§ Marc-Oliver Frisch reviews MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #18 which introduced the Guardians of the Galaxy. I had no idea Arnold Drake created these guys, along with Gene Colan, but I would so buy a cover that looked like that right this minute.
The highlight of the piece, in lieu of an engaging plot or compelling characters, is the plainly fantastic artwork by Gene Colan, who’s doing some incredibly dynamic and flashy page layouts and figures here. Neal Adams’ work around the same time immediately comes to mind as a point of comparison, but to be fair, I couldn’t tell you which of the two gentlemen got there first. The way Mr. Colan composes his pages and stages the action looks expressive, refreshingly creative and exciting all the way through, without making any sacrifices towards clarity. You can tell that the artist had the time of his life drawing this, and even forty years later, I can’t think of many of his colleagues who are able to produce equally dynamic visuals while still guiding you through the story as sure-footedly as Mr. Colan is doing here.
§ A brief interview with strip cartoonist Berkeley Breathed doesn’t mince words on the future:
This is a sad topic but I’m going to be blunt. Newspapers have about five years left. Young readers of the newspaper comics simply don’t exist anymore in numbers that count. Those eyeballs are elsewhere and will not come back. Online comics are terrific. But they will never have 1% of the readership any major comic had 20 years ago, by the nature of the technology. They’re different beasts now. No, after having 70 million daily readers in 1985, getting 3000 a day online isn’t terribly energizing at this stage. I’m happy to go to the storytelling potential of film and books now. My heart was always there anyway, to be honest.
§ Folks have been linking a bit to this weekend’s debut of the new HBO series Bored to Death since it is created by the comics friendly author Jonathan Ames, and one of the main characters is a cartoonist. David Press rounds up all you need to know on that score. And once you’re all informed, go to Amazon and watch the first episode FREE and clear. Early reviews are positive.
§ Gary Groth (Happy Birthday, old man) suggests why you might wish to financially aid comics retailing pioneer Bob Beerbohm.
§ Eddie Argos is back with an overview of HELLBLAZER.
My friend Keith TOTP, who I live with, has a huge suitcase full of comics which he keeps in our front room. Whenever I have a long tour or flight, I raid it. I thought I’d pretty much finished all of the comics in it. Delving through it this time though, I found a huge pile of Hellblazer books. I didn’t know much about Hellblazer so I took all of them and read them over the course of my many flights to Chicago. They were all pretty ace. I read most of Garth Ennis’ run on my first flight, and then on my next I read all of Mike Carey’s run. On my third, I read Andy Diggle’s and Denise Mina’s. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s ace. Hellblazer is Vertigo’s longest running title, and I’m clearly coming to it really late. I’m just setting the scene to let you know that I am a relatively new fan of Constantine in case I put a foot wrong with what I’m about to write.
§ Bleeding Cool has a bit more on The Return of Ross Rojek. Many old-timers will recall Rojek as the one time force behind Another Universe, as well as an early proponent of getting graphic novels into record stores; unfortunately both efforts ended up being tainted by the whiff that they were naught but rip-off schemes. AU went under owing publishers and customers a lot of money. Rojek’s next effort was an even more blatant investment scheme that tried to get people to invest in nonexistent software. That effort got him sent up the river for four years.
Rojek writes to Rich Johnston that his time in jail helped him find a new path, to running a book review newspaper.
When I got out of prison, I started working for a friend who was interested in publishing my book review idea. I had been thinking about what to do with my life after I got out of prison, and I’d always been interested in published, so I began looking into it while in prison. I also went back to school while at one institution, and did some book reviews for the school paper, which helped take me down this path.
I had been the librarian at two different prison camps, and in trying to find enough new books to keep me busy I ended up reading a number of different book reviews and review sections. From there I started drafting my “dream” book review that would be helpful to me in my situation.
He also states that all the monies owed from back in the day are lost in the mists of time and various bankruptcies–probably true enough.