#1 – Apparently DC is launching a prequel/sequel to its popular Watchmen story, created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. (Right there, notice something you won’t see in any other blog on the subject: Moore is CO-creator. Dave drew the damn thing, remember? Heaven forbid he gets mentioned in the same sentence as all-mighty Alan.) And wouldn’t you know it, ol’ Mr. Moore is in a tizzy because he doesn’t want them to do it. And the whole dang world is apparently abuzz about the whole thing, judging from my ever-annoying Facebook News Feed. (I’d love to turn that thing off.)
Frankly, I don’t get what the big deal is. One of the top two companies in its field, with a history of billion-dollar branded characters, wants to exploit a successful property for more revenue in a capitalist system? Horrors!!
A creator who’s made a near career out of disproving and disallowing said company’s previous treatments of “his” properties objects to it? Gazooks!!
A flaky former druggie–I mean, “eccentric” creator—who wanted nothing to do with any of the success of said previous treatments has hypocritically done a 180 and wants the authority to prevent said new project? Great Scott!!
I mean, hey, I’m all for the little guy vs. the big bad corporation. I support the Kirby estate and the Siegel estate in their respective battles. But this ain’t that. Someone made a bad decision on a bad contract they approved a long time ago and learned a valuable lesson. Time to let go and move forward. Learn from the mistakes and help others not make them. Create something even better and be happy with it. No need for all the winging and whining in public. Especially for all his psycho sycophants.
I’d like to ask those folks–and/or Mr. M–did Moore give a check to Steve Ditko for his parody of the latter’s Question character? To all the creators of the other Charlton characters he satirized in the book?
Some people–industry pros, no less–have actually had the gall (and idiocy) to compare this with Siegel and Shuster’s Superman fiasco. Really? Two teenagers starting out with a completely untested and original concept in a field under five years old at the time vs. a seasoned professional doing a creative satire on previously-created characters in a long-traditioned genre in a 50-year-old multi-million dollar industry?
I won’t even dignify that (or insult Siegel and Shuster) with a response. Let’s move on.
#2 – Whenever I come across a piece of art that strikes me for its aesthetics or technique, I copy a picture of it into my “Comicart” folder for future reference. A quick search turned up almost 40 such pics from Al Rio–more than anyone else I currently have other than Jack Kirby or Gene Colan.
Last week, I sat in mouth-open shock at my computer screen when I saw the phrase, “Al Rio’s passing” in a post on the Yahoo “Comicart-L” group site. If you don’t know who Al Rio is, I feel sorry for you. He was a Brazilian artist known for an incredibly tight-yet-fluid style, who drew some of the sexiest and most beautiful women in comics and recent pinup history. Sadder still, he wasn’t even 50 yet! (One site originally had his age listed as 56 but his agent and friend David Campiti posted his birthdate as 1962.) He was incredibly successful, accomplished, and had many fans. The reason he’s gone is immaterial–it’s the reason he lived that’s important!
Death is a certain, but at that age it’s not. In contrast, Al’s art and women were infused with life. There was also a great sense of whimsy in much of it, even in some of his horror work. He was impressively versatile, doing work in all genres imaginable. His detail was incredible; the amount of patience that went into some of his pencils–both foreground figures and backgrounds–always amazed me. Precious few others in comics history have had such an ability to use a pencil like a penpoint as well as a fine brush. And talk about prolific! I’ve not seen anyone since Jack Kirby turn out such a large amount of (quality) work so quickly. There was always something new to be found at his art site http://alrioart.com/, meticulously maintained by his art rep and friend Terry Maltos. (A great place to peruse and purchase all things Rio. Terry sold me the only original piece of Al’s I currently own. Thanks!)
I swear, there was a time when I thought Al had a gaggle of assistants, dwarves or spirits helping him. How could anyone draw so much, so tightly, so often? That was Al. It’s a shame I never got to meet him or tell him how much I admired a lot of what he did.
Speaking of which, here’s a minuscule selection of the genius-level technique and gorgeous “babery” from the late, great Alvaro Rio.
Everyone has in their career what I call “quirky kudos”–the kind of “achievement” that’s pure ego and has nothing to do with traditional success. One of mine came when a piece I drew for my first Wonder Woman Day charity auction sold for a little more than one of Al’s. Didn’t matter that all the dough went to charity; just the thrill of having something of mine be in the same monetary league with a guy like Rio made my day! (And week…and month…Yes, I’m that pathetic.) Of course, Al kicked my auction ass in subsequent fundraisers, but it was a first-time thrill I’ll always relish, and I wouldn’t have it if I didn’t have such respect for Al Rio’s work and achievements.
On the good side, he will, like Dave Hoover, Mike Parobek, Dwayne McDuffe, Mike Wieringo and all those who passed far earlier than they should have, live on forever through his amazing body of work, and that of all the artists he inspired and will continue to.
Rest in peace, Alvaro.
For a better biography and tribute, read Dave Campiti’s here.
#3 – No Monday-morning-after-the-Super-Bowl® blog would be complete without at least mentioning the Big Game.
Congrats to the New York Giants! Regardless of who you were rooting for (if anyone), ya gotta admit it was one exciting game, just as much as their previous Super Bowl in 2007. While I love when the team I’m pulling for blows out the other, the games that come down to the final seconds are still the best, most memorable and thrilling.
New York has been in my top five teams for decades, especially since their amazing “wide right” win over Buffalo way back in 1990 on my first trip to Vegas (to bet on the game, of course). Besides, my folks are from Jersey, as are my favorite comedy team the Stooges (longest running, most prolific in history, thank you), and practically all my comic-book and fantasy gods: Kirby, Frazetta, Colan, Kubert, Buscema, Eisner, Kurtzman, Neal Adams, Stan Lee, Al Feldstein, William Gaines–almost everyone that influenced my childhood and art! How could I not cheer on the “almost home” team?
If you’re a New England fan, you still have plenty of other Super Bowl wins to be grateful for. My favorite team, the Seahawks, have yet to win. And my hometown Lions have still never even been there (longest streak of non-championship appearances yet), so don’t feel bad.
And if you couldn’t care less about the game, I hope you read some good books or comics and enjoyed some great art.
Like that of Al Rio.
Now there’s a champion!
P.S.: Good news! Next week I’ll be finally available for your cool commission requests! I not only do fantasy characters, but football stuff too. See above. Then ask Craig here. Thanks!