I couldn’t help it. It happened again: some old comics got bound. It was Cloak & Dagger’s turn. Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan, this duo has been a favorite of mine (and Kat’s) for a while now. I thought their combined titles and cameos would’ve made a tight three book set, but there had to be a cut off point (I recall the duo’s return in the Marvel Knights title after a brief hiatus; I’ve bound all the material before that period). Here’s the reading order, including short stories, pin ups, odds & ends.
What bound set is complete without some sketches by related artist? Here’s a great double page spread by Cloak & Dagger co-creator Ed Hannigan (click to enlarge).
Beautiful drawing by iconic Cloak & Dagger artist Rick Leonardi.
Fantastic double shot featuring Dagger and Esctacy by artist Mike Vosburg.
Here is a dopey checklist I made for Kat …maybe 8 years ago? I’ve been known to try my hand and Ty & Tandy, but this here fulfills the list making side of my obsession.
As I posted before, this binding habit is addictive. The process also takes forever: the research, the hunting down, the inventory & organizing… I want to get these books as thoroughly archived as possible. The results are worth it, though, and the original art by the respective creators makes it perfect and one of a kind. I appreciate the efforts Ed, Rick and Mike made in providing us with some great art to accompany their memorable comics.
It’s as good a time as any to talk about my love for the Suicide Squad. It’s a specific kind of love.
Let’s start with this bound collection of comics: every issue, every crossover, every letters page, every Who’s Who entry, every pertinent sheet of Squad related newsprint or baxter paper is included here (ending with the final issue #66, of course. Anything after that just gets in the way of the best ending this series could hope to have). I spent a while compiling these books, putting them in a very specific order. I cannot stress that enough; Very. Specific. Order.
Having these comics bound in such direct, no frills hardcovers made reading & storage so much more enjoyable & practical, but I also loved the idea of a curated collection of essentials. For this specific set of books, I got the idea to hit up a few of the related artists to put their own touch on the inside covers…
These busy gentlemen were kind enough to honor my character requests & deal with book shipping (since none of these were convention commissions). Their efforts and patience remain appreciated.
Oh, god, it doesn’t stop there. I had to have the RPGs…
… the Who’s Who loose leaf entires…
… and the cards. The trading cards.
I’m perfectly fine with drawing the line when it comes to toys, statues, cartoon appearances, or cosplay. Toys would be cool, actually, but I’m into the art more than anything else when it comes to any sort of non-comics merch. Really, all I care about are the comics.
I really like the way these books turned out (thanks to Houchen Bindery Ltd). Took me years to plan and assemble and I loved every second of it. I can see how one can get swept in the excitement of binding everything, but I think it’s safe to say that there are not many titles I feel this passionately about.
Today marks the last episode of the Legacy Music Hour podcast. Every week, comedians Brent Weinbach and Rob F. Switch played, dissected, and introduced scores of 8-bit and 16-bit music from 80s and 90s video games.
LMH changed my life. Let it change yours.
Poster designed by Vic Roman
I discovered the Legacy Music Hour pretty recently actually – last January for their 1990 episode – and instantly became obsessed. I mean, look… I really enjoy those old chunes and can listen to the few I’ve managed to amass over the years. There I was, sitting long hours at the drawing table and marathoning podcast after podcast. I had embarked on a massive project and was running out of content to listen to (I’m still considering baseball games or just AM radio static hums). But then there it was – a show that talked about a very specific interest of mine extensively and passionately. I was hooked. User for life. It made a world of difference.
If you weren’t an Atari/Ninetndo/Sega kid, there’s a chance you might not like this stuff. It’s not a strict generational thing, though; there are young musicians making original Bit music (and rock bands that cover the old ones, too), but there’s nothing quite like the high degree of quality from composers that were limited by technology and in service of a new, juvenile type of pop entertainment. We were bound to end up with a lot of content at the rate video games grew. Brent and Rob, week in week out, looked back to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The highlights include the first Experimental episode and all the Sports (every single one). With episodes like New Age, Elevator Music, and Slow Jams, what else does one need? Let’s not ignore Movies, Horror and Fighting. Oh, and Toys! If it wasn’t for the Toys episode, I wouldn’t be aware of this masterpiece. Don’t like listening to voices? They got you covered.
+ + + + +
From my personal collection: I’ve always loved this Quick Man theme – every single second of Mega Man 2, really – and its Latin Freestyle flavor is so obvious to me. I see the dots and I don’t think it’s my nostalgia that’s connecting them. There has to be some shared sensibility at work here. I even hear it in industrial music from the same era. cevin Key must’ve traded notes with Keiji Yamagishi and Ryuichi Nitta.
Oh, and Yellow Magic Orchestra or Ryuichi Sakamoto? They’re the godfathers of this bit world.
If you’re gonna bring Latin Freestyle to the table, you’ll eventually mention Depeche Mode (according to Miami DJs in ’87) and New Order. Then you have to mention Afrika Bambaataa, which loops right back to Latin Freestyle. You can say I’m just making convenient connections to fit my preferred tastes, and I can live with that! But I do think there’s something more to it than a personal checklist.
+ + + + +
I don’t mean to digress. I guess I’m putting off the inevitable. It actually just happened. Today, hours ago. The Legacy Music Hour is over.
The weekly shot of fresh 8 & 16-bit won’t be coming around anymore, but the LMH archives can and should be combed through. They’ve made it easy for us: iTunes, Nerdist, or through their very own impeccably documented blog (in which they’ll occasionally update). Keep up with them on YouTube and Facebook, in case they decide to throw a west coast dance party (which they do every so often; I haven’t wanted to live in California this bad since I first saw Point Break).
Gentlemen, as a creature of habit, a child of the 80s, and a person who has to sit for long periods of time, I will sorely miss this show. But who can be sad when faced with the many great episodes you guys spent your energies on? Every track was handled with loving detail, thorough research, and genuine humor. This is a well deserved break.
There’s always the replay button. Thanks for reminding us of that.
It’s not uncommon to find me going through podcast after podcast these days. If it has a person with recording capabilities and they’ve pressed record, I’m your man. If you emit sounds and then you file those sounds under “opinions”, then go ahead and slap a clever title on it; I’m probably the right guy for you. Comics, music, comedy, whatever, I’ll take it. But there’s one that rules them all. The one to beat is Gelmania.
“You ain’t worth nothing but the money in your pocket and the articles written about you. That’s where it starts and that’s where it stops. Don’t think for a second that you are like me… [I’m an artist].” – Hustle, Brett Gelman
You know who else makes with the podcasts? Tucker Stone*. He’s knee deep in it and loving it. I mentioned to Tucker how pathetic I felt when I recently read a couple of 70s horror comic books and immediately felt the need to post about it, a hunger to document and expose this totally quiet and tiny moment of genuine pleasure and make a– a thing about it. As if I had to validate my sense of place in the world by appropriating some crappy little images and pumping them into an empty, fleeting beat in time, simultaneously failing to absorb true value and reflecting cultural emptiness.
House of Mystery #245, September, 1976. There’s a story called A Talent For Murder in there. David V. Reed was hacking it out under the name Coram Nobis, but artist Leopoldo Duranona is the clear winner on this one. Wait, the art is better than the writing? In a comic book? WHAT… a fucking shocker.
There was another story in that issue that took two writers (one of them a lawyer), but it was drawn by Alex Niño, which automatically catapults it to greatness.
Haunted #31, January, 1977. I do indeed like the late Tom Sutton. So much so that I clipped an interesting bit of history from his TCJ interview. His Planet of the Apes spread is a classic, an unbelievable effort, and I loved his short story in a Daredevil annual. But I really like the slapped together experiments he used to write and draw for Charlton. Check this page out… it’s like a Trevor Von Eeden pages trying to do 70s Toth, except it’s between the two. I’m a fan of low budget risk taking in comics.
Oh, you, too? You also like the the more unique low budget attempts in comics? Well, I recently hosted Dennis Fujitake Week, where I wrote a few brief notes and scanned a whole lot of material featuring this amazing, underrated fanzine-artist-turned pro. Like I mention in one of the posts, I’m so taken by this late 70s era of comic book fandom (which Fujitake fully represents, I think), and I know it’s borderline obnoxious to dwell on the past in that fetishistic way, a past I was clearly not a part of, but I can’t help notice the visceral excitement on these smelly pieces of newsprint. That shit just looked more fun than anything.
Enough about comics. Here’s another obsession: Ferrante and Teicher’s Denizens of the Deep album, which is the only music on repeat around here. I thought it’d be easier to find any clips of this rare album online, so I’ve put up a couple of examples:
I did find this video which shows the duo masterfully playing and manipulating their pianos to achieve those specific sounds. Ferrante and Teicher are mostly known as schmaltzy lounge composers, but there was a brief period of groundbreaking brilliance that cannot be shared enough.
Ah, music. Music! I’ve been fantasizing about playing drums in a band again. I have a very specific sound that I want to help make, though, something out of a TJ Hooker scene change, dirty but full of chops. I want to make music that will make me wish I was back in 1980 NYC getting blown somewhere in Time Square. A mid-life crisis can wait, I want this now. Or at least until I finish writing and drawing some comic books.
*Be sure to check out my upcoming podcast with Tucker called Truth Telling In Mark Making. Catch it!
… but I’ve been writing less and less about comics recently, a slightly deliberate position mostly due to time spent making them. I’m left with very little time to work on that massive Tim Gula or Chris Wozniak retrospective that I’d write in a heartbeat.
I still do like looking at things – I’m only human – and so I’ve been slowly cataloging art and artists via my Tumblr.
That was Tim Hamilton, Klaus Janson, Alberto Breccia and Alex Niño… a few of the favorite pieces I’ve posted, and the perfect excuses to get back to work.
More writings and drawings soon!
Below, a striking cover courtesy of Eddie Campbell and… I want to say Phil Elliott colored it? Either way (someone correct me if necessary), it’s a vibrant cover which reads from across the room. This is the type of thing I look at more often than not, the type of thing I don’t mind procrastinating for, things of beauty, things of immediate influence.
Thank you, Deadface.
I M M E D I A T E L Y
I’ll be brief about it, but we’ll see how it goes. The first time I did this, I veered toward a specific corner of comics. It’s pretty random this time around, which speaks more to the place I’m at these days. These are all little anchors floating by on my computer screen. Now they’re floating on yours, too.
Above we have a page from Steven Weissman’s Yikes! #3, vol. 2. I like how how the one-color thing dominated indie comics in the post-Rubber Blanket 90s, and it especially worked for Weissman. His full color stuff is just as beautiful (get those early issues and you’ll see what I mean). This back cover’s a great example of that.
For some eye catching and unintentional crudeness (which perhaps was a product of its budget restraints — what isn’t?), I present: The Skull Killer.
The characters therein are preexisting pulp personas, at least the main ones are. The comic itself is… okay, written by Brendan Faukner (the only comic credit to his name) and drawn by Gary Terry (it reminds me of a Michael T. Gilbert comic inked with a brush). It’s the coloring, credited to Si & Seth Deitch (Kim’s siblings) that attracts me. The creators could probably only afford a few colors while using a press that could only sustain that amount of coloring (that’s how that works, I bet), yet they just had to make this happen. The world needed to see this comic at any cost. It’s a situation made up of the same things that made zine trading possible… y’know, the comic trading circuit from the 60s and 70s. Whether that was the case here or not, it reminds me of a bunch of kids doing it just because they can.
It’s a black and white comic, I should add, the color pages being a couple of rare treats saved for the title pages and the money shot… except this odd example of arbitrary spot coloring (see below). Now THIS I can get behind!
While we’re on the subject of gun toting, I can’t make out the signature on this pin-up…
…but I’m pretty sure it’s John Beatty (uncredited in that 31st issue of Punisher War Journal). Beatty’s doing an inky, quiet version of Michael Golden but, again, it’s the colors that create a very specific world (which may or may not have been Beatty himself). I’m liking the combination of Punisher and pink hues, actually.
It’s one of my favorite Moore stories and Beyer’s art matches it perfectly. It’s almost like he writes with the artist in mind. Moore tends to do that. It’s his thing. Read it in its entirety here if you haven’t done so already, or hunt down that issue of RAW if you really need to own it.
E L S E W H E R E
A few posts ago I mentioned some Spanish editions of comics that I had as a kid. They usually looked like this.
Nothing like this, however, which is a bit of a shame because I would love to see some Spanish Ditko comic with a red/purple Spider-Man.
There’s more where that came from.
Then this cover happened.
I like Jeff Jones well enough, I’m not a huge fan, but this cover is amazing. Everything about it I was struck by. He’s got some other classic ones, too (including the best Wonder Woman covers ever committed to paper). See them here. Oh, and check out some Kaluta splashes while you’re at it. There’s some great stuff in there.
HOW DARE YOU, NOT COMICS?
I also can’t seem to stop watching portions of this video masterpiece by Robert Ashley.
Speaking of things that defy you to look away…
There. I feel much better now.
There’s nothing like having a stack of comics that you really enjoy. Even visually, a handful of comics has unbeatable appeal to me. Not a stack of hardcovers or a window of bookmarked webcomics, but a bunch of physical issues varying in shape, size, and pedigree.
Since it’s the season for lists, here’s a rundown of my modest stack of off-the-beaten-path comics I’ve liked throughout 2011 (and some that were acquired mere days ago). All of them can easily be purchased from the artists themselves.
Note: First half of the list are the ones I’ve gotten throughout the year. Second half is from this past weekend’s BCGF.
Matthew Allison had me as a fan since his work on Covered. This comic mostly features material from his webcomic, but its solid presentation here makes it worth seeking out a copy. He’s recently been selling original art at beyond reasonable prices.
Kat Roberts, who has also made her stamp on popular characters, handmade this comic with its cover treatment and sewn binding. I don’t want to give away the goodness of the main feature, but you can see a little bit more here.
Space & Gravity
Open Country #1
You can follow the million things that Michael DeForge is doing on his blog, and you won’t be let down by any of it. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but I was really into Open Country. I’m glad I found the follow up at this past weekend’s BCGF!
Kid Mafia #1
I got OC #2 from DeForge. He also had Kid Mafia, which is amazing for its own set of reasons. Nice to finally meet him, too.
[Everything by] Traditional Comics
If you’re not convinced about Benjamin Marra and what he does, go here. Actually skip it. There’s no hope for you if convincing is needed. Sometimes I treat his Night Business series as a light at the end of a tunnel. Don’t you?
I got tons of stuff at Marra’s table, including this new comic by Madeleine Bliss (read it here).
Brother Sasquatch Book One
Tim Hamilton has taken a select few passages from his online strip which is somewhat serialized at Cut Bleed. The guy can draw anything, and does. I can’t believe he makes one of these every morning in a dream state.
Regarding BCGF itself, I’m glad that I was able to stay a little longer than I anticipated (I’ve missed out before due to work). I was happy to finally have met Josh Simmons, Tom Spurgeon, and Adam McIlwee. Also got the latest Smoke Signal which is always welcome. Make sure to get your hands on a copy somehow (contact Desert Island) as it’s one of the finest collection of cartoonists around.
The next day I spent part of the afternoon going to a “place” where comics were unearthed, dusted off, and gleefully purchased. I went with the few people that never fail to reaffirm my hope in humanity and yeah, I got some more amazing things there.
Since the feeling of dancing between the bright/upcoming/homegrown and the obscure/processed/forgotten is a thrilling and pretty hilarious thing, I suspect that the experience will be well documented by the gentlemen I experienced it with. Look for it.
I was asked by a peer to draw up John Carter, even though the only thing I knew about the character was that Gil Kane drew him once. I liked the challenge of working on something unfamiliar, especially if it has swords. I never get to draw swords.
Death To the Universe has a great piece about the unique visual demands that only comics can carry (that’s putting it as broadly as possible). A Treatise on Optics nails one of the many aspects that make comics an important and beautiful art form.
On a loosely related note, another one of my favorite blogs, Heavy Discussion, recently posted a bunch of pictures and commentary of old zines. I think having tactile proof of one’s interests may be archaic, but it still has a lot more intimate power than we give it credit for. Having said that, don’t rule out the notion that HD may have inspired this post.
A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
It’s not weird for me to look up and find that Slave to the Rhythm has been on repeat all afternoon. That, and a bunch of podcasts. Baseball on the radio might as well come next. Perhaps the hum of an electric fan may do the trick.
Brett Gelman has a new podcast up: Gelmania. That’s right, the guy behind the immortal iBrain teamed up with Tim Heidecker for this one. I hope it’s a recurring thing. It’s all good, but the 17:12 mark is where you want to be.
I wonder if that bit was the reason Marc Maron sounded bummed while talking to Neil Hamburger recently. Neil, who sings for one of the most important figures in Metal, usually leaves me in tears. I can see how awkward and out of place it is to have him come out in this intimate way that Maron’s cultivated.
BACK ON COMICS
Nick Abadzis wrote a piece about the Russian Cartoon Music concert played by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, an event we recently attended in Brighton Beach. Nick’s got some exceptional drawings accompanying the article. Good to see Blaise Larmee and J-Shasta leave comments.
Did I mention that Tony Salmons has a blog? Yeah, and he’s posting tons of original and unseen art over there. I have to pry myself away from the screen whenever he posts something.
In an unprecedented move, I discovered that I was basically wrong in my hateful assessment of the Legion of Superheroes: Five Years Later. I’ll write about the experience at length sometime soon but in a nutshell: I love the Giffbaum era of the title and have become obsessed with its place in comics. I recently came across Tom Bierbaum’s livejournal, where he describes what went on with each story he wrote issue by issue! I know… thank me later.
Oh, wait, look. I have drawn swords before. This Tellos piece was done a couple of years ago for a proposed Mike Wieringo tribute book, put together by Todd Dezago. I liked Mike’s art a whole lot but I never got around to reading Tellos when it was coming out. I was unfamiliar with the story, but the characters were fun to draw.
That should do it. Back to inking.