Monday, 23 April 2018

Alan Weiss' Sub-Mariner

A beautiful little back-up now from Alan Weiss, that yet again, makes me wish someone had given him a series to do in the Bronze Age. Any series. Hell, I'd've bought Ironjaw if Weiss had drawn it.
Maybe he just took too long on a page to make deadlines, or maybe it just didn't pay enough in those days. Here's part of an interview Alan did with Jon B. Cooke for Comic Book Artist that touches on that, and this particular story:
It's the first Marvel job I get to both pencil and ink, and it is the Sub-Mariner, my favourite character.
I am trying to really express my vision of him and make him look real, but more than real, because I loved the John Buscema Sub-Mariner.
So that day, I'm in this little cubicle with Herb Trimpe and John Romita. Gil Kane is in the office that day. Now Gil has some pointed opinions about the younger artists and what he considers their overuse of rendering, and I get a talking to from Gil Kane, a lecture.
He's pacing back and forth, orating about masturbatory rendering. Here. we want to be illustrators, and we are trying to utilize the rendering for the sake of a hyper-reality. But what they are saying is "This just takes too long! That's the main reason we don't do it! It costs money!"...
So I'm sitting there - and here's one of my three favourite artists telling me I'm doing it wrong! Oh, shit! He's saying, "Well, m'boy..." and proceeds to list all the things I shouldn't be doing.
Then John Romita chimes in with his story - "Yeah, once I did this romance job for Stan, and I put in the feathering" - they have different words for feathering, sometimes if  they are denigrating it, they call it "hay" - "and I did all this illustrative linework, and when I came in all the other artists collared me in the elevator saying, "Are you out of your mind? Now he's going to want us all to do that! How are we going to make a living?"
So they were all pissed off at John, because it was going to cost them time and money. So Romita's telling me this story, further discouragement, and I'm thinking, "I can't, I'm not going to open my mouth to Gil Kane," not at that time - I was 21, 22 years old!
Here's Herb Trimpe, the guy with this relatively cartoony style, right? The least amount of rendering, just nice, big, thick Marvel lines, right?
And I didn't know Herb, but his certainly wasn't the style of artwork I was trying to do... Herb is the one guy who has an encouraging word, and he says, simply this: "I don't know, I think you ought to just do it the way you want to do it!"
Just like that. It was the best thing that could've happened, you know? It was just so right! It was really wonderful, it lifted my spirits, and I've been grateful to Herb ever since.
Let me tell ya, if I hadn't been the biggest Herb Trimpe fan before that day, I sure as hell have been ever since!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm

No other comics remind me of summer holidays more than Charlton's, mainly 'cos that was the only time you could get them. Didn't matter where you went in the UK, every holiday place had a newsagents with a spinner rack crammed with Hong Kong Phooey, Top Cat, Magilla Gorilla or this Flintstones spin-off Teen-Age Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm.
Don't think I ever actually saw the cartoon, but definitely read the comic on the beach. It's light, bright fun for sunny days, and comes complete with the groovy teen slang of the time. C'mon, let's make the scene.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Dan Dare In The Lost Worlds

It surprised me recently, while reading Thrill-Power Overload, the history of The Galaxy's Greatest Comic, to find out that most fans of 2000AD, and a lot of it's staff, never liked the reboot of Dan Dare that ran throughout the mag's early years.
Me, I really liked it. I liked the very first Belardinelli strips, and I loved this, the Gerry Finlay-Day & Dave Gibbons epic we're about to read.
Listen, I've read most of the original Dan Dare strips, and of course, they're beautiful to look at, but they don't mean a thing to me emotionally. The writing is unbelievably dense, and the distance of time can't help but make them a bit of a chore to get through.
THE Dan Dare, the Eagle Dan Dare, isn't my Dan Dare. 2000AD's one is.
Maybe it would've been received better if they'd just called this character something else, because here we have a tough hero taking a bunch of bad guys out on a trip to the Lost Worlds, drawn by Dave Gibbons. What's not to love?