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The Art Of Ramona Fradon (book review).

September 29, 2019 | By | Reply More

I pulled my copy of ‘The Art Of Ramona Fradon’ back in the spring and only have found a spot to get it read, My first impressions with a flick through was the text size was too large but loaded with art. On closer inspection when I started to read was I wish all the art had been credited as certainly Ramona Fradon didn’t do all of it here.

For those who don’t know, Fradon was the only female artist working at DC Comics in the 1950s-early 1960s, before leaving to raise her daughter, coming back into the industry and worked briefly at Marvel before returning to DC and then 15 years working on the ‘Brenda Starr’ newspaper strip. Her interviews with artist Howard Chaykin bring out all of this.

The only real influence on her art was Will Eisner and with few exceptions drew what she was asked to do. Her key design was Metamorpho but her work on ‘Brave And The Bold’ only lasted 4 issues before she moved on with bringing up her daughter. Her other principle work at DC Comics at the time was with Aquaman although she wasn’t that keen on super-heroes.

Looking at Fradon’s art, it quickly becomes obvious why she got work. The technique of comicbook drawing is to display motion in what is otherwise a static page and seeing her work her, Fradon has that in spades and she could do it with a simple line. Look at page 35 and seeing Metamorpho extending his hand in one picture and below a more detailed sketch of Moby Dick and Fradon breathes life into them.

There are a lot of comicbook pages throughout this book and if you ignore the dialogue, the art tells the story. Interestingly, Fradon points out that she prefers to work from full scripts because it helps her visualise what is needed and why her stay at Marvel was so short, although she did draw Fantastic Four # 133,

Throughout the book there are sidebar time-outs to look at the editors she worked with including Murray Boltinoff, George Kashdan, Joseph Paterson and E. Nelson Bridwell.

Ramona Fradon admits that she never sought out fame but her work speaks for itself and she still attends comicbook conventions. Now in her 90s, this is a book that should make you wonder how you missed her in the first place.

GF Willmetts

September 2019

(pub: Dynamite, 2013. 152 page illustrated large hardback. Price: varies after so long but I pulled my copy for £ 7.50 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-60690-140-3)

check out website: www.dynamite.com

Tags:

Category: Books, Comics, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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