Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gordon Keith, Creator of Lazarus' Talking Tree

The creator of the talking tree at Lazarus has passed away. Gordon Keith, of Upper Arlington, born in 1924, also created the Street of Yesteryear at the old COSI, the outside nativity for State Auto and helped build the Tiki Gardens at Indian Rocks Beach, FL. Obituary in today's Dispatch.
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Recently Read: Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941

For those curious about the earliest days of superhero comics, when creators had the freedom to go wherever their whims took them and the formulas for the genre hadn't yet been written in stone, Fantagraphics Books has published a handy and hefty sampler of the era.

Shot from the original comics (no computer coloring here), Supermen! covers the spectrum from very obscure (Rex Dexter of Mars, Fero, Planet Detective, Yarko the Great) to seminal early work by Jack Kirby, Basil Wolverton, Jack Cole, outsider Fletcher Hanks and more. Greg Sadowski's notes in the back of the book give great historical context; I learned a lot about the various competing and overlapping comics publishers and editors during this primordial period.

Reading Supermen! can actually become depressing because nearly every story contained in the book is more fun, and utilizes more imagination and whimsy, than any superhero comic book on sale today. Inside these pages you'll find pulp-colored dreams, crazy acts of violence (by the heroes!), hallucinogenic imagery, and the promise and fulfillment of illicit, bizarre thrills. As many in The Sex Pistols' audience went on to start their own groups, these stories must have spurred the creative imaginations of hundreds of future creators.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough; it needs to be on the shelves of anyone who reads any superhero comics, as it contains examples of the original formation of the genre. One small complaint: the credits for the book design, so essential for a finely packaged collection of graphics, is squirreled away in small print on the last page of the book. Not cool, Fantagraphics.

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Magazines I've Read Recently, February 28, 2015

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Denny's (Please Come Back to Columbus)

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Digest Enthusiast #1

I just received copies of the debut of The Digest Enthusiast, Richard Krauss and D. Blake Werts' new series covering the world of digest magazines. The book looks great, with interviews, a review by Rob Imes, and a crime story by Krauss I illustrated. I'm looking forward to reading the issue this week. You can order copies from Larque Press here:
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

You'll Never Know How Pretty You Can Be

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Comics I've Read Recently February 8, 2015

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We'll Ripple Your Body With Muscles

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Friday, February 6, 2015

A New Nix Comics Western Story Stampedin' Yer Way Soon!

From my drawing board today...
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