Comic Book Artist # 1 (volume 2) (magazine review)

In those three joblots I bought off the auction website, I couldn’t believe my luck in getting another Comic Book Artist # 1. From the editorial, I’m a little confused about the volume number but as it goes back to 2003, it isn’t the same one that was shared with ‘Alter Ego’ so that must be volume 1. Considering the cover design of this number one is by Neal Adams and painted by Alex Ross, I did wonder if I’d ever come across a copy because it hits two fan groups.

The opening section of this first issue is more a news front of what was happening in comicbooks at the time as the format was being decided upon.

There are so many articles here that I have to cherry-pick a little. The book excerpt from ‘Stan Lee And The Rise And Fall Of The American Comic Book’ by Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon raises some interesting insight to when Martin Goodman ran the company. A lot of it is familiar stuff but the inference that Stan had no copyright on his own characters goes hand-in-hand with him not having any control of payment which might explain far better why artists never got any plotting co-payment.

Of course, the real paydirt of this issue are the two interviews. Both start in a colour mid-section, starting with Neal Adams. Although he goes over some of his history later in the interview with Jon B. Cooke, his appraisal of Alex Ross is more about the art of storytelling and the bonus is being a good artist. I like his explanation of balancing work, health and family life, largely working with people who did both right and wrong and what we would call wellbeing today. The examples where artists die young should be a constant reminder to all creators to be careful not to burn the candle at both ends.

The interview with Alex Ross will sound pretty familiar if you’ve read later interviews or even in his book but, going back 20 years, you do have one of his earlier versions to go along with the art on display here and there’s always something missed like a Power Girl sketch amongst others.

Although I never got caught by the underground comix, the interview with Art Spiegelman does illustrate on what shaky legs it was on that I’ve always been surprised at how long it survived. The interview with Bill Griffin shows there was a lot more than Zippy the Pinhead to his career with his insight into the underground comix.

Finally, the first part of an interview with Michael Moorcock and his early UK comicbook writing in the 1950s.

If you’re going to be lucky and get a paper edition, then its worth going for even 20 years later and purely for the art within. If only a digital version, then you have plenty to read.

GF Willmetts

July 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2003. 130 page illustrated magazine. Price: $  (US). ISSN: 401-783-1689. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 6.99 (US))

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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