Friday, December 4, 2015

Leonard Starr 1925-2015

I was saddened by the passing of Leonard Starr in August of 2015. I started buying his artwork a few years ago and only recently read his great Mary Perkins - On Stage series which has been reprinted by Charles Pelto of Classic Comics Press. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and buy the reprints. Leonard was not only one of the all time great draftsmen from the photo-realistic strip art era, but was also one of its greatest writers. Though the series originally began almost 60 years ago, it holds up remarkably well today - a testament to Starr's great talent. If you search the web or read the introductions to the reprints, written by many top talents of the industry, you will see similar accolades for his work. He was one of the greats.

Featured here are three consecutive dailies from 1965. Notice how each daily works as a stand-alone piece, and yet they also flow together smoothly and move the story forward. The beautiful inking speaks for itself. (Click for larger image)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Alias - Bendis/Gaydos

One of the best comic series I've read in the last decade was Alias by Brian Michael Bendis, and artist Michael Gaydos.  It's been collected in a big, hardcover omnibus edition, which I recently re-read.  The main character is Jessica Jones, a former Avenger and superhero, now a private investigator who avoids the superhero world whenever possible.  Bendis has become my favorite mainstream comic book author.  He writes a good story, and his dialogue is second to none.

In the pages featured here, Jessica has found out that her number one enemy, the Purple Man, has escaped from prison, and she is freaking out.  The Purple Man has mind control powers, and Jessica is still traumatized from her prior experience with him.  A young man named Malcom, who has a fanboy crush on Jessica and thinks he works for her (though she's never really hired him) answers the phone when she calls from across the street.  This page is loaded with tension, and classic Bendis dialog.  Michael Gaydos' style really suits this book and he does a great job.  It should be noted that some of the panels on the page are photcopies of other panels. (click for larger image)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Love and Rockets - Wigwam Bam - Jaime Hernandez

Love and Rockets was a series that I kept meaning to read for years but never did.  I finally got around to it and picked up the very nicely packaged Fantagraphics reprints that were published in the last couple of years.  This time around, the publisher decided to separate Jaime's work from his brother Beto's work resulting in a neat collection of nearly all of Jaime's L&R stories in five volumes.  For those who don't know, when L&R started out way back in the 1980's, it was sort of a semi-futuristic sci-fi story about a female rocket mechanic named Maggie.  As the series progressed, Jaime dropped the rockets and sci-fi stuff and focused what he is best at - stories about people.

Once I got passed the rockets stuff, I was hooked and couldn't put the books down.  Jaime is one of the greatest American comic book artists of all time.  His characters are so real and well written, that you can't help but think they're all based on real people.  His artwork is no less amazing - a clean, cartoony style bordering on realism with the ability to convey an incredible range of emotion and expression. He is truly a master of the medium.

My favorite story in the collection is probably Wigwam Bam, which focuses in part on the love triangle (or quadrangle if you coun't Hopey) between Ray, Maggie, and Danita.  I looked around for a nice example and found this great page from the story.  In it, Danita hears that Ray's old flame Maggie is back in town and begins to wonder what that means for her and Ray.  Her emotional flip from elation to devastation is executed so well and with so few words.  I especially love panel five with the passenger of the car yelling at Danita for not watching where she's going.  I also recall being blown away the first time I saw the final panel on the page - so subtle and just incredible.  I'm really happy to add this one to my collection and hope to add more in the future. (click for larger image)

UPDATE 12/3/2015!!!

By sheer chance, I was sufing the web and I came across an interview with Jaime Hernandez.  On the website were examples of his work, and a couple of photos of him.  I was amazed when I looked at this photo of him from Emerald City Con in 2009.  Take a look at what is on the table in front of him - my page!!  He must have liked it to have it on display like that.  So cool!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cisco Kid 1952-07-26

Picked up this wonderful Cisco Kid daily by the great Jose Luis-Salinas.  Salinas was from Argentina and drew the Cisco Kid from 1951-1968.  I obtained this strip from a family member who was good friends with Salinas.  He told me Salinas gave some strips to his father when he was a boy.  This is a great example, and you'll note how Salinas painstakingly painted the floral pattern on Cisco's shirt each and every time!  I especially love the last panel featuring Cisco.  One of the greats of the strip art era. (click for larger image)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Maximilian Spilhaczek 1876-1961

Just picked up this wonderful, museum-quality watercolor by Max Spilhaczek.  It's a portrait of a priest and is about 8 x 10 inches, and signed "98 MS".  I don't know much about the artist, but got this biography info from the seller:

Maximilian (Max) Spilhaczek (1876 Vienna - 1961 Kaltenleutgeben, Lower Austria) was a well-known Austrian artist who studied at the Vienna Academy under Professors Griepenkerl, Rumpler and Lichtenfels. He exhibited regularly at the Vienna "Kuenstlerhaus" - the largest exhibition hall of the time, and "Secession".

After doing a little more research, it seems the artist worked for Hitler at some point and even drew a picture of him.  Don't know if he was a supporter or forced to do the work.  Either way, this is an exceptional piece and I'm really excited to have acquired it. (click for larger image)