Wednesday’s Heroes Blog 100: “A Question Of Taste:Silver Age vs. Modern Age, or Old School vs. New School”

Contents ©2012 Mike Pascale. Visuals copyright and trademark their respective owners.

First, a minor celebration: This is my 100th blog post for APW here on Wednesday’s Heroes. Judging by the numbers, enough of you enjoy this to come back regularly, and for that I thank you very, very much! Means a lot to me. And of course, a major thanks to Craig Rogers, Mr. WH himself, for the initial invite. Without his encouragement I wouldn’t have made it this far.

But this is as much your column as mine. What would you like to see more or less of in the future? Anything I’m missing that you want me to tackle? I’ve been doing quite a few movie reviews, especially during the “busy season.” (Coming up: LOOPER, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, DREDD and FRANKENWEENIE.) Do you want to see more, less or the same? Please take just a few seconds to hit “Contact” and let Craig know. [better yet, add your suggestions in the comments section below! -Craig] Thanks.

Now, on to the main topic. Some, if not many, of those who admire and enjoy the work of “traditional” figurative artists like Michelangelo, Titian, Rubens, and the like, do not care for the “non-traditional” figurative work of Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin and their contemporaries (and vice versa). Similarly, both ways, many of those who enjoy and collect comic art from the Silver Age are not fans of the “Modern Age.”

With comic art, though, much of that love and admiration is due to nostalgia. Most prefer what they grew up with and brought them their greatest joy as a kid, and simply don’t have the same emotional connection with newer work. But those are not the folks at whom this post is directed.
Anecdotally, there’s a decent-sized contingent of fans, collectors, dealers and even artists who feel that most of the popular guys (yes, guys) of the last 20 years just aren’t as *good* as those from the 1950s-70s. (Some even go as far as saying many of the “fan favorites” from the 90s and up simply suck, can’t draw, lack anatomical knowledge, don’t know who tell a story.)

Being an older dude, I can understand that sentiment, whether or not I agree with it. But what I really, really want to know is, for those whose favorite art is from the 90s and up, do you feel the older guys also “suck”? Do think the more traditional artists from the previous century have poor storytelling/drawing/anatomical skills? I hesitate to group them simply by time, because there were “non-traditional” figurative stylists in the 50s-70s and there’s some today who are just as “traditional” as the Silver Age folks. (I can name names if you’d like but I don’t want us to be distracted by who belongs in which category; let’s focus on stylistic generalities.)

Which do YOU prefer?

So let me phrase the question in terms of STYLE. You’ll notice a plethora of examples reproduced here from two stylistic groups: what could be termed, better or worse, as “traditional” and “non-traditional.” I’m purposely leaving names out of it; let’s focus on styles shown. (Majorly grateful for those who’ve shared these wonderful works on the Web; hope you don’t mind. Feel free to identify yourselves and take a bow.) For those who prefer the NON-traditional art, here’s the question:

Is your preference based on personal aesthetics (“I just like it more”), nostalgia (“It’s what I grew up with”), or objective observation (“It’s just better drawing/storytelling”)?

As always, let me know what YOU think in the Comments section. There are NO right or wrong answers: I’m seeking opinions.

And again, THANK YOU for sticking around for 100 or how ever many of these you’ve read. Click “Contact” and let Craig know what you’d like to see more/less of (it’s anonymous). I really appreciate it!



Bru-Hed Closeup
P.S.: I’d love to create for you an original commission–in my normal “traditional” stylized style, or in something out there. Just ask Craig here!








Published by Mike Pascale

Mike is a freelance storyboardist, artist, writer, comic book/web comic creator, graphic designer, award-winning senior art director/copywriter, Kubert School alumnus, Spectrum Fantasy Art award-winner, guitarist/songwriter, future novelist and full-time, life-long comics fan, pop culture collector, and book hoarder. His creations include Bru-Hed™ (America’s favorite Blockhead™), The Game Buzz!™ weekly webcomic, Nasti: Monster Hunter™, Mikey Moo-Moo™ and more “™s” waiting to be unleashed from his crazy cranium.

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  1. Hi Mike
    I love some of both traditional and non-traditional styles, but my personal collection is largely newer work because I can often purchase the artwork from the artist. Of course, the prices are better. To a greater degree, I feel better being the original owner rather than paying another collector or dealer.

  2. Stylistically is how i would divide things rather than by age, and all bar two of the artists you reference sit in the traditional camp for me.
    While i tend to seek out new, exciting things (and these tend to fall into the non-traditional camp) I always appreciate a solid foundation in drawing, layout, etc.
    There is some amazing talent throughout the ages and a lot of mediocre stuff and more rubbish than i’d like to see. I don’t think that has changed much, but i do feel there is marked improvement in writing and design in comics over time. While there are exceptions to this it does feel more marked than any change in artstyle.

  3. I’m an illustrator and comics artist myself, and I’m able to appreciate an artist’s work based on the relative level of accomplishment in the many skill sets needed to tell comics stories effectively.

    However, being a comics fan too, I can’t fully eliminate the influence of personal aesthetics and nostalgia.

    I can appreciate many of the new comics artists out there, but they seldom move me in the same way as the artists who were active when I was a much younger fellow. And those newer guys (and gals) I get excited about tend to harken to an earlier approach, though sometimes filtered through a more contemporary lens.

  4. Great comments, guys. Keep ’em coming! So far we haven’t found any “love the new guys, hate the old guys” fans…But I know they’re out there! (Don’t be shy…You can use a fake name if you prefer!)

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