Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Society of Illustrators Profile: Frederic Remington

Born in Canton, New York in 1861, Fredric Sackrider Remington spent many hours in the saddle riding with his father as a boy which started his lifelong love for horses that would help inspire the artist in his future career. Attending military school and a brief stint at Yale University, Remington was more interested in drawing and sports than his academic studies, so hearing tall tales of adventure on the frontier, he ventured West in 1881 to seek his fortune. Raising sheep and herding cattle in Montana did not provide much money, but he did end up with a bag full of drawings which he sold to Harper's Weekly upon his return. As much at home on the Western plains as with his society friends back East, Remington saw the Old West was quickly disappearing, so he decided to return many times to document the people, customs and landscapes of this dying tradition. In 1886 his work appeared in St Nicholas, Harper's Weekly, and Outing magazines, followed by offers from various other publications of the day. Thrilling the American public with his accurate Western scenes, the artist left the print media and turned to painting for exhibition in 1903. His equal care and attention to authentic detail in his paintings and sketches carried over to his budding interest in sculpture in 1898, where he was the first American to use the lost wax process. During the Spanish-American War, Remington went to Cuba as an artist/reporter where he met and developed an enduring friendship with the legendary rough rider, Teddy Roosevelt. Upon his death in 1909 from an appendicitis at age 48, Roosevelt spoke about this robust and energetic friend at his funeral," The soldier, the cowboy and rancher, the Indian, the horse and cattle of the plains will live in his pictures, I verily believe for all time."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comic Art Legend: Jesse Marsh

Born in Monrovia, California in 1907, little is known of Jesse Marsh's early life, though he joined Disney's Animation Studio at age thirty two doing breakdown animation on film classics such as Pinocchio and Fantasia. After a two year stint in WWII, he returned to Disney as a storyboard artist and idea man on various Donald Duck and Pluto cartoons among other features. While still at Disney, art director Tom McKimson at Western Printing encouraged Marsh to draw comics in his spare time, with his first assignment a Gene Autry cowboy book in 1945. Numerous children's books and comics soon followed until Marsh was fortunate enough to be chosen to do a Tarzan one-shot in February of 1947. Marsh's moody style inspired by Milton Caniff and Noel Sickles helped promote Burroughs ape-man for the next fifteen years on that blockbuster title. Best known for his one hundred sixty one issues of Tarzan he illustrated, the artist also worked on many of Western's licensed properties like Rex Allen, The Range Rider, Annie Oakly, and Jonny Mack Brown, just to name a few. Even though he produced thousands of pages over his twenty years at Western Printing, he also found time to work on Walt Disney's syndicated Treasury of Classic Tales Sunday page drawing Davy Crockett and Nikki, Wild Dog of the North. Drawing countless other projects such as Zorro for the foreign markets and ghosting the Flintstones were on his board in 1965, before diabetes caused his retirement due to failing eyesight. Now wanting to paint at his leisure, the artist unfortunately passed away within a year in 1965.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Sheldon Moldoff

Being the first of many "ghosts" to assist Bob Kane on Batman and Robin's many adventures, "Shelly" Modoff was an early favorite with DC's legion of fans in his long career with National. One of only a handful of  cartoonists  at the dawn of the Golden Age, the artist's solid drawing style helped him  last well into the Silver Age...I was born April 14, 1920 in Manhattan, and had no formal art training, but learned to draw on the streets of New York with chalk. My favorite artists include, Norman Rockwell, Walt Disney, Alex Raymond, Milt Caniff, Hal Foster, and Willard Mullin. I sold my first cartoon at age seventeen, and was Bob Kane's first assistant on Batman. Was the Golden Age creator of the Black Pirate and Hawkman. I was also the cover artist who introduced the Green Lantern and The Flash at National. Ghosted Batman for Bob Kane from 1953-1967. Story-boarded the Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse animated series plus hundreds of other short films. Produced the original full length feature Marco Polo Jr show. Created comic book giveaways for Red Lobster, Shoney's Big Boy, Captain D's, Burger-King, Blockbuster, Atlanta Braves, and many others.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

V.T. Hamlin...In His Own Words

Here is a brief explanation, published years ago by cartoonist V.T. Hamlin about working on his world famous caveman, Ally Oop he created in 1932, and illustrated for over forty years. It's still being published today by the only husband and wife team in syndiction, Jack and Carole Bender...I'm an outdoors man myself, and my life has been a pleasantly exciting one, and often quite hazardous. I actually dislike violence, although I was a football player, a semi-pro boxer, a race car driver and any number of other crazy things. Now, I mostly fish...in the Florida Keys, with a fly rod or, in late summer, on the Yellowstone River, which I navigate mostly in a rubber boat. My character Alley Oop, with whom I have been most intimately associated for the past thirty years, is a kindly and gentile soul...albeit his physical appearance belies it. Physically, Oop is the man I would loved to have been myself. Mentally, I figure maybe I'm a notch or two up on him, but not much more than that.

My methods of working...it just sort of happens, if you get what I mean. Sometimes I know what I'm going to put down on that strip of blank paper. More often than not, however, I don't...and I'm often surprised at what I do put there. Now, I'm not just saying that for effect; it's the truth. As a young newspaper man in the Southwest, mostly in and around Fort Worth and Houston, Texas, I became fascinated by geology...especially the part devoted to the Mesozoic Age, the age of the reptile. In those days (1926) not many people knew much of anything about dinosaurs. So, being the good reporter that I was, I decided to tell them. What better way than with Alley Oop?


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nick Cardy's "Three Day Free Home Trial!"

Nick Cardy is probably best known for his thirty nine issues of DC's Aquaman where he helped create the King of the Seven Seas lovely wife, Mera, and the evil villain, Ocean Master. His equally successful forty three issue run on National's Teen Titans was also an instant fan favorite, coupled with the artist's uncanny ability to draw very attractive female characters. Cardy's great skill with pen and ink soon made him DC's primary cover artist for the mid-1970s where he illustrated many titles including Superman, Action Comics, The Brave and the Bold, Batman, Flash, Ghosts, The Witching Hour, Bat Lash, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, World's Finest and numerous 100 Page Giant comics, just to name a few. Working more in the superhero genre in his long career with National, it's great to find a moody Cardy horror story drawn in his clean distinct style from DC's The Witching Hour #8 in this 1970 tale entitled...