Friday, August 12, 2022

From The Comics Journal: The First Japanese Manga Spider-Man: Supaidāman



From The Comics Journal:

We are pleased and excited to bring you something very special today: a 1995 essay by Ono Kōsei, one of the founders of American comic book fandom in Japan, reflecting upon his role in the making of the dark and startling 1970-71 Spider-Man manga series by Ikegami Ryōichi, a Garo contributor later famous for works like Crying Freeman and Sanctuary. This piece sheds a lot of light on one of the most striking chapters in manga and Marvel history. Translated by Jon Holt & Saki Hirozane. Don’t miss it!!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Raymond Briggs 1934 - 2022


Raymond Briggs in his studio at home in Sussex. Photo from The Times by EYEVINE.


Award winning cartoonist and one of the early creators of the graphic novel genre, Raymond Briggs, passed away on August 10th. He was 88. The cause of death was pneumonia.

ABC News:

"Briggs' family said he died Tuesday, and thanked staff at Royal Sussex County Hospital, near his home in southern England, “for their kind and thoughtful care of Raymond in his final weeks.”

Creator of the dark nuclear war graphic novel When The Wind Blows, he was best known for The Snowman (1978) which was tuned into an animated special four years later and is now a British Christmas tradition.  

Always interested in the medium of comics to tell stories, he talked about encountering the disdain for the medium when applying to art school in this 2004 Guardian interview:

"'I never thought about being a gold-framed gallery artist and was only pushed into painting when I went to art school. I went there wanting to do cartoons.' Briggs remembers the interviewer at Wimbledon College of Art nearly exploding when he expressed this ambition. 'He went purple in the face and said, ‘Good God, is that all you want!’ It really was the lowest of the low and so I started to paint because when you’re only 15 and the big man with a beard tells you what to do, you generally do it.'"


"Among his many, many achievements, he was one of the first people in the UK to foresee the maturity of the comic book form and inaugurate the graphic novel – alongside the efforts of Posy Simmonds‘ newspaper-serialised comic novel work, and Bryan Talbot’s efforts of a mature comic novel with Luthor Arkwright in the UK independent press and underground comic scenes.

"Explorations of more mature material – whilst retaining the open charm of his earlier work – began with Gentleman Jim (1980), about the life of a toilet cleaner with a wild imagination and then developed further with his standout cold-war graphic novel When the Wind Blows (1982) about a retired couple trying to survive the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Both of these books could be regarded as among the first of what has since become a wave of graphic novels to be published in the UK.

"When the Wind Blows proved to be both controversial and influential. In 1986 it was adapted into a chilling animated film, directed by Jimmy Murakami and starring Peggy Ashcroft and John Mills, and was met with wide critical acclaim."

 The Hollywood Reporter:

"He is survived by his step-children and step-grandchildren, who said in a statement that he 'will be deeply missed.'

"'We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news,' they added. 'Drawings from fans — especially children’s drawings — inspired by his books were treasured by Raymond, and pinned up on the wall of his studio.'"

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Sid Jacobson 1929 - 2022

Veteran comics editor and writer Sid Jacobson passed away. He was 92.

The New York Times:

Sid Jacobson, a veteran comic book writer and editor whose work took him from the opulent, fanciful world of Richie Rich to the real-life terrorist attacks of 9/11, died on July 23 in San Francisco. He was 92.

His death, in hospice, was caused by a stroke following a case of the coronavirus, his family said in a statement.

From 1952 to 1982, when the company went out of business, Mr. Jacobson was a writer and editor at Harvey Comics in New York, which published the adventures of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich and Wendy the Good Little Witch, as well as crime, horror and romance comics.

At Harvey he met the artist Ernie Colón, who became a frequent collaborator. “Wherever I worked as an editor, I always hired him,” Mr. Jacobson said in an interview after Mr. Colón’s death in 2019. “We were very close. We were like brothers.”

The two teamed up to tell a graphic-novel version of the 9/11 Commission’s report, which examined the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The report, the result of a government study headed by Thomas H. Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, became a best seller, if a dense one, in 2004. So did “9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation,” published in 2006. Mr. Jacobson called the effort “graphic journalism.”

The Daily Cartoonist:

As a Harvey Comics editor from 1952 to 1982 Sid was part of the gradual transition from the adventure, horror, and comic strip books that was the company’s focus in the 1940s and 1950s to the Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Sad Sack output that defined the company in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s Sid became the executive editor of Marvel’s faux-Harvey brand Star Comics after Marvel Comics’ effort to buy Harvey properties fell through and Harvey shut down operations the first time. Sid hired many Harvey creators (Warren Kremer, Len Herman, Howie Post, +) for the Star comics.


A prolific freelancer, he was also a lyricist. His son wrote:

In the late 50's he began writing lyrics to songs. Seth once asked him how he started and he said, "I thought I could do it." And that was him. Not afraid to try and fail. He would see how it went. Well, he has about 100 published torch and love songs (circa late '50s and '60s ("The End", "Warm", "Don't Pity Me") and novelty songs ("Yogi", "The Yen Yet Song" and my personal favorite, "Dr. Poop"). He wrote comedy records performed by folks such as Sandy Baron (both for Sick Magazine -- "Why not Mad?" I once asked. "Mad didn't pay enough!" he told me). He wrote the lyrics to a collection of folk songs about New York City, "The Citizens Sing About a City of People". In the 50's he invested in Loraine Hansbury's original production of "Raisin in the Sun" ("she was a gem who died way too young," he once said). He even invented a board game "Chairman of the Board", but we have not yet located a copy. 


The Comics Journal

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Author David McCullough 1933 - 2022


Not my photo. A 2012 Associated Press photo of author David McCullough from the Academy of Achievement


David McCullough died yesterday at the age of 89.

Very sad news. Like so many, I read a number of his books.

I met him briefly on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the late 1990s or so. He was with a small group of people and he caught my eye. Is that David McCullough? I was wondering. He must have seen me looking at him. He walked up to me and, smiling, asked if I would take a photo with the group. He handed me a camera and I took a picture of him and his entourage. He thanked me as I handed the camera back and I said something like, “Oh, sure” and smiled back. I regret I didn’t whack up the nerve to tell him I was a fan.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Special Effects by the Lydecker Brothers

There is an interest and maybe a bit of a longing for practical movie effects. Since most effects in movies and TV today are the result of moving pixels around, it's fascinating to watch older productions and see miniatures and matte paintings and other "practical" or in-camera effects. These effects utilize one-of-a-kind models and special lighting. Here's a reel of some of the many effects that the Lydecker brothers (Howard and Theodore Lydecker, always known—and billed—as such, were Howard "Babe" Lydecker (June 8, 1911 – September 26, 1969) and Theodore Lydecker (November 7, 1908 – May 25, 1990).) Their father, Howard C. Lydecker, pioneered special effects, working for Douglas Fairbanks. The brothers began working in the 1930s -- first on the Republic serials and then for other clients and TV shows. 

From Chris Enss:

Howard and Theodore worked together on conceptualizing the small scale sets. Theodore would then draft the plans for the building and oversee the construction. Howard’s job was to film the miniature models of towns, spaceships, buildings, trains, automobiles, stagecoaches, and whatever else a script might call for. In a short time, the Lydeckers earned the reputation as the kings of special effects. The approach they took when preparing for a sequence was simple: build large, photograph the subject matter from every possible angle, and always use natural light.

In addition to using detailed models and filming sequences with the miniatures against real location backdrops, Howard Lydecker shot the scenes in slow motion. He realized that during such shoots, film ran through the camera at a higher speed than normal (determined by the scale of the models) and when projected at normal speed, the slow-motion effect gave the end product the right appearance of mass and size. Utilizing all the techniques the Lydecker brothers developed and subsequently perfected, the visual effects on the movies Republic Pictures produced were superior to that of any other studio.



More at The Pulp Reader.

Friday, August 05, 2022

Saturday, August 6, 2022: Charles M. Schulz Museum "Cartoon-A-Thon"


From the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA:

In the 'Peanuts' creator's centenary year, the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa celebrates its '20th Anniversary with some of today’s top cartoonists! Come meet your favorite cartoonists while exploring all things cartooning with drawing games, live presentations, book signings, and more.' Guests include Raina Telgemeier, Reza Farazmand, Nathan Pyle and Brian Fies. Here's the day's schedule for tomorrow, Saturday, 10am-5pm, and guest-list:

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Video Preview: “The Art of the Real Tom Sawyer” by Leif Peng


Today's Inspiration Press publishes its new hardcover "The Art of the Real Tom Sawyer" this week. The book is a showcase for this midcentury illustrator and is written by Sawyer and Leif Peng, with Ana-Marina Vlahovic. More at DownTheTubes.

Leif has an amazing preview here: