Steven Brower

The Lost Comics of Artist Jacob Landau

Last year I took my art appreciation class at Monmouth University to see an exhibit of work at the library there. On display were prints by the artist Jacob Landau; the university is the recipient of a large collection of his work. The art was very political, very graphic, and very 1960s à la...

Promises Made: The 1964-65 World’s Fair

For kids of my generation, 1964 was a seminal year. That February the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for three consecutive Sundays. And the following April, the World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, New York. For an impressionable 12-year-old, both events held a promise for the future and impacted...

Farewell, Joe Kubert: An Interview with the Great Comic Book Artist

The influential comic book artist Joe Kubert died on August 12. Kubert was one of the pioneering golden-age artists that contributed to the comics art form right up to the present. Remarkably, he began his career when he was barely in his teens, when he inked his first story, for Archie (although his exact...

Joseph Schwartz Makes the Case for K-12 Design Education

Joseph Schwartz grew up in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and attended the School of Visual Arts. Since 2003, he has been teaching computer graphics and design at Spotswood High School in New Jersey. I first met him in 2008 at a design educator’s conference at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, where I was the keynote speaker....

The Visual Art and Design of Famous Writers, Part 2

When last we visited, we were examining the visual art of famous authors. But as I continued to dig into this subject, I realized that I had shown just the tip of the iceberg. Here, then, are an additional 22 writers who also spent time creating art. The German novelist and poet Hermann Hesse...

The Visual Art and Design of Famous Writers

I attended the High School of Music and Art in Harlem, graduating in 1970. As one might expect, it was a place rich with talent. The program was split in two (as the name implies), and as I walked the halls, music would pour out from every corner. What I found interesting then was...

Evergreen: The Glossy of the Underground

In 2012, the iconoclast publisher Barney Rosset died at the age of 89. Rosset was the publisher of Grove Press from 1951 until 1985. He published D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in its first unexpurgated U.S. edition in 1957, and in 1964 he published Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer in its original uncensored form,...

Remembrance of Comics Past

Memory is evanescent. I can’t recall where I made the purchase; perhaps it was during an elementary-school or Cub Scout trip. Nor do I remember my exact age; it was anywhere between eight and ten. What I do remember vividly is the visceral experience: the feel and smell of the paper as I unfurled...

The Advertising Power of Comic Book Artists

In the early part of the twentieth century the first American cartoonists were the superstars of their times. Their work was received by an adoring audience, they earned lucrative contracts and toured the country to give chalk talks to a welcoming public. Richard Felton Outcault’s “Yellow Kid,” Bud Fisher’s “Mutt and Jeff,” Rudolph Dirks’s...

Jack Kirby’s Collages in Context

Jack Kirby had choices to make, especially considering he could do it all: writing, penciling, inking, coloring. Along the way he found it prudent to concentrate on what he could do best: dream big and render those flights of fancy in graphite. Why then would he choose to break his stride and search through...