Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Greatest Adventure: The Doom Patrol

One of the wildest super teams to ever come from DC Comics, The Doom Patrol debuted in My Greatest Adventure #80 in the Summer of 1963 written by Arnold Drake and drawn by Bruno Premiani. Reborn out of disaster, strangers were offered another chance as fabulous superhero freaks, guided by a wheelchair-bound genius, Dr. Niles Caulder, AKA, The Chief. Actress Rita Dayton became the dynamic Elasti-Girl, being able to expand and contract her body like a gorgeous rubber band. Robotman was what's left of sportsman and race car driver Cliff Steele who's brain only survived a deadly auto crash. Larry Trainor, a jet test-pilot who flew through an atomic cloud created a radio-energy being separate from his body,The Negative Man, he can now control at will. Together with Steve Dayton, Rita's husband and one of the world's richest men, Steve can lift an elephant with just one thought wave as the mighty Mento. Scorned as freaks by the citizens they protect,The Doom Patrol use there super powers to fight bizarre menaces like the Brotherhood of Evil and Mr. 103, to save humanity from world domination.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic Art Legend: Russ Manning

Best know for his work on Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes, Russell Manning was born in Van Nuys, California in 1929 and after completing high school he enrolled in the Los Angeles Art Institute. When just starting out in comics, Russ was drafted in 1950 and sent to Japan where he excelled in his map making skills while drawing cartoons for the base newspaper. After discharge from the military, Manning was fortunate to meet with Jesse Marsh who was drawing Tarzan for Dell Comics at the time, and helped him get a position with the Dell art staff. Russ drew various Western and movie related titles including the Tarzan backup feature Brothers of the Spear. His later creation called, Magnus, Robot Fighter, was a Tarzan inspired hero set in the distant future which was an instant fan-favorite for Gold Key Comics.

Chosen to succeed his friend Jesse Marsh in 1965, Manning quickly made Tarzan an exciting feature all his own, and was hailed by his many fans worldwide for his loyal intrepretations of Burrough's work. This success persuaded ERB Inc. to have United Features Syndicate pick Russ to take over the syndicated Tarzan dailystrip in 1967. Adding a Sunday page the following year, the artist was praised for his inspired stories and artwork, though unfortunately the strip continued to be a commercial failure. In 1972, Russ left the daily to give more attention to the Sunday page, which was alway his favorite, and do other Tarzan related comics on the European market. In 1979 the artist was asked by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate to illustrate the new Star Wars strip which he did until his poor health made Russ turn over the feature to Alfredo Alcala, just months before Manning's early demise on December 1, 1981.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ed Dodd...In His Own Words

Mark Trail is created by not one but several writers and artists, pooling their ideas to produce the finished daily and Sunday product. Any member of my staff may come up with an appropriate idea for a sequence. It is then kicked around by the entire group until it reaches the acceptable stage. We put particular emphasis on character in Mark Trail, and attempt to let the characters produce the dramatic quality of the stories, rather than the other way around. Once we have finished the sequence in my studio, it is forwarded to New York, where it is studied carefully by an editor of the Hall Syndicate. It is criticized and returned to us. Then we go into another story session, either accepting or rejecting the criticism...using our best story judgement.

We then write the final draft. At this point the weekly "scenes" are written, and frequently they are changed slightly, depending on both the art and dramatic quality improvement. These are also forwarded to New York for criticism, and are often changed in detail before the drawing is started. Once the weekly scenes are agreed upon, artists then lay out the art, including the balloons, in pencil. This "rough" is then turned over to the letterer who put in the finished copy. After that the drawings are completed in ink. I was born in Lafayette, Georgia in 1902. I studied architecture at Georgia Tech one year, and spent two years studying at the Art Students' League in New York. Mark Trail was started in 1946.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Eldon Dedini

I was born June 29, 1921 in King City, but really love New York. I now live in beautiful Monterrey, California. Studied art in Salinas, Los Angeles, and many museums far and wide. Graduated from Chouinard Art Institute. My early work was with the "Salinas Index-Journal" and "Salinas Morning Post" from 1944-46. I worked on Donald Duck and Mice features at the Walt Disney Studios, also "Ichabod and Mr. Toad" and "Fun and Fancy Free". Gag man and cartoonist for Esquire from 1952 to 1955, with The New Yorker since 1950, with Playboy since 1960. I received the National Cartoonist Awards for best magazine cartoonist in 1958, 1961, 1964, 1989. I now do posters and advertising. My recent book: "A Much, Much Better World". Microsoft Press. I did it all with the support of my wife, Virginia and son Giulio.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Original Comic Art Prices: 1972

You could always find a deal if you looked hard enough in the most famous comic related fanzine, The Rocket's Blast Comic Collector, and issue 90 from 1972 was no exception. As well as ads from the bigger dealers in this budding new hobby of collecting original comic artwork, there were a few private collectors with some great deals. John Vargas, out of Los Angeles was one of these "dealers" that had a full page ad selling his Silver Age pages at slightly higher prices...for the day. One of his advertisement's had a mere twenty one pages by eleven different artists, but what fantastic pages they were, from some giants of the field. Starting off at the top of the page was none other than a Jack "King" Kirby Fantastic Four #81 pg. 8 piece for $22.50, or you could have Captain America #112 pg. 16 for the very same price!

Next came two nice panel pages for $18 dollars each, one from Tales of Suspense #92 pg. 10 and The Mighty Thor #154 pg. 3. But the high priced Kirby was @$25 for a Journey into Mystery #107 pg. 7 to round out his "King" pages. Two John Romita Amazing Spider-Man pages were listed from issues #51 pg. 14 and #52 pg. 18 for the unheard of price of $16.50 each. Jim Steranko was up next with page 10 from issue 51 of Marvel's X-Men for the grand sum of $36.50, the highest price piece in his ad and a tie with Neal Adams' Brave and the Bold #85 page 4. This collector really had a "A" list of original comic art offering his Wally Wood Thunder Agents example from the fourth story of issue #15 page 5 for only twelve fifty. How about another giant in the field, Joe Kubert, and his seminal work on Hawkman from Brave and the Bold #44 page 3 for $16.50. I don't know why this guy didn't round up these gems to a whole dollar amount, but with these kooky low price, who really cares.

John Buscema's page one splash for Sub-Mariner #1 as next for $26, you must have to pay more for the splash I guess, but a Captain America piece from issue #115 pg. 13 ran only $15. Perhaps the next two covers were the best deals in print, you could either have Barry Smith's cover to Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #12 for thirty American dollars, or if that's too high, settle for his X-Men #53 cover for only $25! You want more splashes you say? Well, how about two from the talented Marie Severin, take your pick of the Incredible Hulk #102 page one for sale at $26, (more than a Barry Smith cover) or the affordable example of Strange Tales #160 featuring Dr. Strange at $18, go figure? Oh, and this seller also had the first page of Iron Man #1 for only $24 by Gene"The Dean" Colan. Rounding out our ad from the past is the bargain bin prices of $7 each for Don Heck, his Avengers #35 pg. 12 or #42 pg. 8, or a nice X-Men #43 pg. 12 , but if you bought all three Vargas would knock off a buck so the set was only twenty USD.