Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ten Comic Artists at Work!

Russ Manning

Howie Post

Sheldon Mayer

John Buscema

Joe Sinnott

Carl Barks

Jim Steranko

Ernie Bushmiller

Jack Cole

Curt Swan

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Art of Roy G. Krenkel

Roy Gerald Krenkel (11 July 1918 – 24 February 1983), who often signed his work RGK, was an influential American illustrator who specialized in fantasy, historical drawings, and paintings for books, magazines, and comic books. His artwork revealed the strong influence by artists Norman Lindsay, Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll, Alma Tadema, and J. Allen St. John.  He studied with George Bridgman at the Art Students League of New York before serving in WWII and later attended Burne Hogarth's classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, which became the School of Visual Arts, after his enlistment. There he met a group of young cartoonists including, Joe Orlando, Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson, that became his friends and fellow artists in fantasy illustration. Krenkel sometimes collaborated with Frazetta and Williamson on pages the three drew for EC Comics particularly in Weird Science, Weird Fantasy and Weird Science-Fantasy. Though he only drew one story for the company, the unsigned “Time to Leave” (Incredible Science Fiction 31, September–October, 1955), which displayed his unique futuristic cityscapes of architectural splendor. Perhaps the artist is best known for the 23 paperback book cover paintings and a number of frontispieces for Edgar Rice Burroughs and other fantasy writers published by Ace Books. During the late 1960s, he created cover paintings for DAW Books and when Lancer revived Robert E. Howard's, Conan the Barbarian, Krenkel was cited by cover artist Frazetta as a consultant. Roy also created preliminary roughs which Frazetta modified and used when he painted covers for Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie. During the 1970s, he illustrated both covers and interiors for Howard's The Sowers of the Thunder and The Road of Azrael. It was at this time Krenkel created seven special paintings for a limited edition portfolio illustrating the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as contributed to several science-fantasy fan publications. Thought Krenkel was known for regarding his own work as disposable and unimportant, he inspired many artists in the world of fantasy illustration today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

An Atlas/Seaboard Cover Gallery

Many collectors fondly remember the short-lived Atlas/Seaboard comics line that debuted in late 1974 with its 23 different comic titles and five different black and white magazines. Martin Goodman's new venture launched a wide assortment of romance, western, war, mystery, horror, superhero, and romance titles offering the highest rates in the industry to bring talented creators to his new company. Other innovations for Atlas/Seaboard was the  return of artwork to artists and author rights to original character creations. These relatively luxurious conditions attracted such top names as Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Russ Heath, John Severin, Alex Toth and Wally Wood, as well as such up-and-coming talents as Howard Chaykin and Rich Buckler. More importantly, these benefits helped initiate eventual change in the virtually completely work-for-hire industry, in which artists and writers had no royalties, rights to characters, and other rights routinely held in similar creative fields, such as book publishing and the music industry. But this progressive experiment in comics unfortunately folded in late 1975, with hardly any title surviving three issues, and just a few with four. These interesting covers and house ads, some unpublished, featured below demonstrate the little comic company that tried to take on DC and Marvel in the middle of the swinging seventies.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Kizilmaske...The Phantom in Turkey

Kızılmaske (Red Mask) was the Turkish series for the Phantom comic book published by Tay Yayınları. A total of 381 issues were released between 1973 to the late 1980's. Cover illustrations were by various Turkish artists, but the most prolific was Aslan Şükür. He painting in quash, usually in an 8.5 x 8 inch format for the cover image, with the masthead being added later. With no formal art training, Şükür was good to capture the action and enthusiasm in every situation his red clad hero was thrown into on these bright little gems. Being able to produce his detailed artwork very fast, Aslan did hundreds of covers, usually with his own composition. Occasionally though the artist just reproduced the Italian samples he was provided, not thinking he could improve on the images from the original publication. The first Kizilmaske series started August 13, 1973 and the last issue (#295) ended on March 30, 1979. It was a weekly publication that had 36, 44, or 52 pages per issue. The stories were either newspaper strip reprints, Team Fantomen or Fratelli Spada stories that sometimes had additional art from the Swedish Fantomen magazine. A few stories made exclusively made by Turkish artist/writer Özcan Eralp were published in Turkey only. The series started out printing two enlarged panels per page, but that format changed for the second and third series, and occasional one shots to follow. All the Kizilmaske issues were collected in albums later, with three or four issues per album. But the real draw for young Turks were the brightly colored covers as shown in the examples provided below.