comic books

Super Schumer Fights for Artist-Creator Credit

Never mind whether Captain America is more powerful than Iron Man or Dr. Strange. The real problem is that Marvel Comics editor/publisher Stan Lee is vastly more powerful than Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and many others who originally drew those superheroes for the company. And Lee presently enjoys 100 percent ownership of the Marvel...

Not the Harvey Pekar Graphic Novel You'd Expect

Harvey Pekar had been collaborating with the comic book artist JT Waldman on a book project, one that charts the journey from his Zionist upbringing to his questioning of Israel’s role in the world. But Pekar died in July 2010. Still, Waldman continued to work on it, and now it’s about to be published. Peter...

Ray Bradbury: 1950s Comics Illustrated Man

In 1951, EC Comics started stealing Ray Bradbury’s work. After three swipes, Bradbury sent a letter to editor Bill Gaines. Not a cease-and-desist order, though. Instead, he wrote, “Just a note to remind you of an oversight. You have not as yet sent on the check for $50.00 to cover the use of secondary...

A Wild Madhouse Riot of 1950s Comic Book Satire

Okay, here’s the setup. Marilyn Monroe knocks Joe DiMaggio’s head off with a baseball bat. So they go to a Chinese laundry to get it put back on. But the proprietor can’t help them because—get ready—it’s a hand laundry! Okay, see, this place has human hands hanging off clotheslines, and, and… Hmmm. Maybe you...

A Fanzine Editor's 60-Year Love Affair with 1950s Comics

There’s this comic-book story about space aliens who try to save our planet from self-annihilation. But they arrive too late: We’d already destroyed ourselves in an atomic war. They land their rocket ship on a chunk of a devastated earth and discover a science-fiction comic book amid the rubble. It contains a story about...

Illustrated Classics of African-American Literature

Students: If you plan to cheat on your book reports, take a look at Graphic Classics. As Art Spiegelman put it, “Comics are a gateway drug to literacy”; for the visually oriented, this series will open doors to literature. It’s also a stunning contrast to those dreadful 1950s Classics Illustrated comic books, with their dry,...

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...

WonderCon: My "4 Highlights" List

Southern California got a taste of WonderCon for three days last week, while its usual venue, San Francisco’s Moscone Center, is being spruced up. Those who expected another San Diego Comic-Con will have wondered where the monstrous comics, film, and toy company display booths and crushing crowds were. But this one’s on a more...

Politics of Pop: Warhol’s Working Class SuperHero

  Anthony E. Grudin cares about the working class. He also cares – a lot – about Andy Warhol. Not the later Warhol, who pandered to high society celebs, but the younger man, with one foot headed for the galleries and the other still hustling for commercial illustration gigs. Anthony, an assistant professor of...

Resurrected: A Multifaceted Icon of Comic Book Art

I originally came to know Wally Wood for his comical comics, mainly his acclaimed work for Mad back in its 1950s, pre-magazine incarnation. But his personal life was a drama verging on tragedy and culminating with his suicide in 1981. Only now, three decades later, is his story heading toward a happy ending, with...