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02 October 2013 @ 08:48 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Ramona Fradon, one of my favorite comic book artists, turned 87 today. So—happy birthday, Ramona!

Though I have fond memories of the Aquaman stories she drew that appeared in the back pages of Adventure Comics throughout the ’50s and into the ’60s, I think I truly fell in love with her artwork from The Brave and The Bold #57 (January 1965), introducing Metamorpho, which she co-created. I was nine years old.

At the time, I never dreamed that she’d someday bring some of my own words to life (or that there’d even be any of my own words to bring to life), illustrating a 5-page horror story, “My Mother, the Witch,” fourteen years later for House of Mystery #273 (October 1979).

When I searched for the proper image to celebrate Ramona’s birthday, I was surprised to find that complete story online. And not just the pages as printed, but her original artwork, thanks to an online auction, which means you get to admire her clean lines exactly as she drew them.

So check out the complete story below!

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Drew Friedman has posted many scans relating to “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s SUPERMAN,” a 1966 Broadway musical I could have seen (hey, I was eleven and lived in New York) but never did. I’d never run across the souvenier program book before, but the instant I saw the cover posted there, I noticed something very odd.

If you’re as big a Silver Age comics fan as I am, you’ll notice it, too.

Take a look.

SupermanMusicalSouvenirProgram

Did something inappropriate leap out at you? If you read comics back in 1966, you’d have immediately recognized that something was very, very wrong. And that is …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Yes, I exercise—in fact, today was my 45th consecutive day of walking at least 10,000 steps/5 miles (assuming my new Fitbit Flex can be trusted, that is).

But according to this suggestion from way back in Superman #1 (which DC Comics has been giving away free via its iPad app as part of a Man of Steel promotion), I’m doing exercise all wrong!

Superman1Exercise

I hope it’s not too late to change my ways.

Time to start hefting furniture over my head, I guess …

 
 
scottedelman
15 June 2013 @ 10:11 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Have you seen the cover to the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly? It features a huge image of Superman zooming at the reader, above two other smaller Superman drawings plus photos of five actors who’ve played the part in movies and on TV.

EntertaimentWeekly06212013

Does the main drawing look familiar to you? It did to me.

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scottedelman
21 May 2013 @ 08:41 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

While I was over at my sister-in-law’s house Sunday night, I happened to notice a stack of old comics on the coffee table and picked up this one—Detective Comics #350 (April 1966)—because who could resist a Batman drawn by Joe Kubert or those Go-Go Checks?

DetectiveComics350April1966

The house ads in the issue were as much fun as the stories (which is often the case), and I was particularly intrigued by this one, in which DC claimed it sold “twice as many comics as any other competitor” and “almost as many as all other comics combined.”Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman
04 February 2013 @ 09:12 pm
I still hate it when that happens  

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I told you last week that as I was flipping through some of Irene’s old comics, one thought kept going through my mind at the sight of the anxiety-producing situations on the covers of Strange Adventures

I hate it when that happens!

And as I continued looking at the covers of other DC Comics anthology titles—such as House of Mystery, Tales of the Unexpected, Mystery in Space, and My Greatest Adventure—the phrase continued to repeat in my mind …

MyGreatestAdventureA

I hate it when that happens!

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scottedelman
29 January 2013 @ 10:29 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Irene’s been going through her comic book collection, and last night, I found myself attracted by her stack of old Strange Adventures. As I looked at the seductive, anxiety-producing covers, all I could think was—

StrangeAdventuresCropA

I hate it when that happens!

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

So Irene spent part of her day poring through her comic book collection, which meant that when I stepped into her office late this afternoon, I saw the cover to Action Comics #196—and with a cover like this, you know I had to pick it up.

ActionComics196

I don’t think I’d ever seen that issue, which would have gone on sale a couple of months earlier than its September 1954 cover date during the year before I was born. But far more interesting than the story that cover was touting was an ad advising kids how not to catch polio.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I know all about Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s 1975 letter putting a curse on the company that wouldn’t do right by him. After all, it wasn’t history to me, as I was on staff at Marvel Comics at the time, and we were all well aware of the letter that began—

It has been announced in show business trade papers that a multi-million dollar production based on the Superman comic strip is about to be produced. It has been stated that millions of dollars were paid to the owners of Superman, National Periodical Publications, Inc., for the right to use the famous comic book super-hero in the new movie. The script is by Mario Puzo, who wrote The Godfather and Earthquake. The film is to have a star-filled cast.

I, Jerry Siegel, the co-originator of Superman, put a curse on the Superman movie! I hope it super-bombs. I hope loyal Superman fans stay away from it in droves. I hope the whole world, becoming aware of the stench that surrounds Superman, will avoid the movie like a plague.

And ended—

WHAT AN INFERNAL, SICKENING SUPER-STENCH EMANATES FROM NATIONAL PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS, INC. We hope the public will never forget this when seeing the Superman character, or National Periodical comic books. Do not patronize Superman because of this injustice.

Amazing, huh? If you want to read the whole thing, you can find it here.

But what I never knew (which surprises me) is that there was also intriguing correspondence out there related to http://www.scottedelman.com/wordpress/Bill Finger, the man responsible for most of what we like about Batman.

Thankfully, Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of http://www.scottedelman.com/wordpress/Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, has enlightened me about those letters and the scenario that spawned them.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
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There’s a new wrinkle to the war against Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Superman that goes beyond what’s in the play The History of Invulnerability, which I told you about earlier this week. It seems Ohio wants to offer a special license plate commemorating that state as the “Birthplace of Superman” for the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Man of Steel, but DC Comics and Warner Bros. have objected to the wording.

Nate Beeler, a staff cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch commented on the brouhaha with the cartoon below, which I spotted over at Daryl Cagle’s blog.

No one’s really sure why there’s an objection to the wording of the plate, but Ohio is attempting to come up with an acceptable alternative. Beeler worries that those alternatives might also be found unacceptable:

Everybody knows Superman is a fictional character who comes from the fictional planet Krypton and grew up in the fictional town of Smallville. What people might not know is that he was created in Cleveland by the legendary Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The license plate is a nice way of bringing attention to the great cultural contribution of these Ohioans. If the wording is changed to something like “Birthplace of the creators of Superman,” I just hope that DC Comics won’t object by saying, “But Superman’s parents, Jor-El and Lara, were also from Krypton!”

As for me, there’s something I find unacceptable, but believe me, it ain’t the slogan.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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I went to Theater J on Sunday to catch a matinee performance of The History of Invulnerability, a play based on the real-life tragedy of how Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster got screwed out of the rights to Superman, and my feelings are complex. What isn’t complex, though, is my feeling that you should rush to see it if you can, so let’s get that out of the way first. The final performances are on July 8, so you have a few weeks, but don’t dawdle. It’s well worth your time.

But I’ve been wondering, as I struggle to parse my reaction to this play, whether it’s possible to be too close to the material to see it clearly.

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’m too close to the material to see it clearly! I’ve been a hardcore comics fan as far back as I can remember, I was working in comics when the first Superman movie was about to be released and justice was being demanded for Siegel and Shuster, I already know all the crimes committed against the Man of Steel’s creators, and last year I even attempted to win some of Jerry Siegel’s hair at auction!

Plus (and this ought to give you an idea of how invested I am in this shameful tale out of comics history) I already had such a feeling of hatred for Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz going in that I literally started hissing at a certain point when one of them took the stage and started speaking, and had to squelch that visceral reaction once I realized what I was doing. So I don’t come to this play with a clean slate, able to judge this play the way I would a different one not based on a topic already embedded in my DNA.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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I’ve been resting my head on these guys for decades. Well … not continuously. I do have other pillowcases, you know!

But I only noticed last night—after many, many years—that these other guys were on the flip side!

How is it that so much time has gone by without me ever noticing this before?

I say it’s all Wendy and Marvin’s fault!

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
scottedelman
19 February 2012 @ 11:00 am

Yes, I know Curt is no longer with us, but he would have turned 82 the other day, and since he was THE Superman artist of my youth, I figured I should take note. His is the face of Superman I see when I close my eyes, though you’d think, based on my age, that face could have easily belonged to Wayne Boring.

As far as I know, I only met Curt once, back in 1973 at a National Cartoonist Society Ruben Awards banquet held at the Waldorf Astoria. I was just a fanboy then, my job in the Marvel Bullpen still in the future. I was the guest of cartoonist Bill Kresse, whom I’d met thanks to a high school class trip to the New York Daily News.

I wore a old tuxedo which had belonged to a family friend, and as is true for all fanboys back then, I carried a sketch pad tucked under one arm. And to the embarrassment of my host, I interrupted the artists as they tried to eat their rubber chicken, and asked for drawings. (At least I assume my actions had to embarrass Bill. He never said. Who knows? Maybe he found them amusing.)

Here’s what Curt graciously drew for me.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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I already told you about my wife’s current auctions, which are still ongoing. But my sister-in-law is also selling something amazing, so please forgive me for shilling for a relative yet again.

The page is from the story “Slaves of the Emperor Bug,” published in the penultimate issue of the first run of Teen Titans, issue #42 (Nov/-Dec. 1972), with art by Art Saaf and Nick Cardy.

Take a look.

You only have from now until Feb 24 to bid, so if you’re interested, check out the auction here.

So ends the commercial message. We now return you to our previously scheduled programing.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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I got an email earlier today from Heritage Auctions touting its latest offerings, and the most interesting part of the message wasn’t the original art I could never afford, but an observation pointed out about a change made to the cover of Action #1 before the comic was released.

Here’s the published cover we all know.

But here’s the cover as it appeared in an ad in an earlier issue of Detective.

I wish I could find a better reproduction of the ad, but in any case—could you spot the difference?

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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Last week, I told you how my wife was selling her copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Adventures #1 so that in the far-flung future, we won’t be reduced to eating cat food. But … what if your tastes run more to original art?

Then how about the wonderful Green Lantern page below, drawn by Gil Kane and Sid Greene, which not only features an encounter between the Silver and Golden Age incarnations of the character—but is signed by Martin Nodell, who created Green Lantern back in 1940!

The page was published in Green Lantern #61 (June 1968), and if you’d like it to be yours, head on over to Heritage Auctions.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
scottedelman
27 January 2012 @ 07:43 pm

Robert Hegyes, who played Juan Epstein on the ’70s TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, died yesterday of a heart attack. I never knew Hegyes … but boy, did I know Epstein!

In fact, because I grew up in Brooklyn, I felt as if I knew all the Sweathogs. (Which, for those of you who never watched the show, was the name for the gang of kids in Kotter’s class at James Buchanan High School.) And I’ve got a feeling that one reason I was given the assignment of writing a couple of issues of the Welcome Back, Kotter comic for DC back in the late ’70s was because Joe Orlando thought I was a Sweathog.

Oh, I know that the two issues I wrote list Larry Hama as the editor, but as I recall, all of my interactions on the title were with Orlando. I can remember him laughing as we worked out the plot for Welcome Back, Kotter #9 because I was embarrassingly just as ignorant as Vinnie Barbarino would have been about certain historical events. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what they were.) I think that tickled Joe.

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Comic books made an appearance on Alcatraz Monday night, and luckily, they weren’t as difficult to identity as the one that showed up on that 1975 episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Jorge Garcia’s character, Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto, owns a comic book store, so I assumed we’d see comics as stage dressing in the background, but in the latest episode, a couple of issues had starring roles.

In the opening scene of the third episode, “Kit Nelson,” a child killer sneaks into a bedroom and spirits away one of two brothers … but not before we see what the kid must have fallen asleep reading.

I couldn’t quite make out the pictured hero or the logo, so at this point I had no idea whether this was a real-life comic or one supposedly created by Garcia’s character, who in addition to owning the shop, also happens to be a writer and artist. But later on, after the kid is [spoiler alert!] rescued, Garcia visits him and brings along some comics to cheer him up.

“I saw you were missing 12, 27, and 35,” says Garcia, to which the kid replies, “No way! This is awesome!”

And Garcia hands him this.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

 
 
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Steve Thompson, aware of my strong feelings about the paintings of Sharon Moody, alerted me to the comics-inspired art of Vin Vicini. Funny thing is, in spite of what could be seen as superficial similarities, the new images I saw didn’t bother me at all. So let’s take a look at a couple of Vicini’s paintings, and then I’ll explain why.

First, a 12″ x 12″ oil painting titled “Chapter 7: ‘Catch the Hero.’”


This first example includes details from the covers of Amazing Spider-Man #19 (December 1964), Batman #219 (February 1970), and Avengers #35 (December 1966), all of which I’ve rotated so you can more easily compare them to how they were used above.

Here’s one more, “Batman and the Crate,” an 11″ x 14″ oil painting.

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scottedelman
12 January 2012 @ 10:58 pm

I was chatting with a couple of people a few days back who didn’t realize that original comics art was drawn larger than it was printed nor that the standard size for such art had shrunk over the decades. And it struck me: Hey, they might not be the only ones out there who don’t know that!

And so … here I am with two choice pieces from my collection.

In my left hand, I’m holding a page from All-Star Western #104 (1958; art by Gil Kane), and in my right, I’m holding a page from Dead of Night #11 (1975; art by Rico Rival). Supposedly, the change from one size to the other occurred in 1967, and was all thanks to Murphy Anderson.

I bought the Kane at either my first or second comic book convention; I think I paid $2.00. As for the Rival splash, it’s one of the pages I was given back at Marvel for having written that issue.

As Norma Desmond said in Sunset Boulevard: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

Now you know.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.