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Comic Book Artist #7 February 2020 (magazine review).

October 2, 2021 | By | Reply More

I pulled a rare paper copy of Comic Book Artist # 7 off the auction website. Hardly surprising with a Paul Gulacy cover. This 2000 edition focuses on kung fu, specifically a certain Shang-Chi, so we have interviews inside with both Paul Gulacy and Doug Moenech. What was a bigger surprise was how dense the text and number of articles back nearly 2 decades and so few house ads. Something to remember if you see one of them pop-up.

The Paul Gulacy interview looks into his background and how his artistic skills got him away from a mundane job in town and his biggest influence was Steranko. He also thinks today’s comic-book artists don’t have enough experience away from comic books to supply their skills, which is a useful point if you want to develop your style. Of course, in the current covid situation, you have to wonder how many advertising jobs are out there.

The Doug Moench interview shows how prolific he was generating stories. This interview also covers his early life and how he built up his writer’s cv. Seeing his run-in with editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and Moench standing up to him presents some insights, not so much them both per se, but in American procedure. Bosses who realise they have difficult but useful workers that they’d rather not get rid happens in any country, often look over their history at the company to measure their approach. It surprised me Shooter wanted DumDum Duggan’s vocabulary more angelised, even if he wasn’t familiar with the character. But the soldier/agent isn’t the only one like that. Nick Fury and Ben Grimm both have a similar dialogue text.

Considering the more recent TwoMorrows’ magazines referencing artist Dan Atkins (1937-2013) swiping, it was interesting to see an interview with him a couple of decades back. A large part of it covers his time working for Wally Wood, who regularly swiped but made the art his own. The main reason Atkins adopted swiping for sometimes was a matter of speed. He was born a penciller, inker and painter, the latter doing some covers for Warren Magazines that even impressed Frazetta for colour choices.

Looking up Adkins’ detail on-line, he was also a posthumous recipient of the Inkwell Award in 2019 which should tell its own story. If you can pull this issue, this is an in-depth nugget of information. Although money rarely comes up about various rates different comic-book artists get, Atkins points out that Kirby $10,000 extra a year and the reason Wood didn’t stay with Daredevil and other comic books was because they did not put him on the bonus scheme. Dots fitting together.

The next interview was with Jim Mooney (1919-2008) with a useful comparison between DC Comics and Marvel. Prior to them, he also worked at Timely and became a friend of Stan Lee in his formative years and their wives having similar interests. In the 1960s, DC Comics rates were greater than Marvel’s and he did long stints at the former with whatever was passed his way, although known for illustrating ‘Batman’ and then ‘Supergirl’ for the constantly annoyed Mort Weisinger who wanted a constant ‘house style’.

It was only when he moved to Marvel that, even at lower rates, allowed a lot more freedom. He spent a lot of time on the Spider-Man titles, often acting as a finisher on John Romita’s art, although competent in both pencils and inks.

Another nugget was a long interview with Steve Gerber (1947-2008) going over his life and career. Considering the fact he is so well-known for writing ‘Man-Thing’, he wasn’t much of a horror fan when young. He also thinks he had too much TV but not enough reading when young, which just goes to show talent can beat an early life.

It was rather weird reading an older interview with the late Rich Buckler (1949-2017) compared to one read a few years down the line as with little promoting from Jon B. Cooke admits he was overbearing with an ego when younger. Matching the styles of different artists that had previously done particular comic books confused comic-book fans in the day, although his explaining he did a Robin story in the style of Kirby by mistake and ordered to change its style, used Neal Adams as his template made it better illustrates the patterns of though isn’t just stuck with the fans.

In contrast, the interview with John Byrne is pretty consistent with what he has said before about his past and career.

The Denis Kitchen interview with how he did a collaboration with Stan Lee, who seeing the growth of underground comics wanted something along similar lines but not with the Marvel imprint, gives some fascinating insights. Although the sales of the first three issues of ‘Comix Book’ weren’t good, Kitchen thought a longer view would have changed that. The different page rates, original art ownership and copyright became a bigger issue at the Marvel offices where they weren’t as good and the inequality stopped this plan.

Please note, these are only the nuggets but there are other things but these are obviously the selling points and my reaction alone should show how much I enjoyed this issue.

It’s easy to see why this issue sold well. If you prefer paper editions, monitor auction websites because they might pop up. Digital copies are readily available on the link below.

GF Willmetts

September 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 130 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 5.95 (US), although obviously I paid a bit more now. ISSN: 2330-2437. Direct from them, you can get a digital copy for $ 5.99 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_56&products_id=524

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

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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