Monday, May 31, 2010

Armstrong Favorites

Rolf Armstrong is a favorite golden age magazine artist, and my overall favorites of his work are his College Humor covers. The portraits of women are certainly vintage, but the colors, compositions and moods are timeless.

The delicate tracery of the veil in the first one here, with the delicate shadow is subtly amazing considering the pastel medium he's using.

Above and below, reworking the cover for a calendar.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


We need to move on to other material, but we WILL come back to StarHawks at some point soon to have a run of continuity. Until then, imagine how this particular double-sized daily looked on a page with The Born Loser, Nancy, Marmaduke, etc.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Confident Style

This Micronauts cover by Gil Kane was produced within the year that StarHawks went into a publishers' blackhole in 1981. You can certainly see that Kane carried on the confident style that he firmly established on the comic strip run. You can also certainly see the influence Farah Fawcett had on women's hair styles.

And I'm certainly not saying that Kane didn't have a confident style prior to StarHawks. It just became even more excellent.

The Saviours

StarHawks seemed to be a turning point in style for Gil Kane, spilling over into his comic book work—energizing it for years to come.

Interestingly, these couple of pages, looking like StarHawks material, are from a story in Time Warp #2, a DC comic book that published just about the time StarHawks first published—meaning he worked on them simultaneously.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rescued...but then lost again

I'm trying to come up with individual panels to marvel at, but so far the full layouts are so interesting the way they are.


Spaceships and heroes. Pretty girls and robots.

Every day you could count on some measure of one of those.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Space Opera

Look at this gorgeous gorgeous end panel. The architecture is stunning, and yet this is but one panel of one daily of hundreds. Kane knew that an opportunity of two tiers of comic page space should not go to waste with talking heads. Kane's work over the years helped to reboot space opera to its finest.

Great Montage

Here is the Gil Kane art for that great StarHawks montage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Long Way from Here, A Long Time from Now...

There is a long and fabled history to Gil Kane's comic book work. In my estimation though, his best work was on a comic strip—the innovative Star Hawks of the late 70s. Working on the strip seemed to bring his full talent to bear on his work, reflecting as well from his comic book work during and after the strip's run. His graphic sense became sharper and even more dynamic than earlier. His architectural and perspective renderings were faultless and iconic.

I was working as an art director at an advertising agency in 1977, and three things stand out in pop culture for me in that year—someone running into the office shouting that Elvis had died, the first Star Wars movie came out, and the premier of Star Hawks in the comic section of the paper.

One reason that I took notice of Star Hawks was that I had a comic strip of my own running just below it on the page. . .*blush* . . . well, okay—it was my advertising artwork, masquerading as a comic strip for various clients. As I trimmed my ad comic as tearsheets for the client book, I also trimmed Star Hawks for myself from the first day it premiered.

I ended up collecting the entire run, looking forward to each day's new strip, until one day it disappeared from the paper. From that day, the comic section seemed dull and gray, until the day that little boy and his imaginary tiger friend showed up.

I traded off that collection some years later, just before I acquired my first scanner—sigh. So I don't have a full run anymore, but I did keep a number of duplicates, and those I'd like to share with you.

Kane's two-tiered dailies were unique and innovative to the comic section, and his art was, and is, just stunning. Remember this was in 1977, the year Star Wars—A New Hope premiered, and the strip had a lot of the atmosphere of that movie, but was not a copy or clone.

So here are the first seven strips of Star Hawks. Look closely at each panel to marvel at the detail and atmosphere that was an oasis of fantasy in the otherwise dull comic section, mine included . . . *blush*

Below is one of a sheaf of promotional posters, printed on bristol that Kane carried around with him to sometimes draw on the blank back. Below that is the drawing of ERB's Dejah Thoris and John Carter, that I've posted before, that he drew for me as I watched, when I met him and spent some time talking. He had already been on the strip for awhile and we talked shop.

Coming up, I will be enlarging and highlighting panels from Star Hawks strips and see if I can pull together some memories of what we discussed about the strip.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Madame X?

Speaking of humorous cartoonists working on adventurous comics—of course Carl Barks' best Duck stories were of the adventurous sort. But isn't it fascinating to think of what might have been if Barks had proceeded with his experimentation of a human adventure romance strip, as he attempted here in a character study back in the late 1940s?

Peter Wheat is My Name

Whether you are a fan of Walt Kelly or a fan of great sequential art, be sure to check in over at Whirled of Kelly, where the rare FIRST issue of The Adventures of Peter Wheat has been posted for your enjoyment. It's something that you probably haven't seen before.

Above, a reconstruction of a 1948 poster that will give you a synopsis of what you need to know about the world of Peter Wheat.

Below, the first panel of the first issue of The Adventures of Peter Wheat:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Merlin's Cottage

I believe this is Merlin's cottage. The sense of place and reality is really perfect, with a feeling of believable magic (arcane science). The architectural elements are brilliant. This is where I'd want to live as an ancient wizard. My mind's eye is agoggle as I imagine the interior of the cottage and what wonders might reside there.

One of my favoritist images ever, tucked away in my morgue, with no information on the artist. I know I should know who it is, but I can't place it. Can anyone help me with that?

Okay, here's the update: This lovely painting is by Charles Frizzell, who has a website that shows this piece and more. Thanks to Marc for the info and thanks to Charles for the idyllic daydreams.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It . . It's Paradise!

Wotta man! Wotta movie!

Above is an ad from a 1951 comic book promoting the release of the live-action movie that many of us older (but not real old) farts fondly remember from Saturday afternoon TV (remember the Tarzan movies on Sunday afternoons?).

Ten years earlier, the Fleischer/Paramount animated Superman series debuted in September of 1941, with 17 cartoons touring the nation's theaters over the next 2 years.. The plug below is from the middle of a Newsboy Legion story by Simon & Kirby in 1942.

Elsewhere in 1942, Clark Kent himself gets a rush out of the cartoon:


Wotta gal! Wotta poster!

Friday, May 21, 2010

"America's Greatest Revue"

What were Earl Carroll Vanities?

A series of revues produced by Earl Carroll annually from 1923 through 1932 (except for 1927 and 1929) and again in 1940, they were celebrated and sometimes attacked for their emphasis on nude girls and salacious humor. Joe Cook, W. C. Fields, and Sophie Tucker were among the many stars who appeared in the shows, which left behind few memorable melodies.

—answer from

An homage by Jim Silke

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paper Castle

I normally don't reblog from someone else's blog, but these images of a paper castle by Wataru Itou were too amazing to pass up. This paper craft installation was four years in the making! Tip of the hat to Tokyobling's Blog, visit there to see the same pix, with more info.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By Any Other Name

I read some time ago (I can't vouch for the accuracy of my memory—but it's all I've got to go on for this) that Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, attempted to reinvent himself for a new series. I think I read that he felt that many people perceived Moebius' work to be dark and intimidating. So with his new production of lighter, spiritually uplifting work, he also used a new signature, a pseudonym of sorts: Jean Gir.

A rose by any other name . . .

Okay, I'm back. I just did some research, which of course is what I should done the first time around. Check down below at the end of this post.

I'm going to quote directly from Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier:

In 1980, Moebius met French philosopher and spiritualist Jean-Paul Appel-Guery, who had a powerful influence on him and his work during the 1980s. Through Appel-Guery, Moebius also met writer-journalist Paula Salomon, and later young artist Marc Bati. Salomon, with fellow writer Charlie Cooper, wrote a remarkable book on parapsychology, La parapsychologie et Vous, which Moebius illustrated. These illustrations were reprinted in Chaos (Marvel, 1991). For Bati, Moebius eventually co-created and wrote the Altor series, aka The Magic Crystal.

Appel-Guery encouraged Moebius to tap into the more positive zones of his subconscious. "Most of the people that were studying spirituality with Appel-Guery did not know much about comics, but they immediately picked on the morbid, and overall negative feelings that permeated my work," said Moebius. "So I began feeling ashamed, and I decided to do something really different, just to show them that I could do it." And Moebius did just that in stories such as The White Citadel and Double Escape (in Pharagonesia, Marvel, 1988) even creating the new sigature of "Jean Gir."