Friday, April 26, 2013

Joe Staton - Dick Tracy

2013.04.06 Comic Geek Speak Supershow, Reading, Pa

Dick Tracy is the story of a hard-hitting police detective created by Chester Gould in 1931. The comic strip was raw and violent, reflecting 1930's Chicago. Gould kept the comic current with new techniques that matched current police techniques.

Tracy villains were unique characters that were evil and grotesque and looked liked their names - Flattop Jones, The Mole, Pruneface, Angeltop, Splitscreen. It was not unusual for Tracy to finish a storyline in a shootout killing the villain.

Gould introduced many modern gadgets like the wrist radio and watch phone, even taking the adventure to the Moon.

Upon Gould's retirement in 1977 Max Collins took over the writing duties and Rick Fletcher the art. Gould's name would remain in the byline for many years. When Fletcher died, a long-time Gould assistant and editorial cartoonist Dick Locher would take over the art and the writing from 2006 - 2009. Mike Killian took over writing duties from Collins in 1992 until his death in 2005. Jim Brozman would begin collaborating with Locher in 2009. Locher retired in 2011 and the storyline was handed to artist Joe Staton (creator of E-Man and longtime artist DC Comics Green Lantern, Omega Men, Doom Patrol, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Scooby-Doo and many others) and writer Mike Curtis.
Joe Staton has been in the comic industry since 1971, when he started at Charlton Comics, as a writer and illustrator. He created the character E-Man with Nicola Curti in 1973. Staton would work for Marvel, DC and First Comics (serving as art director) working on titles such as Justice Society of America (All-Star Comics and Adventure Comics), Power Girl (Showcase), Superboy and ther Legion of Super-Heroes, Doom Patrol (Showcase), Metal Men, Green Lantern, Millennium, Guy Gardner, The Huntress, The New Gaurdians, Superman & Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, Richie Rich, Casper, Batman, Blackhawk, Charlton Classics, American Flagg, Grimjack, Incredible Hulk, Johnny Quest, Space:1999, Wonder Woman, Dick Tracy and the list goes on...

Staton co-created Omega Men with Marv Wolfman...

In a previous meeting with Staton a Batman sketch was obtained for my son Matt and can be seen in Matt's Collection page...

1980s' Dick Locher

Tracy by Chester Gould (1931-1977)
Tracy by Rick Fletcher (1977-1983), with writer Max Collins (1977-1992)
Tracy by Dick Locher (1983-2011) assisted by John Locher and writers Collins and Mike Kilian (1992-2005), Jim Brozman (2005-2011)
Tracy by Joe Staton (2011-  ) with writer Mike Curtis

Updated 2014.07.27
Cleaning up some files I came across this Dick Tracy comic strip from Oct 2, 1995 as Sam Catchem and possibly Tracy's wife Tess Truehart looking over the Classic comic Strip stamps. Sam's reference to Fearless Fosdick is Al Capp's parody of Tracy which ran as part of his strip Lil' Abner..

Friday, April 19, 2013

Timothy Truman - Grateful Dead

2013.04.06 Comic Geek Speak Supershow, Reading, Pa

Timothy Truman is a comic book artist-writer whose stories tend to stay in the old west. Grimjack (with John Ostrander), Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo and Jonah Hex:Riders of the Worm and Such (with Joe R. Lansdale) , A Man Named Hawken (with Ben Truman). Truman has also worked on the characters Airboy, the Heap, The Prowler and The Spider for Eclipse Comics... The Lone Ranger and Tonto for Topps Comics, On the Far Side with Dead Folks (with Joe R. Lansdale) from Avatar Comics.

Scout (1985) published by Eclipse Comics was created by Truman. It follows an Apache warrior Emanuel Santana set against the post holocaust US with states of the South seceding from the Union, ran for 24 issues...

He re-invented Hawkman in Hawkworld, worked on a Tarzan novel, Valiant Comics - Turok:Dinosaur Hunter. Wrote Star Wars and Conan the Cimmerian for Dark Horse Comics...

Truman's work does not stop with comics...he created artwork for the Grateful Dead, wrote a biography of Carlos Santana for Rock-It Comics, included a flexi-disc in Eclipse Comics Scout #19 (1987) and records his own music in his home studio. His band the Dixie Pistols released the album Marauder (which featured a short Scout comic)...

At the Asbury Park Comic Con I was talking with Jerome Walford of Nowhere Man about music and comics. Walford includes lyrics in his dialog, so as a reader you start incorporating the song into the story. Tom Morello provides music downloads to go with his book Orchid from Dark Horse, which at the end of the run will provide a 12 song CD of music.  Fem Force included a flexi disc in their issue #50, featuring the Fem Force theme song ( I have not removed my flexi from the comic yet!). I will be looking for Scout #19, have to hear the song...

So it was almost obvious that I had to go with a music related theme for my request from Truman. The choice of the Buddy Holly first day covers was Truman's from one guitar player to an original rock n' roll guitarist...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Katie Cook - Star Wars

2013.04.06 Comic Geek Speak Supershow, Reading, Pa

While I was looking over Katie Cook's table I was taken in by all the really small cute mini paintings she had available. I kept going through my covers trying to decide what to choose, Supergirl, Batgirl, Tinkerbell, lots of images with tiny hearts, cats and other animals. Then I saw the mini Jawa  and the mini Boba Fett from Star Wars and my mind was set. After explaining what I was looking for Cook quickly said Jabba the Hut and the carbonite Han Solo. Without hesitation she went to work. Cook's mini paintings are wonderful,  she even made Jabba look cute!

Cook has done licensing work for DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, My Little Pony, Fraggle Rock and others..... Cook is also the writer for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic...

Cook has provided the cover for Hellheim by Cullen Bunn, Joelle Jones and Nick Filardi, draws and writer a web-comic Gronk a Monster's story, has a terrific Cursed Pirate Girl pin-up on her website. A grouping of her mini paintings can also be seen on her website (I purchased the Koala for my wife!) You can not walk away from her table without feeling happy!

As for the Supershow...I was surprised by the low turn-out on Saturday, as it featured an excellent group of creators. Anyone unable to attend missed out on an excellent opportunity to meet some of the top names in the industry...Timothy Truman, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck, Tom Raney, JK Woodward, Jamal Igle, Erica Schultz, Dawn Griffin, Nick Makoviak, Art Baltazar, Franco, Ian Glaubinger, Don Smith, Andrew Charipar, Dave Wachter, Chris Flick, Mike Norton, Jim Califiore, Rudy Nebres (I am amazed he doesn't get more of a crowd at his table - he is excellent!), Julian Lytle, Danielle Corsetto, Scott Derby, Mark Mariano, Tom King and others I did not get to... I am glad I had the opportunity to attend, great job guys!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jay Lynch and Al Jaffee

2013.03.30 Asbury Park Comic Con, Asbury Park, NJ

A native of New Jersey, Lynch played a key role in the underground comix scene with books like Bijou Funnies (1968-1973), which featured Nard n' Pat, Turned On Cities, Roxy Funnies (1972) and many others. Bijou Funnies first appeared in Chicago in the summer of 1968 and featured work by Lynch, whon also served as editor, Skip Williamson, Jay Kinney, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Crumb.

Underground Comix gained popularity in the mid sixties, a group of self-published cartoonist-writers that followed the hippie culture focusing on sex, drugs, rock n' roll and violence. Subjects out of the mainstream. These comics could be found in head shops, which were not frequented by young kids, the books were geared for an older audience. At the time of their heyday (1967-73) I was aware of these books, but could never bring one into the house. Underground comix gained recognition when Ralph Bakshi adapted Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat into an animated feature (1972). I had to show proof of age to get in to see this, of course my "birth certificate copy" had been altered to make me old enough to get in.

Lynch has also provided work for MAD Magazine, children's books (Otto's Orange Day and Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever with Dean Haspiel) and his most publicly famous work on Topp's stickers - Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids

Al Jaffee signature

While walking around the con, I came across Al Jaffee's table. There was a line which is deserved. I hesitated at first then decided to take my place in line. Even though he was not providing sketches, it was still Al Jaffee, one of the great cartoonists. How could you not get in line. His contributions to MAD Magazine have continued for 57 years, his most notable work the back page fold-in.

Jaffee started in comics in 1941 working for several publications including Timely Comics and Atlas Comics, creating the characters Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal for Stan Lee. Fro 1957-1963 Jaffee drew an elongated comic panel Tall Tales for the New York Herald Tribune. Copies of the book reprinting Tall Tales (with an introduction by Stephen Colbert) were available at Jaffee's table. With the purchase of the book Jaffee provided a pre-signed book-plate (below). At 92, if it helps to pre-sign items, why not. 

1971, 1975 - National Cartoonist Society Special Features Award
1973 - National Cartoonist Society Advertising  and Illustrating Award
1979 - National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Book Award
2008 - Reuben Award as Cartoonist of the Year

Button provided to guests that allowed re-entry (gotta love this!)

Overall I felt the convention was excellent. More space than previous, a great line-up of creators including Erica Schultz (M-3), Jerome Walford (Nowhere Man - a well produced book with great story and art), Frank Barbiere (Image Comics - Five Ghosts), Mina Sanwald, Ken Fredrick (Forgotten Dead, Quandry), Tom Hall (Robot-13), Paul Castiglia (Archie Comics), Jeff Schultz (Archie Comics), Allen Bellman (Capt America), Herb Trimpe (Hulk), Dave Ryan (War of the Independents), Bill Ellis (All New Issues), Bob C Hardin (Epics), Steve Mannion (Fearless Dawn), Chris Campana (Kantara)  Dan O'Connor (Ace Kilroy), Dave Bullock (Batman), Jamal Igle (Molly Danger), Jason Quinones (Beer & Cookies), Javier Cruz Winnick, Rudy Nebres (Tarzan), Stephanie Buscema and many many others...

Obtained sketches from Ian Dorian, Shawn Alleyne, Bob Camp, John Holmstrom, John Trumbull, Gary Fields, Joe Martino, Mark Morales and Chris Faccone...sketches will be posted....