Foreword by Neil Gaiman. Folks across America had little trouble equating the insidious wildcat Simple J. Malarkey with the ascendant anti-Communist senator, Joseph McCarthy. The subject was sensitive enough that by the following year a Providence, Rhode Island newspaper threatened to drop the strip if Malarkey's face were to appear in it again.
He had Malarkey appear again but put a bag over the character's head for his next appearance. A handsome extra-illustrated, full color slipcase encloses the first two volumes in the Complete Syndicated Comic Strips collection. Click on each volume for fuller descriptions and pictures from each volume. This is THE way to get the books, nicely protected and with cool extra slipcase art, plus at an even better price.
This Winter Convention Booklet features the best of Budd's X-Mas artwork, naughty and nice, plus brand new pieces —- all in full color! Lots of Cavewoman, fully nude and, surprisingly, clothed on occasion. Fresh, new work by Root, with specialty pieces, other characters and more. These con books of his are always a treat. Signed on the cover, bagged and boarded for protection. Our favorite Budd Root item each year. While I'm not as big a fan of the regular Cavewoman issues, where Budd only does the covers, these con books are something else and a special treat.
Lots of nudes, fine work throughout. This Winter Convention Booklet features the best of Budd's X-Mas artwork, naughty and nice, plus brand new pieces — all in full color!
Also, for the first time, Budd's X-Mas Puppy Portfolio is presented all together in one place and he has added two more brand new puppy pieces to complete the set! Also Universal Monsters and more surprises. Each book is signed on the cover, bagged and boarded for protection.
Our favorite Root item each year. Introduction by Frank Cho. After years of waiting, I decided to put my publisher hat on and just publish it myself. And is this a hot book! Page after page of dazzling art, not only wonderful nudes and almost nudes of Cavewoman, but specialty pieces, commissions, Universal monsters, convention book covers and posters, and an interview. Vampirella has thrived for nearly 50 years delivering classic tales of terror in comics, graphic novels, and magazines.
This action figure is enchanting. Vampirella comes to life in her Phicen seamless body it's soft with stainless steel armature, in her one-piece bikini costume. She has three pairs of interchangeable hands, knee-high boots, a removable cape, and more accessories. Handsomely packaged in a die-cut full color traycase, along with a separate large and impressively heavy cold-cast base, resplendent with skulls and lots of detail, hand-colored.
Directed by Luchino Visconti. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis.
November 2018 Archives
Their brief was simple: Kidby has collected the very best of his Discworld illustrations in this definitive volume, including 40 pieces never before seen, 30 pieces that have only appeared in foreign editions, limited editions and BCA editions, and 17 book cover illustrations since that have never been seen without cover text.
By Mike Mignola and Gary Gianni. Art by Gary Gianni. Hellboy is marooned in the Sargasso Sea and he ends in that misty, inexplicable realm where classic tales of horror usually wind up. The page collection includes revealing commentary regarding how two legendary comic-book creators seamlessly developed this from an idea into a finished work of art.
But this is a battle we the people can win
Hellboy sets sail from the wreckage of a deserted island only to cross paths with a ghost ship. Taken captive by the phantom crew, Hellboy is in the wrong place at the wrong time as a wanna-be witch on board is going to drag up all the dark denizens of hell to do her bidding. This presents the Eisner Award-winning story of Screw-on Head's epic battles with Emperor Zombie and a host of other bizarre and quirky villains, all in the greatest Mignola tradition! Because you demanded it! Hank Pym's never-before-reprinted Marvel Feature series with the Wasp leads the way.
Next comes the debut of Scott Lang, the man who stole the mantle of Ant-Man -- literally! Metropolitan Museum of Art, Compiled by Terry Maltos. Al Rio was a very prolific artist! The best and most representative images of his work: Finished works as well as unpublished detailed pencil drawings and fan sketches. He was too great a writer, though, to offer straight pen portraits, and while the allusions to Patrick Balfour in Sword of Honour are clear, they are artfully woven into the narrative and suffused with the affection Waugh felt for an old and cherished friend.
Live bidding will begin Wednesday, Dec. As with all University Archives auctions, this one is packed with rare and highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. The full catalog showing all lots can be viewed now, at www.
Online bidding is being provided by Invaluable. Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted. The Napoleon lots are expected to do well in the international arena, where University Archives has been gaining a strong foothold in recent auctions. It depicts the French Emperor as dignified and serious, with firmly set brow and intense eyes.
Colombo executed numerous casts of Napoleon, and this example stands as one of his finest. A single-page letter written and signed by Thomas Jefferson as President, dated Oct. A letter from written in German and signed by Albert Einstein, expressing appreciation for a 75th birthday present from a Mrs. Also, a letter penned extensively on all four sides by Charles Darwin, dated Feb.
A copy of the book Poems N. As with all University Archives online auctions, this one is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature. University Archives was founded in , as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in , while in the third grade.
Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies. One-page letter written and signed by Alexander Hamilton in , to George W. The show runs from November 9, to February 1, The images may be evocative, lyrical, and—at times—haunting. This is one of the themes that fascinates me and informs so much of my work: In the creation of the negative, overlapping frames and multiple-exposures are used to evoke an almost cinematic sense of time and motion.
Images are printed using handmade surfaces such as Amate paper from Mexico, and Kinwashi paper from Japan. Schaub is interested in the way these historic materials may merge with content and vice versa, surface and imagery blending into one, each informing the other. Because each artwork is created in this fashion, these places exist nowhere so much as they do within the mind of the viewer.
Schaub lives and works in Vermont and his unique prints have been exhibited in the U. His work is in the Polaroid Collection as well as other major private and corporate collections. In addition, the more recent material, particularly the sc-fi variety, went from strength-to-strength with auction records set by Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Heinlein, proving once again the sky is no limit.
A Play About a Good Woman , Records for works signed and inscribed by Philip K. Dick to his last romantic partner, Joan Simpson, included a first edition of Our Friends From Frolix 8 , and a first hardcover edition of Galactic Pot-Healer. Also by Philip K. The early story was published in a issue of Fantastic Universe. Swann Galleries is currently accepting quality consignments for auctions in Kurt Vonnegut-an American writer best known for his science-fiction infused anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five -was a standout of the sale with a group of letters written to members of his family, largely from his time enlisted in the army during WWII.
They sparkle with humor and keen observation, some with parts taking the form of a dialogue between his recipient and a fictional interlocutor; others serving as a sketchpad for clever insignias or flags that make a sarcastic commentary on the text running alongside. Vonnegut's letters are a joy to read, and that the group Swann offered realized as high a price as it did is a testament to the fact that there are still those who appreciate the joy of reading. Presidents featured John F. Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters signed to his family, including 6 illustrated, ss.
Basel, Switzerland—In the last exhibition of this year, Dr. Elaborately illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, miniatures, and early printed books will be on display at the Dr. The magnificent artworks portray scenes from the Christmas story bringing the medieval and Renaissance interpretations of Christmas to life. The Christmas selection features beautiful Books of Hours, including a lavishly illustrated manuscript that was presumably made for a member of the Venetian Zane family.
The twenty-one delightful miniatures are attributed to the Masters of the so-called Gold Scrolls group. Albeit small in size, this elaborate manuscript is full of finely illuminated and elegant texts, manifesting individuality. Another highlight of the exhibition is an unusual and beautiful Book of Hours that was made for or commissioned by Louis XII, King of France The manuscript appears to have been originally conceived by a regional artist, who also carried out a great deal of the illumination. Compellingly, the two artists not only divided the illustrations to be painted, but actually worked together in many of the same miniatures.
It was made in London in and was likely a wedding present for Beatrice Beauchamp and widow Corbet, d. Nearly every page is decorated with a multitude of whimsical miniatures and bas-de-page scenes. Some miniatures in this volume show rare and most unusual iconography, for instance a historiated initial that depicts a funeral service attended exclusively by animals, an unusual topic for the Office of the Dead.
This manuscript, with bright, large margins, is an excellent example of the high quality of illumination from the city of Rouen. The unidentified name Dupont, with its monogram mark, gave this small, intimate, and personal prayer book its name. Interestingly, however, one miniature shows the anonymous patroness kneeling before the Virgin and Child. Miniatures and borders are richly detailed: The narrative content is similarly expanded into scenes in the margins, in roundels containing ancillary characters or events. This first issue is considered one of the most valuable and prestigious comics of the Silver Age.
A Who's Hoo from the Museum's Vault. Nocturnal birds of prey, owls have figured in world cultures throughout history, from Greek mythology to Harry Potter's Hedwig. Their large, forward-facing eyes give the appearance of intelligence, inspiring artists and writers to portray owls as symbols of wisdom. Illustrated Owls features the noble birds as represented by 22 artists whose work is on long-term loan or in The Carle's permanent collection.
Interpretations range from the realistic to the charming. The exhibition includes three Eric Carle artworks in different media. Gallery activities invite guests to create owl drawings to take home or add to our parliament a parliament is a group of owls--a term first used by C. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia. Owl-themed picture books, ambient owl sounds, and fun fact family labels complete the installation. Illustrated Owls includes prints, collages, pen and ink drawings, and watercolors.
Gift of Adrianne and Adam Lobel. Heritage Auctions offered the original art for the first time since its publication in at a public auction of vintage comic books and comic art held Thursday, Nov. Created in Belgium in June by Philippe Boon, the Boon Foundation for Narrative Graphic Arts houses several thousand works, in particular strip comics and graphic novels.
This collection of artifacts, illustrations and original pages stands at the heart of a vast cultural project dedicated to the narrative graphic arts. A permanent venue will be opened shortly to the public in Brussels, and travelling exhibitions will be organized. Krigstein's jaw-dropping formal invention of mirroring previous panels and layouts from one page to another became an iconic template for both mainstream and underground cartoonists for many decades to come.
New York—On December 14, , The Grolier Club will unveil its reconstructed state-of-the-art Exhibition Hall, capping a total renovation of the public spaces in the century-old building. Notwithstanding the many hundreds of public exhibitions that have been displayed at The Grolier Club in its years, it has never before offered such a broad and deep survey of the artistic and typographic monuments of France. The Grolier Club has maintained a strong Francophile tradition since its founding in , beginning with its name.
The Grolier Club was named for Jean Grolier, the Renaissance collector who was renowned for his patronage of scholars and printers, for the magnificent bindings he commissioned, and for a generous habit of sharing his library with friends. The works on display are as diverse as one would expect from a millennium of French artistry: Many of the books have special provenances but perhaps the strangest is an 18th century manuscript that has an unusual 20th century provenance. George Fletcher, the exhibition honors the memory of Mary K. A fully-illustrated companion volume by Mr.
The exhibition and its accompanying book have been organized and written by H. George Fletcher, a long-serving member of The Grolier Club, elected to membership in This is his third exhibition at the Grolier in recent years. Free Lunchtime Exhibition Tours: December 14 and 19, and February 1, 1: The Curator will lead free public tours of the exhibition.
Bound in Paris, ca. Nicolae Primi Pont ificis. Courtesy of the Grolier Club. New York— The Morgan is excited to announce that it is expanding its collection—one of the most important collections of drawings in the United States—to include eleven drawings by five major twentieth-century African-American artists from the South. Largely self-taught, these artists—Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young—use drawing to express their personal and cultural identity, finding inspiration in their own lives as well as in common experiences and folk imagery.
The Morgan acquired the drawings through a gift-purchase agreement from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and disseminate the works of African-American artists from the Southern United States. It recognizes the important contribution made to the history of drawing by artists working outside the conventional channels and expands the reflection on the role and significance of the medium of drawing as a vehicle to express a particular identity. In addition, this acquisition encourages more in-depth study of the dialogue between vernacular, nonacademic traditions in the visual arts and the production of mainstream artists.
Canonical twentieth century artists from Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, to Jasper Johns and Rosemarie Trockel found inspiration in the creations of the non-academically trained to infuse their work with a new energy. The major retrospective Dubuffet Drawings, held at the Morgan in , made clear the importance of the dialogue between the mainstream and alternative traditions in twentieth-century art.
These acquisitions will broaden the exposure of drawings by these important American artists among audiences around the country and provide new opportunities for exhibition, research, and other partnerships. These works also complement objects in other collecting areas at the Morgan, notably African-American folk songs in the Printed Music Department, and African-American poetry and first editions of Harlem Renaissance writers such as LangstonHughes, abundantly represented in the Carter Burden Collection of modern American literature in the Printed Books Department.
The Morgan is planning to feature these new acquisitions in an exhibition in The study features James K. Van Brunt, a friend of the artist and one of his favorite models, as a serious yet slightly unkempt alchemist. The assortment of original comic strips by Charles M. Additional cartoons include an original panel Doonesbury strip by Garry Trudeau featuring his character Rufus Jackson.
Created in the early s the, strip is dedicated and inscribed to the influential psychologist, educator and civil rights activist Kenneth B. Other highlights from the iconic magazine include a cover by Peter Arno, cover illustrations from Heidi Goennel and cartoons from Charles Barsotti. Ludwig Bemelmans, After Everybody had been Fed , illustration for Madeline in London , gouache, watercolor and ink, The curated offerings will include something for everyone, from the most seasoned collector to the newest enthusiast, with items at a wide variety of prices.
New Editions begins on Friday, November 30 from pm with a special preview night. Be the first to explore and purchase a curated collection of bookish works from Minnesota and around the country. At 7pm, learn more about the importance of collecting book art from a panel of artists, featuring Harriet Bart, Regula Russelle, and Gaylord Schanilec, and moderated by Karen Wirth. Each ticket holder receives a commemorative limited edition broadside printed by Laura Brown during the event. New Editions continues with a public sale on Saturday, December 1 from 10am-4pm.
Attendees will be able to find special gifts for those on their shopping list, or treat themselves to a unique work of art. Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K students and teachers.
To learn more, visit www. The event will begin with an introduction by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. She will be followed by historian and manuscript specialist Michelle Krowl, who will talk about Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. A portion of this program will be livestreamed at Youtube. Lincoln county schools across the country and the general public are invited to virtually participate via the livestream and our new crowdsourcing website at crowd. Lincoln had been invited to give a "few appropriate remarks" during a ceremony to dedicate a cemetery for Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Library holds two original drafts of the Gettysburg Address that reveal the ways in which Abraham Lincoln prepared his now-famous comments. These drafts are part of the Abraham Lincoln Collection. The papers of the lawyer, representative from Illinois and 16th president of the United States, contain approximately 40, documents dating from to Roughly half of the collection, more than 20, documents, comprising 62, images, as well as transcriptions of approximately 10, documents, is available online.
The program launched in October with the Letters to Lincoln Challenge, inviting the public to transcribe 10, items from the Abraham Lincoln papers by the end of Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc. All lots from this upcoming sale from are on display and available for public preview on Wednesday, November 28th, Thursday, November 29th, and Friday, November 30th from This travel poster event offers a grand tour of European cities, with two examples taking top spots in the sale. Lot , a Venezia poster by Frenchman Adolphe Mouron features a tranquil vista on a Venetian canal with a man in renaissance dress operating a gondola whose image is inversely reflected in the water.
And lot , a c. Other European destinations are also well represented in this sale. A top dog here is lot 80, a British travel poster featuring an English bulldog on a blue background with a jet above. Lot , a Berliner Allee cityscape of Dusseldorf, Germany from the perspective of a table on a patio, is a breath of fresh air indeed.
It was designed by H. And lot , an Air France color lithograph with vignettes of various sites, landmarks, and characters of Europe, was designed in by Frenchman Jean Carlu — It is possible to go great distances without leaving home via the marvelous Russian and Far East posters available through this event. Bidder battles are certain to break out over lot , a Georgian Military Highway poster by Russian artist Alexander Zhitomirsky Petersburg Church of the Savior Blood turrets. Posters representing southern destinations lend a touch of southern comfort and hospitality to this auction.
Lot , a c. It's impossible not to make eye contact with Lot , a Pan American poster for Tahiti featuring a beautiful woman with a suggestive gaze. This sale proves you don't have to leave the USA to view world-class landmarks and events. Lot 14, a Fly TWA to Las Vegas poster from combines the daytime and nighttime view of the desert oasis with sun, sand, gambling, and glamour.
Also on track in this category is lot , a Gustav W. This example from pictures a train speeding through Montana. This sale comes rounds out with can't look away selections of posters featuring sports, events, adventure, and other exotic destination themes. It comes to life with an abstracted, patterned image of African elephants among their native terrain, with a jet flying overhead.
You can go anywhere with lot , a classic modernist travel poster from American Airlines advertising the concept of travel rather than a specific destination. And last to take a pole position in this summary is lot , a Dorothy Waugh poster promoting winter sports for the US Parks Service. Any enthusiast with an interest in modern master poster designers should find something appealing at this sales event. These striking images should also catch the eye of designers, decorators, and anyone looking for first-class examples of mid-century modern decorative art.
The company's next sale, an online only Winter Magic Auction, will be held on December 15, The online catalog will be posted approximately two weeks before the date of the sale. For more information, please see www. New York - On December 5, Bonhams Books and Manuscripts sale will offer Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of his recording for the second "Goldberg Variations," one of the most significant and well-known interpretations in classical music estimate: This annotated complete score and accompanying notes offer profound insight into the landmark recording.
Gould manuscripts are very rare in the marketplace, with no substantial Gould manuscript ever having been sold at auction. Darren Sutherland, Books and Manuscripts Specialist, commented: The vast majority of Gould material is held institutionally, and never reaches the private market. The work comprises a set of 30 contrapuntal variations, beginning and ending with an aria. The piece had long been considered, when considered at all, as too esoteric and demanding to be part of the standard piano repertoire, with very few pianists even attempting it.
Glenn Gould's innovative recording changed all of that. He had first played the Goldberg Variations in concert in , and the composition became a staple of his performances. But it was his recording that launched his career as an international figure, fast becoming one of the world's best-known piano recordings. In , at the pinnacle of his performing career, Gould retired from performing at the age of Increasingly dissatisfied with his original, Gould made a new recording of the Goldberg Variations in , this time with years of experience behind him. It was released a week before he died in , winning a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Performance, and it now stands as the coda to Gould's outstanding career.
These pages offer an important window into Gould's famous final recording, as he notes in minutiae the timings of various takes and levels, while sometimes emphasizing pauses, microphone placements, etc. The four additional manuscript pages likewise contain notes on the recordings, referencing the score and providing additional commentary and instruction, such as at Var.
Gould the pianist had lived closely with this piece of music for 25 years and was unlikely to need notes for playing—the present manuscript contains minute detail of his assembly of the recording. The extensive archive includes more than Handwritten letters between the two capture the affectionate moments of their courtship, proposal, and marriage. Over their year careers, the couple would go on to star in, develop, and produce projects across the world, creating new opportunities for Blacks in the performing arts, and influencing the ways narratives centered on Black life were told.
The archive is currently being processed and will be available to the public for research with a New York Public Library card in spring Having their archive home to Harlem will help scholars and researchers tell an even more comprehensive story of the cultural and political evolution of the 20th century.
We are privileged to be stewards of the Dee and Davis legacies, and to make them available to the public for study and exploration. The Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee archive not only documents their history and contributions to the performing arts and to the civil rights struggle, but to African American history, Harlem history and the history of the Schomburg Center. Those studying these topics will find this archive to be an important primary resource.
For more information, visit SchomburgCenter. Highlights from the R. Eden Martin Collection , which features lots of fine Russian books and manuscripts, primarily from Russia's Golden Age and Silver Age of literature the early 19th and early 20th centuries respectively. Built over the past two decades by the American Chicago lawyer R. Eden Martin, this is one of the last great private collections of Russian literature in America.
The collection is highlighted by a presentation copy of the first edition of Kamen , which was inscribed by Mandel'shtam for his early mentor, the poet Viacheslav Ivanov estimate: Spahr called the big store in town that buys old comics. They said they were NOT buying right now. So he called the other big store in town that buys old comics. They said they were NOT buying. We explained to Uncle Louie that stores that sell back issues are going to offer him roughly 30 bucks a box which is basically less than a dime for each book.
He could eBay it. He could hire someone to eBay it on commission. He could try other stores in other areas. Ultimately, though, he would have to wrap his head around the idea that this collection is, right now, basically worthless. Spahr said, "It's just like vinyl records. Remember when vinyl was worthless in the '90s? Well, those worthless records are finally worth money again. It came back around. So maybe just sit on the collection and drag it out in ten years and see what's up. She wants this junk outta here! It's funny how looking at old comic book covers triggers one's memory.
Some of these covers are burned into my brain. I snapped some photos of some well known books and some unknown books. Barry Windsor-Smith hand-colored cover to Kull 9 from below. Check out those purples! This is early Marv Wolfman writing with art by Steve Gan. A comic traded around the Los Bros Hernandez household. Or so I'm told. Cover is by Gil Kane? This comic has some great art by Barry Windsor-Smith who, unfortunately, didn't do the colors for the interiors. He did colors for the cover though.
Barry was one of those guys who could just draw people hanging out by the pool. The figures are beefed up but they look natural. Found a few obscure comics up my alley. This fine specimen of the post-black and white explosion era is from The tell-tale wide margins at the top and bottom. This usually means that the artist drew the art at the wrong scale. Probably drawn at "magazine" proportions and not "comic book" proportions. Art by Christopher Heidt. On the drive back home, Spahr and I got to talking about the comics back issue market.
We were speculating that it could go either of two ways. One way would be like vinyl records where the bottom drops out and it comes around again. Or comic book back issues could be like the baseball card market, where the bottom drops out and never comes around again. We talked about how it's crazy that there is this generation of comics collectors that basically all have the same collection.
Like the one we just saw. And how it's basically worthless. And how those collections were worth real money even ten years ago. Maybe more like 20 years ago. Joe 2 from ? It used to be worth 40 bucks. Now, just a click away, there are 6 used from various sellers starting at 99 cents. Spahr joked that we should have all sold when the market was at its peak in the early '90s.
But then there are other books - like the first appearance of the Punisher or Wolverine - that went through the roof in terms of value.
Bud's Art Books Blog:
Those are the ones that we sold back then. If we had them, I mean. Bill Boichel tells a story about having a longbox about copies of Giant -Size X-Men 1 , the first modern X-Men book, and selling each one for 10 30 bucks back in I asked Bill if he kept one for himself.
- Full text of "horror comics".
- Origine du prénom Driss (Oeuvres courtes) (French Edition).
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men Ive Dated;
- Blog Archive.
Today on the site Tom Scioli rejoins us with a close look at Silver Surfer 1 It has a lot of things colliding at once. There are some interesting narrative flourishes, but also a leaden storytelling instinct and deep misunderstanding of his own co-creations.
My copy is coverless and was previously owned by David Hazelwood who signed it. And that should hold you over if nothing else. Early s Bill Everett inky depths. Johnny Ryan's latest masterpiece. Sister Corita Kent gets a new monograph. Providence newspaper Mother's News goes the archive. Silver Surfer 1 is a comic worth examining closely. It's the straw that broke the camel's back in Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's working relationship. The Silver Surfer series is possibly John Buscema's finest moment.
It's Stan Lee's first big self-conscious stab at creating something ambitious and meaningful. It's also a good example of what Lee's writing is like when you subtract Kirby or Ditko from the equation. This isn't the first time I read this comic. I wasn't about to shell out big bucks for the comic that made Jack Kirby leave Marvel.
It starts in the Johnson era with space race imagery. I Dream of Jeanie was in its third season when this comic was written and drawn. With movies like 's The Reluctant Astronaut with Don Knotts at the low art end of the spectrum and Kubrick's A Space Odyssey at the high art end, space capsules and splashdowns were part of the pop culture moment. Stan pulled out the big guns for this one. For John Buscema, this is a star-making moment.
He was a rising star at Marvel and would eventually replace Kirby when he abdicates his Marvel throne, taking over Thor and Fantastic Four as his main assignments. He also would eventually fill the Kirby role as the go-to guy for laying out stories for others to finish, basically teaching the next generation how to tell a story in pictures. His drawings had the dynamism of Kirby, with prettier, leaner figures, and polished traditional draftsmanship. He was a good storyteller, too, with a detailed visual imagination. It was storytelling of a specific Marvel Method type.
He was a professional who could fill the gaps in a Stan Lee plot, but for whatever reason lacked the desire or possibly the ability to do a comic solo. He would make one panel lead into the next with rhythm and momentum. He wasn't the creative powerhouse Kirby was, who would create new characters as easily as breathing. He didn't have that inventive spark, but was an excellent interpreter, Metron to Kirby's Himon. He was able to render Kirby's characters and worlds with great conviction.
He could compose a convincing scene from any angle, but never filled the balloons. As such we'll probably never know the extent of his storytelling abilities. It's possible Stan was looking for someone more pliable someone who didn't insist on a point of view the way Kirby or Ditko did, someone who was interested in creating lush beautiful images that tell a story, any story.
The Surfer's body as rendered by John Buscema is leaner, more idealized, more like the body of an actual surfer, with tremendous core strength and balance. A slimmer Surfer than Kirby's graceful yet bulky space gladiator. Buscema hasn't yet deviated from Kirby's Surfer design in terms of signifiers. No ears, no hair, the neck is thick. There's great torsion on the pose.
He's sideways, rather than the straight up and down of the missing cover. The northern lights spell out "S. If not for the dot screen, I would've thought David Hazelwood did it himself with a blue magic marker. The colorist made up the time lost on the logo by dropping a sheet of yellow and blue on Joe Sinnott's impeccably rendered background. Stranger in a Strange Land is obviously a touchstone.
Can you grok that? Stan Lee is doing his delightfully purple prose thing with "O'er" and "Seeker of truth. It's a good setup, but it's not set in stone. Why NOT let him roam the universe. That was Engelhart's stated purpose, to get the Surfer into space where he belongs. The late sixties Marvel's Universe the worlds beyond earth was not as defined and populated as it is now after decades of post-Star Trek, then post-Star Wars superhero stories. He could meet the Skrulls.
He could go to the Blue Area of the Moon. He could go to Asgard which he does by issue 4 , but then what? Already we're getting 4-panel pages, a sure sign of vamping. Unfortunately the extra pages here means there's more space to fill, rather than a broader canvas on which to create a richer story.
It's a really nicely drawn comic. Black spotting on the first two panels is complementary. The closeup is nicely rendered. It starts out with the setup of a space age comedy, like I Dream of Jeanie , the return of a space capsule. I wish these cosmic moments were a little more magical, wondrous and quite frankly black light poster worthy. Convincing illusion of depth on the beautiful half-splash. That's how an original art dealer would describe it to justify a higher price.
Nicely executed drawing of Vietnam era aircraft and naval power. This must be in the Gulf of Tonkin. The figure overlaps the panel border. Big area of black on the ocean. This is an engagingly well-crafted page of comics art. I loved the way Jack drew him, and I thought there was something so noble about him that I'd decided I'd get a lot of philosophy in there, letting him deliver remarks about the condition of life on Earth and how we don't appreciate this Garden of Eden we live in.
Was this after someone explained to him that the kids identify with the outsider status of the Marvel characters. The Surfer is misunderstood and hunted. I understand why they'd react like this to the rampaging monstrous Hulk, or the nerd in a creepy fetish costume, Spider-Man. This makes no sense no fairy tale sense at least with the Surfer. He's handsome, divine, otherworldly, luminous, angelic and charismatic -- the same things that attracted Stan to this character the first time Kirby showed it to him, the nobility in Kirby's drawings. He forgot this when it came time to craft a story for the Surfer.
He wouldn't be chased, feared and hated. He's too good-looking for that. He'd be revered and worshipped. He'd be a celebrity. I could understand people harassing him looking for miracles, cures and answers to their problems.
He'd be overwhelmed by fans. I don't understand why he'd be universally hated and distrusted. Stan's empty political commentary offends no one and enlightens no one. It's just vague enough to suggest importance while being utterly meaningless. Nothing deep, just topical. The coloring approaches psychedelia, but doesn't quite get there. John Buscema never wrote a comic entirely himself as far as I can tell. I wonder if he wanted to? Ditko and Kirby craved proof of authorship and sought it out by doing projects alone and elsewhere.
Silver Surfer 1 is evidence towards the argument that Stan Lee really did view his job as filling the dialogue balloons. If the pictures weren't there it would be poetry. He just couldn't understand the picture-dominant magic of comics. How flowery are the words? That's his measure of quality. At the time of this comic, the late '60s, songwriters like Harry Nilsson and Brian Wilson were referred to as the new poets, so Stan's approach was appropriately of-the-moment, but there was more '50s Beat poetry coming from the year-old than 60s 'Dylanesque songsmithing.
The prior decade's beat poetry is a cultural reference that Stan understood. Rock 'n roll by this time had become a respectable form of expression among the younger generation. Stan, aware of it or not, was at the center of comics getting there, too. To Stan at the time, poetry is the respected form, not comics, so he makes poetry. When Pop Art was big, he made Pop Art. Kirby viewed the Surfer as a rebellious angel, an Old Testament figure. Something out of Byronic epic poetry.
Stan viewed him as Jesus. This comic is a few years earlier than Jesus Christ Superstar , but the Jesus Movement was a visible element within the hippie counterculture. Stan wanted his comics to be topical, and Jesus was suitably of-the-moment. I can imagine the thought process, "We're making a comic about a superhero version of Jesus, what did Jesus do? That translates easily enough into comics. He didn't wrestle lions or slay giants. He suffered and underwent torture by the government. So that's what the happens to the Surfer, a lot of sermonizing and suffering.
It's about as much fun as it sounds. Perhaps if the Surfer found a following to preach to this might've led somewhere, but the Surfer spends this comic preaching to himself. Buscema draws Silver Surfer's fingers Kirby style for the first and last time. They're blunt and blocky. He's still figuring out what parts of the design to jettison and what to keep.
I cringe at the mention of Norrin Radd or Shalla Bal. Any writer who does a Silver Surfer comic without referencing those names gets an automatic pass from me. It's an unnecessary bit of baggage tacked on to an otherwise elemental character. The Surfer's design is interesting. Kirby does some of the most ornate character designs and some of the simplest. The Surfer is the starting point of all Kirby's characters. A basic figure with no specific detail other than genital-covering shorts.
It's our game to lose. If we step out of line, poof it goes down. He gives sermons and he suffers. He's Casper the Friendly Ghost all grown up. Finally some actual cosmic art. Buscema hasn't yet mastered the use of Kirby Crackle. It's thrown around arbitrarily. What's that bit of squiggle? Testing out a new pen? Okay, finally some sci-fi. Why couldn't the Surfer explore a planet like this in the here and now, rather than remebering a planet like this in a flashback? He was the mystery character with no story of his own, who fans couldn't wait to see more of.
The hidden identity makes them reader identification characters. They could be anybody, even you! The more you know about these characters the less you like them.
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We learn that lesson HARD in this comic. But with these kinds of characters we demand to know. Whether you want to or not, someday the whole story will be told. When it comes time to tell it, it'd better be good. According to this comic, the 18th one to feature the character, this being made of cosmic energy who didn't even know what food was, started out as a normal dude, a normal dude from another planet, but a dude nonetheless. He's got ears and eyeballs, but other than that he's the same as the Surfer but fleshy instead of made of luminous metal.
Imagine that with other mystery characters. Okay, Wolverine IS like that, the same sillhouette, the same look with or without the costume, but imagine Boba Fett or Snake Eyes like that. An urban paradise made possible by the suffering of nomads and warriors of a bygone era. The Surfer is complaining about how great his world is. Is there anything this guy won't complain about? Isn't this the definition of depression?
Peter Parker complains because his life with his domestic partner, his terminally-ill aunt, is indeed a shitty life. This guy complaining because everything's great is something else altogether. There's an ad in this comic for its companion magazine, Spectacular Spider-Man, another longer, more serious crack at expanding the publishing line. It seems short-sighted for a publisher to have a line of books that MUST connect, and must not have conflicting continuity with other books. Would any other publisher okay DC deliberately cripple themselves like that?