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The Devil’s in the brushstroke: Lurid paintings of monsters, nightmares & demons for Mexican pulps
05.14.2018
08:42 am
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We have their paintings, their names, and that’s about it. Araujo, Dorantes, Fzavala, Marin, Pérez, Luna, and Ortiz. Many more just disappeared or have been forgotten leaving only an unsigned canvas as evidence of their careers.

These were the artists who produced work for Mexican comic books and pulp magazines during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Most were treated like casual laborers hired to churn out work on a daily basis to meet the massive demand for comic books. To get an idea of scale: it’s estimated that some 56 million comic books were produced every month in Mexico during the mid-seventies. This was when Mexico’s population was around the 65 million mark—that’s one helluva lot of comics and one helluva lot of paintings.

Mexican comics had first taken their lead from the influx of US comic books during the 1940s. By the late 1950s, they were producing new and original stories and characters specifically for the Mexican market. Titles such as Los Supersabios, Los Supermachos, Los Agachados, Las Aventuras del Santo, Tinieblas, Blue Demon, El Tío Porfírio, Burrerías, Smog, Don Leocadio, Zor y los Invencibles, Las Aventuras de Capulina, Las Aventuras de Cepillín, and El Monje Loco all became best-sellers. Unlike US comics which were by then bound by a comic’s code, Mexican comic books and pulp magazines were able to publish work uncensored. This led to the rise of more salacious, brutal, and extreme storylines and artwork.

In 2007, Feral House issued a book celebrating the best of these pulp and comic book paintings called Mexican Pulp Art. In her introduction, Maria Cristina Tavera explained that these paintings reflected “The fantasy elements reflect Mexican attitudes about life, death, mysticism, and the supernatural.” Interest grew in the subject and in 2015, a selection of some of these original works was exhibited under the title Pulp Drunk. While there are still many gaps to filled in over the who’s and when’s and what’s, there is still a massive archive of brilliant, brash, and dazzling artworks to be enjoyed and thrilled over.
 
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More lurid pulp paintings, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.14.2018
08:42 am
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The legendary mutations of French comic artist Alain Voss


Alain Voss’ famous artwork for the cover of ‘Jardim Elétrico,’ the 1971 album by Brazilian psych-rock trio Os Mutantes
 
Born in France, artist Alain Voss would spend much of his early life in Brazil. Once the violence and repression associated with the Brazillian dictatorship established in 1964 came to a head in the early 1970s, Voss would return to France where he continued to work as an illustrator and painter.

During his long career—which was cut short when Voss passed away at the way-too-young age of 65—his artwork had been used widely by Métal Hurlant, which when translated to English means “Screaming Metal.” Métal Hurlant has been referred to as one of the most influential comics to ever come out of France, and with good reason. Among the collaborators and creative minds behind Métal Hurlant were Mœbius (aka the great Jean Giraud), Italian comic writer and artist Milo Manara, American artist Richard Corben, and French comic artist Philippe Druillet. Writing contributions for the publication came from the likes of Alejandro Jodorowsky and comic book pioneer, writer, artist and painter Chantal Montellier—the first woman to hold the position of editorial cartoonist in France. Together Giraud and Druillet joined forces with author Jean-Pierre Dionnet, and with the help of financial whiz Bernard Farkas, the quad would become known as “Les Humanoides Associés” or the United Humanoids. When Métal Hurlant came to the States thanks to National Lampoon magazine, it morphed into Heavy Metal magazine which it first hit the shelves in April of 1977.

Alain Voss was among Métal Hurlant’s well-chosen, visionary artists. Voss’ work has also appeared on various hard-to-find French record sleeves, as well as a series of Brazilian compilation albums with inspired psychedelic covers from the early 1970s which are quite collectible. I’ve posted an array of Voss’ work including his dubious punk rock character Heilman which you must see to believe. Some of what follows is NSFW.
 

The work of Voss on the cover of Metal Hurlant #29.
 

Cover art by Voss for Métal Hurlant #10, October 1976.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.05.2018
10:38 am
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What if all the great American punk heroes had their own classic comic book titles?


 
Not long ago a Brazilian artist going by the name W. Loud cooked up some excellent punk rock/Marvel mashup covers. W. Loud’s graffiti-style signature cleverly transforms that “W” into a little crown on top of the word “LOUD.”)

Loud dedicated one image each to covers for the Descendents, Black Flag, the Misfits, the Dead Kennedys, and Minor Threat (whom we’ll count as “punk” for the purposes of this exercise). Loud appears to favor the U.S. variety of punk rocker, there ain’t a Brit in the bunch. For the most part, the covers are freely invented, not 1:1 homages,  but Loud was sure to sprinkle in lots of clues to transmit his enthusiasm for both Marvel lore and the bands. He made sure to work in the familiar band logos and slogans (“EVERYTHING SUCKS TODAY!”) as well as the pivotal first year of the band’s existence.

So you have Milo popping up on the outfits of two members of the Descendents, the familiar Alternative Tentacles logo occupying a corner of the Dead Kennedys cover, and devilock’d Jerry Only and crew backing up Danzig as was their lot in real life.

You can get prints and T-shirts of these images at the Touts website.
 

Henry Rollins with the chest logo and fiery paw of Iron Fist
 
Much more after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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03.30.2018
09:35 am
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The explicitly gory and gruesome covers for Mexican comic book ‘Relatos de Presidio’ (NSFW)

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If you’re under eighteen, or squeamish, or easily offended then there’s nothing for you here, so kindly move along. As for everyone else…

Relatos de Presidio (Tales from Prison) is a lurid blood ‘n’ guts crime comic from Mexico. It is one of the many sensacionales magazines produced in the country which feature explicitly illustrated tales of murder, torture, crime, and horror. True Crime or even Tales from the Crypt it ain’t. It’s more like the kinda thing Quentin Tarantino or Roger Corman might just come up with if ever they put their considerable talents for mayhem towards making adult exploitation comics.

Unlike America, there’s decidedly no comics code in Mexico, which means Relatos de Presidio and all those other sensacionales can get away with showing the most disturbing, violent and eye-poppingly-grotesque images. Don’t take my word for it, just have a swatch at some of the tamer covers below.

These trashy, adult exploitation comics are hugely popular in Mexico. They sell at most newsstands and comic book stores. They’re generally pocket-sized, up to one hundred pages an issue, with four panels to a page. The stories range from “true” tales of drug deals gone wrong to far-out psychos taking unholy revenge on the unfortunate. The covers usually feature scantily-clad, voluptuous women who hover over the bloody action like indifferent goddesses. Sometimes these women are the perpetrators. Most times their presence is just for mere titillation.

According to Horrorpedia, sensacionales have “a unique place in Mexican culture” which came about after the American superhero comics nearly destroyed the homegrown comic book industry in the 1980s. Where once Mexican comics like Pepín, Fantomas, and Memín Penguín sold millions of copies, the arrival of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and the Avengers led to ” the perception that comics were only for kids” and the indigenous comic industry almost disappeared. It was, therefore, only the adult exploitation mags or sensacionales which survived and thrived.

I guess this is one of the few times where you can absolutely judge a book by its cover!
 
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More lurid covers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.22.2018
11:49 am
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This isn’t Happiness: The heartbreak, depression and empty sex of Modern Love
06.16.2017
09:49 am
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Peter Nidzgorski is the artist provocateur behind the site This isn’t Happiness™. Under the name Peteski, he blogs about art, photographs, design, and disappointment. All of which has made This isn’t Happiness™ “One of the ‘Top 100 Overall’ Ranked Blogs on the Internet” according to Technorati.

One of the big attractions of Nidzgorski’s site is his clever manipulation of images like these altered panels from classic love story comic books. Nidzgorski asks his followers to suggest sentences or quotes which he then adds to a specific panel. His theme is modern love. Or rather a satirical take on the shallow, fickle, empty sex, selfie-obsessed and self-destructive nature of modern love, which is probably something most people can relate to.

See more of Peteski’s work on Instagram.
 
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Many more brokenhearts and disappointed lovers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.16.2017
09:49 am
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Tijuana Bibles: Cheap, nasty, porno comic books featuring Mickey, Donald, Popeye, & more (Very NSFW)
06.06.2017
10:24 am
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Tijuana Bibles were eight-page, hand-sized comic books featuring well-known cartoon characters, sporting heroes, and Hollywood film stars in a sequence of hardcore sexual shenanigans. They first appeared sometime in the 1920s as illustrated dirty jokes featuring squeaky clean comic strip characters like Tillie the Toiler and Jiggs and Maggie from “Bringing Up Baby.” The more straightlaced the character, the more outrageous the smut.

Their instant success led to far more explicit hardcore tales featuring famous movie stars like Mae West, Robert Mitchum, Dorothy Lamour, Greta Garbo, even Laurel & Hardy, alongside such well-loved cartoon figures as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye and Betty Boop porking the fuck out of everything that moved. They were cheap titillation intended to arouse and (in their own way) educate the virginal. They were subversive and offensively humorous.

The name “Tijuana Bible” came from the mistaken belief these comics were produced south of the border and smuggled into the USA. They were actually produced and printed in the States by local artists and independent businesses who hid behind fake publishing titles like “London Press” and “Tobasco Publishing Co.” They were sold under-the-counter in tobacco shops, bars, barbers and bowling alleys at 25 cents a pop. Their greatest popularity was during the Depression of the 1930s, eventually petering out with the arrival of real porn mags in the 1950s. Tijuana Bibles are now considered by many comic book historians to be among the very first underground comix. More importantly, these cheaply produced comic books helped unfetter sex and sexuality from the weight of societal and religious strictures of guilt and taboo by making sex seem fun, natural, and something to be greatly enjoyed.

A man called Quinn has scanned a whole selection of these “politically incorrect literary gems” which can be viewed here.
 
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More examples of Tijuana Bibles, after the jump..

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.06.2017
10:24 am
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‘Blade Runner’: The Marvel Comics adaptation

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Never trust a critic. Most of them know fuck all.

Strange as it may seem now, Ridley Scott’s movie Blade Runner received a decidedly mixed bag of notices upon its first release in June 1982. Some newspapers scribes considered Harison Ford wooden; the voice-over cliched; the storyline way too complex; the whole damn thing butt-numbingly slow and just a tad boring. One broadsheet even described the film as “science fiction pornography,” while the LA Times called it “Blade Crawler” because it moved along so slowly.

But some folks knew the film’s real worth—like Marvel Comics.

In September 1982, Marvel issued a “Super Special” comic book adaptation of Blade Runner. This was quickly followed by a two-part reissue of the comic during October and November of that year. This was when those three little words “Stan Lee presents” guaranteed a real good time and Marvel’s version of Blade Runner fulfilled that promise.

The comic was written by Archie Goodwin with artwork from Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon with Dan Green and Ralph Reese. While movies have time to develop story, plot, and character, and create their own atmosphere, comic books get six panels a page to achieve the same. Marvel’s Blade Runner managed the transposition from screen to page quite successfully. The artists picked up on some of the movie’s most iconic imagery while still managing to add their own take on the Philip K. Dick tale. Williamson offered his own (cheesy) definition of the term “Blade Runner” at the very end of the story:

Blade runner. You’re always movin’ on the edge.

What???

You can read the whole comic here. Click on images below for larger size.
 
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More from Rick Deckard , Roy Batty and co., after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.10.2017
11:19 am
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From comic book to art gallery: The brilliant and beautiful art of James Jean
05.08.2017
03:00 pm
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‘Bouquet’ (2016).
 
My closest, kindest and best friend has a family motto, “Per ardua surgo.” “I rise through difficulties/difficult things.” It’s a sentiment that could easily apply to the brilliant artist James Jean, who has risen through his own personal difficulties to achieve incredible success as an artist and designer. What could be more personal than an unnecessarily long, painful, and acrimonious divorce where a spouse refuses to settle? This is what apparently happened to Jean. His ex-wife refused to settle, leaving the artist allegedly penniless, homeless, utterly depressed and “neutered.” Eventually, Jean had to move overseas where he lived on “subsistence and barter.” Yet, even when his art was being commodified by lawyers as potential future assets, Jean kept drawing, kept painting, and kept illustrating his way through.

Jean first came to prominence as a commercial artist and cover illustrator for comic books like Batgirl, the Green Arrow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and most spectacularly Fables. His awe-inspiring work earned Jean a sackful of prizes including seven Eisner awards, three consecutive Harvey awards, and a row of gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in both Los Angeles and New York. He has also collaborated on designs for Prada.

With such a prodigious and prolific talent it was perhaps inevitable that Jean made the switch from comic books to art galleries in a series of beautiful and brilliant prints and paintings in mixed media and oils which he has been exhibited in group and solo shows since 2001.

James Jean was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1979, and raised in New Jersey. As a youngster, he has said he was more interested in playing the trumpet than making art. This changed under the tutelage of his high school teachers, Steve Assael, Thomas Woodruff and Jim McMullan, who recognized his artistic talent. Their encouragement inspired Jean to enroll at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1997, where he engaged with various different techniques before developing his own intricate and recognizable style. He graduated in 2001 and then began his career with DC Comics.

I think James Jean is one of the major artists of the twenty-first century who is in a direct line from Warhol, Hockney, and Koons, and further back to Dali and Picasso. The range of Jean’s work—in its diversity of technique, style, and subject—is virtually unparalleled. His oeuvre includes minutely detailed almost hallucinogenic sketches like “Samurai” to more traditional portraiture and Surreal digital work like “Aides Lapin,” to his progressive pop art of canvases like “Sprinkler” or “Bouquet.”

When once asked what advice to give young, budding artists Jean replied:

“Keep making work even if you don’t know what you have to say. You’ll only find your voice through the struggle.”

Jean has found has certainly found his voice.

See more of James Jean’s work here.
 
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‘Good Lord’ (2016).
 
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‘Flip’ (2006).
 
See more fabulous art by James Jean, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.08.2017
03:00 pm
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‘Horror Comic Books’: A vintage news report on the evils of reading


EC’s ‘Crime SuspenStories’ No. 22, May 1954
 
In the hard “g” Los Angeles of the fifties, Confidential File was the name of Paul Coates’ column in the Los Angeles Mirror and his weekly series on KTTV, the local station then owned by the Times-Mirror Company. Coates’ beat was vice: housewives on goofballs, medical quackery, La Cosa Nostra, the “tragic social problem” of homosexuality. According to Stephan Hoeller, the bishop of L.A.‘s Ecclesia Gnostica, Louis Culling and Meeka Aldrich performed a Thelemic ritual on one 1955 episode of Confidential File that we would all like to see uploaded to YouTube.

One of the social ills Coates set out to expose on his TV show was an epidemic of children reading books. In this broadcast, Coates said the Comics Code the industry had adopted the year before, after Senate hearings had exposed the link between childhood literacy and juvenile delinquency, did not go far enough. He came out swinging against Big Ink in the introduction, calling for crime and horror books to be outlawed:

In this comic book is a love story, a boy and girl in love. They get married, and after an offensively lurid description (illustrated, of course) of the couple’s wedding night, the book shows how the bride murders her husband by chopping his head off with an axe.

This comic book describes a sexual aberration so shocking that I couldn’t mention even the scientific term on television.

I think there ought to be a law against them. Tonight I’m going to show you why.

(Do you think the scientific term was “coitus”?)

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.05.2017
09:37 am
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Vintage Japanese comic based on ‘Jaws’
03.20.2017
11:30 am
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The cover of a Japanese comic book based on the film ‘Jaws’ published in 1975.
 
The “gekiga” illustration style was created in 1957 by Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi who coined the word to help differentiate the more serious tone of gekiga comics from the wildly popular manga comics and their “humorous pictures.” Gekiga comics or books were marketed to adults and the illustrated stories were reality-based—unlike the dreamlike realms of manga. In 1975, Herald Books published a gekiga-style comic based on the film Jaws that had just convinced everyone that the beach was no longer safe. The film was an adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by author Peter Benchley.

The vintage comic captures pretty much every memorable scene in the movie with the notable exception of the drunken sing-along sea-shanty sung by Brody (Roy Scheider), Matt (Richard Dreyfuss) and real-life drunk Quint memorably played by actor Robert Shaw. According to blogger Patrick Macias over at An Eternal Thought In The Mind Of Godzilla, he sold his copy of the rare comic for an undisclosed three-figure sum to a European collector. After a quick search of auction sites such as eBay, I wasn’t able to find even one copy of this fantastic comic so you’ll have to enjoy it virtually just like I did. I’ve posted all the panels from the gekiga Jaws in sequence below. Many of the illustrations are slightly NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.20.2017
11:30 am
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Tree F*ckers: Frédéric Fleury’s comic art of men with a passion for wood (NSFW)
03.08.2017
11:20 am
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Frédéric Fleury is an artist based in Dunkirk, France. He draws funny, subversive, bizarre and what some might term as “offensive” cartoons. His artwork ranges from occult drawings, tarot cards, surreal monsters to sex—lots of sex.

In Monsieur Fleury’s world, no sexual fetish is ever off limits. His past work includes sex with dead celebrities, sex with snow, compulsive masturbation, oral sex, sodomy, fist-fucking—as near as dammit an illustrated A-Z of sexual fantasies, fetishes and practices.

M. Fleury also runs a successful publishing house (with Emmanuelle Pidoux) called Editions du 57, which publishes limited edition art books at a very reasonable price. Additionally, he is a founding member of the art collective journal Frédéric Magazine.

So far, so good.

Among M. Fleury’s many books is La passion du bois or The Passion for Wood from 2010, which depicts:

The many ways to get pleasure from a tree, a log, a wooden stick…

You can guess what follows, lots of comic illustrations, drawn with a charming child-like simplicity, of various individuals getting their jollies from trees. “Why?” you may ask. Well, apparently M. Fleury likes to question the “perception of drawing” by producing work that “continuously” explores the medium. I guess, in other words, he likes to draw all those things that most artists wouldn’t dare to and put them out in the world to create a response. Like tree fuckers.

See more of Frédéric Fleury’s work here.
 
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More of Frédéric Fleury’s tree-huggers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.08.2017
11:20 am
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Thrill to ‘The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor,’ forgotten comic book hero

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#7 April 1974.
 
Excuse me while I drool. I know it’s not polite but really what else can I do? Having missed out on this classic comic book horror series The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor the first time around, I really don’t have much choice. You see, being landlocked on a distant island far, far off the coast of America, Doctor Spektor never made house calls to my neighborhood comic book emporium in Edinburgh or even Glasgow. There were lots of Spideys and Hulks and Avengers but much less of my preferred taste in the Boris Karloff’s or even the Cryptkeeper’s ghoulish delights to keep my boyhood imagination suitably fevered.

And look what I missed….

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor was the brainchild of one Donald F. Glut—a whizzkid filmmaker who made a total of 41 amateur movies during his teens and early twenties. These mini-movies featured “dinosaurs, the Frankenstein Monster, teenage monsters, Superman and other superheroes”—basically anything that took his fancy. Though none of these films were blessed with any real script they did achieve enough “notoriety”—mainly through the pages of Famous Monster of Filmland—to allow Glut to rope in actors like Glenn Strange—the man who filled the Frankenstein’s monster’s boots after Boris Karloff moved on—to take part on his features. Strange starred as (who else?) the Frankenstein Monster in Glut’s The Adventures of the Spirit in 1963.

Glut’s last amateur film was his take on Spider-Man in 1969 which was a seriously loopy Ed Wood-like film.

But anyhow….

His apprenticeship in home movies earned him a career as a scriptwriter for film and TV. He wrote novelizations of films, too—most notably for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He also wrote storylines for comic books like Marvel’s Captain America (1978) and X-Men Adventures (1993) as well as DC’s House of Mystery (1974-81) among many, many other titles. Since the mid-1990s, Glut has been carving a niche as a writer/director of exploitation horror films like The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula (2001), Countess Dracula’s Blood Orgy (2004) and most recently Dances with Werewolves (2016).

But we don’t need to know that. What we do need to know is that Glut created the sophisticated Doctor Adam Spektor—occult detective and monster hunter. (Imagine having that on your business card…) Spektor along with his Native American assistant Lakota Rainflower investigated strange goings on in the weird and terrifying supernatural world of vampires, werewolves, ancient curses and swamp creatures.

Now having just about caught up with—or rather having enjoyed a prescription of—Doctor Spektor’s marvellously thrilling adventures I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for Glut and artist Jesse Santos’ work. Look at these covers—just look at ‘em. They are awesome, aren’t they?

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor ran from May 1973 to February 1977. And while there has been a pale reboot since, here’s a gallery of Santos’ excellent cover art for Glut’s debonair hero who almost manages to make wearing a bolo tie and a goatee beard seem cool.
 
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#9 August 1974.
 
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#23 December 1976.
 
More fabulous covers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.23.2017
11:14 am
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When White Chicks Ruled the Jungle: The comicbook women who rivaled Tarzan

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The prototype of the modern “jungle girl” first appeared in the novel Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest by W. H. Hudson in 1904—eleven years after the man-cub Mowgli popped-up in The Jungle Books and eight years before Tarzan the ape man started swinging from tree-to-tree.

Hudson’s jungle girl was a dark-haired beauty called Rima who dwelt in the uncharted forests of Guyana. Hudson was inspired by tales he’d heard of white families living wild and free in the jungles of South America. Rima was a smart cookie—she was kind and loyal but was smitten by the love of a white man and so ended up as firewood. But good old Rima started a trend that has filled up the content of many books, comics and even pop songs for over a hundred years.

Jungle girls can be generally divided into two camps—the rich abandoned white kids who were nurtured through childhood by friendly animals and the feral kids who kick ass and have incredible supernatural powers over their animal pals.

The first fully-fledged comic book to feature one of these dames was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in 1937. Sheena was one hot powerful blonde who looked she’d come straight out of the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Sheena not only had looks she was adept at fighting with knives, spears and deadly hand-to-hand combat. She could also talk to animals—a big bonus when trying to outwit those pesky big game hunters. 

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle was the first comic dedicated solely to a female character. Its great success spawned a host of imitators with names like Tegra, Zegra, Jann, Princess Pantha and White Princess Taanda. These women were always white and most definitely blonde or brunette. They were guardians of nature and usually dwelt in some dusty savannah or unknown jungle in a mythic Africa. 

The main era for these no-nonsense broads and their perilous adventures was the 1940s when a literal army of jungle girls made their appearance—some of which you can see below.
 
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Sheena Queen of the Jungle—Issue #1 1938 (US) 1937 (UK).
 
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Princess Pantha—June 1947.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.19.2016
10:38 am
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Holy Mashup Bat-fans!: What if Batman and The Joker got genetically spliced?
09.21.2016
10:21 am
Topics:
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Picture if you will a world where superheroes are genetically spliced with super villains to create freakish hybrids who deal justice and terror out in equal measure. A world where no good deed goes unpunished, and no evil unrewarded. Welcome to the world of BATMAN™: Rogues Gallery….

DC Comics Variant Play Arts KAI are producing a series of Batman action figures mashed-up with nefarious villains from the caped crusader’s rogues’ gallery. Earlier this year, a Batman and Two-Face combo was announced that featured a charred and scorched Harvey Dent (aka the coin flipping Two-Face) melded with Gotham’s finest crime fighter. Now a sneak peak of the next Batman mashup has just been released, this time featuring the Dark Knight and his most evil adversary—the Joker.

The Batman-Joker figure is dressed in a “tattered straitjacket is erratically adorned with dynamite, a flower, cans of pepper spray, and an alarm clock.”

Combined with his playing cards and a pistol with a flag as interchangeable parts, this ensemble shows the character’s madness, oozing from within.

The pale skin and bloodshot eyes accentuate his eerie quality, while his trademark purple and green lend dark shadows to his coloring. The bat mark roughly painted on his chest can almost be construed as a laughing mouth. It seems to make a mockery of Batman, offering a glimpse into how The Joker’s twisted mind ticks.

This collectible Batman/Joker figure goes on sale March 2017. The Batman/Two-FaceSquare-Enix.
 
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More Batman-Joker hi-jinks, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.21.2016
10:21 am
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Jack Kirby’s unpublished adaptation of ‘The Prisoner’

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Jack Kirby was the man who imagined our world of superheroes. In partnership with Stan Lee and Joe Simon, Kirby created the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Doctor Doom, the Black Panther and many, many others.

Kirby’s input had a bigger and longer lasting effect than just the words or concept. His drawings helped shape our worldview—for he was the artist who created the look of these superheroes. When we think of Captain America or Iron Man—we’re seeing these characters through the prism of Kirby’s imagination.

Jack Kirby was born in New York to an Austrian-Jewish immigrant family in 1917. Though life was poor and tough, Kirby had an inkling he was going to be an artist. Hardly the sort of work for a working class kid from the Lower East Side—but Kirby had a compulsion that made him draw. He started doodling, then sketching, and then drawing full comic strips. He knew he would never be a Rembrandt or a Gauguin but he did know that he would become an artist. He took to drawing comics because the comic strip was the art of the working man. Kirby later recalled:

I thought comics was a common form of art and strictly American in my estimation because America was the home of the common man, and show me the common man that can’t do a comic. So comics is an American form of art that anyone can do with a pencil and paper.

His talent for drawing led to his early career as a graphic artist. He created single panel health advice cartoons such as Your Health Comes First!!! and various advisory comic strips. When Kirby switched jobs to Fox Feature Syndicate, he teamed up with Joe Simon—together they created Captain America.

After the Second World War Kirby worked for DC Comics and then Marvel—where his legendary partnership with Stan Lee was responsible for creating our world of superheroes—a world comparable to the myths of ancient Greece. However, disagreements with Lee over credit, led Kirby to quit Marvel and rejoin DC in the late 1960s, where he produced his superb Fourth World series.

In 1968, Kirby became obsessed with a new TV series called The Prisoner. The series depicted a spy relocated to a mysterious island where he is interrogated for information. As an anti-authoritarian libertarian, Kirby identified with the central character No. 6 played by Patrick McGoohan. Kirby said the series represented:

...an individual’s stubborn attempts to wrest freedom from subtle but oppressive power.

This was analogous to his view of politics as well as his creative relationships with others—most notably Stan Lee.

In the early 1970s, Marvel decided to produce a comic book version of The Prisoner. Marvel’s then editor Marv Wolfman set Steve Englehart and Gil Kane to work on it. However, Stan Lee—knowing how much Kirby liked the series—intervened and asked him to work on the comic book.

Kirby produced a complete first issue lifted directly from the series’ first episode “Arrival.” Unlike his other work, Kirby’s The Prisoner is an almost faithful retelling of the TV show. The finished drawings were partially inked and lettered by Mike Royer–but the idea was dropped and the comic never saw light of day.
 
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Read the rest of Jack Kirby’s ‘The Prisoner,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.20.2016
09:57 am
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