marvel comics

Gene Colan: Ten Years On

Perhaps this was more appropriately posted back in June (the month of his passing), but as September marks his 95th birthday, that’s fine.

It’s hard to believe the great Gene Colan has been gone for ten years. And what a different (but not in the least bit better) world it is today compared to even back then.


Late ’70s Colan cover to DAREDEVIL #154, nicely inked by Steve Leialoha.

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Comics: Hulk #182

“Between Hammer and Anvil”

THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS!

Written by Len Wein. Pencilled & Inked by Herb Trimpe. Lettered by John Costanza. Coloured by Glynis Wein. Edited by Roy Thomas. Published in 1974 by Marvel Comics.

Summary: Stanley Kramer Meets John Steinbeck via the Outer Limits.

Let’s talk about one of my favourite comics. There are a few reasons why this is so: the Hulk was the first comics character I really bonded with, for one thing, and it was by accident. My nan used to buy me random comics when I was a little kid, and one of them was a Marvel UK Hulk book—which I doubt my mom would have ever bought me—and I instantly liked him. I already loved the original King Kong (1933), as well as all the Universal Monsters—I was definitely a Monster Kid. The Hulk was somewhere between Frankenstein’s Monster and Kong… today, I also see a lot of Lennie Small (Of Mice and Men) in him. And I do mean the 1970s Hulk—there are a number of spins on him, but the ’70s one is IMO the best.

Hulk 182
The cover to HULK #182, by Herb Trimpe, 1974.

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Steve Ditko, RIP

As it’s been a while since the news broke, I thought it was about time to mention Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man (and lots of others), who died late in June, aged 90.

He was always one of my major art influences. He had a unique eye and a memorably distinctive style that persisted to the very end. I was one of the ‘faithful’, I guess; those who followed Steve’s work throughout. It was always worth looking at, even if he favoured a very stripped-down approach later in life.

Ditko

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Thanos Pinup

Again a little later than planned, but here is a pinup I recently finished (by request) of Thanos, Warlock & Gamora. 1970s Jim Starlin style. Sort of. Maybe a bit of Herb Trimpe. Inks & tones first, pencils below.

Thanos Tones

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Lee vs Kirby ad infinitum

I try to keep out of online squabbles on the subject (though I don’t always succeed), and sometimes I feel like a detached observer when I’m not ignoring them altogether. But really. This Stan Lee vs Jack Kirby ‘debate’ will never end. I actually resent the way it’s framed often as not; if you like Kirby’s work you’re a ‘Kirby Advocate’ or, more insultingly, a ‘Kirby Zealot’. This, because there seems to be a de facto assumption that liking Kirby inherently means being crazy about 1960s Marvel Comics and thinking Stan Lee was a creative & writing genius. If you don’t fit that description you’re some kind of freak.

God by Kirby 3

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Jack Kirby

It’s Jack Kirby‘s 94th birthday. Quite a lot of people will be remembering him, but arguably fewer than his long career might suggest. His major involvement in the development of the 1960s Marvel Comics line—a period that resulted in characters that have become multi-million dollar franchises—has still not received full recognition. Marvel’s then-editor Stan Lee took all the creative credit, and continues to do so.

The 1960s were a significant period of artistic growth for Kirby… but, the development/success of the line did a few (negative) things to him: (1) it forever typecast him as the “King” of superheroes and POW! BAM! action; (2) it cemented perceptions of Kirby as an “artist” more than a creative writer-artist (cartoonist), thanks to Stan’s most creative work—the credits on the books; (3) it put him in a straightjacket for ten years, where his ideas were restrained by mannerisms of a genre he was to some degree pulling away from.

Street Code pg2

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