Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marvel visionaries , John Buscema

Yesterday I treated myself to a book I've always wanted.....that'll put a smile on my face. So...I bought this book. Inside it's filled with the brilliant comic book work of John Buscema the greatest most talented artist Marvel ever had. He had few peers and certainly nobody as talented when it came down to the human figure. His mastery of human anatomy was second to none. He was The Michelangelo of comics. Read here below in the text I lifted from for this book. Then go order yourself one. It's a must have for all the fans who love Big John's work.

Text from Amazon :

The Incredible Hulk, the devastating Dragon Man, the epic end of the gods themselves... none of it was too much for Big John! One of comicdom's most acclaimed creators takes center stage in this genre-spanning gathering of greats! Nick Fury vs. Hydra! Thor vs. the Silver Surfer! The origins of Wolverine and Dracula! The twilight of the Masters of Evil! Includes crime, horror, romance and western work from the pre-Marvel era! Plus: rare Silver Surfer stories unseen for decades! Collects Crime Fighters #4; Western Outlaws & Sheriffs #60; Strange Tales #22 & #150; Tales To Astonish #85-87; Avengers #41-42, #75-76, #277 & Annual #2; Silver Surfer #4; My Love #2; Fantastic Four #111-112; Thor #200; Dracula Lives #3; Marvel Spotlight #30; Epic Illustrated #1; Wolverine #10 and Marvel Shadows & Light #3

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My favorite CHRISTMAS cover ...

...has two versions. My friend ( JEFF BRENNAN , professional cartoonist and fellow JOE KUBERT SCHOOL alumnist ) sent me a Christmas card he doctored up using the image from the cover of Marvel comics...

" GIANT SUPER HERO HOLIDAY GRAB BAG , Marvel treasury special " tabloid sized edition. The original drawn by John Buscema had the heroes flying out of the wreath all with angry scowls on their faces ready to kick some butt. I have the actual treasury edition that this cover appears on. But I never even knew there was another version. Marvel in their infinite wisdom decided to issue a second printing of ye said treasury edition and had JAZZY JOHN ROMITA do some touch ups to the piece. He added there are two versions. A fact I did not know until yesterday. So...provided see the images of my friend's card and the two different versions of the cover in question. Enjoy and "MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Marvel Holiday Magazine 2010

Last year I found this magazine at recycles John Buscema's cover from the Marvel comics GIANT SUPER HERO HOLIDAY GRAB BAG tabloid size treasury edition...inside it reprints Super hero Christmas stories from years ago. I consider myself lucky to have accidentally come across it.

Joe Simon 1913-2011 farewell Joe

Joe Simon?...Comic book legend , Author , illustrator and creator of many characters and CO-CREATOR ( Who along with partner JACK KIRBY ) created the GREATEST super hero of all CAPTAIN AMERICA? That Joe Simon? NO I did not know him. I never met him. But his passing leaves an open space in my heart and soul. The same open space that I had when Jack Kirby passed away and the same as when John Buscema passed away. I met both Kirby and Buscema when I was a student at the JOE KUBERT school many years ago. Both Kirby and Buscema looked at my work at a convention and had nothing but positive things to say. I had seen them look at the portfolio’s of others and I got a completely different reaction from those others…I heard “ You do some good work , keep it up you’re on your way “ from Kirby and “ Your anatomy is a bit quirky but then again whose isn’t these days , there’s no reason why you should not be working right now keep plugging away , you’ll get there!” From Buscema. ( He was known for his brusque tone and no nonsense honesty )
So I was happy. ( But this is a story for another time )
But…I’m talking about Joe Simon today. I went to a convention once to go see Joe and to get my set of Captain America hard covers signed ( The ones produced by Greg Theakston : Remember they had a phallic symbol drawn onto one of the printed pages that got produced with the entire run and ruined Greg’s rep with Marvel for life ? ) But Joe was not there that day. You see…being a man in his 80’s at the time he was not feeling well and did not attend days 2 and 3 of the con. So I missed him ( Bummer ) I understood and can’t say I blame him he WAS in his 80’s for Pete’s sake. I missed my window to shake hands with a man who helped to create and invent my favorite super hero of all time. Sure there may have been other times where I had a chance but…the day I chose was the only convenient time for me.
I have never been a working professional in the comic book industry but I did study cartoon art and comic books and have collected comic books pretty much my entire life. I read books and bio’s about the business of comic books and art books ( I highly recommend the COMIC BOOK MAKERS by Joe Simon – with Jim Simon. ) I am not in the know and industry pro’s do not know me…but I am learned on the subject of the history of comics and the business of the industry…particularly how to produce the art for comic books and so on.
So yes…Joe Simon dying had an effect on me. Knowing who he was and what he was all about was part of what I would consider a subject I made my business to know. Although I am irrelevant…the knowledge I sought was not. If there was something to know…I read about it and if there was something new to know I wanted to know it. All I can say is… my feelings on the subject of this legend passing away at the respectable old age of 98 years are justified. I have a right to be affected. Not so much in the same way as his own family…being I did not know him or ever even meet him . But His passing marks an important point in the history of Comic books. For he co-created the greatest ( Yes Greater than Superman to me anyway ) super hero in history! I just want to clarify that feeling down about his death is not a bandwagon affectation. I genuinely was moved at hearing the news of his passing. There is no filling in the spaces in my heart but there is a solace…Joe’s work will live on. Captain America will live on.
“ The Simon and Kirby SUPER HEROES “ is a book that has just seen print and it’s chock full of classic stories about Super Heroes Joe and Jack created and it will live on and serve as part of his legacy. I’ll be buying me one and I suggest you all do the same. My imagination has been fueled by the exploits and feats of HEROISM of the HEROES created in part by Joe Simon…most of those images in my head are of Captain America saving the day. I have Joe to thank for that. He may not have known me…but I am glad he was here to liven up and enrich all our lives with his talent. God bless you Joe Simon. Good night Sir.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Argosy Weekly

Every now and then ...I get in a mood. I begin to draw and I feel appeased. I was browsing and looking for images to use as inspiration and came across a cover to Argosy weekly March 19 , 1929 so...feeling inspired I whipped it up. I think I'm going to start collecting Pulps...just for the covers...Tarzan , Doc Savage and the Spider! That's reason enough! I hope you like my drawing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My favorite INVADERS covers!!

I have always been fascinated with comic books from the original era of the 40's...they were so new and inventive and primitive and exciting all at once. The greatest super heroes came from that era and still to this day leave their indelible mark on the industry. Now...CAPTAIN AMERICA being my favorite HERO of HEROES ( In long underwear anyway ) was always number one on my list of comics I'd love to have from the 40's...sure everyone wants Supes and Bats but I want my CAPS....When Marvel comics released the INVADERS comic book series in the 70's I was ecstatic...these were untold tales of Cap during WWII. The romantic idea of heroic deeds and teamwork with other heroes of the time was not lost on me and my fascination grew. The INVADERS is more than likely one of the best series ever in my opinion. Here are just a few examples of my favorite INVADERS covers by the likes of Frank Robbins , John Romita , Jack Kirby and Alex Schomberg...I'll be buying me that Trade paperback they have out and I'll be reading that puppy from cover to cover...enjoy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My favorite MONSTERS!!!

Art by : Gil Kane , John Romita and Tony Dezuniga

Art by Earl Norem

Art by Mike Ploog

Art by Frank Brunner

It's no secret I have always loved comic books. From the time I was 4 years old to now...40 years of comic book collecting and love of the hobby. But superheroes are not my only love...there was also westerns and then there was HORROR comics. ( or is that were the HORROR comics? ) Who cares!!!

The thing about Marvel's horror titles is that they all had the same element to them. The misunderstood monster and his companions or the people who exploited the monster for their own selfish gain and then never ends well for them.

There was always something about each and every monster that made him unique. Probably thre most clever monster was SIMON GARTH...the ZOMBIE!!! He sort of kind of had fleeting recollections about who he was and what it was like to have been alive. The stories were always entertaining and like I said...the bad guy always got it in the end...Horribly!

The Mummy was another one of my favorites...he could think and pretty much communicate with his companions. These covers stand out in my mind because I actually remember purchasing them from off the rack.

If it were not for comic childhood would not have been as fun as it was. I would have made do....but comics made it better.

THESE are my favorite MONSTER comic book covers! Coming soon....GOOM and FIN FANG FOOM!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marvel calendar "classic covers!!!" 2012

The coolest thing about the turn of a new year is the fact that every year new calendars come out!!!

This year there are several I'd like to add to my Christmas wish list. This here be one of 'em! Why just in this very calendar alone there are 7 of my favorite covers of all time! Can you guess which one they'd be? Hmmm? Hmmmmmmm?

Friday, November 4, 2011


You know…I’ve seen enough disturbing things and I just about had it. Women selling their babies for drugs or money or letting crack heads molest their young daughters for crack or heroin or meth. Then there are the depraved who run around killing and hurting. Then there are the regular sad incidents where people die of natural causes and the family left behind has to move on and deal with the loss of a loved one. Then there is war and terrorism.
Having to accept that this world is so damned messed up and we have to share it with murderers and thieves and people who should be incarcerated for life or even put to death for their heinous crimes is quite enough. PEOPLE have their own free will and we do what we do to move on and learn to live with the facts that it’s a cruel world. So we do…we move on.
But there is another side to the cruel , evil and wicked and that’s what I want to talk about. Cruelty to animals. I have heard news reports about …People tying dogs to trees and lighting them on fire , Cops brutally beating and shooting dogs so paralyzed with fear that all they can do is lay there and take it until they are shot for no apparent reason , People beating their dogs with shovels , Chinese factories where cats and dogs are slaughtered like chickens and cows , Cops putting dogs in trunks of squad cars in 100 degree weather and the result is death by suffocation and a whole list of other cruel acts I do not care to get into……..PEOPLE! I call out to you to stand up and put a stop to this madness.
If you see anyone hurting children or women or kids walking down the street minding their own business or dogs or cats or any other deviant behavior…gang up on the perpetrator like the villagers on Frankenstein and bring these people down , down, down.
Too often I see and hear and read about things and it’s too late. Nothing like this ever happens while I am around and if I ever saw something like the attempted kidnapping of a child…like the Lord from above I will come down like a hammer on that creep and he will be sorry forever.
If I see someone hurting a cat or a dog…guess what? They have a trip to the dentist and I have a new pet. I will not stand for this type of behavior and neither should you.
Gay men being beaten to death while tied to fences , poor men on their way home from work being dragged behind trucks resulting in death.
If I ever…catch somebody being cruel to another human being or a defenseless animal I swear to everything HOLY I will maim them with my bare hands and they will think twice before ever even considering doing it again. There is no room in this world for murderers and rapists and bank robbers and so on. There can never be a Utopia because there are too many evil ones running amok living amongst us.
This is not the bold talk of one man…this is the disgust of one man. If you are disgusted too then do your part and turn in anyone and everyone who fits the category or description of a child abuser. Then remove physically and in force of numbers an animal being tortured or beaten from the previous cruel and unfit owner. Do not wait do not hesitate it will not go away do it right away! Do it now ! Right now if you know someone who has done something vicious and unforgiveable. Then it is your duty to help make the world right. Not doing anything and turning the other way is just as bad a crime. Don’t let it happen put an end and a stop to it now. NOW! THIS HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The first 3 issues of CRAZY the comic book...

Only one of the coolest damned comic series ever! ( Say it like Napolean Dynamite ) for a little bit the post below this one. ( Click F 11 for full screen.)

" Has everyone gone CRAZY ? "

A hand colored recreation by Marie Severin and Herbe Trimpe... the classic cover from CRAZY number 3...
Crazy magazine…What started out in the late 1960’s ( Actually in the 1950's Atlas comics which would later become Marvel already had a MAD style comic book titled CRAZY. A total coincidence ? I think not...) as NOT BRAND ECHH a parody comic book where Marvel in a “MAD , Kurtzman” style satirized the world of movies TV and comics… Marie Severin contributed and helped to create some of the funniest stories with some of the greatest artwork. It was a short lived series…as genius as it was it just did not have the same punch as the serious Super Hero stuff. But they were not done. It the early 1970’s they reprinted some of the ECHH material in a new package and called it CRAZY…some of the coolest covers were on the first 3 issues of that comic. All by Mirthful Marie. But yet..they were not done!!! MAD magazine was still going strong and they reformatted CRAZY into a black and white magazine ready to go head to head with MAD magazine and CRACKED and NATIONAL LAMPOON! It lasted for many years and kept going strong for quite a bit. I loved the idea there were Super Hero parody segments in just about every issue.
A few years ago ( about 6 ) There was a comic book store going out of business…the old man was retiring and moving away to some green pasture somewhere. He was having SICK,MAD CRAZY blowout sales…and during that sale I acquired the first 10 issues of CRAZY magazine for a buck a piece. To me that was like hitting the jackpot. I bought those babies up and went on home to read myself silly! I did….read myself silly. My favorite issue of CRAZY is number 90…with Obnoxio the clown striking the famous Frazetta pose for the issue that parodied CONAN the Barbarian. A funny little story too…I highly recommend to anyone who loves to laugh and loves comics…find these books on e-bay or wherever
Get them read them and be a better person because of it. These are my favorite CRAZY covers!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Original art to cover of KULL # 11

When I am feeling ambitious...I believe I am going to attempt a recreation of this piece of art by Mike Ploog. It's one of my Favorite covers and he's one of my favorite artists. So It's worth a shot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogging with dignity and class.

I’ve seen it before on other blogs and I‘ve seen other Blog Authors comment about it but just recently I experienced it myself. On one of the blogs I contribute to I published a blog post. I garnered a lot of traffic and interest with my topic. When I write I generally leave room for someone to question a statement or comment and or theory. I was discussing the hypothetical’s regarding the origin of one particular subject.
Well first one guy chimed in to dispute some of the things I said. I diplomatically reminded him these were just theory and not decisive conclusions and should not be questioned as if they were. He was satisfied with my rebut.
I saw this one fella here and about on the blog following that one posting. I though “ Cool , another follower! “ Well another commenter came in and started verbally berating the other guy and he in turn shot back with more nanny nanny poo poo…like two 1st graders they were.
When we write these blogs it is because we are passionate about something and want to have fun doing it. Some people just blog for the fun of it…with adult themed blogs one needs to answer a consent for and so on and that’s all fine. It is all in the spirit of fun and it’s lighthearted as it should be. But I believe there are some people who just want to cause trouble and grief and start fights…for the fun of it.
There is no real way to block these folks…anonymous comments can be blocked in the settings to prevent drive by’s and hit and runs.
But seriously…childish nonsense? “ I know more than you!” and “ You’re a hypocrite!” and blah blah blah and my word is more credible than yours and so on.
Grow up. It’s like Sheldon Cooper and Howard from BIG BANG THEORY came to the blog and showed us what kind of dweebs they are.
Not to sound cliché but..” Can’t we all just get a long?”
In the world of Robert E Howard’s CONAN….there are several different theories based on when and where the Hyborian age was and people add their usually welcome two cents and that is all well and good. Until they start with trying to preach the facts to you.
I kind of noticed something. It is similar to religion. Like STAR WARS or The Lord of the Rings…Conan has fanatical followers. It’s not just a hobby or an interest or regular old fandom…it’s pretty much a religious devotion.
So I’ll tell the people now what I tell Born again Christians or Jehovah’s witness’ when they come around. “ I understand and recognize your passion and respect that this is the way you live your life and feel you must spread the word. But I saw you coming a mile away and now I must tell you…I believe the way I want to believe and that is my right. To tell me I am wrong…is wrong. You can’t tell me what to think and feel…freedom of choice is my prerogative. So read your book and study all you want…what you interpret on your own is what will drive you. What I interpret is going to be different from what you got out of it. To attempt to bend me one way or the other will only point out that you are a Banana nut muffin.
I understand that. Now you need to understand that. We can agree to disagree without the drama show or the sermon. If one can’t help oneself then at least try. Nobody is your enemy in the beginning so why antagonize and instigate? It’s childish. What you’re doing is showing the world and other people who visit the blog that you are irrational and will write you off as a crack pot.
While your points may have been valid your attitude dictates how you will be perceived. So the main point here is for people to learn how to agree to disagree and everyone will be happy.
But to resort to name calling and broadcasting your connections and how much you know is just as childish as when you were being attacked and berated by the other numbskull who insists on creating a competition out of everything.
It’s not what you know or even who you know…it’s how you conduct yourself. Nes’ pa?
More covers to come...hang in there.

Meanwhile check out this link. xkcd: Duty Calls

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

" CONAN , DUKE a rope swing and a machete "

CONAN and Duke the rope swing the swamp and a Machete.
Ahhh..youth. when I was a kid growing up in Bay shore NY…I had pretty much the time of my life. We always had a swimming pool and the house we lived in had a huge crooked tree in the back with a giant branch that was overhanging a stream and beyond that stream…a swamp. I recall countless hours pushing off the tree hanging onto the rope and swinging all the way around the tree in a wide at least 30 foot circle…over the stream and landing on the other side of the tree like Tarzan. The property was on a down grade at the back of the yard near the stream so when you left the crooked trunk of the tree you were swinging between 4 and 10 feet off the ground in certain places…I even did it one handed from time to time. My dog Duke used to stay by my side and watch me and wander around our yard and pee here and there but he always stuck right near me and never left my side. Duke was a part Collie part German Sheppard mix and he looked like a Sheppard but had the coloring of a Collie. He was a beautiful mix of a dog….he was a Mutt…but he was Gorgeous. Smart too…just like a dog from the movies…he was that smart.
For ten years I used that rope swing every single day it was joy to me. Absolute joy. But that was not my only way of passing the time. The Swamp…it was a means of escape…a chance to go on adventures…quests and journey’s to long lost lands and ancient cities of gold.
I was 12 years old and I swiped a machete from my Dads tool shed and headed off into the swamp and started hacking away at the sticker bushes and vines and all forms of flora and fauna. I was carving trails. It became a Sunday ritual. During the week I’d play street Hockey or softball with friends but on Sunday’s it was the Swamps. Now the swamps were made up of little islands about 15 to 20 feet wide and practically circular and there were little connecting and intertwining inlets in between the islands and some of them were as much as 3 to four feet across and you either jumped it…or put up planks or built bridges to get from one to the other. Some areas were too mucky to bother with but for the most part this network of streams and mini islands went on for 2 miles behind mine and all my neighbors houses. Funny how it was shaped though. 2 miles long but about 400 yards wide. It was actually on the map as Sampawam's creek.
So Duke and I would go back there and I would play CONAN or TARZAN and I’d hack away at vegetation or some thin tree and imagine I was battling a horde of Demons or battling against the Murderous minions of YILDIZ! Or perhaps I was fighting off a dozen angry sub human ape men.
Either way…I was having a ball. Oh and the tree’s…there were downed tree’s all over the was like something out of HUCK FINN!
It was a perfect playground and I was never more at home than when I was swinging on that rope or off on an adventure with Duke and my Dad’s machete. Of course…being 12….I should not have been running around with a machete. But nobody knew…except Duke. He wasn’t gonna rat me out he’s a dog.
It was not always safe either…one time I pushed over a rotted tree and a swarm of yellow jackets came out and stung me in a couple of dozen places…the dog was ok. I had to go to the hospital for that one. But another time two guard dogs from the neighboring factories came charging me and Duke…I ran calling Duke but the two of them gang attacked him and he got bit on the ear…but then he got a good grip on the neck of one of them and that dog yelped. I didn’t know which dog was crying so I charged at the dog fight ready to whack a dog with my machete if I had to but the other two dogs…ran. As if they were being called. Not because they were scared. I grabbed Dukey’s collar so he would not chase them and we went home. Of course I had to lie about how Duke had a bite on his ear and say the stray dogs came into our yard and attacked him. We never went into that area of the swamp again…to avoid the guard dogs.
Then there was the time I climbed a tilted tree ( just because it was there ) It was about a 50 foot tall tree and it was on a 45 degree angle…so I climbed it. I got pretty much to the top and DOWN IT WENT! Now I had ridden trees to the ground before but this tree DECIDED to swerve for some reason and I fell off and landed flat on my back and got the wind knocked out of me and I passed out. I don’t know how long I was out but I woke up with Duke licking my eyes and face. I guess it helped to revive me. When I got up off the ground I was wobbly but ok. I went right home. That was enough adventure for one day. It was time for CONAN to go home. Shaken and stirred I headed home. This time around when I got home my feet were both muddy as hell. That mud stunk boy…the stinkiest mud ever. I actually threw out my sneakers. I had learned from past experience that once you got your sneakers muddied up with that gunk…they were done. There was no saving them.
A few years later Hurricane Gloria tore through Long Island and knocked my Tarzan tree down…my childhood was gone. I was 18 now and Duke was an old Dog…I came home from work some months later and he was not on the lawn waitng for my arrival as usual. My parents had taken him for the big sleep as chronic arthritis pretty much crippled him and he could not even stand for more than 3 or four minutes before the pain would exhaust him and he’d just lay down. It was time
My heart was broken…I cried like a baby. For weeks I’d go in my back yard and stare at the swamp while visions of past adventures swirled around in my mind. Duke was certainly the best dog ever.
Once that tree was down and my dog was gone…I became an adult. When my grief was passed I was a new man…an official adult and looked at life and the world in a different way.
I turned my attention to my then girlfriend at the time and work and making money so I could buy Conan comics and go to concerts and take her on dates and buy her an Engagement ring…but that……is another story.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HOLY WAR # 1 the cover

For the first time in about 17 years...HOLY WAR....sees the light of day once again. Originally my concept was simple. It was a big sword wielding Angel who was a composite of Jesus and Saint Michael and God and whoever else you want to throw in there. His name was simply LORD...and he was created to be a religion based fictitious character with no theology anyone can claim to follow...he was for all intents and purposes a composite and that is all. His foe...was likewise a composite of the Devil and I named him Luseff. ( Get it ) The stories would be an anthology style deal where throughout time in different settings modern and in the past they would meet and LORD would always triumph by hacking LUSEFF into bits. That was my my creations did not intentionally reflect...God and the Devil. They were just my characters based on religious figures found throughout history and in the Bible.
I borrowed heavily from art projects I had done during my stint at the Joe Kubert school. I think I should mention that...the last panel of the story where LORD is flying into the sky that that was not swiped from LED ZEPPELIN but rather...Frank Frazetta's " Against the Gods " painting. Now if you look close'll see it. But at first you're going to think that is Icarus flying towards the sun. ( It's not )...I hope you like my story. Ladies and Gents...I present
HOLY WAR! ( If you press F11 for full screen you'll see a larger picture...then just press F11 again to go back to normal. ) Enjoy

HOLY WAR # 1 ( Part 1 )

HOLY WAR # 1 ( Part 2 )

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jack Kirby's " The Demon "

Jack Kirby's DEMON has to be one of my all time favorite Kirby creations. The origin , the prose and rhyme..." Gone Gone o' form of man , rise the DEMON Etrigan " Wow...just wow.
It's one of the few things that creeped me out that also kept me wanting more. These covers here represent my favorite thing about Kirby's compositions. In one panel you get a whole story...People laud Will Eisner for his masterful and expert sequential storytelling . Jack Kirby was quite the masterful storyteller himself.
Look at the apparitions created by Etrigan on the cover of the DEMON number 13 here. Self explanatory.
Look at the Castle courtyard behind the Inspector and his men on the cover of the DEMON number 2...need I say more. Kirby had a way about him so unique to him alone that was both simplistic yet intricate all at the same time.
Not just anyone can ink Kirby either. You'd need to understand the complex placing of blacks in the shading in relation to the aspect of the figure or buildings being inked.
I've read these comics through and through several times over and still am amazed. Sure the Marvel universe and the FF and the X-men have all been part of Jacks legacy and Dynasty...but the DEMON and the NEW GODS and all of Kirbster's FOURTH WORLD creations are among some of the greatest comic books ever produced and printed in four color dynamic glory.
These are my favorite DEMON covers.