Friday, July 30, 2010

Dagwood - Blondie

With the release of the Sunday Funnies stamps by the US Postal Service on July 16 (Dennis the Menace, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, Archie, Beetle Bailey) I thought I would show a cover from the Oct 1, 1995 issue honoring Classic Comics.

Blondie was created by Chic Young (1901-1973) and first published Sept 8, 1930. After his death, his son Dean took over creative control and serves as writer for the strip. Dean has collaborated with several artists over the years, Jim Raymond, Mike Gersher, Stan Drake, Denis Lebrun and John Marshall. The comic strip features the adventures of the Bumstead family, Dagwood and Blondie and their children Alexander and Cookie. A common running gag throughout is Dagwood running into his postman Mr. Beasley on his way to work, as pictured on the stamp.

Since I sent this cover to Mr. Young through the mail, I am not sure if DEan Young or one of his artists did the drawing. I like to think that Dean could at least draw Dagwood, when required. this cover was drawn between the Stan Drake and Denis Lebrun time frame. Regardless of who actually drew Dagwood, I still appreciate the effort on their behalf.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

GI Joe - Snake Eyes

Yo Joe!!!
July 24, 2010 - Comic Book Show - Superheroes for Hospice - Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Livingston, NJ. The show is run to raise funds for the Saint Barnabas Hospice, and featured a couple of sketch artists as well as comic books for sale.

Bobby Vala was one of the sketch artists present. Bobby has done art and design for Hasbro and Mattel, specifically for GI Joe, as well as designing Shocker Suit Spiderman. My interest was in GI Joe. I had several first day covers with military themes, so I decided to use the Desert Shield-Desert Storm commemorative from 1991.

I asked Bobby for a GI Joe of his choice, with a gleam in his eye and a small smile he asked "Can I do a Cobra?", Anything you want was my reply. When the cover was done, Bobby had opted for Snake Eyes. Snake Eyes is one of the original members from the GI Joe: A Real American Hero line, which came out in 1982.

The original GI Joe came out in the early 1960's and yes I had one. Most of the boys on my street in Brooklyn did.

You can see more of Bobby's work at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Captain America

Whenever I attend a comic show and there are many artists, it can be difficult to make a choice. I usually attend with the knowledge of 1 or 2 artists I would like to get a sketch from. Other times it is what strikes me at the moment. While walking around the NJ Comic Expo waiting for my cover from Rick Parker to be drawn, I noticed Ken Frederick drawing a picture of Superman. I was taken by the detail of his work and decided to request a sketch. The above Captain America in pencil is a fine example of Ken's work. Ken is a graphic artist working on the art for Aleksander Christov: Assassin, written by his wife Janine.
Drawn at the NJ Comic Expo Riverdale, NJ

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stinky Dead Kid - Frankenstein FDC

This cover was drawn by Rick Parker, artist for the comic Stinky Dead Kid. When I approached Mr. Parker, my idea was to have Stinky on a Frankenstein cover as he appeared in the comics. Mr. Parker suggested he draw Stinky with a touch of Frankenstein as a tie-in to the stamp. I like to offer the artist the opportunity to create whatever comes to mind, I do not want to dictate what they should draw, so I was in full agreement. The end result is fantastic.

This cover was drawn June 19, 2010 at the NJ Comic Expo, Riverdale, NJ

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Irwin Hasen - Dondi

When I had read that Irwin Hasen would be appearing at NJ Comic Expo in Riverdale, NJ on June 19, 2010, I was hoping I would be able to attend. Soccer matches have priority, but luck was with me as I was able to attend with my son Matt, before his playoff game.

Irwin Hasen, for me brings back memories of opening the NY Daily News and reading the comics pages. His comic strip Dondi had always been one of my favorites. Hasen created Dondi with Gus Edson in 1955 and the strip ran until 1986. The storyline followed Dondi, a orphaned boy during World War II, who is befriended by American soldiers and brought back to the US. I followed his adventures for many years.

What I did not know was that Mr. Hasen had also been a comic book artist, creating the character of Wildcat, along with Bill Finger in 1942.

At age 92, Mr. Hasen is a remarkable man and was extremely pleasant. He graciously drew a sketch of Dondi on a World War II Monument FDC for Matt and myself.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Man from Riverdale

Fernando Ruiz signed copy of Archie the Man from Riverdale

Archie Andrews - Batman FDC

Archie Andrews as the Shield..
Fernando Ruiz was making an appearance at Dewey's Comic City, Madison, NJ on July 10, 2010 to promote the new Archie comic, the Man from Riverdale.

I did not have any first day covers (FDC) that were directly related to Archie, so I brought several with me that could be used. I discussed my ideas with Mr. Ruiz as follows, Archie as the Spy from the new comic on a McGruff the Crime Dog FDC (1984), Archie or Jughead as a werewolf on a Universal Monsters FDC (1997) or Archie as the Shield as seen on the Archie and Friends comic from Oct 2002 on a Batman FDC (2006).

Mr Ruiz stated he enjoyed drawing Archie as the Shield and liked the idea of using the Batman FDC, so the decision was an easy one...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is an FDC?

The first day of issuance of a stamp is the day on which a postage stamp, post card or stamped envelope is placed on sale. The issuing country usually holds a first day ceremony in a specific city and the stamp is only available for purchase in that city on that day. It is made available throughout the rest of the country on the following day (second day of issue).

A first day cover (FDC) is an envelope that has a stamp postmarked (or cancelled) on the day of issuance. An official postmark is applied in that city on the first day. An unofficial first day cover may be created by taking the stamps to other cities to obtain a first day postmark, by placing them in the mailstream or bringing them to the post office.

The artwork added to the first day cover is called the cachet and can be hand drawn, printed, rubber stamped or an other method a collector can think of.

An event cover is one that is produced to commemorate a special event (space launches, sporting events, political events, etc.). Pictorial postmarks are ones that feature artwork and are created by the post office for special events and at times first day of issuance.

The above cover is from my own printed artwork (under the name Robinson Stamps) for the 1995 Classic Comics first day of issue, with the Yellow Kid stamp.