Pop culture and other perspectives with an artistic P.O.V. By Mike Pascale.
All contents ©2012 Mike Pascale. Visual content ©2012 their respective owner(s).
You know the drill by now—you can’t believe another year’s gone by, you wonder where the time went, you didn’t do everything you’d planned to do when it began but you dealt with things you had no idea you’d have to, you surprised yourself a few times with a few achievements, disappointed yourself with a few others, and now you’re vowing next year will be different, better, stronger, faster, and so on.
I’m with ya.
Meanwhile, everyone’s making lists right about now. Everyone loves the lists!
So I’ll do a few here, but hopefully nothing like those you’ve already seen or will see elsewhere. Items on the lists are only in the order in which they pop into my noggin, nothing more.
UNDERRATED AND/OR UNDER-APPRECIATED ARTISTS/STORYTELLERS
1. Gene Colan – (in his later years…like when his eyesight was failing and he was drawing some of his most detailed and intricate work).
2. Marie Severin – (humor or superhero, equally adept and wonderful. Her superhero parodies are second only to Wally Wood. No one alive is her equal).
3. The artists of Jademan Comics – titles like BLOOD SWORD DYNASTY, DRUNKEN FIST, THE BLOOD SWORD, and others (I dropped my jaw in awe after pouring over some of the most dynamic and detailed art I’ve seen in comic form. I believe they’re done assembly line but no idea who or how. The inking and action are just superb. But no one’s heard of them).
4. Evan Dorkin (two words: MILK and CHEESE! Most consistently funny comics since Kurtzman & Co.’s MAD comics of the 50s. Bar none).
5. Gaetano (Tanino) Liberatoré (co-creator of Ranxerox as seen in HEAVY METAL magazine, and other amazing things. The guy did things with markers and his fingers that most could only do with brushes and paint! And because he studied Michelangelo, he did almost all of it out of his head…where most would need photo-reference. Sure, much of the subject matter is twisted and taboo, like H.R. Giger, but that doesn’t change the fact the art is amazing and uncanny.) For more: http://blogvecindad.com/el-arte-de-gaetano-liberatore/
6. Two different but equally wonderful penciller/inkers: Gray Morrow (lovely art style, full of beautiful women and men, delicate and graceful inking) and Rudy Nebrés (striking dynamism and exaggeration in poses, very Mannerist but aesthetically beautiful figures. And a unique, dominating, lush inking style unsurpassed by most peers. (See my JOHN CARTER review for more!)
7. Nick Cardy (Silver Age great behind TEEN TITANS, countless DC covers/tales and commercial illustration. Sure there’s been a couple books written on him, but his table at the conventions where I’ve seen him weren’t mobbed like they were for guys with half his talent and chops. Aesthetically-tops and perfectly proportioned figures with unique and interesting storytelling. Wide versatility. And a helluva nice, humble guy!)
8. Angelo Torrés (everyone knows his brilliant film/TV parodies for MAD magazine, but he did some amazing art for EC and other companies long before that. Also a helluva nice guy!)
9. N.C. Wyeth (much more interesting/exciting subject matter and compositions than either Andrew or James. And he’s a better artist—the painting looks like art, not copied photos or models. Yet he’s never considered an “artist” in the same hoity-toity circles).
10. Dean Armstrong (cover painter of Schism Comics, Arrow Comics and Kitchen Sink. First with airbrush and later digitally. The FIRST artist in American comics, if not worldwide, to digitally paint a comic-book cover—and NOT with Photoshop! Won a Spectrum Award back in the mid 1990s and still no recognition for his milestone).
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, CHERISHED AND/OR POPULAR CREATORS/CREATIONS I NEVER GOT AND STILL DON’T
1. Alan Moore/Watchmen/Swamp Thing (not even close to the Wein-Wrightson version)
2. Krazy Kat
4. Steve Canyon
5. art spiegelman
6. Gary Panter’s comics (love his PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE designs, tho)
7. Frank Robbins’ Marvel art
8. Sin City/300/Dark Knight Returns
9. Johnny Craig’s EC stuff
10. Roy Lichtenstein, Picasso, Pollack, Rothko, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Gaugin, and pretty much anything called “Modern Art.” (Ugh. The power of marketing, money and influence.)
CREATORS/CREATIONS I LOVE AND/OR ADMIRE BUT NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO GET , KNOW, AND/OR RESPECT MUCH
1. Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman (mostly hilarious and brilliant, plus clearly told and beautifully rendered).
2. Fred Rhoads’ Sad Sack Comics (he did a ton of them and they’ve been my guilty pleasure—just awful puns and obvious sight gags, but always good for a smile).
3. Bronzino, Pontormo and The Mannerists (the forerunners of comic-book artists and their exaggerated dynamism with bold, bright colors, cheated perspectives and compositions—just gorgeous aesthetics and emotion above all else).
4. Jack Kamen’s EC work (beautiful women, handsome men, clear-cut storytelling, emotional expressions, effective lighting and skillful inking. What’s not to like?)
5. Alex Ross (not the current painter but the amazing cover illustrator of the WW II era—found his covers on some old SATURDAY EVENING POST magazines and fell in love. But can’t find any books or articles on him).
6. DC’s PLOP comics of the 1970s (everyone knows and loves Marvel’s NOT BRAND ECHH–including me–but no one mentions PLOP! Knock-out Wolverton covers plus Sergio Aragonés in every issue. They’re funny! At least they were when I was 12).
7. Speaking of funny, I also loved DC’S INFERIOR FIVE from the Silver Age. I bought the back issues as a pre-teen and giggled like a baby on nitrous.
8. FATMAN THE HUMAN FLYING SAUCER by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck (a scarce Silver Age superhero drawn with charm and innocence by the co-creator of the original Captain Marvel). More.
9. Harvey Kurtzman’s HEY LOOK! strips of the Golden Age (everyone lauds his MAD, HELP! and HUMBUG satire, and rightfully so…but HEY LOOK! is every bit as funny as anything in any of those mags; and the ratio of gags that make me laugh out loud is higher!)
10. Frank Cammuso’s MAX HAMM series (delightful, animated style-noir strips chock-full of cleverness, pleasing visuals and enjoyable gags. Yes, it was nominated for an Eisner, but why didn’t it win, and more important, why is this not a TV show?)
THINGS I DIDN’T DO THIS YEAR, HAVE NEVER DONE AND PLAN TO NEVER DO
1. Buy a suit.
2. Smoke dope/try illegal drugs.
3. Get drunk.
4. Change a diaper.
5. Smoke a cigarette.
So now that I’ve offered mine, what about yours? Any contributions to the above? Differences? Opinions? Let it fly and let me know below.
And have a very happy New Year!
See you in lucky ’13,
P.S.: LAST CHANCE to order a commission before the new year! Super-quick sale of 20 percent off just till end of day January 1st!