLast week we told you about two upcoming collections of Don McGregor and Thomas Yeates’ Zorro newspaper strips as part of a broader profile of Tom’s recent work. As it happens, this week will see the rerelease of Zorro – The Dailies and Sundays (The Second Year) Collector’s Edition, reprinting all the daily and Sunday strips from the 1999 newspaper comic strips’ second year… and, through the website below, autographed by Tom Yeates.

Also for the first time, the entire two years of their Zorro newspaper strip are collected in Zorro – The Complete Dailies and Sundays. This latter hardcover edition will be limited to only 50 copies and will be signed by all Don McGregor, Tod Smith and Thomas Yeates.

Zorro was introduced as a revolutionary character for old California in pulp adventures by Johnston McCulley. Following a critically acclaimed comic series from Topps, the Zorro newspaper strip debuted in 1999 and was written by Don McGregor and drawn by Tod Smith, Thomas Yeates and Rick Magyar. The strip appeared in major newspapers across North America. The series was clearly a labor of love for these creators, all the while paying homage to past creators while still offering fresh and exciting new adventures.

Both editions will be published July 25, 2016. Fans can preorder before that date at www.ZorroDailies.com or www.ClassicHeroes.de.

Ed Catto: Strip Tease – Thomas Yeates, Prince Valiant & Co.


Yeates Prince ValiantA few years ago when I had the honor to moderate the Joe Kubert panel at New York Comic Con, I was pleasantly surprised by how many great stories one of the panelists shared.

These tales were spun by Thomas Yeates, one of the first graduates of the Kubert School. Yeates has enjoyed an extraordinary career, drawing iconic characters iconic from Tarzan to Swamp Thing, Conan to Captain Action and even Dracula. And there are so many more.

I still enjoy his brilliant work each weekend when I pick up the Sunday paper and read Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant.

Recently, I caught up with Thomas Yeates and chatted about his recent efforts.

Ed Catto: You’ve been illustrating the Prince Valiant weekly comic strip for some time now. How’s it all going?

Thomas Yeates: Basically it’s great; I’m very fortunate to have landed this job. Particularly working with writer Mark Schultz, who likes hearing my story ideas, which makes it a lot more fun.

EC: What are some the challenges you find as opposed to traditional comics or illustrations?

TY: The main problem is the reproduction. I’ve had to limit the line work to accommodate a weird registration problem that we see today. Comic books have much better printing. The format differs from paper to paper, but I’ve been able to deal with that.

Tarzan BeckoningEC: The longevity of Prince Valiant is astounding. Why do you think it endures?

TY: Well the main credit for that goes to Hal Foster who created, wrote and illustrated this Sunday only strip. And, of course, the hard work of those who followed Foster. He set the bar so incredibly high that all of us who’ve continued the strip have tried our best to maintain that level of quality. At least that’s what I think.

EC: Who’s your favorite character in the Prince Valiant cast?

TY: Val himself. His wife Aleta is wonderful too. It’s much better when there are women in action adventure stories. And of course Gawain is always a kick.

EC: I’ve heard rumors that your mini-series, Tarzan: The Beckoning, first published by Malibu in the 90s, is going to be reprinted. Can you tell me more about that?

TY: Yes. We just finished working on that for about nine months, Dark Horse, two assistants and myself. We fixed the coloring, I added a little new art and tweaked the story. There were production problems in the original version so the new collection will be much better, including pages put back in order that were out of order in the Malibu version. I think it will be out in the fall.

EC: One of the issues Tarzan: The Beckoning dealt with was the slaughter of elephants and the ivory trade. We see that countries and organizations are still struggling with this issue, as evidenced by the crushing and burning of ivory. Do you keep up with the issue and what insights might you have?

TY: That’s a terrible situation. “When will we ever learn?” as the song says. Yes, it’s ironic that just when The Beckoning is being reprinted with its fight against the ivory trade theme we find elephants being slaughtered for their tusks again, just like when I originally created the story some 24 years ago. Yes, I follow the issue and had input from various experts back when I wrote it. One of them, from the Environment Investigation Agency, came back and contributed an update on the situation for the new Dark Horse edition.

Prince ValiantEC: In The Beckoning, your version of Tarzan’s wife Jane was exceedingly lovely. Can you tell me a little bit about how you envision these characters?

TY: Well I was quite taken by Maureen O’Sullivan who played Jane in the Weissmuller films of the 1930s so she was my inspiration there. Plus Burroughs descriptions of Jane, and Russ Manning always gave her such beauty and dignity and I wanted to maintain that.

EC: I also seem to recall that you snuck a few of your other characters into that mini-series. Is that correct?

TY: Yes, I do that sometimes to keep myself amused. In the crowd scenes there are environmental activist friends I knew then and The Timespirits as well.

EC: Will you be at San Diego Comic-Con again this year?

TY: Yes.

EC: What keeps you coming back every year?

TY: Good question. Why the hell do I keep going? Recently because my daughter Olivia likes to go with me.

By the way I should mention there’s a new reprint of all the Zorro newspaper strips I did with Don McGregor and Tod Smith coming out from a German publisher <at that same time>, including an English language version.

EC: Yes, Uwe Weber filled me in. The German independent publisher “Classic Heroes” Is launching two exclusive Zorro-Dailies Editions in July 2016. The books will be available only thru direct orders at zorrodailies.com or classicheroes.de . He also explained that fans can find the complete information on these two beautiful books, and all the various projects on the ThomasYeates.com site.
EC: What keeps you going as an artist every day?

TY: What keeps me going as an artist every day is another good question, Ed. I have to make a living and this is what I know how to do. A great script is always inspiring too. I’m still trying to figure out how the great artists I love, like Foster, did it. Sometimes that challenge keeps me going.

EC: Ha! I think there’s a lot of us who to try figure out how you do it, Thomas! Thanks so much for your time and insights.

(Editor’s Note: Prince Valiant by Mark Schultz and Thomas Yeates, is available online along with over 100 other current and vintage King Features comic strips – The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Popeye, Flash Gordon, Buz Sawyer, Johnny Hazard, Zippy The Pinhead and a slew of others at www.comicskingdom.com. Tell ‘em ComicMix sent you, and then ask yourself why you’re talking to your computer.)

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #374


The law doesn’t work the way it did in The Twilight Children #1. Except for those times when it does.

Bundo, the town drunk, lives in a small seaside town somewhere in Mexico. According to the local kids who spent two panels giving us Bundo’s back story, Bundo passed out on a couch with a lit cigarette. His house caught fire. His wife and his three little kids died in the fire. Bundo was sent to prison because “mean people said he set that fire on purpose.” Later Bundo was let out of prison when, “they found out he didn’t do it on purpose.”


I don’t know what Bundo was convicted of. My efforts to find out were hampered by the fact that try as I might – and I did try – I couldn’t find any convenient source of Mexican laws online. At least not one I could read. I may have been a Spanish major in college, but that was more than forty years ago. Nowadays my Spanish isn’t even good enough to get me through an episode of Zorro.

Okay, there was this one site where a group of Mexican attorneys offered to provide “English translations of Mexican Laws, Regulations, and Standards.” And all for only $1,275 a year. I passed. It’s not that I don’t love you, my readers. I do. I just don’t love you that much. (Apparently, you can put a price on love and it’s $1,275 a year.)

So, I’m going to analyze Bundo’s situation using law I can find and research; Ohio law. My Yahoo weather app assigns random pictures from Flickr to the background screen for my home town’s weather. According to Yahoo, Cleveland has mountains, hot springs, icebergs, and castles in it. I see no reason why it can’t have a small Mexican seaside village as well.

One of the few things I did learn about criminal trials in Mexico is that they’re tried to judges, not to juries. If the judge in our strange hybrid world of MexicOhio believed Bundo did what he did on purpose, that judge would have convicted Bundo of aggravated murder.

The judge might have thought Bundo murdered his wife and children with prior calculation and design. That’s what we used to call “premeditated murder” back in those unenlightened days when we let Perry Mason define our crimes and not legislators who were paid by the word. If so, the judge would have convicted Bundo of aggravated murder with prior calculation and design.

Bundo’s children were described as “little kids.” They were probably under the age of 13. In MexicOhio, aggravated murder also lies if someone purposefully kills a person of tender years.

Finally, if the judge believed that Bundo set his house on fire on purpose that would be aggravated arson. As Bundo’s wife and children died as a result of the aggravated arson, the judge could have convicted Bundo of aggravated murder under a felony murder rationale.

It doesn’t matter under what theory the judge convicted Bundo. He could even have mixed and matched theories like socks in a Laundromat. What matters is that Bundo would have been convicted of aggravated murder.

Aggravated murder is a hefty crime. It’s not surprising then that it carries a hefty prison sentence. Not the death penalty – Mexico doesn’t have the death penalty – but a long, long sentence.

In the story, Bundo was released from prison after “they”determined he didn’t kill his family “on purpose.” In the real world – or even the semi-real world of MexicOhio – Bundo would not have been released just because, “they found out he didn’t do it on purpose.”

Ohio courts have the power to modify convictions if new facts come to light. Juries can consider lesser included offenses. So can courts. If new facts prompt a court to conclude the evidence no longer supports a conviction for one crime, the court can determine whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction any lesser included offense subsumed in the greater crime.

Bundo was so drunk that he passed out on the couch with a lit cigarette. Said cigarette started a fire which killed his wife and children. It’s my considered opinion that any judge who considered Bundo’s case would correctly find that even if Bundo didn’t do it on purpose, so wasn’t guilty of aggravated murder, he was guilty of reckless homicide.

After the judge found Bundo guilty of reckless homicide, it would have imposed a new Bundo, one appropriate for reckless homicide. Bundo wouldn’t have been released simply because “they,” whoever “they” were, suddenly discovered that he didn’t kill his family on purpose. He would have gone back to prison under the new sentence imposed on him. That’s why the law doesn’t work the way it did in The Twilight Children # 1.

But here’s why it sometimes does.

The judge might think the years Bundo had already spent in prison for the aggravated murder which he didn’t really commit was sufficient punishment for the reckless homicide which Bundo did commit. In that case, the judge could suspend the new sentence he imposed on Bundo for reckless homicide and put Bundo on probation.

Also we don’t know how long Bundo had been in prison before he was released. If Bundo had spent so much time in prison under his sentence for aggravated murder that he had already served the maximum sentence authorized by law for reckless homicide, what then? Due Process says you can’t imprison a person for longer than the maximum sentence authorized by law. In that case, the judge would have released Bundo, because he had already served the maximum sentence. Either way, Bundo would have been released from prison because “they found out he didn’t do it on purpose,” just like the story said.

And that’s why the law doesn’t work the way it did in The Twilight Children # 1, except for those times when it does. Under either scenario, Bundo would be free from prison and free to contemplate the mysteries of life.

Mysteries such as this. Bundo is a slang term meaning to become highly intoxicated. Why the hell would his parents give him a name that was basically a self-fulfilling prophecy? Parents who do that – especially comic book parents who do that – are a real E. Nigma.